Ordinary or extraordinary?

Ordinary or extraordinary?

How do you want to be remembered?

I’ve been watching a series on Netflix (as you do) and during one episode, one of the main characters is fretting about being ordinary. She thinks she knows her ‘death day’ and as she gets closer, is trying to achieve the unachievable so she won’t be remembered as ordinary. It got me thinking about what I want to be remembered for… morbid? Just me? I don’t think so. It’s got me reflecting on my life to date and what I want to do with the rest of it, however long it is.

Extraordinary is an ordinary word at Ivy House. Elke even wrote a book about it! I spend every day supporting future leaders to create their extraordinary and here I am, sitting here thinking about whether I have created my own extraordinary life. I admit, I feel a bit hypocritical in this moment.

Sure, I have achieved stuff – my main achievement being a beautiful, independent, happy and settled young man. I have bought and sold homes, lived abroad, worked for myself, worked for great businesses, and have great friendships. I’m a fun aunty, a much-loved daughter, a good friend, a valued employee and colleague, an annoying sister and a great coach (blowing my own trumpet!). I have wisdom, am a peaceful soul and I’m told I bring a balm to the room.

And – I’m not sure any of that is extraordinary.

So here I am, reflecting, and looking again at the vision for my life and how I might want to be for what I see as the next chapter of my life. The chapter where my son starts his life and his extraordinary, where the young people I’m privileged to work with embark on their extraordinary and the people I work with continue to create theirs. I don’t have the answers, and I am open to whatever comes my way… new adventures, continued personal development, maybe even share my story at some point, but mostly getting really comfortable with me.

Ordinary or extraordinary? I realise that’s my own view of me and in this moment, I just realised that THAT thought, makes me extraordinary. I genuinely don’t care whether other people see my life as ordinary, and that’s how I want to be remembered.

Want to discover your extraordinary? Find out more about the book Vicky mentioned below.

Thoughts from a new starter

Thoughts from a new starter

How often do you join a company only to find out that once you are in, they don’t fit with who you thought they were? A bit like finding an outfit you love, only to find out it doesn’t fit.

Frustrating, huh? Having been in this situation too many times before, I knew what I was looking for and I thought my expectations were just too high… that was until I joined Ivy House.

As someone who is passionate about vision and values, I knew that this was a part of the company culture that I was missing and wondered how many other people felt something similar. During some research I found that Rungway surveyed 2,000 UK employees on their attitude to work and the research showed that more than half (52%) of employees in the UK couldn’t recite their organisation’s vision, and nearly half (49%) couldn’t recite their organisation’s values.

That’s thousands of people who don’t appreciate their own company’s purpose – so how can they be channeling their efforts to the best effect? Interestingly, research also found that more than a quarter felt their organisation’s vision or values had too much corporate jargon and almost one in 5 say they don’t reflect what the company is actually like.

I could really relate to this in previous companies and I put my hands up that I have absolutely been in that percentage – I could tell you that they do a great banoffee pie at lunch time on Fridays, but I couldn’t recite their vision or values! And as a result, no one was truly living by them.

Ivy House caught my attention from the get-go. They were different. They were bold. Their marketing made a statement and they weren’t afraid to stand out (they weren’t another boring company!). From my research alone, I felt like I had a clear understanding of who they were and what they were wanting to achieve and throughout my ongoing interactions, they continued to align with my perception – the clarity and detail on the job description, the seamlessly run interview process, the open, honest and clear communication and the passion and sense of humour from their people. I really got the impression that everyone was completely aligned with the company and with each other too. The Ivy House message, brand and culture was coming across no matter where or how I had the contact.

How has it been joining the Ivy House team?

Joining a new team can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience for any person however, I received such a warm and friendly welcome that at the end of my first week, I felt truly at home!

I am very grateful to have been able to meet everyone in person. As a team who are situated across the country, I do wonder how this may have differed virtually (not the incredibly friendly welcome) but meeting a new team and building a relationship over Teams isn’t quite the same – even if we have been doing it for two years now!

