#YLOTY21 Launch #PFMAwards2021

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#YLOTY21 Submission Deadline

Submit your nomination to emergingworkplaceleaders@outlook.com along with the application form and high quality headshot by the 23rd July! if you need any more information, feel free to get in touch!

We recently held the Young Leader of the Year Award Launch virtually hosted by one of our Co-chairs Bianca Angelico and Committee Member Cher Sanderson – the energy was amazing and the response to this years award has been phenomenal!

In conjunction with the PFM (Premises and Facilities Management) Awards, EWL partner to award the talent of the next generation of Facility Management professionals. The award category focuses on nominees who have made considerable industry impact early on in their careers, and looks to celebrate this success on an industry-renowned platform. Candidates can nominate themselves or by someone else; and must undergo a rigorous selection process comprising of interviews, Q&A sessions and presentations to an industry wide audience.

As part of the launch all attendees were fortunate enough to partake in a mindfulness session from the extremely talented Karen Farrell to start off our day, which went down an absolute treat! We then heard from past finalists and winners Bryony Wellman, Tom Corner and Mohammad Hassan.

Watch this space for the release of Karen’s fantastic mindfulness session being released on video!

Submit your nomination to emergingworkplaceleaders@outlook.com along with the application form and high quality headshot by the 23rd July! if you need any more information, feel free to get in touch!

Are you the next Young Leader of the Year?

“The YLOTY journey was an incredibly rewarding one, and provided an opportunity to pause and reflect on my career achievements to date, ways in which I’d like to continue contributing to community and the environment, and my aspirations to further the industry moving forward. A key highlight was the final round at the iconic City Hall overlooking the Thames, where we were partnered up and given the opportunity to demonstrate our thought leadership through a short presentation. I’m very grateful to the EWL for hosting a highly thought-out and rewarding judging process for the candidates. As YLOTY, I look forward to being a voice for young people and creating a meaningful impact in this dynamic industry of ours“.

Roshan Deshmanya, CBRE, 2019 Young Leader of the Year Award Winner

YLOTY 21 Launch Event!

Join us for the launch of the 2021 award by registering here.

When? – Wednesday 23rd June

What time? – 0830hrs

What? – Introduction and overview of the awards as well as hearing from our past winners and finalists. Also, to top the launch, we have an expert well-being coach to provide a quick session for all registered to highlight the continued focus from Leaders on keeping mental health and well-being at the fore-front of everything we do!

Young Leader of the Year Award Winner 2021

Mohammad Hassan!

In conjunction with the PFM (Premises and Facilities Management) Awards, EWL partner to award the talent of the next generation of Facility Management professionals.

The award category focuses on nominees who have made considerable industry impact early on in their careers, and looks to celebrate this success on an industry-renowned platform.

Candidates can nominate themselves or by someone else; and must undergo a rigorous selection process comprising of interviews, Q&A sessions and presentations to an industry wide audience.

Who are the past winners? Could you be next?

2020 – Mohammad Hassan – Mitie

2019 – Roshan Deshmanya – CBRE

2018 – Kristian Trend – Sodexo (Watch Winners Interview here!)

2017 – Candy Hollingum – ISS

2016 – Tom Corner – Mitie

2015 – James Bradley – Mitie

2014 – Alex Murphy – ISS

2013 – Reyana Searle – NG Bailey

2012 – Antony Law – Mitie

2011 – George Weekes – Balfour Beatty

2010 – Andrew Hulbert – Rollright

For more information – view the YLOTY Award page on this website!

PFM Awards – YLOTY 2021 – Emerging Workplace Leaders

Drinking Habits of a Leader

Focus on wellbeing

You wouldn’t put the wrong fuel into your car, so you must ask yourself why would you put the wrong fuel in your body? Eventually it will break down just like your car would, right? Taking care of your body and mind is an important part of being a successful leader – if your health is not being maintained to the highest standard then you are not really giving yourself the chance to operate at your optimum.  With this being such an important area, we wanted to dedicate some space to wellbeing, giving practical tips over a series of blogs that will enable you to incorporate new healthy habits resulting in even more success in your daily life…

Drinking habits of a leader…

Approx. 68% of our body weight is water. It supports, maintains, and protects our body, cells and organs. In a nutshell it is what is keeping us alive, yet it is reported that 75% of people in America are dehydrated, with the UK and Europe following suit with similar figures.  Although dehydration effects each person uniquely, some symptoms may include mental fuzziness, brain fog, waves of fatigue, food cravings, anxiety, constipation, and headaches. Long-term dehydration can lead to chronic health issues including decreased kidney function, kidney stones, hypertension, urinary tract infections and intestinal failure.

