social responsibility

The Queen, Church and Shrimp

I don’t believe in God. (sorry). But I went to church on Sunday, in a ceremony for Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II.

Having grown up in Sweden, church is a place you go to celebrate. I have never realised this until now, when discussing it with people who wonder why I would attend a church service if I am not religious. “Because it is about a celebration”, I reply. They look at me with scepticism.

It made me think.

In Sweden, the last day of the school year is a BIG DEAL. It is hugely celebrated, every year is an important milestone, and a loooooong summer (well…summer-ish…Sweden has a bit of an unpredictable summer weather thing going….) awaits, when EVERYONE is off (parents too!) for at least 4-5 weeks.

And that last day, “skolavslutning” is celebrated with parents, with a church ceremony where we sing about safe shrimp (internal joke with swedish people….”trygga rakan”!) and summer time. Children are all dressed in white, and then we have smorgostarta (sandwich cake).

So when I was invited by Buckinghamshire’s Lord-Lieutenant The Countess Howe to a Thanksgiving service for Her Majesty The Queen, I didn’t think twice. OF COURSE I will celebrate the most outstanding service and duty I have ever known. As an award-winning entrepreneur, I realise my work schedule is NOTHING compared to the woman who has been on duty for the past 70 years, and done a stellar job. I was honoured to attend and to show my appreciation and gratitude for the work and dedication of Her Majesty The Queen on her Platinum Jubilee.

This time, I didn’t wear white, but I did sing on the top of my lungs:

God Save The Queen.

#buckinghamshire

Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire, The Countess Howe and Angela Spang at the Thanksgiving Service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at All Saints Church 29 May 2022
Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire, The Countess Howe and Angela Spang at the Thanksgiving Service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at All Saints Church 29 May 2022

I am a Swan Envoy

Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council 
12 May 2022 
Buckinghamshire’s Swan Envoys spread their wings at launch event 
 

The Buckinghamshire Swan Envoy Scheme officially launched at Pinewood Studios on Tuesday evening (10 May) with the first twelve Swan Envoys inaugurated into their new role.
From influential community leaders to much-loved local celebrities, each Buckinghamshire Swan Envoy has one thing in common – they are inspiring individuals who are committed to helping to promote Buckinghamshire as a great place to grow, live and work.
The new scheme, developed by Buckinghamshire Council in partnership with the Lord Lieutenancy, is designed to harness the influence and enthusiasm of the individual Swans to inspire and encourage others and create one powerful network of voices, working together with the council and its partners, to promote Buckinghamshire as a thriving and exciting county. 

The twelve new Swan Envoys are:
•	April Benson
•	Jane Campbell
•	Andy Collins
•	Keyaan Hameed
•	Karen Irons
•	Lorraine Kelly CBE
•	Sir David Lidington
•	Martin McElhatton OBE
•	Pauline Quirk
•	Alice Rose
•	John Shaw
•	Angela Spang

Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council said: “I’m delighted to welcome our founding Swan Envoys. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their willingness to share what I know is some of their very valuable and limited time, to support, motivate and showcase the great people and communities that we have in our special county.

“We already know that Buckinghamshire is a great place for so many reasons, and together we can help spread that message and inspire and encourage everyone to believe in Buckinghamshire!”  

At the inauguration ceremony, the Swan Envoys were introduced by Martin Tett and Buckinghamshire Council Chief Executive, Rachael Shimmin. They were each presented with their personal Swan pin badge and a certificate by HM Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, The Countess Howe.
 
 
Swan Envoys
April Benson
April Benson has been Chief Executive Officer of Aylesbury Women’s Aid since 2019,  providing inspiring leadership of the charity through the past two, very challenging, years. April established and delivered the Women’s Aid Freedom Programme locally and developed the Aylesbury Women’s Aid Relational Empowerment programme for teenage girls.
April was winner of the Community Impact Bucks Outstanding Leadership in the Women in Charity Awards 2021.

