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Leaders in Conversation with Anni Townend
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Leaders in Conversation with Anni Townend

Author: Anni Townend

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Leadership Consultant, Executive Coach, Entrepreneur and Author, Anni Townend invites business leaders to join her in conversation about their work, values , inspiration and motivations. And to share their stories. Connect and collaborate with Anni at
22 Episodes
In this episode Anni talks to Dawn Whittaker, Chief Fire Officer and CEO of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, as well as NFCC lead for Drowning Prevention and Water Safety.Anni and Dawn talk about how early experiences ignited Dawn’s passion for safety and why as a leader she is committed to nurturing both physical and psychological safety.Background and career influencesGrowing up on a farm in Wales, Dawn learned to be pragmatic and safety-conscious at an early age. Along with her sister, she was a keen member of the Brownies, Guides and Rangers - always actively involved in team and community projects. She believes this to be a trait inherited from parents and grandparents.However, her real interest in fire safety was sparked on an Outward Bound course, whilst working for a company. Dawn was frustrated at the organiser’s failure to conduct any health safety briefings about fire exits and so after checking local procedures, she undertook a fire safety drill. “I think they all thought I'd lost the plot,” she reflects. In terms of her interest in water safety, it was a near drowning experience aged just 16 that had a lasting impact. Dawn is now the national lead for water safety and drowning prevention for the National Fire Chiefs Council in the UK, heading up the Be Water Aware campaign. The aim is to promote safe use of recreational water spaces.Dawn wasn’t always within the Fire Service however. In her early career she worked in the retail sector with The John Lewis Partnership,  before moving into a managerial performance role at a County Council. Both roles led her to develop a passion for quality customer service and communication - something she has carried into her role at the Fire Service for over 17 years. Fighting fires during a pandemicDawn discusses the impact of the pandemic and praises her team who have worked tirelessly.  In addition to provision of standard services, the Fire Service has been collaborating with partners like the Coastguard and supporting the local Ambulance Service with much-needed drivers through the pandemicHowever, she admits the pandemic has been tough on the service. Not least because it meant finding new ways to engage with the public. But also because many of her staff members have had to manage their duties alongside the emotional, financial and physical burden of Covid-19.“People might think firefighters, and our staff are all heroes and superheroes, and superhuman, but, do you know what, we're just people,” says Dawn.Inspirational leaders and inclusivityDawn reveals the many leaders who have inspired her journey, including colleagues from John Lewis and existing and retired Fire Service leaders like David Archer and Bruce Hoad, both of whom she praises for their commitment to driving inclusivity and equality in the service.Driving diversity is something close to Dawn's heart. She talks about being a role model and "holding a mirror up".Listen to the episode to discover:How childhood role models can shape actions in adult lifeCommunity values and teamworkSupporting employee wellbeing during the pandemic and beyondThe importance of collaboration in the communityWhy inclusivity and diversity is essential to the future workforce Celebrating human differences and the value these can bringFour key things all leaders should think about to unlock their potentialDiscover more and connect with DawnFor more information on East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service visit  esfrs.orgYou can connect with Dawn Whittaker directly on LinkedIn.
