Depending on your perspective, 2020 has been a year to remember or a year to forget, or perhaps it’s somewhere in between. The Covid-19 crisis has been a source of unprecedented stress and anxiety for everyone, but it’s also taught us so much about ourselves. Whether it’s our capacity for resilience and adaptability, or our qualities as leaders and the ability to hunker down and get things done, despite significant uncertainty and setbacks—in one way or another 2020 has changed every single person on the planet, and altered our lives and routines forever.
At Evolve, 2020 has taught us to be quick on our feet by forcing us to rethink the way we host our events and peer groups. At the same time, we’ve also been made more aware of the value we provide to our supporters. Whether it be through the incredible support and feedback from our peer group members, the way people have engaged with our content or the enthusiasm for our free webinars, we’ve been both humbled and inspired by your engagement and continued belief in what we’re doing.
Here’s a look at some highlights of what has been an extraordinary year:
The evening of February 27 saw Evolve hosts three podcasters—Sarah Choudhury, Mark Cribb and Evolve’s Warren Munson—as well as Kelly Butler and Andy James from Podcast Labs, for a discussion about the marketing potential of podcasts. As well as taking place at Evolve’s event space in Ashley Cross, the evening was broadcast as a live podcast, and a temporary recording studio was set up to let guests try their hand behind the mic.
On March 13, Evolve hosted its third annual Leader’s Lunch at the beautiful Haven Hotel in Sandbanks. Attended by some of Dorset’s top business leaders, the luncheon included a talk by Warren Haskins, chairman of Haskins Garden Centres. Of course, by then, the spectre of Covid-19 was already in the air. Only three days later, the government advised restrictions on travel and contact with others…
Under normal circumstances, Evolve’s peer groups have been hugely beneficial in providing knowledge, support and accountability; under lockdown and the Covid crisis, these aspects not only became imperative, their affects were magnified. We quickly switched to weekly remote sessions via Zoom, and it wasn’t long before the peer groups became more than just sounding boards for business leaders—they turned into places where members could open up about their challenges and anxieties, both professional and personal. The outpouring of support and understanding was massively appreciated, and has only served to bring our peer group members closer, and strengthen bonds of trust.
Unable to do live events, Evolve switched to offering free webinars. Since July, we have hosted six webinars, with topics ranging from stress management, sustainability and remote working tools, to social media strategy, content creation and an entrepreneurial Q&A with a chocolatier. We’d like to thank everyone who has attended these ‘events’, as well as the webinar guests Becki Houlston, Nikki Webb, Alex Webb, Louis Barnett, Sunny Bird and McManus, and Simon Harmer, who so graciously gave of their time and knowledge. Our webinar programme continues in December and into the New Year.
Evolve to Succeed Podcast
December 11 marks the first anniversary of the Evolve to Succeed podcast. Hosted weekly by Evolve founder Warren Munson, the podcast has delved into the working and personal lives of top entrepreneurs and business leaders, giving invaluable and entertaining insight into differing approaches and perspectives on the meaning of success. The podcast continues to grow, drawing in new listeners each week. Thanks to everyone for subscribing, liking and reviewing! We look forward to bringing you more great guests in 2021.
Evolve Co-Working Hub
One of our core beliefs at Evolve is that when like-minded people come together, great things happen. And it is with this in mind that, in September, we opened a co-working hub at our HQ in Ashley Cross. Amongst other things, we offer 20 workstations, a meeting room and two breakout areas in a space that combines contemporary design and décor with the old-world characteristics of our Grade II listed building. On the day of our launch, we welcomed our first guests, Martin Smith and Joe Hampton from Talent Drive. Desk hire includes discounts to Evolve’s events, peer groups, one-to-one coaching, and more.
LEP Peer Networks Programme
Following a stringent selection process, Evolve was proud to emerge as one of only three local businesses and organisations to be selected as a delivery partner for the Dorset Local Enterprise’s (LEP) Peer Networks Programme. From now until March 2021, Evolve will host six, three-hour peer groups—all virtual and led by an experienced chair, and concluded by a one-hour one-to-one coaching session—all forming part of a government-funded initiative to get businesses back on their feet post-Covid-19.
The Evolve team would like to thank everyone who has been part of our journey through this unprecedented year. We value your support more than ever, and are continually committed to bringing you value, insight and support through our numerous channels.
We wish you and your loved ones a fulfilling festive season, and look forward to accompanying you again in 2021 on your journey to success and wellbeing.