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January's Leadership Academy reviewed

1st February 2017

With some 90 qualifying Gold Level Members in attendance, this season's Leadership Academy event represented our biggest yet.

On Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th January 2017, our intrepid Organisers braved the freezing fog to join Usborne Books at Home staff for two days of fun and focused business building at the magnificent Heythrop Park Hotel in Oxfordshire. It was absolutely fantastic to meet so many new faces, and especially to catch up with our European Organisers who had travelled such a long way.

Following an enjoyable, icebreaking, game of 'human bingo', Organisers were invited to share their Usborne Story and their 'Big Vision' for 2017. After a delicious lunch, former Usborne Organiser and successful businesswoman Melanie Bundock demonstrated how our Big Vision ideas could be taken a step further in a thought-provoking and inspiring session on the power of visualisation. Amidst a sea of paper, scissors and stickers, not to mention the odd sequin, Organisers were encouraged to think more positively about their ambitions and hopes for the future through the creation of 'vision boards'. 

Wednesday's energetic and empowering exercises were rounded off with a relaxing drinks reception in the hotel's sumptious Wedgewood Room and an extravagant three-course dinner, giving Organisers the perfect opportunity to get to know each other on a more informal basis and chat about their businesses and experiences with Usborne.

After a revitalising night's sleep, an invigorating and invaluable Coaching session on Thursday morning was designed to guide Organisers in helping others to become 'better versions of themselves'. As Managing Director, Mark Franklin, pointed out, when it comes to running your business, it's not so much about what Usborne do, but more about what you yourself choose to do in order to write a better story for your family.

In order to emphasise the importance of helping others find their own solutions in getting themselves out of a tricky situation, Mark and Senior Events and Leadership Development Coordinator, Becky Budd, staged a helpful - and rather humorous - practical demonstration, with Becky helping Mark find his own way out of a 'hole'.

Thursday afternoon saw the larger group being split into two, with first-time Leadership Academy attendees focusing on time management under the guidance of Business and Leadership Development Manager, Sue Pittman, and Becky, while those who had previously attended a Leadership Academy were given a separate session on Solutions Focus by Mark.

As the two-day event drew to a close, it was time to reflect on all the great things we had learned and what could be taken away and put into practice. We hope that everyone who attended now has the tools and motivation to keep up their Gold Level status and we look forward to the next Leadership Academy in May.

A special thank you to our guest speaker Melanie Bundock -  if you want to watch some of Melanie's workshop 'live', it can still be viewed on our facebook page.