We lose water through natural bodily processes and exercise, however our lifestyles and what we are consuming are negatively impacting our hydration; Sugary drinks, alcohol, the over usage of caffeinated drinks, along with eating processed foods high in sugar and salt being the main culprits. Obesity can also decrease water to as low as 45% of body weight, putting an even greater strain on health.

Although this may all sound a little gloomy, the wonderful news is that there is an opportunity to introduce better drinking habits that will support hydration and enhance your overall wellbeing in a matter of weeks.

Here’s how to get started…

Drink water, water and more water!

  • Upon waking start your day by drinking 2 glasses of water. You can also squeeze in some lemon to really cleanse, hydrate, and wake up your body even further.
  • Drink a glass of water 15 minutes before and after food – combining the two is not good for digestion or water absorption. (If you are feeling extra thirsty while eating it is an indicator you may have too much sugar and salt in your meal).
  • Drink before you feel thirsty: Sip on water throughout the day, make it a habit.
  • Drink a glass of water before and after caffeinated tea or coffee. Use this rule for alcoholic beverages too.
  • Before and after taking a bath or shower have a glass of water.
  • Ensure you stay hydrated with water during exercise.
  • Limit your caffeinated drinks to 2 a day.
  • Jazz up your water with berries or other fruits.
  • Choose a glass or bottle you will love drinking from- always have this close by.
  • Drink water at room temperature.

Have a Caffeine Detox

Having a caffeine detox is a great way to re-set your body’s hydration levels. You can do this by drinking just water and non-caffeinated herbal tea for a few days. You may find you have some initial withdrawal symptoms from the caffeine (headaches or mood swings). Pay close attention to how you feel after any symptoms pass – do you feel more energised and are you sleeping better? If you find you are still craving the caffeine for energy it is highly likely that there are other things that you want to address; like how much sleep you are having, what food you are eating, along with nutrient and stress levels.

Alternative ways to enhance hydration

  • Sip on non-caffeinated herbal tea, explore different varieties. Use a teapot and have your favourite herbal tea on tap.
  • Switch your soda/sugary drink to a pure natural freshly squeezed fruit juice, vegetable juice or fresh coconut water.
  • Fruit and vegetables are full of water – aim for at least 7 – 10 portions a day.
  • Swap your alcoholic beverage for a kombucha– not only will this fermented tea drink energise you as it is high in B vitamins; it will give your liver a break and it is also fantastic for your gut health – just don’t have more than one a day as this still has some caffeine, a little sugar and a tiny bit of alcohol due to the fermentation process.

Other things to consider

  • Ensure you read the labels of your drinks including non-dairy milks – check for hidden sugars.
  • Salt, artificial flavourings and other highly processed ingredients are extremely dehydrating. Try and opt for natural ingredients and use unrefined salt (celtic sea salt, pink or black Himalayan salt are best).
  • Invest in a water purifier at home. Not only will it make your water taste better and be more enjoyable to drink,  it will also help reduce exposure to chlorine, VOCs, lead, fluoride, parasites, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, micro-plastics, and other contaminants that are found in our tap water.
  • Avoid bottled mineral water – not only is it bad for the environment, but plastic chemicals are shown to leach into the water causing more health issues. If the only option is bottled, go for a glass bottle instead.

