The Pursuit of Happiness and the Persistence of Memory



The Pursuit of Happiness and the Persistence of Memory

Glorious weather was matched by glorious networking at our September Breakfast meeting in Hampshire.  I think it would be fair to say there was an atmosphere of joy – expressed eloquently in our three keynote presentations.

  • Ellen Stokes took us on the journey of an award-winning exhibitionist.
  • Tim Adams shared how the pursuit of happiness came from several lightbulb moments.
  • Alan Bassil demonstrated beyond doubt how being generous and thoughtful makes us memorable.

And Andy Taylor-Whyte plus yours truly (Lex McKee) had a thing or two to share about the opportunity that is The Castle Club as well as the tasty treats in store for those who can come to The Italian Wine Dinner (links embedded).

The Journey of an Award-Winning Exhibitionist

Ellen Stokes led us on a delightful journey of how her family’s work-ethic and love of food took her first to working in a pub en route to the weird and wonderful world of being an exhibitionist.

I particularly liked Ellen’s assertion that working in a pub teaches you four things:

  • Time Management
  • Customer Service
  • How to Handle Customer Complaints
  • How to Handle the Egos of Kitchen Staff!
  • How to Work Efficiently
  • How to Develop Your Memory

A happy experience with a recruitment agency opened the door to the Exhibition Industry – resulting, in time, in setting up her own business.  Ellen’s excellent work has been recognised with several awards including a Young Person in Business Award and a Young Entrepreneur Award from South Wilts Business of the Year Awards.  This kind of recognition can really lift your profile.

In the bizarre world of Exhibitions, anything that can go wrong will go wrong – it’s a rule!  The consequences of experiencing the rule in action has now demonstrated to Ellen that she really loves problem-solving.  So, if you want to free yourself from the pain of setting up and managing your own exhibitions, Ellen could well be the first person to call.  Let her free you up to focus on your customers and your message while Ellen removes all the stress.

“Be the brand. Be the stand. Be the exhibition.”

You can enjoy the full Ellen here:

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The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is a Lightbulb Moment!

How do we find our joy, our happiness, later on in our careers?
For Tim, the answer is as clear as a series of lightbulb moments.

I did smile at a positively pythonesque point in the presentation when Tim declared his first lightbulb moment as being,

“I want to be a Service Engineer!”

Visions of an infamous pet shop sketch from Monty Python came to mind!

Why would being a service engineer bring happiness?  For Tim, his preference for being out on the road and dealing with people are two ingredients in an effective recipe for happiness.  Clearly, family, time together, and an outstanding number of pets are all part of the abundant life experience that Tim and Team Adams enjoy.  Money is not the most important ingredient (though always necessary like a bit of salt!)

Having a plan that acknowledges the power of finding your ‘place’ really stacks the odds of being happy in our favour.

For Tim and the Family, that place includes the new home they’ve bought in France. The path and plan are clear – they want to be there, full-time, in five years.  The clarity this has brought them is clear in Tim’s delightfully effervescent personality.

In the meantime, if you’ve got any technical questions, it would be great to take Tim up on his tagline:

“Talk to Tim!”

The Persistence of Memory

When it comes to making a positive lasting impression, to being memorable in business, Alan Bassil’s brand puts it succinctly, it’s: “Totally About You.”

Memorably, Alan shared how he has actually delivered two of his own children, the second in a dramatic 6 minutes – and I’m pretty sure the first was dramatic too!  The vision of a Basset Hound and a Placenta will not only stay in my memory forever, I also think it would be a disastrous name for a pub, don’t you?

Redundancy from a very influential role in retail at Waitrose opened the way for Alan to pursue the development of his own business in laser-engraving.  As proof of concept, Alan showed us bespoke work he’d created for Jamie, Pam, Jacqui, and for me!  What a way to engage the audience!

Laser-engraving enables you to take a logo and other artwork and etch it onto glass, slate, wood, leather – just about anything.  It’s a way of branding the brand literally onto something that will be treasured by the customer.

There are several takeaways for me (including a lovely bottle of red wine!)

  • Investing in relationships is a commitment to the lifetime value of each customer
  • There’s a market in personalised and corporate-gifting when you can be customer-centric
  • Being customer-obsessed (using the language of LexisClick) means doing to the customer what you would have them do to you – specifically in how easy and flexible you make it to do business with you.  For Alan this means no minimum orders – the customer gets what they want because he’s seeing the long-term value of the relationship.
  • Give away free stuff!  If it’s valuable in the eyes of the recipient, they will remember your generosity.

Discover more at or ring Alan’s team on 01730 829754

The Castle Club is Nigh!

Andy Taylor-Whyte extended the invitation to the first event of The Castle Club.  Membership has conditions – so feel free to check out our dedicated pages.  If the club is the right fit for you, you can trial a visit for £150 plus vat – details available by following the hyperlink.

One of the great benefits of regularly engaging with our meetings at The Boardroom Network is a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded professionals.  The Castle Club aims to deepen this connection with focus on specific topics that will develop your business, your relationships, and your opportunities.

And Almost Finally…

“A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine!”

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Lorenzo, our Sommelier for The Italian Wine Dinner at Hotel du Vin, Poole.
In this short video, he introduces the wines!  It’s going to be an amazing evening, and it’s the first time we’ve asked for an event just for us.

And Finally, Finally… A Matter of Mind Reading

I’m excited about The Italian Dinner.  So is Jacqui – and this is her idea, like the Qatar Goodwood Festival, our Golf activities, and our specials such as those at The Italian Villa.  However, this is mind-reading that what we love to do is what you would love to be involved with.  Taking inspiration from Alan’s business name, “Totally About You,” may I invite you to tell Jay, and Jacqui, and Dawn, and Justin, and me what special activities you’d like to attend that would add value to your enjoyment of the TBN experience.  When I first thought about this, the following words at first seemed cheesy but they represent the truth:

“Our meaning is our members.”

TBN if member-centric – it really is totally about you.  And we’re listening…