Jane Campbell
Jane Campbell is a successful Buckinghamshire businesswoman, Managing Director of a growing local firm, PCL Corporatewear.
In recognition of her unique leadership skills, Jane was named Business Leader of the Year at the Buckinghamshire Business Awards in 2017. She was also a Bucks Growth Champion in 2018 and a finalist for Businesswoman of the Year in the SME Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire awards in 2019.

Andy Collins 
Andy Collins is a comedian, television and radio presenter, and has been a warm-up act for many popular entertainment shows. More locally Andy is a well-known and much-loved stalwart of the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre pantomime.  Andy currently hosts the BBC Three Counties Radio breakfast show and is also a Bucks Herald columnist.

Keyaan Hameed 
Keyaan Hameed is a Street Hero and has been appointed as a youth ambassador for the One Can Trust.  Aged just 15, Keyaan founded his eco-friendly SOUP-a-CANdle business, upcycling old soup cans into candles, with the money raised donated to the One Can Trust.
He also set up ‘Take One or Leave One’ coat rails for people in need in High Wycombe and Aylesbury. Keyaan won the Proud of Bucks Young Community Hero award in 2021.

Karen Irons 
Karen Irons is Chief Executive Officer at Maytree Respite Centre. Karen uses her insight and experience to help charities develop their business & financial models. She is passionate about helping organisations to find solutions, unlock potential and develop new ideas.
Karen is a committed and active member of the Buckinghamshire community, being a trustee and board member of The Clare Foundation and a School Governor.

Lorraine Kelly CBE 
Lorraine Kelly trained as a journalist before moving successfully into a long-running television career. She also writes weekly columns for national media and is a published author.
Lorraine is a keen supporter of charities, taking part every year in the in the 26-mile breast cancer charity ‘Moonwalk’ and is a patron on Help for Heroes and the STV Children’s Appeal. In in 2012, Lorraine was awarded the OBE for services to charity and in 2020, received a CBE for services to broadcasting, journalism and charity.

Sir David Lidington
Sir David Lidington is a former Conservative MP who represented the constituency of Aylesbury from 1992 until 2019.
He has held a number of key positions both in opposition and in government including Minister of State for Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice and Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
In September 2019 Sir David received a knighthood for political and public service.

Martin McElhatton OBE 
Martin McElhatton is a wheelchair basketball Paralympian and Chief Executive of WheelPower, a charity which promotes sport and active lives for disabled people. Martin is a Board Member of LEAP, the Bucks & Milton Keynes Sport and Activity Partnership, and is a Trustee of National Paralympic Heritage Trust.
In 2020 Martin was awarded an OBE for services to disability sport.

Pauline Quirk 
Pauline Quirk is an award-winning actor and founder of the Pauline Quirk Academy, a performing arts school for children and young people.  Pauline has recently launched the ‘PQA Trust’ to help deprived children access performing arts training, to help build their confidence and learn skills for life.
Pauline supports a number of children’s charities, being an honorary member of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and a patron of the Rennie Grove Hospice.

Alice Rose 
During the Covid pandemic, at the age of 17, Alice Rose set up Alice's Positivity Boxes. Alice creates parcels of donated goodies and distributes them to young adults and teenagers who are struggling with mental health issues, those who are permanently in hospital or those who are underprivileged
Alice is also a trained mental health peer mentor and is actively involved in local mental health charities.

John Shaw
John Shaw co-founded and is Managing Director of the social enterprise, Chiltern Rangers. The organisation is a thriving local conservation community interest company which works with local communities to protect Buckinghamshire and Chiltern Hills.  His organisation provides a range of education and training opportunities for young people and works with schools on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

Angela Spang
Angela Spang is Chief Executive Officer of JUNE MEDICAL group. With over 25 years’ experience as a successful entrepreneur, Angela has a deep understanding of building successful businesses and operating across the globe.
Angela is known for being generous with her advice on all aspects of running a business.  In 2018, Angela was a Bucks Growth Champion and in 2021 was a recipient of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.

