Connor Conversations

Connor Conversations

Welcome to Connor Conversations our podcast series that is designed to look at the important issues and items that are high on the HR agenda at the moment.

Episode 11: An interview with Paralympian and TV Presenter Steve Brown

In this episode of Connor Conversations we are incredibly fortunate to speak to Steve Brown – Paralympian captain, wheelchair rugby player, television presenter, public speaker, and coach. We discuss Steve’s incredible journey, how he overcame adversity, how he has successfully pivoted his career, and how he has made the most of the many transferable skills he has built up over his amazing career. A truly inspiring story.

Podcast highlights:

  • 4.31 – The 2024 Paris Paralympics
  • 7.15 – What Steve is currently involved in
  • 10.00 – Setbacks
  • 15.58 – Being captain of your home Games
  • 19.02 – Darker places
  • 27.55 – Moving into TV
  • 32.26 – Skills, attitudes and learnings
  • 37.50 – Future opportunities

Episode 10: An interview with Bill Banham, Editor at HR Gazette and Host of the HRchat Podcast

In this episode of Connor Conversations we speak to Bill Banham, Editor at HR Gazette, Host of the popular HRchat Podcast, Associate Editorial Director of HRreview, and co-host of DisruptHR London. Bill provides his unique perspective on HR, his hopes for HR in 2023 and the opportunities that exist for today’s HR leaders.

Episode 9: A thought experiment – An organisational design for one

In this episode our Director of Organisational Change and HR Services, Steve Foulger, speaks with Birmingham born artist Carrick Siddell, following the release of the Birmingham Art Book for which Carrick is one of the selected artists.

It completes our trio of podcasts on successful people from in and around Birmingham. Instead of sport being the link in to the business world, in this episode we use the world of art as our canvas to explore a key concept in successful businesses – organisational design.

To get there we explore what a business design looks like for one person, we talk about areas they may want to consider to be successful and we get under the skin of areas that may not appear as important as commercials, but ultimately will determine if the business survives or ideally thrives – including the financials, commercials, company vision, productivity, investment, parameters the business will operate in, and power dynamics. 

Want to win a free book on organisational design?

Answer our LinkedIn poll for the chance to win a FREE copy of the the must have book, ‘Designing Organisations’ by Naomi Stanford – PLUS winners will also receive ‘The Birmingham Art Book’ by Emma Bennett.

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Podcast highlights:

  • 7.00 – How did growing up in Birmingham impact your art?
  • 11.06 – How does your talent been recognised feel?
  • 19.19 – Introducing an organisational design for one
  • 22.06 – The love of painting versus the business of productivity
  • 23.05 – The mindset of productivity
  • 24.20 – Repeatable reproduction
  • 27.54 – The purity of vision – the things that make a business successful
  • 37.43 – Who is king in the relationship?
  • 40.03 – Minimum Viable Business and legacy

Episode 8: The Commonwealth Games –The Path to Glory and Gold

In this episode our Director of Organisational Change and HR Services, Steve Foulger, speaks with gold medallist at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Myles Hesson.

Myles, captain of the Great Britain basketball team, was the scorer of the gold medal winning shot in overtime against Australia in the inaugural 3×3 basketball inception at this years Commonwealth Games. He plays for Saga Ballooners in Japan and won his first full cap back in 2012.

Myles tells us what it was like to win a gold medal in the city he grew up in and tells us about that moment. In this special episode he shows how the sports world and the business world aren’t that different, but how that extra 1% needed to be the best is crucial and can be found in surprising places. Listen to hear him talk about critical business areas that will thrill our listeners, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Coaching
  • Self-managed teams
  • Resilience
  • Mental health
  • Being a trailblazer
  • Finding the extra 1%
  • Flexibility
  • Situational Leadership.
  • Communication – thinking with one brain

Podcast highlights:

  • 4.09 – Being a trailblazer
  • 6.50 – In the moment or reflective analysis
  • 9.01 – Coaching and leading versus self-managed teams
  • 17.42 – Sacrifices for success – mental health and how it works in business
  • 19.29 – Mental fortitude – finding the strength to bounce back
  • 23.00 – Hero leadership versus self-forming teams
  • 24.02 – Communication, thinking with one brain
  • 25.33 – Flexibility, situational leadership and adapting your style
  • 28.36 – Family and home versus focus and dedication

Episode 7: The Commonwealth Games – A Platform For Future Success

With the Commonwealth Games coming to the UK, we wanted to mark this wonderful event with a one-off and very special podcast.