‘Never give up, keep going and always have fun’ advice from a 7 year old runnerFor the 20th Leaders in Conversation Podcast episode, Anni talks to the amazing Sophie Harvey Sherwood, a seven year old girl from Glasgow who is running to celebrate inspirational women.On the week of International Women’s Day (08 March 2021), Sophie joined her dad Scott Sherwood on his Just Running It challenge, a 365 mega challenge in which Scott aims to run 10km every single day for a year in aid of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.As part of a school project on inspiring women, Sophie decided to dedicate each of her daily runs to a  woman role model, starting with Courtney Dauwalter, America ultramarathon runner. Courtney has broken many records, often beating her male competitors to the finish line, in races of 100 miles and more. “Because I realised how far she ran, I was like, why don't I give it a go? See if I could run that much one day,” explains Sophie.Starting with a gentle 1km for her first run, Sophie has already increased her distance to over 3km and has a target of reaching 10km by the end of the year. Her efforts have attracted the admiration of the running community, including her idol Courtney who messaged Sophie with her well wishes on Instagram. The pair agree that feedback was “really motivating”.A lesson in determination, perseverance and teamworkSetting out on any endurance challenge, particularly one that lasts a whole year, is not without hurdles. However, Sophie and Scott have a unique mantra “to keep going”. They discuss with Anni the importance of perseverance and not giving up, supporting each other along the way.The challenge has naturally given them some special bonding time, which Scott says has created a real sense of team. He also reveals how running alongside Sophie as a new and much younger runner, has reignited his passion for running and showed him new perspectives. “I think I think it's given me a newfound sense of adventure in a world that I've lived for my whole life,” he explains.More Inspirational Women  Anni talks about the inspiring women leaders she has met and they delve into the women  carefully chosen by Sophie for her school project. The list includes designer Coco Chanel, English paleontologist Mary Anning, wartime nurse Mary Seacole, women’s right activist Emmeline Pankhurst and scientist Marie Curie, who Sophie says “would be working on the vaccine if she was still alive”.And of course, she talks about her supportive Mom who has taken up a Just Washing It challenge, which Sophie beams is “really fun”.Running for a better futureThe duo share a passion for the environment. Something that Scott, as VP of Engineering at Wood Mackenzie, a leading research and consultancy business for the global energy, chemicals, metals and mining industries, has no doubt passed down to his daughter. They’ve recently been nominated to be the ‘running Mayor for Glasgow’, part of an initiative that aims to encourage people to use active travel for short commutes or errands. They have also been spurred to take part in a run and litter picking challenge. She may be running for charity, for the environment and in the name of inspirational women, but Sophie thinks the biggest benefit is “getting to see the nature and the fresh air when it comes out”. As a hardy Scott, that even includes running in the rain.Discover more, donate and connect with Sophie and ScottYou can follow their progress and discover more on which has links to the pair’s YouTube channel  and their fundraising page.You can also follow Scott on Instagram and Twitter @scottcsherwood
The trauma, abandonment and privilege of boarding school with Thurstine Basset“We have had to overcome that sense that if you complain, you're just a privileged whinger, and that nobody wants to hear from privileged whingers,” Thurstine BassetFor the latest episode of the Leaders in Conversation Podcast with Anni Townend, Anni talks to Thurstine Basset, a boarding school survivor, author and mental health champion. Thurstine has co-authored a number of books on mental health including most recently Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege: A guide to therapeutic work with boarding school survivors with Nick Duffell.Born into an army family, Thurstine was sent to prep school from just eight years old, but despite always knowing he had a less than happy experience there, it wasn’t until some 20 years later that he really began to explore the personal impact.  Persuaded by his psychotherapist wife, he attended a workshop for boarding school survivors, which started a long journey of realisation, discovery and wanting to help others. A shared experience of abandonmentAnni, who contributed to the book Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege, also shares her experience of being sent to the Mount for Girls boarding school in York - something she has rarely spoken about. She reveals a sense of abandonment and having to step over the “threshold” into boarding life. Like Thurstine, a feeling of privilege has prevented more open reflection on the experience. She also talks about “growing up fast” at a time when childhood should be cherished.Boarding school syndrome: A growing topic for psychotherapyBoarding school syndrome has become an increasingly prevalent topic for psychotherapy and therapists.“Although the schools themselves have become less brutal and more child friendly, actually referrals for therapy have gone up,” explains Thurstine. “The separation and the breaking of attachment is still there, and children are still feeling it and still having to survive it. And later on in adult life they're coming for help.” For those who have been through the boarding school system and may be struggling currently, Thurstine recommends opening the dialogue with friends and family. “I think the boarding school survivor, naturally wants to stay back from it, but when I went towards it, I found great relief and in a way, a new life opened up for me,” he explains.Listen to the full episode to discover;Survival and resilience in childrenOvercoming trauma and abandonmentThe burden of privilege and feeling silenced, unheard or judgedDealing with shame and self-worthThe importance of open conversations around boarding but Why it is difficult to get true feedback from  minority groups boarders often conditioned to prize their education above all elseWhy according to Thurstine, boarding school is not suitable for young children Discover more For those looking for further information or support on the topic of boarding school, Thurstine recommends:Boarding School Survivors Boarding School Survivors Support Boarding Recovery Trauma Abandonment and Privilege is available on Amazon.Connect with ThurstineYou can connect with Thurstine on LinkedIn 