Helping just because we can…Hana Lee’s Story!

From Angela & JUNE MEDICAL… 

16 year old student Hana Lee met JUNE MEDICAL Managing Director Angela Spang on the 11th July 2017, when Angela was delivering a talk at Hana’s School in Amersham.  Hana got in touch with Angela after hearing her speak at Amersham school with an interest in the Apprenticeships that JUNE MEDICAL had to offer.

As Hana planned to go back to school to study for her A-levels it was decided that an apprenticeship wasn’t for her at this time, however JUNE MEDICAL who are always happy to help and encourage new talent, offered Hana some work experience over her summer holiday period.

Hana carried out some key market research for our sister company LMEDAC, which will help determine the next direction for the business to take.  Hence Hana was instrumental in some extremely valuable work and proved a worthwhile contribution to the company in the weeks that she worked with us.

Hana fitted straight in within our team environment, she had her head down working hard but also joined in with office discussions, team meetings and brainstorm sessions – she even took the initiative to clean the office without anyone asking her.

Hana’s time with the JUNE MEDICAL team proved to be mutually beneficial and she was a pleasure to have onboard.  This is another fine example of Angela Spang and her team giving back and developing future prospects. 

After only a couple of days into Hana’s work experience she expressed the wish to continue working with us.  This is something we hope we can make happen for her.  Angela and her team wish Hana the very best of luck with her future career development. 

From Hana’s Perspective…

Why did you want to come and work with us: I attended my schools induction day and Angela was there giving a talk which was mainly about body language and how people acted/reacted in certain situations.  I knew I wanted to do some sort of work experience during the summer but at the time I hadn’t found anything.

After hearing Angela talk about the apprenticeships her company ran, I took the opportunity to get her email address at the end of the session to see if I would be able to get some work experience with her.

Since both June Medical and London Medical Education Academy (LMEDAC) deal in the medical industry, I found that this would be the perfect work experience to ‘get my foot in the door’ and gain experience in the general field of the industry I am currently planning to work in.

Why would you like to continue working with us?: I would love to continue to broaden my current knowledge further with both June Medical and London Medical Education Academy.  In the summer I learnt things I had no prior knowledge of and the work continued to interest me.

I didn’t have a dull day especially as everyone in the office was so kind and friendly

What have you learnt so far?: I learnt a lot about medical procedures in a range of different specialities due to the market research I did and I gained a new insight into the use of cadavers for medical training.  Also, thanks to Liz (Thornber) of LMEDAC, I was also given a quick overview at the marketing side of the company and how to use SalesForce and MailChimp.  I came to the realisation as to how important social media is to a constantly growing business.

What are you ambitions for the future?: Currently, I want to study Psychology at University but before that I am planning to take a gap year to travel and volunteer or work – I know I won’t have the time to do this otherwise.

Long term, at the moment I feel I would like to be a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.

Keeping In Touch…

True to our word, the team at JUNE MEDICAL and LMEDAC have kept in touch with Hana and we are following her progress with genuine interest.  After a recent follow up we were delighted to hear of how Hana’s time with us has made an impact on her ability moving forwards…

How did you do in your GCSE exams?:  got two 8’s, one 7, four A’s, two B’s and one C whilst at the Amersham School.

Has working with us over the summer changed anything for you going back to school?: The work I did has helped me prepare for my A-Levels as I learned how to become more independent in my research.  This has definitely been helping me so far as additional research into my subjects has been a lot easier than it would have been, had I not had the chance to work with you.

Are you hoping to come back and spend any more time with us?: I would love the opportunity to come back and work again!  At the moment I’m focusing on my new school Dr Challoner’s High School and A-Level courses, but if I got the chance in the future I would definitely accept.

