Danny Range, Steven Farrell, Daniela Enzinger, Tom Dalton, Krissy and Kevin Gibson, Amandine Passot Devine, Adrian Haines, Martin Deporres Wright, Medbh Boyle, Sharon Rossignuolo, Barry Kirwan, Ann Keenaghan, K. T. Lawlor and Bibi Baskin.
The pandemic hit the charity sector hard, with donations being reduced significantly. This meant that Daniela was at risk of redundancy. While this did not happen, she none the less used the time to look for a new job. Which she was to be successful in and moved to work with Reprieve in January of 2021.
Telling me, “The time under lockdown changed her outlook, wanting now to have a greater work-life balance.”
It was also to be a time of rediscovering some things she had been missing in her life, like reading and writing. Equally, having had the chance to experience working compressed hours, in that she could do her work for 4 rather than 5 days for the same pay, was brilliant. She was to find that the positive effect this was to have on her was immense.
With all of Tom’s business being onsite for corporate clients, he was a little overwhelmed and shocked when it was announced that they would close in response to the pandemic.
Recognising the need to adapt quickly, he did so by pivoting the business and started offering his work virtually.
Now, while all clients did not meet this with open arms, it allowed him to respond in the most positive way possible and keep going.
Telling me, “In the future, I think we will continue to work from a hybrid business model delivering corporate wellness, as people will always want face-to-face interaction. Yet we will also continue to deliver workshop virtually to people as we are already doing in Mexico, Dubai and throughout Europe”.
He also believes that in working this way it will also allow for him and his business to make a far greater impact on people both near and far.
He sees business growing as he believes that there will be a demand for more live events as people return to office working and for more virtual ones, for those who will remain working remotely. So, this has him very positive about the future.
Krissy and Kevin Gibson
For Krissy, Kevin and Take the Cake, the pandemic literally transformed their business overnight. As their online sales skyrocketed. Telling me, “We’ve been extremely busy since April 2020 with a 1500% increase in online sales. The only thing is we have had to do a lot of extra cleaning”.
As they came out the other side of the pandemic and lock down(s) they expected things to slow down only they didn’t. Meaning that they had to take on extra help. This is something that they are very grateful for and they have no reason to believe it will slow down in the future.
In September 2022, Take the Cake announced the Christmas season would be its last amid rising costs. Citing rising costs among the reasons for the decision to close, Krissy said that it has become “too difficult to keep this small business going. They want to thank each & every one of their loyal customers who have supported Take the Cake.”
They started literally with nothing, and against all odds, they kept going for over five years. Krissy went on to say –
“Having Take the Cake has been the single biggest professional privilege of my life. Kevin and I both thank you for allowing us to be a part of your celebrations at home and in the office. We are proud of what we built together.”
The pandemic was to stall Adrian in getting established as mediator along with being a business coach and mentor. This was to take a toll on diminishing his confidence.
His response to this was to use this time by doing online courses and upskilling. So, his mind is once again opening up to opportunities. He is in the middle of negotiating a complicated family property deal which should satisfy all parties involved and yield me a passive income. The first of many, he hopes!
He is continuing to look for a mix of activities that will satisfy his abilities and love of the outdoors. While having started, it was not possible to finish the Forest Bathing business because of the pandemic and is on hold for the moment.
Believing that there will be a need for more mediation and facilitation in the post pandemic world. He will make use of technology available to him as the world will now become his marketplace and not just his home place. So, from now on he intends to create multiple passive incomes, identify and use his skill-set to bring value to himself and others, maintain a work life balance along with giving his time to worthy causes and voluntary work intending to create lasting change for the betterment of all.
Adrian, being the gentleman that he is also told me:
“It was a privilege to get to share my story along with so many other remarkable people featured in the book, only it was my father that wanted to become a Church of Ireland minister, but his father wouldn’t support him.”
For Medbh, the pandemic came when her soulful ceremonies venture was really growing and taking off, so it created quite a setback.