In this episode we welcome Nick Baxter, a former professional Rugby player. Loved by the fans, Nick got the opportunity to represent England in the Rugby sevens at the Commonwealth Games, which in 2000 enjoyed exhibition status. Nick’s team reached the Quarter Finals, where they lost to David Campese’s Australia. Nick scored both of England’s tries in that game and gives us a unique perspective on the balance and contrast between individual and team success.

Since leaving his playing days behind, Nick has become a serial entrepreneur. He has an infectious energy and has extensive knowledge of networking, recruitment and leadership.

Podcast highlights:

  • 1.51 – The Commonwealth Games and Birmingham
  • 2.46 – Growing up in Birmingham
  • 4.19 – Coming in to the game of rugby late on
  • 6.00 – An incredible background and raft of interests – cramming it all in
  • 9.11 – Open mindset – nature versus nature
  • 11.42 – Family, influence, qualities and values
  • 13.17 – The Commonwealth Games experience
  • 19.39 – Balancing personal focus and endeavour, versus what the team needs and being a leader
  • 22.41 – Where in the marketplace do you know you can help
  • 26.57 – Portfolio businesses – the launch of Longlunch
  • 33.17 – Fantasy Rugby – Sevens and the Commonwealth Games, and Jamaica

Episode 6: An Alternative Approach To Supporting Women Through The Menopause

In this episode, our Director of Organisational Change and HR Services, Steve Foulger, speaks with Anjanette Fraser, a qualified menopause specialist, about an alternative approach to supporting women through the menopause, why businesses need to act now, and how the carrot approach is far better than the stick.  

Anjanette plays a starring role at the British Menopause Societies AGM and is the host of the Bitesize nutrition podcast, the Bitesize Nutrition Youtube TV channel, and Nutrition Director for Natural Alternative Health and Wellbeing Limited. 

Podcast highlights:

  • 4.56 The biggest myths around Menopause
  • 10.04 Why is supporting through menopause so important
  • 13.08 Why companies should be proactive
  • 17.35 What reasonable adjustments could we be making
  • 21.25 How can colleagues be allies
  • 23.44 The male menopause

Episode 5: How To Drive The Future Of Work

In this episode of Connor Conversations, Cathie Donaldson, Connor’s Director of People Development, speaks to Greg Van Der Gaast, Author, and CISO at scoutbee, about bringing technology and people together in the workplace. Greg shares his experience, stories, and predictions for the future of technology at work.

Episode 4: Strengthening the Employee Experience

In this episode of Connor Conversations, Cathie Donaldson, Connor’s Director of People Development, speaks to Nel Woolcott, Managing Director of Anne Corder Recruitment. Cathie and Nel explore the challenges of employee retention and what organisations can do to strengthen the Employee Experience.

Episode 3: The Importance of Neurodiversity

In this episode of Connor Conversations, Nicky speaks with two guests from Cavendish Education – Rachel Slevin, Group People Director, and Joanne Houston, Programme Leader for Cavendish Works. The pair discuss the importance of neurodiversity and its impact on recruitment, as well as how businesses can benefit from a neurodiverse workforce.

Glossary of terms 

Neurodiversity – The infinite variation of human cognitive function

Neurodivergent – Used to describe somebody whose thinking style is different to what is considered typical, or “neurotypical”

SEND – Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

Episode 2: Parental Returner Programmes – what makes them successful?

In this episode of Connor Conversations, Nicky speaks with Rebecca Corker, Head of HR at McLaren Automotive, on the topic of parental returners. Rebecca discusses her own experiences as a working parent, explores the different experiences that working parents face, and sheds light on the factors that affect the success of parental returner programmes.

Episode 1: Sustainability in SMEs

For our first episode of Connor Conversations, Nicky Speaks with Richard Kleiner, CEO of Gerald Edelman, on the topic of sustainability. Richard discusses how to introduce sustainability initiatives, policies, and principles in SMEs, based on his own experience, and addresses the challenges you may face along the way.

An introduction to Connor Conversations

Nicky Valmas, Connor’s Director of Organisational Change and HR Services, introduces the Connor Conversations podcast series.