Were you inspired by working with us and has it helped you in anyway?: Working with June Medical and the London Medical Education Academy has really helped me to decide to carry on doing my A-Level subjects and it will definitely help me in the future as it’s helped me focus on what I really enjoy and want to do.

Would you recommend work experience to fellow students and why?: This work experience was an amazing opportunity and I would definitely recommend it to fellow students, especially those at my school as many are aspiring to work in the medical field in the future.

Any advice that you can offer following your experience with us?: The opportunity was great!  I fully expected to be doing filing and the ‘coffee & tea runs’, but you got me straight into researching.  I don’t have any advice to offer as the experience went beyond what I envisaged.

GUEST BLOG: Ali Arif

When Angela had messaged me asking if I could write an article for her blog, I took the opportunity and was immensely excited.  The experience of her teaching is something I can write about for hours and hours.

Angela came to my school to teach us about the art of body language:

How it can promote leadership, learning, development, entrepreneurship and growth. From the first time I spoke to her, I knew that me and her would get along because she did the best thing possible, which was offering me crisps. Continue reading…

Two new people to help find their strengths!! Who’s excited!?!

Me!

In september, we have a new apprentice start, on a rotation program between 3 of my companies. She is in for a treat very different to most apprenticeships: she originally didn’t want to do one, because she was afraid she would be filing and making tea for a year.

Not with us. Here, you learn.

When Ifsa (our first apprentice) started, we gave her responsibility for the entire Continue reading…

Why I love LMEDAC (even though most people can’t say it)

When doctors learn a new procedure or product, they train on plastic or computer simulators, and/or actual live patients (who often don’t realize it). This causes unnecessary harm and suffering, and surgical errors cost the NHS billions.

This of course wasn’t a problem when few innovations came through, but today it has doubled from just 5 years ago. Patients are injured and even killed, because learning curves aren’t completed before going into live surgery (including children).

We train doctors to be better surgeons, by providing donated cadaveric tissue instead of training on live patients.

Our company’s potential is enormous, but our topic is emotional and sensitive. Guidance end expert advise will give us a higher chance of getting this right, and if we do, we will all benefit: for every surgeon we train, the improved outcomes impacts every patient they will ever operate on.

Our work is threefold:

Policy – to change guidelines

Funding – to give doctors the funds and time off to train

Availability – increase awareness of cadaver donations (as opposed to just organ donation, which most have heard of).

For us, our work really DO make a difference between life and death. We are passionate about our vision, and hope you will be too.

(and it is pronounced [ell-med-ack] )

(and you can read more about LMEDAC here)

(and you can donate your body here)

“What’s your strength?”

I asked….and they didn’t know. I was a bit saddened by that. They looked so lost.

I asked them what their strength was; 29 out of 58 wasn’t able to write down anything on the paper in front of them. Just a sad face in the space where their strength was supposed to be.

A room full of young people, 85% had already told me they didn’t know what they wanted to do, or be, or dream of. A few were clear: focused goals and a plan of how to get there….but the majority looked like deer in headlight; “Oh no, will this be another grown-up telling me what I should do..?”

So I told them. Loud and clear, I let them know that I wasn’t going to tell them a single thing about what to do with their lives. A few looked like they were thinking I wasn’t being very helpful. That may very well be true. But I wanted to give them a bigger gift than that.

I wanted to give them a tool to figure it out for themselves.

So we spent an hour together, talking about two major things:

  1. Body language. How to figure out what someone is saying when they are not using just their words. And, perhaps more importantly, how to communicate back and forth on that level.
  2. Strengths. Not weaknesses. Not fixing “what you have to be better at”. I told them to stop wasting their time, because trying to fix your weaknesses is fighting nature. Make sure your weaknesses isn’t putting barriers up for you, but don’t strive to be better than someone else in an area of weakness. Focus on your strengths: Find them, hone them, practice them.