That being said, during my first week, I attended an Ivy House team day and development exercise – something that has been put in place to ensure there are touchpoints throughout the year for us to physically get together, to have fun and to learn. As a company who are open to learning (also reflected as one of their values), this was music to my ears. The focus was on uncovering your brilliance and the exercise included asking a handful of people who know us well and not so well “what shows up when I do?”. It provided an opportunity for me to really get to know my new team on a much deeper, more personal level and to understand where their brilliance lies and what others see in them. It was incredibly insightful and special to be a part of. It confirmed for me that I was in the right place, with the right people and I was blown away by the level of openness and vulnerability shown by every single team member in the room, and by the support that followed. It isn’t very often that everyone is fully on board with these kinds of exercises, so once again the Ivy House culture was shining through.

It has also provided me with an opportunity to continue to build on these new relationships, now back in our virtual environment and I hope that it has also allowed them to learn a little more about me and that they feel the same way too.

Has Ivy House met my expectations?

The first couple of months of a new job are important. It is a chance to embed yourself in the team and the culture, to experience the company on the inside rather than the outside (and it is usually when the cracks – whether big or small – start to appear!).

Now a month into my role, I took some time to reflect and ask myself, “is Ivy House what I expected?”

The answer… a big fat yes!

Why? They have got the company culture spot on.

Are they paying me to say that? No… I promise!

They are a group of talented people who love what they do and are completely aligned to the business. They wholeheartedly live by the vision and values (which are punchy and relatable) and they have a raw and honest culture, asking you to bring your whole self to work and be open to learning and to feedback, in a safe and comfortable environment. Their style is brave, their language is simple yet powerful and they want you to have fun. Most importantly they want to see you succeed, which in turn supports the business in succeeding.

Of course, there are some processes that could be reviewed and some changes to accommodate an ever growing team and the opportunities coming our way, however they recognise that and know that as humans, there are blind spots; we don’t always get it right first time. The key is taking ownership, failing forwards and finding a solution. All of which Ivy House embrace.

Not only are they putting game-changing leadership and life skills at the heart of organisations, but they are also putting game-changing leadership and life skills at the heart of Ivy House – and what a difference it makes.

I am thrilled to be a part of an extraordinary company and team, on a mission to change the world.

Want to know more about the Ivy House team and our mission?

Fall back in love with life

Fall back in love with life

I’ve fallen into the trap of the treadmill of life. The one where you find yourself trundling along in your familiar routine.

You know, the one that feels safe and comfortable. The one you don’t have to think about. For me that means getting up at 6am to do 2.5 hours of exercise before work. It means not allowing myself any rest days. It means busying myself with all the stuff on the to do list. Tidying, cooking, cleaning, doing. The stuff that ‘has to be done’ before I can get on with everything else… and the stuff that goes straight back on the to do list every single day. And if I’m honest it’s felt like an impossible balancing act. One full of compromise where the stuff I want to do gets pushed out. And if I’m really honest (terrible confession), one that has seen me slightly fall out of love with my own life. 

It’s so easy to fall into this trap. To drift into routine and lose sight of the things we really love. But today I was reminded of the importance of rebalancing. Of being intentional about the life we want to create. Of taking proactive steps to move towards that every single day. It’s easy to make a load of excuses, fall into passivity or make it all seem pretty complicated. But as one of our brilliant coaches said today, ‘it’s pretty simple really. You need to change from ‘I wish’ to making the choice to change. Then you need to decide when. Then you need to act on it.’

What I know to be true is we have a choice over the life create. But that doesn’t just happen. It’s not just gifted to us. We have to be intentional about creating it. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but when we are clear on the vision for our life, on the one that we really want to create, we can take proactive steps towards creating it. It all starts with the decision to start owning our lives.

Perhaps then it was a gift from the universe (or as was actually the case, my mum!) that this evening I was then sent a Home & Gardens article to read. I devoured every image and was transported into a world of creative possibilities for our house. I was inspired by the artwork, the colours, the patterns and the textures and started planning my next painting. I read about how to plan the perfect extension, and was reminded of our plans to save up and build the dream kitchen. I noticed my heart beating faster. I noticed the return of the little smile and distant stare I always get when I’m dreaming up my next project. And, in that moment, it was like a little crack appeared and the light came in. I remembered what it’s was like to feel excited for the possibility of life. Reminded of the things that bring me joy. And of the importance of proactively living from that place every single day.

