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Bloom North Panel Event - Success in Adversity - 2021

In February 2021 we hosted our first Bloom North panel event of the year “Success in Adversity”.

Whilst Covid has been enormously disruptive and difficult, we wanted to show that times of adversity can often create positive outcomes for people. Over the last 12 months we have all been living in unprecedented times. Every aspect of our daily living has been changed dramatically and our personal, family, social and working lives have been turned upside down. We’ve all had to adapt to a new state of life and behaviour, and still without knowing what the long-term effects will be. But even before Covid, we have all been faced with adversity. Our event enabled the panel to share their stories and demonstrated how you can successfully engineer something positive, in many ways, out of disruption.

Each panellist was able to bring a different perspective to the conversation…

Sarah Tsirkas (Group Agency Director, Hearst) was our panel host with over 20 years’ experience in the media industry. In October 2019 Sarah was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. What followed was a monumental rollercoaster of ups and downs but ultimately a journey of realising she is the CEO of her own body and mind, so she’d better get those in order if she was going to make it to 100 years old like she plans. A lot of the tools she used to help her through this were also valuable in helping her navigate her way through Covid 19 when that hit.

Stephen Bullivant (Bully) (Account Director, Teads) after a lot of soul searching, decided to give up alcohol for good and is now 12 months into a life of sobriety. With this major lifestyle change comes a whole host of adversity that has had to be navigated already with plenty more challenges to come in the future.

Rhiannon Lewis (Managing Partner, The Gate Films). During 2018, The Gate films made some bad leadership decisions within the business which resulted in massive losses and the business almost going under. During this time, and with a new-born baby in tow, Rhiannon learned not just how to fight for the business’ survival, but to trust her gut. These lessons came in handy during 2020 when two thirds of the (once again successful) Gate's work got pulled over night. Setting up a remote-controlled studio, expanding a post-production offering and leading the way for shooting safely under Covid guidelines have been highlights at work, but getting to spend time with her kids and re-balancing family/work life has been the biggest lesson.

Seb Randle (Development Coach, Social Chain) believes that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought into focus the need to adapt to the future quickly and efficiently, as we navigate a volatile world. Through coaching, he now focuses on helping individuals to see through the chaos and uncertainty of the times we are in, cultivating new levels of self-awareness and confidence for people as they strive to achieve their goals.

Emma Slater (Managing Director, Wavemaker) has 20 years of experience in Wavemaker and was promoted to MD during lockdown. Despite living in Manchester with no intention to move to London, Emma believes she has got to her current position with a tremendous ‘network of allies’ who support and have faith in her success but also from digging deep internally and discovering her authentic self.

We wanted our connections to understand how our panel learned to pivot and what steps they took in the face of adversity. Self-belief was a common thread of the conversation, with Rhiannon advising that ‘your gut will always lead you in the right direction’ and Emma stressing the importance of being ‘true to yourself’. Self-reflection was another recurring theme; Bully spoke about how journaling has been valuable to him in growing his own self-awareness, Seb told us about the importance of creating ‘space and time for yourself’ and Emma is a big believer in defining your core values and sticking by them. Sarah summarised the session with some important take outs: ‘trust yourself, be authentic, avoid comparison, don’t be afraid to fail and always lead by example.’

We hope you enjoyed this panel as much as we did, and we look forward to welcoming you back to more events soon.

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