About our Blogger – Claudia Halabi

Claudia is one of the founding members of Emerging Workplace Leaders, she works part time for JLL within their EMEA talent acquisition team, is a health blogger and coach and is also a Mum! Along with being on a mission to support new leaders entering the workplace sector and sourcing diverse talent to join JLL, she also has a passion for food and the role it plays in supporting, nurturing, and healing the body and mind. Through coaching she empowers others to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing; creating a more wholesome lifestyle complimented by a diet based on predominantly unprocessed, whole plant foods. Claudia survived colon cancer in 2017 and went on a journey to completely transform her life, she educated herself on nutrition and health is now studying to deepen her knowledge even further. As well as supporting those within the workplace, Claudia also has a special interest in mother and child nutrition. She runs educational workshops and programmes for parents, with a focus on making important changes to their own diet and lifestyle, whilst empowering them to build more conscious and healthy nutrition habits in their babies and toddlers with the help of plant-based food.

For more information or to get in touch please find Claudia on Instagram @lustyandgreen or LinkedIn

We would also love to hear from anyone who incorporates any of the above changes and what results they see, so please do comment below or get in touch!

Becoming an Authentic Leader

Our very own Kristian Trend, Committee Member of the Emerging Workplace Leaders and Account Manager for Sodexo gives us a fantastic narrative on what it is, and what it means to become an Authentic Leader.

Authenticity is a rare commodity in the modern world. Everyone is busy trying to be somebody or something. People feel like they must appear a certain way to fit in. Look no further than social media for evidence of people ‘Living their best life’ or at least nurturing their audience’s perception of doing so.

In the West in particular, ‘fitting in’ with the norms and values of society is regarded (rightly or wrongly), as being paramount to becoming a well-adjusted individual.

Against a backdrop of us all mirroring each other’s behaviours, choices and decisions; it should come as no surprise that we are widely regarded as being in the midst of a leadership crisis. A 2016 Gallup Poll found that “18% of managers demonstrate a high level of talent for leading people” or to put it another way, 82% of managers are not very good at leading people.

This crisis is not unique to the corporate world; it crosses our global institutions and governance. A 2015 survey on the ‘Outlook for the Global Agenda’ found that a staggering 86% of those surveyed agreed that we have a crisis in leadership in the world.

There are several reasons attributed to this crisis. One reason is that managers are often promoted based on their tenure or previous managerial roles. Another is that leadership courses are failing to put enough focus on soft skills and are often aimed at those already in senior leadership roles who are perhaps already set in their ways and harder to shape. The perception in almost every sector, except for maybe relatively young creative/tech companies, is that senior leaders are expected to be in there mid 50’s and 60’s.

It will become increasingly important for organisations to identify and fast track talent sooner than they ever have done before

Kristian Trend

Truth be told, in a fast-changing world in which the rate of technological transformation is speeding up not slowing down, it will become increasingly important for organisations to identify and fast track talent sooner than they ever have done before. This will bring a new emphasis on talent who exemplify soft skills and emotional intelligence and not solely technical expertise or commercial acumen. It is the soft skills element of the equation to which people align to, to which they want to be led by.

People want leaders they can trust, leaders who are compassionate, leaders who communicate clearly and honestly with them. This can be summed up in one word ….. being Authentic!

Authenticity will mean different thing to different people. A big part of being more authentic is becoming the same person in work as you are out of work. As an aspiring young leader myself, and member of the Emerging Workplace Leaders which is an organisation setup to give aspiring talent a platform in the FM sector, I use the word ‘becoming’ rather than ‘being’, deliberately. This is because I see this personally as more of a process than an accomplished destination I have already arrived at.

I would like to share with you an example from my own life…

For many years I was not out as being gay at work. In fact, I did not fully come out at work until over 10 years after coming out to friends and family. Although I knew that society had moved on significantly, and particularly working for a large multinational company, I had nothing to fear, I still rationalised not coming out. My excuses were numerous but largely centred around my drive for progression. I did not want anyone in my team, some of whom were devout in their religious beliefs, to respect me any less as a leader or to take my instructions less seriously or even to impact the overall performance of the team. I also thought that even in a multinational company, there could still be pockets of hidden prejudice, individuals who mouth the values of equality and diversity, yet deep down do not believe in it. All of this meant that even if there was only a small chance that it would affect my progression opportunities, I was not prepared to take it.