So here’s my pledge to myself, and my offering to you, 3 things I’m going to do to keep me moving towards the life I really want… 

  1. Create a vision for my life – Elke once said to me, ‘To achieve your dream life is almost impossible without a vision for what good looks like. You need to have a vision that is so clear in your head that you are almost magically drawn to it’. I’m not sure I’ve ever been 100% clear on that vision. What it looks like, how I want to feel, who I want to be surrounded by. It seems so obvious to me now that it’s pretty difficult to keep moving towards the life you really want until you have that vision, so that’s where I’m starting.
  1. Create more space – it’s so easy to get sucked back into doing. I for one have always rolled my eyes at those people who talk about ‘creating the space to just be’ *cringe*.  My view has always been if I’m not doing something (or if I’m honest, several things at a time), it’s time wasted. But it’s not wasted. It’s not a luxury. In fact, if I’m really going to get off the treadmill (literally and figuratively), I have to get comfortable with this… and notice what comes up in the space. Now for a woman who doesn’t sit down from 6am-11pm I want to be realistic about this. I’m starting with a commitment to 5 minutes of ‘not doing’ a day. That might be a walk with no music or sitting on the sofa without a phone or tv to distract me. I feel weirdly nervous about it, but also pretty excited!
  1. Reconnect with the things that make my soul sing – At Ivy House we always talk about soul signing – the activities you do that make time fly and bring you joy. Most people that know me would be able to reel off a list of my soul singing activities… mostly involving painting and drawing. But reading the interiors article today I was reminded of how much I love reading. Of my love of interior design. Of rearranging my house. Of dreaming up the projects I might one day get to. It sounds silly but I’d forgotten about all of those things. I’d lost sight of the little things that bring my moments of joy. So, my final pledge is an exploration. I’m going to replace (some of) my 6am daily gym sessions with a voyage into the things that bring me joy and sparkle. And commit to making the time to do more of those.

So that’s it. They’re not the most ground breaking of actions, but they’re small promises to myself to keep me moving towards the life I want to create. To ensure I never again fall out of love with my life and ensure I am doing everything in my power to live a life filled with more space and sparkle.

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Chloe Nwankwo

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Chloe Nwankwo
Chloe Nwakwo, UK

Chloe is currently a student at Canford School. Having experienced racism age 12, she is on a mission to create the UK’s first black teen magazine to provide black role models to black youth age 11+ (amongst many other ambitions!). She has an incredible story and is looking for a mentor who can support her with launching something of her own…

Why did you enter The Future Leaders Project?

To pitch my idea of creating the UK’s first BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) teens magazine, called MelaTeen, to provide BIPOC role models to the BIPOC youth and allies, aged 11+.

What did you get from it?

It allowed me to share my idea, connect with extraordinary people, and support fellow teens to the best of my ability.

Why is this learning important?

Winning the Ivy House competition has given me hope and a bigger vision for my mission, which is to empower the BIPOC youth by showcasing people that look like them as beautiful, build a strong community for BIPOC youth who are often misrepresented by mainstream media, and ensure that they are given a voice in society.

What’s next for you? What impact will this have on your community?

To empower the BIPOC youth and allies through the following:

1. Creating and publishing the first issue of MelaTeen magazine.

2. Growing my movement and hashtag on social media (#chloeswishmovement) that encourages people to both speak up and stand up to racism, whilst empowering them to follow in my footsteps, and share their own testimonies about the racism they have experienced in school. The goal is to eradicate racism in schools and people’s lives. I recorded a video with my mum, setting out mine and fellow black peers’ experiences of racism in school. The video shows the negative impacts of racism on both pupils and parents. Please subscribe, like, comment and share this video with anyone you think may benefit from watching.  

3. Creating my charity called chloeswishmovement, which will provide opportunity for ethnic minority children to have a private education, who are not able to afford it – but wish to. MelaTeen will serve to fund chloeswishmovement charity.

4. Establishing my beauty brand, called Chloe N Cosmetics, that allows people to fall in love with their God-given beauty. It will be a business made by the people for the people. I aim to launch my brand by Christmas 2022. A good proportion of the capital from Chloe N Cosmetics would also be channeled to fund the chloeswishmovement charity.