The power of vulnerability and open conversations with Annabel VennerThe latest guest on the Leaders in conversation podcast is Annabel Venner, an expert Marketing Consultant and Chair of The Marketing Society Fellow.Having carved a successful 25+ year career in marketing, Annabel has worked for well known brands including Coca Cola and Hiscox before more recently moving into consultancy. Anni and Annabel became acquainted through the Marketing Leaders Programme, a joint venture between The Marketing Society and Accenture Interactive, of which Annabel is a regular speaker.In this incredibly open conversation, Annabel talks about both her personal and professional experiences, including highs and lows, love and loss, and all that’s shaped her in between. Looking back to her early experiences, she explains how growing up on a farm in Kent with her parents and two sisters gave her the opportunity from a young age to experience risk taking, for example learning to drive a tractor or operating farm machinery. An openness to risk is something that has motivated her professionally since. That’s why when offered the opportunity to work in Asia for three months, both Annabel and her husband agreed she should absolutely do it - challenging the archetypal gender roles in the family. For both partners, the period was a success. Annabel further evolved her marketing skill set and presented her children with a positive woman role model, while her husband cared for and nurtured them.Annabel reveals how observing her own father as someone who helped those around him in the family and the community, sparked her passion for wanting to support others. As well as being a Marketing Consultant, she is a committed mentor and advocate of the marketing profession, seeking to help those early in their marketing career through various initiatives.The power of vulnerabilityAnnabel opens up about bereavement, having tragically lost her husband to cancer in summer  2020 and more recently her mother too. She reflects on the importance of community and how those near to her provided an invaluable support network through such difficult times. She also shares how bereavement helped her to gain power through vulnerability, connecting to her emotions and self. Through loss, Annabel began to reevaluate the things that matter and she has learned to tune in to what she enjoys, which is why she has stepped more into the mentoring and charity work. And of course, caring for an allotment with her two teenage boys.Listen to the full episode to discover:The process of bereavement, loss and adapting Learning how to grow through vulnerability and why Annabel is teaching her sons about the value of vulnerability and emotions The importance of open conversations whether around the dinner table or having tough conversations in the boardroomChallenging gender stereotypes and embracing the role as the ‘breadwinner’ as a woman in businessWhy leaders need to create safe environments where people feel empowered to take risksHer career inspiration and aspirations and reconnecting to what mattersAnnabel also offers three pieces of advice for other leaders:Embrace risks or at least take hold of opportunities Don't be defined by your professional life and your job - really understand the bigger side of who you areBring your whole self and be vulnerable Discover more and connect with AnnabelTo find out more about Annabel’s work Consulting, Mentoring and Speaking visit or get in touch with via email:
Ahead of the Scottish Parliaments elections on 06 May, Anni talks to Andrew Kerr, Chief Executive of The City of Edinburgh Council.This episode is packed with discussions as Andrew talks openly about everything from leading through a pandemic to the importance of family, community and working as a team. He also reveals his career inspirations and how an ex-miner from Ayrshire helped him to become the proud senior leader he is today, working in his dream job. Despite his prominent position in the council, Andrew was not always in the public sector. Following school, he worked as a professional athlete, representing Scotland and the UK in the 400m races. However, he knew athletics was a career with a limited time span and stepped into his first public service role as Manager at Grangemouth Stadium, Falkirk “In lots of ways it was opportunistic, but I realised early on that I enjoy the community part of being a public servant. And I've been there ever since,” he confirms.With a passion for contributing in the community, Andrew has gone on to nurture a 35 year (and counting) career as a public servant. He has worked in positions across England, Wales and now in the City of Edinburgh Council where he was named Chief Executive in 2015. Listen to this Leaders in Conversation Podcast to discover: Andrew’s early influencers and inspirations including the benefit of growing up in a supportive family that encouraged his passions like poetry writing, the flute and athleticsHow his running coach was a role model throughout life, providing a huge source of inspiration and shaping his approach to both personal development and senior leadershipWhy conquering his nerves in the stadium was an invaluable lesson in how to be a confident leader and to stay focused on the task in hand How staying