Committee Reflection on 2020 & Hopes for 2021 – Part Two

We asked the committee to reflect on the past year and what their thoughts/hopes are for 2021.

The committee had so much to share, we decided to split the blog in two parts. In the first part of our blog, you heard from James, Esme, Roshan and Bianca.

In this part, you will hear from Cheryl-Anne, Kristian, Sophie and Phil. We hope you enjoy reading it and gives you hope for 2021, even if it hasn’t started the way we all had hoped.

We have already had so much feedback around Part One, so please contonue to share your thoughts, we love hearing from you!

Cheryl-Anne Friel – EWL Committee Member (Regional Director, Churchill Group)

I wish many years ago I wrote a letter to myself and it said –  not to worry it’s gonna be ok and when you think you’ve hit rock bottom your gonna get back up and kick ass!!!

Never in a million years did I think 2020 would turn out the way it did, however it did; and man it came thick and fast! But, there were many amazing elements to it as well: 

  • I adapted
  • I learnt how to manage one crisis after another
  • I brought my mental and physical barriers to a level I never knew they had the capacity to reach
  • I realised that the small things in life were the best
  • I found a way to adapt a kitchen into an office, and then into a ‘dine for two’ restaurant for home dinner dates 
  • I decided that work-life balance was more important now then ever before 
  • I pushed my risk barriers and completed a business restructure with my co-pilot 
  • I showed my vulnerability by opening up, when I lost two key people in my life and I wasn’t coping. I was struggling to manage all the demands of grieve and wanting to be the leader that I love being 

So as for 2021 ….

I’m gonna push my barriers again, I’m gonna give it all I’ve got, I’m gonna give me people all the exposure they deserve and I’m gonna make them realise lockdown or no lockdown; the FM industry is EPIC; and we need to shout about all the great things and reasons why people would want to be part of our FM family!


Kristian Trend – EWL Committee Member

In many ways 2020 was both the best and worst year of my life. It was a year which started with the loss of my father and making the decision to spend the first lockdown living back at our family home so that my mother would not be forced into isolation alone at such a difficult time. Going out each day for our authorised exercise walking the length and breadth of the village I grew up in, was in equal parts strange and nostalgic, saddening, yet honouring to my past. 2020 was a year in which I surprised myself by becoming spiritual and it dawned on me that although success and recognition were still important to me, my life would not be measured by that and that alone. I didn’t just want to be a good workplace leader; I wanted to be a good son, a good brother and a good uncle to my 2-year-old nephew too.

Continuing with that theme in many ways 2020 gave birth to a whole new version of myself as I became passionate about meditation and reading and now sought not only professional growth but spiritual growth too. So, when the opportunity arose for me to take a career break and have some ‘me’ time abroad, I took it. Moving to the Canary Islands for the winter months allowed me to properly process the loss of my father and unexpectedly allowed me to find love again; finding the perfect partner I would not of otherwise met.

Ever the optimist I know 2021 will be a better year than last year for me personally. However, how good a year it is, for us all as individuals is dependent on YOU and how you react to the events that unfold.

So remember that you are not your thoughts! You have little control over the subconscious stream of content that bounces around your mind, the combined data from your five perceptive senses and past experiences. However, you do get to choose which thoughts you own and which you dismiss, which thoughts you accept and which you let go of. With that in mind I set my new year’s intentions to continue to hold myself in a place of positivity to always be authentic to myself and others and return to the workplace with as fresh much more holistic view on leadership.

Sophie Leigh – EWL Committee Member (Key Account Manager, ISS)

What a year 2020 has been. For me, lockdown 1 was working from my kitchen, zooming constantly, morning walks and talking to my plants on the balcony!

Lockdown 2 (or is this 3?!) couldn’t be more different. At the end of 2020 I decided to take a career leap, and left banking to join healthcare. Early starts, cycling to work and people – Hurrah!

It’s an intense time to be working in a hospital right now, but so great to be a part of a moment in history and to be supporting something so important.

Phil Matis – EWL Committe Member and Digital Lead (Regional Director, Churchill Group)

The COVID-19 Pandemic has dominated peoples lives throughout 2020; reading these reflections and understanding what people have went thought (both negative and positive) did however remind me that regardless of the pandemic; everyone, whether you know it or not have their own fight. We may always not be able to help with the fight, but we can always be there to support.

Last year we saw our industry, our network, our nation, and our world come together. We learnt more about each other, the huge strides in digitisation gave us the ability to connect better and reflect on what’s important to each and every one of us.

For me, to truly reflect on 2020 I need to put the pandemic to one side. So many life-changing things happened last year which we must ensure we don’t forget; think about the Australian bush fires, the US wild-fires, accidental and non-accidental explosions and terrorism. Think about the Black Lives Matter movement, the controversial political situations in the UK and abroad, the emphasis on sustainability and the devastating impact around plastic pollution – the list just goes on!

2020 has made me realise that we can’t forget the whole picture. Every individual counts, everyone is going through something, everyone needs support, and everyone needs to continue to come together to tackle the issues that matter and bring hope, motivation and positivity. Personally, 2020 brought loss, grief, stress, anger and many other challenges; but I also got married, connected with family and friends and realised there is support in the people around you, and as long as you have that hope, motivation and positivity; you really can get through anything.

So, what do I see for the future?

I see that the pandemic will continue to affect us, I see political and financial shifts that will change our nation, and I see that people with personally and professional continue to struggle.

But what I also see, is the incredible efforts to stand as one, I see that when people have time to think and take action, we tackle huge life-changing issues that are too often forgotten, I see people networking and coming together, I see comradery and support for all who have helped us through the most challenging of times in our lives (especially within our industry), and I see that we will always get through the worst if we stand together.

What do I hope for 2021? That this will continue.

On that note, I challenge you to reach out to someone who you aren’t directly linked with, whether that be to help someone who is asking, or just as a friendly gesture to remind people of the value of networking…

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