2016 felt full. I make no reference to the seismic shocks our world political landscape has sustained. Those are for conversations off line. By full, I mean my personal trajectory in work and volunteering,
Here are the highlights with some detail in the four project areas I cover in my work: architecture, arts, business and wellness.
Last year I worked with some brilliant new clients – in particular architectural practices.
International architects encompassing over 60 years of professional experience, with a network of over 470 staff in 15 studios across 6 countries.
They commissioned two Stress, No Taboo masterclasses and six lunchtime Zen Yourself workshops for their people in London to learn techniques that help alleviate stress, and manage pressure in the workplace.
It was very liberating to guide them through various tools and techniques I have conceived drawn on my experience in yoga, visualisation, NLP and personal study in Zen principles – all adapted for relevance in the workplace.
“Good tips about being centred and dealing with stressful situations” / “Liked the anger, frustration, blame and panic analysis” / “Liked the role play of scenarios – not taking anger or blame” Zen Yourself workshop participants
Stress, No Taboo Masterclass, Veretec
Scandinavian pioneers in architecture for 65 years. Their ideas are brave, intent on empowering the people that live in, work in and use the spaces and places they create. They work democratically, within a shared ownership model of 900 team members.
They opened a London studio this year, and I was asked to design and run a workshop to facilitate the shaping of key international messages, in line with the White brand. Norway, Denmark, Sweden and London were represented.
From a mountain of compelling, yet lengthy narratives, we worked our way through to a clear, focused message architecture with five key messages. Each one supported by proof points that were developed in depth after the workshop. It was a profound pleasure working with these brilliant, challenging and creative architects on this project.
“I was very impressed with your toolbox, and the way you moderated the workshop as well as your thorough preparations. And I’m very glad you managed to pull us through and really identify 5 strong core messages”. Practice Partner, London
“The fact that we managed to get the five sentences was very important, and it was a great success given the amount of words and discussions. You also put us back on track several times which was important so as not to lose time”. Architect/Studio Director, Sweden
Museum of Making by White, Clerkenwell Design Week, 2016
Visionary architects, with success as design leaders for the highest quality architecture in Manchester, London and internationally. They enter their 30th year in 2017, and their brand was in need of a refresh – both strategically and visually. I teamed up with Kimpton Creative for this job. We had already collected in February and March two industry awards from our brand work on Purcell architects. The strategy – both in its lively process and simplified outcomes – was a huge success. We had immense fun during the workshops in particular – a natural balance of creativity, laughter and seriousness seemed to carry us through all the tasks. The approach was collegiate and open resulting in a very collaborative outcome. The identity is yet to be launched.
“It was very refreshing to have worked with you this year.” Practice Partner, SimpsonHaugh
“We were impressed that Amanda was able to keep the meeting running smoothly and on time, something that we aspire to do in our own meetings”. Practice Partners, SimpsonHaugh
Clients I’ve worked with before also presented challenging and rewarding projects – again in the world of architecture/property, as well as in the arts and in business.
A leading firm in commercial real estate across the USA, Europe, Latin America and Asia. In 1978, American founders Tishman and Speyer, took on the legacy of Tishman’s grandfather who started Tishman Realty and Construction Co. in 1898. Tishman Speyer has acquired, developed and operated over 390 projects – creating properties of enduring value. Their portfolio includes prestigious buildings such as the Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Center in New York City.
Having run two brand strategy and naming workshops previously for Tishman Speyer’s buildings Verde SW1, and The Point in London, I was invited back to design and facilitate a more complex workshop for an exciting new project (still under wraps) of a listed building.
The workshop was in two parts. The first, looking at key narratives of the asset vision (the stakeholder sensitivities/historic and heritage value of the asset and its surroundings/the commercial strengths of the buildings), and the second at the name, brand proposition, and personality). The name and brand proposition always spark heated debates, and much wrangling to gain consensus. Though shortest in word count, it’s often the longest process of any brand strategy.
“Thank you for your work and time today. It was nice to go through this exercise and the whole team has really enjoyed working with you.” Acquisition and Development Associate, Tishman Speyer
“You were so prepared!” Acquisition and Development Associate, Tishman Speyer
Home to world class arts and learning, the Barbican invites millions to discover and love the arts in all their forms. The Barbican presents 2000 events each year across the major art forms. They bring artists and performers from around the world to London, and represent London and the UK on an international stage. Their community work inspires young people, raising their aspirations and developing skills.
In 2012 and 2013, I worked with the Development Team on their Corporate Membership communications, and Individual Giving strategies – including a message architecture to use across all comms platforms, including the Support Us pages of barbican.org.uk.
In 2016 I was invited back to help with a number of small yet vital projects to reinforce the Barbican’s fundraising strategy.