active and learning to practice  mindfulness became a useful tool in prioritising what’s important in order to stay focused, achieve more and deliver moreThe importance of teams both professionally and personally and supporting one another at all timeThe process behind shaping and defining values and putting them into practice  Andrew also talks about leading through a pandemic and how it allowed him to deliver on his core value of helping the community. He honours those whose lives have been lost and pays tribute to the civil servants like teachers, janitors and bin collectors who have kept the UK going “without demand for extra overtime or extra anything, because they knew that we're doing good things for the community”. Finally, Andrew reveals his vision and ambitions for Edinburgh and Scotland and why “community wellness” is at the heart of The City of Edinburgh Council’s business plan. He talks about what the roadmap looks like, from collaboration with local partners to setting carbon targets and more.Discover moreTo find out more about The City of Edinburgh Councils including the strategy and plans visit
In this fascinating episode, Anni talks to the highly respected Leadership Expert, Author and TED Speaker, Steve Radcliffe about what it means to be a trusted partner to leaders.With over 20 years experience in helping senior leaders be their best, Steve is most known for his leadership development programme, Future – Engage – Deliver (FED), which was founded and is now practiced by colleagues of Steve Radcliffe Associates. Steve is also author of the top leadership book in the UK, Leadership Plain and Simple.Steve talks to Anni about a deep-rooted willingness to help other people, which he says “manifested itself in different ways, in different times” throughout his life. He reveals how a chance dinner party with a friend led him on his own leadership journey, walking away from the corporate world and to eventually define his purpose: “to be a trusted partner to people trying to make a bigger difference in the world”.Throughout the episode, Steve touches on:Personal influencers like his father, who as a teacher was a source of early inspiration for guiding and helping othersHow to connect to what you care about and the energy that drives you to want to make a difference Creating safety and security within team environments Why education is key to recognising your limits and going beyond themStriving for an inclusive approach to helping all people to make a difference in the world, regardless of job titles, positions or background etcThe reward of developing leaders who are then better equipped to help others also The importance of family and friends, and establishing life-long friendshipsWherever you are in your own leadership journey, Steve offers a three-pronged approach to developing your potential: Connect to what you really care aboutCreate relationships that embrace open feedback Establish a support team and 'do not travel alone' On the last point, he explains: “If you want to make that bigger difference, you have to have a support team. And there are two reasons. One is that you will fall off the bike at times and others can help you get back on the bike by listening to you, by creating a safe space, giving you that encouragement and that bit of acknowledgment.“The second way that can be very powerful is at the heart of bringing other people with us to make a bigger difference in our impact on others. And this is something I've realised we cannot work out for ourselves.” More informationBoth Anni and Steve share a passion for helping individuals and teams to be at their confident best. We hope you enjoy this discussion on being a trusted leadership partner.To find out more and connect with Steve visit www.steveradcliffe.comDiscover Leadership Plain and Simple on and collaborate with Anni Townend
The power of diversity of mentality with Hind FaragIn this Leaders in Conversation episode Anni talks to the amazing Hind Farag, a US-based Executive Coach and Strategy Consultant who is passionate about empowering senior leaders as well as underprivileged communities.As a Muslim woman born in Egypt and raised in Sudan before having lived in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and now in Houston, Texas, Hind has been shaped by the different cultures and communities that she has encountered along the way.“I was around students from all over the world, different cultures, different races, different religions. And I had to prove myself every time as a human being, that definitely had a lot to do with who I became today,” she reveals. However, through her own leadership journey, Hind realises that the impression and the impact she makes on people is not because of or limited to her religion or appearance, which to an extent has set her apart in European and US settings. Instead, she recognises how she learned to show up and present herself as a confident and capable woman leader.The encouragement of her father and family has played a key part in that development and recognition of self-value. However, Hind also reveals how other role models and leaders have helped to shape her as a leadership consultant. She talks about how “meeting Anni in Scotland was a pivotal moment in my life and career” which led to Hind “making a much larger impact across many, many larger communities.” Listen to the full episode to discover Hind’s journey and learn:How growing up in a community-led environment, particularly one that did not focus on individual gains, helped her to be a compassionate leader The inspiration and motivation behind Hind’s work in leadership developmentThe importance of of enabling and empowering people on both their individual and collective paths to help unlock a better future for everyoneWhy great leadership is about vision and intent and not about titles and accolades Breaking free from convention to be true to yourself and a truly powerful leaderWhy you should be ready to fail but not held back from the fear of failureHow ‘diversity of mentality’ makes leaders and organisations strongerFinally, Hind talks about her charity work. She co-founded the first non-profit organisation to support the refugee community in Houston. In collaboration with her son and a friend, she has also recently launched Gaps, a charity supporting underprivileged communities in Sudan and also Houston. The name Gaps came from the intention to find gaps in empowering the underprivileged, that were not being fulfilled by larger organisations or governments. Discover more and connect with HindYou can find out more on the website or via Hind’s LinkedIn page.  Gaps Charity is currently on Facebook