Show off your strengths. Wear them like a badge of honour, a crown on your head, a halo of skill leading your way.

And then we talked about how. And we practiced, because if you don’t know what your skill IS, how are you going to know how to do all that?

More about that later. Sign up to get a notice when I spend time to develop that part of the conversation.

Small efforts go a long way

I have started 6 companies, and am working on number 7. I actively run 4. I spend a lot of time with my kids (they are fun 🙂 ), and I chair a charity.

I find it interesting that people think the charity work is all-consuming, and will take over your life, and therefore they won’t volunteer.

Why would you NOT volunteer an hour a year?! You must understand that the “I don’t have time, I work full-time” makes me sigh deeply.

I don’t profess to know what is all going on in your life, and you may battle things I can only imagine. If so, this one isn’t for you, and I wish you strength, courage and best of luck.

But if you can find time, I know that ONE HOUR from each of us, will build amazing things.

Go ahead. Just do ONE.

Work Life Balance is the hardest thing to get right

Over half of my followers on twitter consider Work Life Balance to be the hardest thing to get right. Interestingly, I completely disagree. (sorry sorry! Don’t leave, tweeps)

For me, it is very simple. Family comes first.

They have to. I love them. I would drop anything in a heartbeat if they needed me. And I know that there is never ever going to be an end of that To Do list at the office — it will never be emptied, it will never be completed, so I better find a way to get comfortable with never being “finished”.

So how do I not drown in guilt?

I decided to be okay with the choices I make. If I decided to be home, then I will not allow myself to feel guilty that I am missing the meeting/trip/congress (fill in your chosen one). There is no point, right? I have made the decision, and nobody is going to be happier because I am feeling guilty. And vice versa: if I am on business, I am on business. Kicking myself for being a bad mother isn’t going to make my kids love me more, or bring them any more fond memories.

Does it always work? Of course not. But it is a hell of a good step in the right direction.

Now, you are probably grinding your teeth and muttering that it is easy for me, I am my own boss. And you are of course right in that. But please don’t forget that I have the entire companys’ success to think about. When I was employed and screwed up, I could get fired. If I screw up now, EVERYONES job is gone.

Find a boss who gets it. And if that isn’t happening, come talk to me. Perhaps we can start a business together?

Why it is important for me to be recognised with Awards

It is always flattering to be nominated or suggested for awards and nominations, and obviously, I would be lying if I told you it doesn’t boost my ego or confidence I am human; of course it does! But I want to share with you the most important reason why it is important for me to be recognised as a leader, as an entrepreneur and an innovator. It is much bigger than just me.

I come from a small town in Sweden. I grew up pretty uncertain about a lot of things, but I always had a strong (some would say too strong) sense of what is Right and Wrong. I could handle a lot of things, but I always struggled with unfairness, and with undeserved authority (again, some would argue any authority…). A lot of the times this would get me in trouble, as I was fiercely (and naively) fighting for what I believed was right.

I haven’t given up that approach, but I have become much smarter about it.

Winning awards does two things for me:

It validates what I am doing: I run my companies not just to make money (I haven’t taken an actual salary yet, and the small profits are reinvested in research, development and staff training), but to do good. My work with Direct Relief and The Fistula Foundations are two tangible examples (read more here).

It also gives me a platform to speak from. I have almost 10 000 followers on twitter, and a large network on LinkedIn. I have been asked for comments by The Washington Post, on CNBC, BBC and other media. This means that when the times comes for me to really make a difference, I can start with a very large network, and go from there.

There are also numerous other benefits: It validates the companies to customers and partners, it gives my teams a boost, it brings us tremendous joy to go to award ceremonies together (and win!). Obviously, none of the awards would happen without I, M, T, D, E, R, O, J, L, L, R and T, which they know very well: a leader isn’t a leader without the team who chose to follow her. And the fact that THEY chose to follow ME, is the biggest award a true leader could ever get.

THAT is the real reward.

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