5. A live broadcasted TV Talk Show (with a twist) franchise, called TRUTHS, where invited guests would come on, talk about their “truths” and discuss how we can make a positive impact in society and make the world a better place.

6. Establishing my own film production company that showcases BIPOC actors’ talents and giving them the opportunity to excel in the acting industry.

7. A top-end (Michelin-star-worthy) African restaurant.

8. Own a BIPOC live production theatre franchise

9. Establish my clothing line, called Chloe N, that would empower individuals to embrace, love, and feel comfortable in their God-given bodies.

10. Have my own podcast that will discuss teen issues and also God’s word.

If you want to know more about the Future Leaders Project, or if you know anyone who can support Chloe please get in touch with rachael@ivyhouse.co.uk.  

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Sarah Strasberg

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Sarah Strasberg
Sarah Strasberg, United States

Sarah Strasberg is a 17-year-old student from the United States who is passionate about Fair Trade and advocating human rights, spreading awareness and campaigning for change. We’re pretty proud to say she is also a Future Leader of the Year! She spoke to us about the impact the competition had on her communication skills…

Why did you enter The Future Leaders Project?

I entered The Future Leaders Project because it was a great opportunity for me to grow personally and to further my human rights advocacy. Because I wanted to become a more capable, knowledgeable, and visionary leader, I thought having a mentor and a broad network of leaders would help me to grow my abilities. In addition, I am always looking for opportunities to spread awareness about human rights abuses with many different groups, and this was a wonderful chance to do that.

What did you get from it?

I learned to be a more effective communicator through The Future Leaders Project. When I first began my pitch, I was having trouble adhering to the structure because I valued telling a story more than making my message clear. With the guidance in the breakout room development sessions, I learned first to make my message straightforward, and then to make it creative. It’s like baking a cake: I learned to put the flour and the sugar and the eggs in before I started decorating. This made my message much more impactful.

I also learned the value of good feedback. I discovered that when I gave really detailed feedback to other leaders, it not only helped them convey their message more effectively, but it also helped me to understand my own message better. Interacting with leaders internationally also helped broaden my worldview and perspective on leadership, and I was really inspired by the other leaders. 

Why is this learning important?

This learning is important because effective communication is essential for the projects I’m working on right now. One project I’m leading involves trying to pass a law to protect human rights internationally. A lot of what we do is take really complicated legal and ethical processes and make them simple and easy for anyone to understand, so learning about effective communication will help me to express these ideas better and get more people to support human rights.

My team and I have clearer goals because I learned the value of good feedback through this opportunity. After participating in the leadership development sessions, I started to encourage more reflection and innovation in our campaign, which has helped make our advocacy and goals better thought out and more direct. For example, we began recruiting more people for our cause, working with business and doing outreach work because of the value of feedback.

What’s next for you?

In the short-term, my team and I are growing our impact with human rights. We are continuing to work with the U.S. Congress to get our draft amendment passed, and we’ve been reaching out to the press in order to spread awareness and create public pressure to act on human rights injustices.

In the long-term, I’m working on my goals to become an entrepreneur and a human rights advocate. I’m in the Future Business Leaders club at school, and I enjoy reading business books and using my imagination to come up with solutions for problems.

Tell us more about the impact this will have on your community?

The leadership development skills I’ve learned here will help my team and me to better educate our community on human rights advocacy, which will help our community to be more unified in support of international social justice. I also have more confidence in myself as a leader because of The Future Leaders Project.

If you want to know more about the Future Leaders Project, or if you know anyone who can support Sarah please get in touch with rachael@ivyhouse.co.uk.  

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Anne Eta

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Anne Eta
Anne Eta, Nigeria

Anne is a high school senior in Nigeria who is currently focused on youth leadership in establishing community resilience. Here she tells us more about the skills and knowledge she learned from taking part in the Future Leaders Project.

Why did you enter The Future Leaders Project?

Ivy House is an organization that fosters leadership development, and The Future Leaders Project is a perfect opportunity to further my skills and talent development. Any opportunity to grow is an opportunity to win. I entered The Future Leaders Project knowing that regardless of the outcome, I would still learn, and to learn is to grow.  

What did you get from it?

