Alvina Menzies, A current participant of The Circle Academy, and founder of two social enterprises, shares her experience of the Academy programme so far…
A bit about Alvina & her business
“18 months ago I took a career break for my own and my family’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.
I’ve learned so much throughout this time, including how to switch off the autopilot of corporate life and slow down my mind. How to deeply reflect, giving myself time to consider how I could align my career more closely to my personal values and to recognise that all of my experiences and skills both in my professional and personal life, have created one very resilient individual!
Working within senior leadership teams throughout my 24 year career in financial services allowed me to develop, support and deliver many transformational change strategies and key learnings from this have been the importance of always embracing change with both a positive and flexible mindset and putting people at the heart of everything you do, as these are so critical in ensuring success.
So, I’ve done just that and what I have created during this time are two business projects which I feel embody a force for social good.
The first is ‘SPRING – A Leadership & Wellbeing Consultancy‘. I provide businesses and organisations with Leadership and Wellbeing tools and support, helping individuals to enhance self care, build resilience and empower growth. I use a unique ‘6 steps to wellbeing’ mentoring and coaching programme which I developed called The SPRING Solution. For every £100 of profit, £10 is reinvested to provide subsidised health and wellbeing services via my second project.
The second is ‘Enlighten, Cupar – A Health & Wellbeing hub‘. I help small health, wellbeing and personal development businesses thrive within the local community by providing an inexpensive, flexible space to rent on the high street. All profits from rental are reinvested to provide these holistic wellbeing services to certain groups of individuals within our community at a subsidised rate, promoting positive mental health in many different ways.
As I’ve never been self employed before, I was over the moon to be accepted onto Cohort 2 of The Circle Academy. I applied with the intention of learning how to run my ‘more than profit’ businesses commercially, to help me refine my business models, to gain confidence and accountability and to get out there and just do it!”
How is your experience of The Academy so far?
Inspired – Teamwork – Support – Clarity – Growth – Excitement
“These six words reflect how I felt at the end of each of the first six days and they have remained true throughout. All sessions have been delivered in a variety of ways, each been truly engaging and thought provoking and have really helped me to shape my business practically, to be the best it can be.
Being surrounded by like minded inspiring individuals has also really had a profound positive effect on my own emotional wellbeing.”
What value does The Academy have to social entrepreneurs?
“The programme has been invaluable in many ways already, providing not only knowledge, insights & guidance but fostering amazing connections has been an added bonus.
There have been so many ‘lightbulb moments’ along the way, far too many to mention in a short blog. Three that have stood out for me were:
- Kirsty Thomson – Differentiating your customer from your beneficiary.
- Susan Aktamel – It is possible to create a robust business model that suits both of my projects – a more than profit limited company giving back to a more than profit community based project/CIC.
- Lynn Hendry – Clarifying and communicating value proposition and calculating SROI.
On top of this, the provision of easy to understand Academy manual, business plan templates, cash flows, service design and so much more has been so very helpful.
The Circle team being focused on the continuation of the Academy sessions throughout COVID lockdown, albeit in an adapted format, is something that has been extremely inspiring. It would have been very easy to postpone the programme whilst managing the unprecedented challenges and other priorities within the business.
Instead, the programme was adapted very quickly allowing the cohort to continue to learn and share our collective challenges, insights and experiences throughout this unique time which will be invaluable for our future business continuity plans!
I would most definitely recommend the programme to any budding social entrepreneur.”