Monday, 24 February 2014

Friday, 21 February 2014



West Berkshire businesswomen raised more than £50 for the British Heart Foundation when they “ramped up the red” at the Athena Network’s Newbury meeting last week.

Members and guests donated and wore red in support of the BHF’s Heart Month, organised locally by Alison Rosier, the charity’s fundraising volunteer manager for Wiltshire and West Berkshire and charity member of the Athena Network team.

Alison said: “Thank you so much for your kind contribution; I can’t thank the Athena Network ladies enough for daring to go red to fight coronary heart disease and taking part in this year’s campaign. Every pound raised will make a difference to people’s lives.

“Heart and circulatory disease is still the UK’s single biggest killer, claiming one in three lives every year. That’s why their effort means so much - with the continued support from our community, we are able to go on saving more lives every year.”


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Liisa Henriksson-Macauley on how Bigger Brighter Bolder helped her get her book "The Music Miracle" published

Liisa Henriksson-Macauley isn’t the only person who is as proud of punch of her new book The Music Miracle; The Scientific Secret to Unlocking Your Child's Full Potential.

The 30-year-old music educator from Newbury has just hit the top of the Amazon parenting charts with her ground-breaking book about the impact that music training has in developing a child's brain, academic success and social skills. As well as selling quickly among eager parents, the book has also received critical academic acclaim from university professor psychologist David J. Hargreaves, University of Roehampton, and Alex James from ever-popular band Blur.

Fresh from being interviewed on the nation’s most famous sofa for BBC Breakfast alongside her Britpop hero, the Finnish-born author is back where she started, at Bigger Brighter Bolder’s Success Group in Newbury. Backing her all the way is George Swift, motivational coach and director of Bigger Brighter Bolder, a firm that he runs with his partner Tracey Miller. Liisa was one of the first members of the Success Group, and attributes her membership of the group as the major reason the book was written. Like many of us, Liisa has been hampered on occasion by a lack of self-belief, and regular attendance at Success Group has proved to be the perfect foil.

Liisa said: “Success Groups was crucial in ensuring that I followed through and wrote the book alongside creating a complementary product called “Moosicology” that helps parents develop their children’s innate musical skills. By setting small, achievable goals and being accountable, I was able to complete the book, making it the only thing I’ve ever finished! A book is never going to be urgent but if you commit the hard work, it will reward you later. The group really gave me the faith I needed to trust myself.”

As well as the backing of George and Tracey, Liisa says the support shown by fellow Success Group members has been invaluable.

“Having completed the research, it took me a year to write and was so intense that Success Groups is about the only thing I remember from that time! It was great to have the support of the group and it felt like I’d committed to being a writer; it wasn’t a secret. Sometimes when you talk about something that means so much to you, people can be negative or judgmental, but everyone at Success Groups was extremely supportive and when needed pushed me onwards.

“It was a bumpy ride emotionally as it was a huge risk to spend time and money researching the book and lacking self-belief was a massive problem; I kept thinking “I’m not a scientist, who am I to write about it?” but the group helped me get through the solitary process of writing and made me realise that this amazing research had to be put out there and shared with parents.”

George adds: “The book came kicking and screaming into the world – it was not an easy birth! Liisa often says that she doesn’t see projects through as she lacks faith, yet she’s managed to write a best-seller, to be endorsed by an A-list musician, and her work has been extremely well received by academics. It’s exactly the kind of outcome I envisaged when I set up Success Groups.

“The wonderful thing is that everyone in the group felt immensely proud of Liisa when her book was published and when she appeared on TV. We played the video in the session and everyone applauded as she did an incredible job. We had an inkling of how much she was suffering from nerves, but could see her cope admirably and continue to put her point across in an articulate and focused way. Having been encouraging her for a year, the other members of the group knew how much work had been put into it and felt it was their success too. It has inspired yet another member to write a book, making a total of four new authors in our Wednesday morning group!

“Liisa felt like she didn’t belong in a business group, but here she feels supported, despite the vastly differing nature of people’s roles, businesses and goals. BBB Success Groups aren’t like other groups – this one is a community of entrepreneurs whose shared values transcend aspirations and goals. We believe that entrepreneurism requires creativity and a mindset for success and Liisa is a prime example of combining both. There’s been real respect for Liisa and gushing interactions online. When I read some of the feedback, I was proud that we’d created a unique community for entrepreneurial development that combines a system of goal-setting, accountability and ongoing personal and business development. We stretch entrepreneurs to think and be bigger, brighter and bolder and to follow that through with consistent and constant success focused activity.”

Liisa originally met George at a talk and she joined him as a life coach client. “I remember her coming up to me at the end with her husband, Trav and saying she “needed someone to make me do stuff”. I knew there was a real spark in terms of how we thought and saw the world and recognised she needed confidence and mentoring amongst other things. She was a one-to-one client for a while, but loved the idea of Success Groups and became one of our founder members, bringing a real energy to the environment. It’s very refreshing to have her in the group as she has quite a different energy to “traditional business owners”.

“I’ve loved watching Liisa grow in confidence in group situations and really embracing business aspects as well as developing her creativity. What’s been great is that the other members have gained from her perspective too as she’s diverse but incredibly driven.”
Of particular assistance, says Liisa, was George’s unique “Build It Programme”, designed to help people take a creative idea through to completion in a cohesive, structured fashion.

Liisa said: “ ‘Build it’ makes it happen and makes it tangible. There are phases that stretched my dream, allowed me to fully connect to the creative aspects of the project as well as keeping it on track until its final completion. It made sense more and more and saved me so much time when I used it in all areas of my life. It encourages you through a process and gives you a glimpse of where you want to be and then leads you to that place.”
George added: “Liisa is one of the most loved members. She’s come a long way since she joined and is definitely one of the most creative members of the group. She came with huge amounts of creativity and the group has supported her through developing the practical aspects of business and goal achievement. In turn Liisa has inspired many in the group to be more creative. I’m so chuffed at what Liisa has achieved because this is exactly what Success Groups and the Build It Programme were designed for.”