I learned a ton about powerful pitches and how important representation is as a future leader while becoming more mindful of my energy and bridging the behaviour gap the right way to achieve my goals. The Future Leaders Project was a great way for me to connect with more young leaders like myself, allowing me to pursue and be exposed to more fruitful collaborations and relationships from a globally diverse group of peers and future world leaders.

Why is this learning important?

This learning is important to me because of the value of the skills and knowledge acquired. With built relationships, lessons, and experience, I am better equipped to make a difference in my world. The learning process helped me reflect more while identifying where I am now and where I want to be as a leader. Allowing me to take another step in the right direction as an innovative trailblazer.

What’s next for you?

As a high school senior on a journey to being a foremost leader and storyteller through speaking, art, and innovation, my next step is attaining one of the best education possible at the African Leadership Academy, ensuring that every decision I make works in line with my mission to change the world as an innovative trailblazer. 

Tell us more about the impact this will have on your community?

Positive change and growth are a very vital part of my leadership journey, but one thing that will never change is my eagerness to serve. The Future Leaders Project was very insightful and helped me rethink and redefine my path as a leader. I learned the lessons of having a clear vision, being intentional about my success, accountability, meaningful collaborations, and long-term dedication. Therefore, helping me to be the leader my community needs, pinpointing needs, and making the growth of the institutions I will be a part of my responsibility while taking up the role of a problem solver to tackle the issues I can identify.  

If you want to know more about the Future Leaders Project, or if you know anyone who can support Anne please get in touch with rachael@ivyhouse.co.uk.  

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Adelle Yong

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Adelle Yong
Adelle Yong, Singapore

This week we’re thrilled to spotlight Future Leader of the Year, Adelle Yong. Adelle is a 16-year-old student from Singapore who captured our attention with her idea for diagnosing malaria and common eye diseases with her STEM-powered inventions. She has some world-changing ideas that she’s hoping to bring to life with the help of her mentor, who she was connect with through the Future Leaders Project.

Why did you enter The Future Leaders Project?

I entered The Future Leaders Project because I wanted the chance to reach out to all of the amazing applicants and learn from their incredible leadership. I discovered this opportunity through Hello World and submitted a video entry hoping that I would be one of the few, lucky selected people to be a part of the online experience. I really wanted to be able to work with Ivy House and the other students to further improve not only my communication capabilities but also my ability to present myself with an air of confidence and sophistication. I also really wanted to be a part of their mentorship program and learn under some of the most amazing people in their field.  

What did you get from it?

The Future Leaders Project not only gave me wonderful prizes and the opportunity to meet the other amazing people who also participated in the competition, but also taught me the importance of communication. Through listening to Elke’s presentation and tips on how to format and create a well-thought out pitch, I have learned to improve my communication skill sets. I also learned how to give and take criticism as well as the ability to influence.

Why is this learning important?

The skill of communication can allow me to have a bigger impact on the community. I need to be able to communicate my ideas and extend my influence. Learning how to give speeches and present myself in a confident manner in front of a group of people is an imperative life skill that I’m glad I’m getting to establish through The Future Leaders Project.  

What’s next for you?

I was introduced to immunologist Dr. Aayesha Hassan who is a National Commissioning Manager at Health Education England through the Future Leaders Project. This mentorship provides me the ability to actually launch my health innovations (the Smart Mobile Labs, the Smart Vision Labs, and the Smart Leukaemia Labs). These innovations involve microscopic attachments on phones to provide diagnoses on blood samples and the human eye. They are able to diagnose blood diseases such as malaria, cancer like leukaemia, and various eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy.    

Tell us more about the impact this will have on your community?

I hope to be able to provide quality health care to even the most remote and impoverished regions of the world.      

If you want to know more about the Future Leaders Project, or if you know anyone else who can support Adelle with her innovations,  please get in touch with rachael@ivyhouse.co.uk.  

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Rania Hashim

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Rania Hashim
Rania Hashim, India

Rania Hashim is a 15-year-old innovator who is on a journey to enable human betterment. We’re also incredibly proud to say she is one of our Top 10 Future Leaders of the Year. Rania spoke to us about her reasons for entering the competition and her mission to tackle period poverty.  

Why did you enter The Future Leaders Project?