Why developing my relationship with my mother has had the biggest impact on my leadershipAhead of the launch of the full Leaders in Conversation episode with the amazing Hind Farag, and in time for Mothering Sunday UK, Hind reveals why living with her Mom for the past five years has been a liberating learning and development experience. Hind, an Executive Coach and Strategy Consultant, talks to Anni about family trauma, the power of open communication and how nurturing the special mother, daughter relationship later in life has enabled her to show up as a leader. Listen to this 5 minute Leaders in Conversation Short or read the transcript below. And remember to watch out for the full episode coming out on 17 March in which Hind and Anni talk about culture, family, values, leadership and the power of diversity and inclusion.Hind Farag on the importance of her mother, daughter relationship in leadership "My mum has been living with me for 5+ plus because of deaths in the family and being alone, moving from Cairo to the US with me.  I am now in my 40s so you would think a relationship at this point would be refined but we both had so much to learn about each other and about ourselves through our relationship with each other.A few years ago, I went through some major personal drama, or catastrophe: loosing a family member; going through divorce;  changing jobs and moving from one continent to the other.  It was everything that could ever change in somebody’s life - all changed in my life in just a couple of months. That was when my mom joined, around the same time. I read about how your relationship with your mom in your very early years forms who you are. Forms the extent to which you love yourself and treat yourself. But I didn’t read about how you can actually work on that in your 40s and how it can help you reform who you are being in the world. And it did. Talking about how I showed up as a leader, a lot of what I was holding back was due to what I thought based on my relationship with my Mom - that I was not supposed to show up. Because, opposed to my father for example, who really empowered me - he pretty much explicitly and implicitly through what he did, would always make me feel like there was no limit. There was no limit because I was a female. Because I come from a third-world country. Because of anything, there was no limit. He would not expect me limiting myself in any way. He would throw me in the middle of things and watch me from the distance. And my Mom was nothing below excellence can be expected. But she tends to be less firm about the fact there is no limit. In my head, I was thinking that my mom was limiting me or thinking that because I was a girl, I had much less to offer. And I had to be here with her for these past five years, for her to understand that is what she made me feel, and for me to understand that is not what she thought. And also for me to understand that it was never about what my Mom said, that much of it was about my perception of it and how I followed up on that. What I decided to hold back on and what I decided to bring out. I learned that was not only in how I related to my Mom, it was also in terms of how I related to the world. How I showed up as a leader. Because I felt that I was basically holding back on things, because showing up felt like it would destroy the relationship. I learned that being who I was (and fully who I was) by being very explicit with my Mom about what I like and what I don’t. And in a way, honestly teaching her to be explicit about who she was and what she wanted. That definitely elevated me like no leadership development exercise would ever elevate my impact."Connect with Hind FaragDiscover more:
The unconscious bias of the boardroom and why men win at work with Gill Whitty-Collins Anni talks to the inspirational Gilly Whitty-Collins, author of Why Men Win at Work to discuss deep-rooted, invisible discrimination and how we can change it.Gill reveals what led her to become a passionate champion for gender equality. She admits that for most of her life she wasn’t really as aware of, or affected, by gender bias. In fact, Gill’s first experience of gender inequality wasn’t until she reached Senior Vice President Level and was surrounded by men and the “unconscious bias” of the boardroom. It was then that she realised women are often held back at work, particularly in the senior roles dominated and dictated by male culture. She set about to understand the what and the why behind these dominant structures, and how she could make a difference.In this fascinating Leaders in Conversation episode, Gill discusses:Stepping up into a senior role in a male dominant culture The impact of being heard but not listened to as a womanWhy some women in leadership roles fall victim to “feminist phobia” and shy away from conversations about equalityThe power of invisible culture and the limiting impact of a dominant culture when minorities are not representedWhy men, who hold 90% of leadership roles in the UK, are critical to driving change Why discomfort, difference of opinion and diversity of thought are critical The Jacinda Arden affect - how we are redefining what leadership looks like in today’s worldGill talks further about her book Why Men Win at Work which she is keen to clarify is not a “cynical attack” of men’s success in the workplace, but an exploration of the topic. As a result, the book has attracted a lot of male readers also keen to further understand the impact of gender and success. The book looks at the unconscious and psychological reasons that both men and women continue to push the patriarchy and how together, we can change things. Gill has a simple call to action for you: “Read it and become a feminist. Become one of my feminists. I've got lots out there. Embrace the cause and embrace it, not as a charity, but as business. Embrace it as something that will be good for your life and good for your business. And embrace that diversity is better, equal is better. “Discover more and connect with Gill Whitty-Collins Website: www.gillwhittycollins.comInstagram: @gillwhittycollinsFollow the hashtag: #whymenwinatworkBuy the book:
Question it. Challenge it. Change it. Advice from a multi-champion sporting superstar.“It is a massive lie that we've been told forever that women are not as good and that we can't do things…...My purpose isn't just to be the best athlete that I can be. It's to use sport, one of the most powerful things on the planet, for bringing about positive change.”  Stacey Copeland, Boxer.In this episode Anni talks to Stacey Copeland, former professional athlete, public speaker, presenter, campaigner and the first ever British woman to win the Commonwealth title.Stacey began her career as a professional sportswoman at the tender age of 16 when she was picked to play for the England Woman’s Football Team. From there she went on to represent England both on the field and in the ring as a professional boxer and eventually became a Commonwealth Champion.Listen to this remarkable episode where Stacey shares a life in sport, including her first experience of gender bias and inequality, and how she overcame adversity to carve a successful career as a female athlete. She also talks about being a role model for social justice and gender empowerment, including how she fought for and put pressure on the Commonwealth Boxing Council to create a Women's Commonwealth Title Belt, something that was regrettably only offered to male champions. Stacey talks passionately  about the importance of realising your potential and supporting and helping young people to “have the fullest life they can” in sport and in society. She goes on to provide practical advice we can all take to remove gender stereotypes and barriers to success.Hear Stacey’s unique perspective on:The limiting impact of stereotypes and stigma on human potentialThe importance of language and how phrases sometimes unknowingly hold a lot of bias -and how we can change that to create more positive, inclusive dialogueHow sport can be used as a powerful channel for positive change Why considering the bigger picture is key to realising your purpose and potentialHow to be a courageous and compassionate leader The power of positive reinforcement and “filling up your petrol tank” This special Leaders in Conversation episode comes as Stacey recently made the difficult decision to retire from the world of competitive sport. Announcing her intention to step out of the ring, she penned a highly touching and celebratory tribute to her career, titled My Letter to Sport:  The beginning was exciting, and the ending was sad, but it’s everything in between that made it all worth living.  Read the full letter here.You can discover more about Stacey on her website, including her sporting achievements, current speaking and media engagements and to read her blog. The website also includes details of the Pave The Way charity which she founded in 2017Discover more at 
Walking towards a better life In this fascinating episode, Anni talks with Joao Perre Viana, Founder and Pioneer of Walking Mentorship, about how his love of walking and being in nature helped him to realised his purpose. Along the way Joao shares his experience of growing up living by the ocean in Portugal, and how, encouraged by his parents, he expanded his horizons and travelled far and wide. Always walking wherever he was. Joao describes how he invited a large group of friends to help him realise his dream, and the birth of Walking Mentorship. He also reveals how despite never really believing in the power of partnership, he met his partner Nuno Santos Fernandes. A partnership founded on trust, that is now expanding to other alumni of the Walking Mentorship programmes. Joao reveals how finding your purpose is a dynamic process, one of revisiting and revising along the way.  And walking towards a better life.In this episode, you will discover: The privilege and power of freedom of movement and thoughtReturning home from a big, life-changing adventure How nature can help to nurture curiosity and an open mind Realising your dream and purpose through walking and being outside Identifying the best version of yourself through connecting to your values in natureThe importance of trust and partnershipConnect with Joao and discover his work at
Tackling ageism in fashion with Jacynth Bassett, Founder of The Bias CutIn this podcast, Anni talks to female entrepreneur Jacynth Bassett, founder of The Bias Cut, the first age inclusive online fashion boutique, launched in 2016.A journey to age inclusivity and empowermentHaving studied Law at university, Jacynth realised it wasn’t the right path for her and wanted to carve out a career she could be passionate about. While drawn to the world of fashion she recognised how the industry alienated people in her mother’s generation who often face discrimination and generally a lack of recognition and respect. She became increasingly determined to fight ageism in fashion, and The Bias Cut was born. 