However, I then became aware of the concept of Authentic Leadership which explained that for people to buy into your vision, it is important they believe in what you stand for. It made me think and ask myself the following questions –

  • How can people truly buy into my vision whilst I still hold so much back about myself?
  • Do people really care that much about my sexuality?
  • What if it were only 1 person in 100 who thought less of me? Or even 1 in 1000? Or what if no one at all?
  • What if by not being my true self I am selling myself short?
  • What if people see that I am not being authentic and that has a detrimental impact on my long-term leadership potential?

In the following days, I decided to not only meet with all my team to “come out” but brought it up at a presentation I was giving on career development to Sodexo’s middle management talent pool. After which I received a message from an attendee to say I had inspired them to do the same thing in their workplace!

This experience left me feeling relieved and energised and I realised that by being vulnerable, people respected me more, not less.

To summarise, if we commit to reviewing our own authenticity and work together to give aspiring talent a greater voice and put more focus on soft skill development; then I believe that this perceived leadership crisis that we are living through, would quickly evaporate.

What can you do to become an Authentic Leader? If you are looking for any support or guidance, feel free to reach out to Kristian or any of the other committee members who will be more than happy to spare some time for a quick chat!

New Co-Chairs Announced!

We are thrilled to announce a change in Leadership with Bianca Angelico (Director of Guest Services at Amulet) and Phil Matis (Operations Director at Churchill Group) assuming the position of Co-Chairs from March 2021.

Taking over from James Bradley and Claudia Halabi, both Bianca and Phil have expressed their gratitude and thanks for their strong leadership and direction in not only the re-branding of the EWL, but through the global pandemic across 2020.

We truly believe the change in leadership showcases our mission to keep ‘paying it forward’ and ensures emphasis on our overarching goals of accelerating change in the workplace and providing a platform for emerging leaders to connect and focus on their professional and personal growth.

“Over the past few years, the Emerging Workplace Leaders has went from strength to strength; and both Bianca and I are very excited, yet humbled to take on the mantle of Co-Chairs of the EWL. We aim to keep this consistency, and provide a fresh and innovative strategy to reach as many people and organisations as possible”.

Phil Matis (Co-Chair, EWL)

The committee is made up of a number of volunteers with representatives from leading organisations such as Mitie, Churchill, Leesman, ISS, Sodexo and CBRE. To find out more about the EWL and see our full committee click here!

Bianca has commented stating:

“I am bursting with enthusiasm to drive the EWL’s agenda and mission, and very passionate about the the benefits that the EWL Community brings. I know first-hand that we are a forum for people to come together and learn. We network, share knowledge and most of all, recognise our emerging leaders of tomorrow”.

Bianca Angelico, Co-Chair, EWL)

Hear from Phil and Bianca on the EWL’s #ChatFM latest podcast. Click here!

Don’t forget to subscribe, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up to date and hear more about the agenda for 2021!

YLOTY Finalist Showcase Event Part Two – Finalist Presentations

Part two of the finalists’ showcase event went down a storm. It was great to hear from Kayleigh, Mohammad and James on their throughts around how FM can support the road to recovery throughout 2021!

If you missed it – you can watch the recording here!

Don’t forget to sign up and register for the PFM Partnership, were the Young Leader of the Year 2020 will be announced alongside the celebrations of all of the finalists and winners from each category. Sign up here!

We just wanted to wish the three finalists a huge contragulations on behalf of the Emerging Workplace Leaders, and everyone involved in making these awards happen. It is a fantastic achievement to get this far – good luck to you all for the 17th March!

YLOTY Finalist Showcase Event Part One – Reverse Interviews

#YLOTY20 Reverse Interviews Kick off the two-part Finalist Showcase Event!

Part One of the 2020 Young Leader of the Year Award finalist event was all about turning the tables, and giving Kayleigh Stevenson (Derwent FM), James Mabbett (Atalian Servest), and Mohammad Hassan (Mitie) a chance to interview the judges and put them on the spot to spark debate around some of the hot topics the industry is currently facing….and what an event!