I entered The Future Leaders Project after hearing about it on social media. As someone who had already established myself as a leader, I felt my story would inspire other people to become a leader, which contributes to my mission of youth empowerment. Moreover, The Future Leaders Project had some amazing prizes that would really aid my growth and seemed like an amazing community to be a part of! I can’t express how grateful I am to my past self for making the life-changing decision to apply. 

What did you get from it?

Applying to The Future Leaders Project was one of the best decisions I made. Even if I hadn’t won, nothing can beat the impactful skill workshops on the day of the final event. It really helped me sell myself (in a good way, of course) and taught me an amazing framework to provide feedback. Of course, being the winner has given me amazing opportunities like ongoing investment, virtual work experience, 1:1 mentoring etc… and I cannot be more grateful for these! 

Why is this learning important?

These learnings, especially when exposed to it from a young age, come in handy not just in business or educational settings but also in general. Knowing how to pitch myself in a minute and to provide high-quality feedback is a skill that is necessary to be a leader in any setting.   

What’s next for you?

Something I really want to explore, aside from continuing my work in the food systems, is period poverty. There is just so many people in the nation who do not have access to menstrual products, education, hygiene facilities etc…  This is mainly due to how taboo the topic is as well as lack of education on menstrual hygiene. A shocking statistic I came across is that 10 million girls drop out of school just because they got their periods. I want to change this statistic, by helping such girls stay in school and contribute to society. 

Tell us more about the impact this will have on your community?

From the research I’ve done, I’ve learned that solving period poverty could break the cycle that lead women to not being able to contribute to society as functioning members by keeping them in schools and giving them better conditions. Moreover, I’ve learnt that most reproductive disorders are caused by poor menstrual hygiene and so, if this problem were to be solved, there’d be a drastic decrease (up to 70%) of these disorders.  

If you want to know more about the Future Leaders Project, or if you know anyone who can help Rania, please get in touch with rachael@ivyhouse.co.uk.

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Peony Sham

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Peony Sham
Peony Sham, China

We’re delighted to introduce Future Leader of the Year Peony Sham. Peony is a 15-year-old student from China who is focused on empowering youth and leading community wellbeing projects. She has some game-changing ideas to encourage social interaction and tackle mental health issues. Peony spoke to us about her reasons for getting involved in the competition and the difference it’s made to her… 

Why did you enter The Future Leaders Project?

I came across this opportunity through the Hello World app. I was immediately drawn to the name ‘Future Leaders of the Year’, and after reading through the short description, I was greatly impressed by the competition. I thought that the aim of was very ambitious, to find passionate, accountable, courageous and visionary 15-18-year-olds. I was also interested in the idea that leaders come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – subject leaders, self-leaders, and leaders of others – I had never thought of it that way before! I knew this opportunity was certainly precious and did not want to miss it!  

What did you get from it?

I learned so much from The Future Leaders Project! Firstly, the application process itself was a great learning journey. It gave me an opportunity to self-reflect on my past experience and to ask myself some really soul-searching questions. Furthermore, the resources that we were generously provided in the resource portal really helped to widen my horizons. I really enjoyed the ‘3 secrets to success’ and the ‘Polishing your pitch’ events.  I learnt so much about being in my element, taking ownership, being a courageous learner as well as the skills needed for a successful pitch. The global finals were a great learning experience as well! The workshops delivered by Elke Edwards were so informative and we learnt even more about pitching skills as well as how to give feedback in an effective way. Last but not least, it was great to meet so many amazing youth leaders and to learn from their leadership stories.

Why is this learning important?

I think that all the skills that I have learnt – such as pitching and giving feedback – gained through the various events and pitches have allowed me to become a better leader, supporting me to make a bigger impact on my community. Furthermore, I’ve been able to connect with so many youth leaders all over the world. 

What’s next for you?

I am passionate about wellbeing and I recently founded a youth-led initiative called  ‘We Want Wellbeing’ which aims to spread the awareness of the importance of wellbeing and to promote the practice of wellbeing to a global community. I have made use of social media, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @wewantwellbeing to advance my cause.  I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could follow @wewantwellbeing on their preferred social media platform and lend their support to this movement.  