These included a refresh of Corporate Memberships and Partnerships communications, a strategy for Youth Sponsorship, a series of three Business Planning workshops for 2017 – 2020, and a naming exercise for business membership packages and business partner recognition. A bespoke mentoring workshop was also designed for internal communications and presentations.
“Thanks Amanda, and for the work also – we ‘re really pleased with what you’ve come up with.” Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager, Barbican
“It’s been great working with you too… Your sessions have been really useful for me as one of the newbies in the team.” Senior Trusts and Grants Manager, Barbican
“Great to work with you again on these, and spend the time today bouncing ideas around.” Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager, Barbican
It is a privilege and highly energising working with one of the most iconic arts organisations in London.
Invited for the second year in a row to take part in RIBA’s speed mentoring event for small architectural practices, I met and mentored some very talented and motivated architects.
“Had a lovely speed mentoring session with some good advice from Amanda.”
The London School of English
High quality English language training for motivated adults, in London, Canterbury, other parts of the UK and online. They have been going since 1912.
I was invited to become a regular guest speaker in late 2015 for business professionals (younger students, aged 20-30, and more experienced students, aged 30+). The topic I started with was Developing a personal brand, and later in the year we introduced an additional module, Creative audience research. Both topics draw on my professional experience as a brand strategist, and mentor. The guest workshops are designed to be dynamic and highly participative.
“Very interesting workshop – Dynamic, perfect mastery, fit to the audience.”
“Great workshop with a lot of useful information, exciting and entertaining.”
The students I worked with in 2016 came from all over the world – Argentina, Brazil, China, Columbia, Germany, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey to name a few. Most were already in careers, spanning a variety of sectors, including banking, technology, marketing, tourism, telecommunications, automobile, jewellery, consultancy, healthcare and retail.
It always feels good to pass on knowledge where needed, and to inspire those willing to learn. More guest workshops already booked in 2017.
“Useful, interesting. I do like the speaker, she is inspirational.”
Collaborations and individual mentoring with people eager to self improve.
Yoga Light Vibes
YLV is the brain child of Quantum yoga teacher Sally-Anne Reynolds whose teaching style is uplifting, vibrant and challenges students to live free from burdens of the mind.
Together we co-created and delivered two yoga/life mentoring workshops last year in a wonderful studio space in Islington.
1. New Year, True You Workshop
“I really enjoyed the yoga flow and visualisations and the simplicity of the mentoring workshop. I loved how nourishing both dimensions were, and appreciated the care and thought put in.”
2. Light Heart, Light Paths workshop
“Loved doing yoga to music, and connecting with others.”
In addition, our creative collaboration extended to working together on the naming and brand strategy of Yoga Light Vibes. This involved a number of idea storms, and workshops that I led. We agreed an energy exchange – my brand and marketing expertise for a number of private yoga sessions. Win, win!
It is pure joy working with Sally-Anne, both on her brand, and designing workshops drawing on our complimentary skills, and mutual love for yoga, and self-development. More workshops in 2017.
Private mentoring for individuals
Three new private clients came into my sphere last year – two in the arts, and one architect. I ran work life workshops with two of them, followed by individual hourly sessions for one and just hourly sessions for the third person.
“I liked how interactive and analytical the session was.”, Elena D.
“Loved the mood board. Creative and free and very enlightening” Elena D.
“Thank you again for meeting today. It was so helpful and I’ll get to work practicing my tactics for these meetings!” Claire M.
In addition, I mentored two clients I’d worked with before. A communications manager in an architectural practice, and a design entrepreneur/business owner.
Mentoring individuals is a quiet, creative, thoughtful and challenging experience – I cherish it.
Since March 2016, I have been volunteering for the British Red Cross once a week, in their Refugee Support Service, writing grants for destitute asylum seekers, and refugees.
We are a small team, building a case for support for our destitute clients, appealing to grant organisations for financial assistance, and sometimes for other other vital items (school uniforms, children’s beds, prams).
The humanity I witness with my colleagues, and amongst our clients who fled their countries to seek asylum here, is unstoppable. I am moved beyond words by our clients’ courage and dignity. I feel privileged I am able to use my abilities/gifts in this small way to support those who really need help.
For the festive season, I was asked to coordinate an appeal we named ‘Shoebox Santa’. We invited British Red Cross staff, volunteers and friends to fill shoeboxes with appropriate gifts, for our clients, that we could hand out before the holidays. Everyone’s generosity was overwhelming. Our target was 200 shoeboxes for women (100) and men (100). We exceeded this by a large stretch, nearing the 300 mark. And the contents of each shoebox were tremendously heart warming – so much thought and care had gone into making them up. All the gift shoeboxes were handed out, with none left. Wonderful.
It is an immense pleasure being part of one of the largest humanitarian organisations in the world.
As for my artistic endeavours (writing, poetry, sculpture) in 2016, I leave them for another time. As years go, 2016 was pretty full – and so is this post!
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© Amanda Yensa Manor 2017