From questions around Diversity and Inclusion, Procurement and Well-being; to Engagement, Digitisation and Tech; the judges were put under pressure to give their expert views and opinions for the three finalists in preparation for the ultimate showcase this Friday 12th February at 1230hrs. Sign up here!

In true EWL spirit, the event was recorded, so if you missed out – watch here! – and look forward to you all tuning in later in the week to hear more from Kayleigh, James and Mohammad.

#YLOTY20 Showcase Finalist Event!

Hear from the YLOTY 20 Finalists…

Ahead of the EWL PFM Young Leader of the Year Award Finalist Showcase event this Wednesday (sign up here!), we hear from Derwent FM’s Kayleigh Stevenson, Mitie’s Mohammad Hassan and Atalian Servest’s James Mabbett.

They give us a fantastic introduction to themselves and an overview of their journey so far. They are all extremely excited to see you at the Finalist Showcase Event this Wednesday 10th & Friday 12th February at 12.30pm.

This Wednesday, the judges (James Bradley, Ed Buttery, Ben Sutherland and Jo Sutherland) are in the hot seat, and the finalists have the chance to complete a reverse interview! Sign up here.

Then on Friday 12th February at 12.30pm the finalists will be sharing their views in 10mins on how FM can support the road to recovery as we transition away from Coivd-19. Sign up here.

Kayleigh Stevenson, Derwent FM

Mohammad Hassan, Mitie

James Mabbett, Atalian Servest

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…

Committee Reflection on 2020 & Hopes for 2021 – Part One

What a year 2020 was, am I right? I believe the most popular word to describe 2020 was ‘unprecedented’ and when hearing that word it’s easy to get fixed on it and feel that we lost a year. So, we wanted to bring you some positive vibes!

We asked the EWL committee to reflect on 2020 and to share their thoughts and what their hopes are for 2021. The committee had so much to share, we decided to split the blog in two parts.

In part one you will hear from James, Esme, Roshan and Bianca. In part two, being released next week, you will hear from Cher, Kristian, Sophie and Phil.

We hope you enjoy reading it as much as each of us did writing it. It reminded us of all the growth each of us have gone through, but also the growth of us all as a network, community, industry and a Nation.

We would love for you to share this blog, as well as your own thoughts and reflections!

James Bradley (Co-Chair & Co-Founder of EWL; Director at Churchill Group)

2020 was a difficult year for most of us – I’d imagine very few worldwide have been unaffected. However, I think it is fair to say there have also been some real positives;

– More and more of us are caring for our precious environment
– Back Lives Matter educated millions of people across the globe
– Technology was forced to once again up its game
– And on a more local level it was great to see our deep routed care and compassion for one and other
– I could go on…

I don’t see any of the above just staying in 2020, and I sincerely hope we can collectively take these positives into 2021 – I for one will be doing my bit! And it goes without saying, lets also leave the negatives firmly behind.

Of course, this will be easier said than done. However, I do believe our amazing FM industry is well equipped to positively contribute towards the challenge. Afterall, we’re all change experts, comfortable operating in changing times and are good at getting things done! All things in my mind, we should celebrate and be inspired by.

So, whether we’re helping to ensure our infrastructure is hygienic and safe, deploying social value in our core operations, or supporting pretty much every sector back to the new normal; I’m looking forward to embracing 2021, and taking inspiration from the knowledge and belief that Facilities Management can do so much towards our futures. Wishing all a great 2021.

Esme Banks (EWL Committee Member; Development Director at Leesman)

In April 2020, two weeks after the first official UK lockdown began, I started my new role at Leesman. I‘d just taken after a 30+ hour emergency flight home from Auckland (via Sydney, and then Singapore – both places I was due to stay on my trip), which saw me arrive home a day before Jacinda Ardern closed the NZ border.

I’ve reflected a lot recently, as is common this time of year… My first day was of course, remote. My inductions were remote, my laptop was couriered to me ahead of my start date, complete with moleskin notebook and the latest Leesman reading list. I learnt quickly that the team, along with the rest of the world in 2020, are fans of video-on VCs.