'Ageism is Never in Style'As a pioneer and champion of inclusivity and diversity, Jacynth is on a mission to empower women of all ages to feel more confident and to raise more awareness of age-based discrimination. She launched the movement and community Ageism is Never in Style which has thousands of online followers and has branded badges and face masks people can wear to show support.Explaining how fashion has the ability to build confidence, collectively and individually, she tells Anni: “I think it's really important to recognise the power of clothes and the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, because it's about identity, self value and worth. If you're not represented, then naturally you're going to feel you're not as worthy. "I think the fashion industry has a responsibility to encourage and to champion diversity and inclusivity and to offer clothes that will allow women of all ages and shapes and sizes to feel good about themselves.”Listen and discover the full storyListen to this uplifting and inspirational podcast for the full story about The Bias Cut. Jacynth also reveals her motivations and inspiration, the values that are closest to her heart, current initiatives in the community, and her journey as a young female entrepreneur.Find out more about The Bias Cut and browse the range of age inclusive fashion on the website:
We often talk about how to have big, sometimes difficult,  conversations with people. One of the biggest, most difficult, conversations in our lives is that of talking about death. Be that talking about our own death and what would we like to happen or talking with others, especially loved ones about their death.In this podcast, Anni talks with Jessika Hulbert about being a Celebrant and helping people to have these conversations sooner rather than later. She draws on her own experience of loss and of having conversations with people as they prepare for death, or as they reel from the shock of an untimely or sudden death.  Her focus is on helping people to have the very best experience that is possible when we lose someone dear to us.Although known and sought out to officiate as a Funeral Celebrant Jessika is passionate about ceremony, about creating spaces and places in which people can celebrate important events in their lives from birth through to death and ‘everything in between’.  Ceremonies are an occasion for bringing people together, and sometimes for rifts between divided families to be healed, and for friendships to be renewed between people.Deep listening to how people feel, to what they would like, and then helping them make that possible is core to Jessika’s support and care that gives people the courage to have difficult conversations. To find out more about Jessika visit:
Anni talks to Abi, Maker, Mender, Mentor and Mother about a rich career in textile engineering that took her from Bangladesh to Brussels to Brighton. They also discuss her passion for ethics and how Abi became a pioneer in bringing Fairtrade textiles to the British highstreet. Visit:
Anni talks to Karen Dobres, elected Co-Director of Lewes Football Club, the only football club in the world to pay women and men players the same. Karen reveals how her background affected her own prior prejudices and misconceptions about women in sport and why seeing women playing for the first time was a real "wake up call". She recalls the realisation of seeing women players as strong, passionate and highly skilled. She describes women footballers as boasting authentic qualities, which are often hard for other women to achieve. Karen shares how her experience of "being an outsider" has further driven her passion for equality and social justice, in sport and beyond.She reveals some shocking truths about the gender pay gap in sport, revealing the apparent lack of wealth invested in the Lionesses (England's professional women's team).However, despite the challenges, Karen talks passionately about the positive power of football and how, as the most popular sport in the world, it can change the way in which girls, boys, women and men are seen in society.She comments: “Sport is a huge index of meaning and value to so many people. If you think about football in particular, there are nearly 4 billion football fans around the world who live and breathe football and it has an incredible influence over their hearts and minds. So if we can use football to influence a more equal society in terms of gender, race and all of these things, then we will have been using it for good.”Discover moreTo find out more about Lewes Football Club, including details of how to be a member, visit: can connect with Karen on Instagram: @karendobres
Anni talks to leadership consultant Russell Pocock about trust, psychological safety, colliding perspectives and the positive outcomes that are a consequence of leaders who escape from their echo chambers, allow feedback on their leadership and foster a culture of trust.Find out more about Russell
Baker Girl and founder of The Happy Tummy Co, Karen is a woman with a mission to rid the world of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Karen talks with Anni about the power of collaborating with others to inspire and help people to enjoy better gut health through learning how to eat functionally and for pleasure. Drawing on her own experience Karen shares how, having been born with IBS and her love of science mixed with intuition, led her to realise that Teff seed fermented and baked into bread is the solution to IBS.  Visit Karen's website at
In an honest and open account Shannon Banks talks to Anni Townend about the experiences which have shaped and challenged her values and the power of Action Learning to bring about both corporate and social change.  To find out more about Shannon’s work visit her website.
Ian talks about his own ethics and the ethics of those he wishes to work with and the impact they could make together in creating a fairer society which values individuals over profit and takes responsibility for being part of achieving that.
Anni talks to Amanda Saurin about her leadership journey, her love of nature, the extent to which she pays attention to her intuition when setting up new projects, the joy of collaboration and of working with teams of older women. She describes her love of nature and its power to heal, bring joy and foster resilience throughout life.Visit Amanda's website
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