While she had to put a lot of her work on hold, she used the time to deepen her own practice through reading, reflection, and writing. She also took this opportunity to develop more media skills and get creative with video, audio and online facilitation, so that kept her focused and connected to the purpose of her work.
She also reached out for lots of support and some mentoring to keep her motivated and productive. Remaining very grateful because financially, she could keep working within youth mental health services.
As we came out of lockdown(s) her work really picked up with the summer being busy for weddings. Telling me, “That despite the setbacks that she has experienced, she feels in a powerful position for having stayed committed to the work she loves. For having stayed connected to her passion and purpose, even if this was in just some small way day in, day out.”
As we come out the other side of the pandemic, she will take a very slow and steady approach to building her practice, with an emphasis on balance and sustainability of time, energy and expectations of herself and the work she does.
As a result of the pandemic, work became much busier than it would have usually been. Businesses were in shock and panic and doing their best to pivot to the new circumstances as they unfolded, so I supported them in whatever way I could. In particular, it felt that people needed to come out of their own heads, connect with, and learn from each other. It was also essential to create space for them and acknowledge the challenging situation we found ourselves in. I did this through the many events we ran online throughout the pandemic. Ironically, because of being online, it was possible to reach many more people than when doing in-person events. Even though it was challenging to work from home, I felt fortunate to be able to help people in this way, and this, in itself, was fuel to keep me moving forward.
Like many people, the pandemic has given reason to reflect – What am I doing? Why am I doing it? What will this look like in the future? I have recognised the need to connect with my clients on a more fundamental level – getting back to the basics of core values, beliefs and boundaries. These concepts were always essential, but life changed so much throughout the pandemic that it left us with a feeling of being “at sea”. I feel my role now is to empower people to row back to shore and get clarity on who they really are/what they really want, and how they can achieve that before shipping out again in a much stronger vessel! I have given up projects once central to what I did, e.g. Manager of the Fingal Enterprising Women Network. The network is in a great place with a core of extraordinary women who bring vibrancy and positive energy, which will continue to make it a success. This frees me up to work with people on a deeper level through coaching and smaller workshops. Ironically, since I freed up my time on other projects, opportunities have sprung up in the areas I want to work in (Executive Coaching). Sometimes you have to let go to gain something new. As
difficult as it was to give up previous projects, I knew it was the right decision in my heart. This has resulted in my working with some fantastic companies, and I am excited about the way forward.
I currently work almost exclusively with Business Directors and Senior Leaders/Executives, either individually or in groups. My company now trades as “Coach Executive Ireland”. I empower people to look inwards and understand themselves better, so they are equipped to understand their colleagues in a way that allows for a better work environment. Too many people go to work daily feeling unmotivated, disheartened and misaligned with who they truly are. I believe we need to get back to the basics of being human, which often starts with our core values, such as kindness, honesty, integrity, and respect.
If I can improve the mindset and self-awareness of one leader, that could ripple its effect on hundreds of people. When people are more aligned with their core values and feel confident to express themselves in a way that represents who they are, it makes for a more positive environment all round – and this can only be a good thing!
As it was for most people, all events dried up for Bibi in March 2020. The only thing was, as this period of very restricted lock-downs continued, she actually loved these times of lockdown.
The restrictions were to reveal to her something that she had known all along about herself but hadn’t heeded. That is that she loves to be at home. This was to have her decide that this was now going to be the direction for her, even when we come out of the pandemic.
Yet knowing she also had to earn an income. She was to continue with her interest in a favourite theme of hers: – Happiness. This had her set up a subscription-led private Facebook group called Bibi’s Happy Place. Which operated from January 2021 until she retired from all work in July of that year.
What further spurned her into full-time retirement was that she hit the ripe old age of 69 in May and thought, ‘OK, 70, let’s be having you!’ But not before she gives it a good run for her money in the last year of her 60s decade. Telling me she’s “enjoying the hell out of it”.