I considered myself very lucky at the time, because I’m very used to working at my kitchen table. For a great deal of us, this wasn’t really anything new. For others, they’d never worked in such a remote way before. There’s a lot to love and a lot to hate. Whether you’re used to it or not, it is different. Working from home during a global pandemic is not the same as working remotely one day a week so that you can have some ‘uninterrupted’ time to write that proposal, design the new brochure, pick the kids up from school…

Starting at Leesman felt a little like a homecoming. I’ve worked alongside the brand for almost five years and in terms of workplace, they’ve been my de facto reference since 2015. The act of getting home to North London at the beginning of a global pandemic was also a homecoming of sorts. And as we can all appreciate, there was a much wider homecoming going on, as millions were sent home, from work, to work, from home.

Technically speaking I can ‘do’ my job from anywhere. So many in our industry can’t. They continue to go into workplaces, in there many forms, day in day out to clean, secure, feed those who are still around, fix things that need fixing and carry on with their ‘work’.

A very unforeseen circumstance is what got us here. And while much of the literature we’ve read the last 10 – 12 months is about collective efforts – and we are all in this together, whether that’s supporting the direct fight against the spread or relying on, or aiding, loved ones less able to get by – the impact is affecting us all differently. We’re all coping differently. Life is different for each of us, we all ‘handle’ things in different ways – a bit like how we all need different things from the places we work from. We have different daily tasks to complete and we all require things to be slightly different to be able to complete them. The capacity to empathise will, I hope, remain an important trait for all in 2021.  

Roshan Deshmanya (EWL Committee Member & Communication Lead; Account Manager at CBRE)

Like it was for most people, 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for me personally and professionally, where I learned how to properly care for myself and my fellow human through a variety of unexpected yet valuable experiences. It was a year where I tried to rebalance and recalibrate. Self reflection allowed me to discover what is truly important to me and live more in alignment with my values where I previously had not been. I appreciated and craved for the simple things in life. I took on the challenge and led two accounts through uncertain times, navigating through furloughs and redundancy consultations while trying to maintain engagement and belonging (tough stuff!). Vulnerability and empathy played a huge part in my teams being able to achieve all of our clients’ business objectives and have our most successful year yet. I finished my ILM-5 course. I started immersing myself more in my passion areas and focussed on using different parts of the brain. And after feeling burnt out for most of the year, I rediscovered there’s more to life than just work!

For me, 2021 is about maintaining overall balance in life and continuing to do things I’m passionate about, both in and out of work. I’m looking forward to living somewhere new and doing some renovations and gardening. I’m going to visit all my family and friends back in Australia for the first time in two years. I’m going to build good habits and routines to keep healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’m going to continue welcoming challenges and opportunities that come my way at work with open arms. I’m going to continue supporting and empowering my teams to achieve new heights. I’m going to be more self aware and speak up about things I think are important for the world. And I’m going to keep reminding myself that happiness is a choice and remain positive through the tough times, because they’ll still be around even though 2020 won’t!

Bianca Angelico (EWL Committee Member & Co-Founder; Director of Guest Services at Amulet)

A year I will never forget but not for the reason you are thinking but because the following good happened to me; 

  • I got a promotion to Account Manager & Guest Services Lead.
  • It was the first time I led a team of more than 100 employees, and it was tough doing the majority online during a pandemic; however, it was amazing with lots of laughs and problem solving!
  • I did the Tony Robbins UPW event virtually and it was incredible (if you are thinking about it – do it. Life changing!).
  • Personally, I got married in tier 3 just before tier 4 kicked in; and also got to travel to Portugal and Cape Town 

So, for me 2020 was lots of highs, and don’t get me wrong there were low lows such as a complete breakdown, but I’m deciding to focus on the good and taking the lows as lessons. 

I’m seeing 2020 as the foundation for 2021. I start my dream job at Amulet as their Director of Guest Services this month – can’t freaking wait!

Personally, I hope to travel lots and have my big wedding day in Cape Town.

My word for 2021 is ‘fearless’ ~ saying yes before I’m ready, and being ok with being uncomfortable.

What’s your word? Share with us…