I am now in the process of developing a website https://wewantwellbeing.wixsite.com/main. This website includes various wellbeing articles which serve to educate.  There will also be sharing of some funny, inspiring or interesting videos that hopefully can help boost the reader’s wellbeing. The practice of wellbeing is a lifelong journey, and through the website, I hope to build an online community, that can support each other in the journey to our wellbeing. To ensure cyber safety on the website, I have created a ‘Member’s Area’ where only registered members can access the community. 

My next move will be to organise some online or offline wellbeing activities that serve to educate and to offer peer support.   

If you’re interested in wellbeing, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me! Please visit the website or contact me @wewantwellbeing on Instagram. 

Tell us more about the impact this will have on your community?

In this day and age, while our society has made significant developments in technology and wealth, wellbeing issues are becoming a growing concern. Depression is one of the most significant public health problems facing the world in the 21st Century, and according to the World Health Organisation, depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide.   

Now more than ever, the enhancement of wellbeing is needed to see us through the crisis brought on by COVID-19.  Indeed, more and more countries are looking to wellbeing initiatives to support their people and its nation to recover from the damage due to COVID-19.  For example, the United Arabs Emirates has adopted the National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031. 

According to research, the promotion of wellbeing should start as early in life as possible. Poor wellbeing contributes to a lot of physical, mental and social problems in young people, such as depression, eating disorders, addiction, self-harm, and suicide. 

I hope that my efforts to spread awareness of wellbeing, including to the youth, could have a positive impact on my community. 

If you want to know more about the Future Leaders Project, or if you know anyone who can support Peony’s wellbeing plans, please get in touch with rachael@ivyhouse.co.uk.

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Charlotte Corrigan

Future Leaders of the Year 2022 spotlight: Charlotte Corrigan
Charlotte Corrigan, UK

Last month, we hosted the grand final of The Future Leaders of the Year Competition. It was an incredible day supported by top performance coaches and industry leaders from the likes of NatWest, UCAS, Sky, Cooper-Parry and Coca Cola.

We were blown away by this group of unbelievable young people and over the next few months, we’ll be spotlighting the stories of our Top 10 Future Leaders of the Year.

First up is one of our UK winners, Charlotte Corrigan. Charlotte is a 17-year-old student who is unbelievably passionate about sport and inspiring other young people in the face of adversity. Here, she tells more about her experience of the Future Leaders Project and her new initiative ‘Girlvanize’.

Why did you enter The Future Leaders Project?

It was a superb opportunity to gain ‘real life’ skills and develop a broader awareness of how to manage my own time, opportunities and, most importantly, liaise with other students and people from industry to gain a better understanding of leadership. Working with young people from across the world was so beneficial; hearing about other people’s ambitions and experiences really deepened my understanding of what was going on in the world. Education centres around academia and there are few opportunities to leave the classroom and work on something meaningful and different.

What did you get from it?

I developed in confidence and was able to reflect on my own journey and ambitions. Communication was a central part of the day and being able to convey my own ideas to the other people formed the basis of my pitch. Equally, problem-solving and time management were skills that I was able to develop.

Why is this learning important?

It would appear that many young people leaving university today fail to demonstrate that they have the skillset or resilience to survive in business or industry. In lessons, I am able to work hard constructing arguments and essays, but I felt this competition has enabled me to see areas that I need to develop to ensure I have employable skills.

What’s next for you?

I am incredibly keen to launch my initiative ‘Girlvanise’. I am so keen to set this idea up as a charity. Over 94,000 fewer children and young people were active in 2020 – 2021 compared to before the pandemic. This problem is particularly prevalent in girls. Many girls drop out of sport in their teens and fail to utilise sports clubs and opportunities to stay fit physically and mentally. I want to give young girls the skills, drive and knowledge to ensure they enjoy longevity in the sport of their school. I am committed to helping girls find a sport and helping them to build a fit and healthy life through this.

Tell us more about the impact this will have on your community?

I hope this will help the mental health of girls, who often suffer low esteem through their reliance on social media. Furthermore, sport is a great outlet for building life-long friendships. I want to ensure this supports our local sports clubs and, additionally, healthy lives will in turn support the NHS. Sport is central to happy and healthy communities.

If you want to know more about the Future Leaders Project, or if you know anyone who can help Charlotte with her amazing initiative for young women, please get in touch with rachael@ivyhouse.co.uk.