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Link Network Newsletter 2023 Series - Vol 1: Creativity

18 January 2023

Link, DWF's early careers networking group, welcomes you to their first piece of 2023. We hope you enjoy this month's edition which is packed full of blogs, interviews and educational content focusing around this month's theme - Creativity.

This month we feature blogs on creativity and promoting yourself & your business, using technology creatively to help maintain a healthy work-life balance, creative ways to engage with ESG, how to be more creative in the corporate world and creative ways to network.

We put the spotlight on the CMO of DWF Group Plc - Zelinda Bennett in our new 'Inspire Interview' feature where we hear from high achievers - what their professional journey has been like so far and their top tips, advice and inspirations. 

Also, look out for details of our new training programme for 2023; The Career Development Lab with Zing365.

As ever, we are always on the look out for guest authors/bloggers so please do get in touch if you would like to contribute to our next global Link newsletter. Get in touch if you want to feature!

What is creativity? Promoting yourself and your business

Being creative can be a little scary for a lot of people and it's an understandable reaction, especially when it comes to how you can promote yourself or your business, but it shouldn't be!
What is creativity? Promoting yourself and your business

Creativity isn't just all about having a skill set or hobby and it is certainly not something that is just possessed by artists, writers or musicians etc. Creativity is in fact a mind-set, one that each and everyone one of us has the ability to tap into.

For context, I myself come from an extremely creative background. I loved art and reading as a child, which are two very prominent interests that help feed the right hemisphere of our brains - the most innovative part to be specific. This passion however never left me - as it can do with many children as they grow older - which means the most creative section of my mind over time has only strengthened, to the point where this type of thinking has become second-nature to myself. 

In 2021, the 'side hustle' became an increasingly popular trend due to the effects of Covid-19. It was a time where people had to learn how to not only promote their products or services, but also themselves. Lockdown become a period of thousands of people tapping into their creativity, but not just in starting small businesses or producing new products. We had to get creative in how we communicated, how we could stay in contact and do things with our time, meaning every single person on this planet will have used that creative part of themselves in some shape or form, proving we can all be innovative in our own way. And when it comes down to promoting yourself or your business, this also proves we are all capable in doing so.

I started my side business 'MbCreative' in early 2021, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I quickly discovered that my brand is ultimately an extension of who I am, which is what helped me when it came to advertising my services. It also made me realise that this applies to all companies and individuals wanting to promote their business or themselves, you have to really know what you want to put out there for your audience, you have to know what you yourself would think if you were on the other side looking in. Put yourself in the consumer's shoes, take them for a walk and see how they fit. Does it appeal to you? Does it stand out? How are they different to others in the business? What are they not doing, that others are? Asking yourself these kinds of questions constantly are crucial. 

We are currently living in the most ground-breaking era of our time when it comes to technology and innovation. Companies and influencers have more power now to promote their brands than ever before, and as scary as that can be for people and businesses who are unfamiliar with this world, I cannot stress enough how important it is. Just like I did, you need to take a leap of faith, take videos, involve the public, make yourself feel and seem more relatable, don't take yourself or your business too seriously (unless it's necessary of course), reveal your ups and downs, show how you overcame mistakes and what you learned from them, sign up to as many social media platforms as you can and utilise their features, let your audience see what goes on behind the scenes, discover what is trending, ask yourself what is happening in the world right now, and how can you can link that to what you do or what you offer. 

It isn't as simple as drawing a picture and selling it, or writing a novel and publishing it, being creative is about understanding the world we live in right now and understanding how your business can fit into it. Just because an insurance company is in the financial industry, or a travel agency is in the tourism industry, doesn't mean they can't portray or promote themselves as creatively as the artistic world. 

If I were to give one bit of advice from my experience, it would be to always keep trying new things and to never stop discovering different ways in promoting yourself.  In the end, you can only learn from it and quite possibly make your business even stronger.

By Marybeth Simpson,



Using Technology Creatively To Help Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

It can be difficult to maintain a work-life balance, particularly when deadlines and job pressures are never-ending. For preserving a healthy work-life balance, technology can be one of the most effective ways to help you. Here are some ways you can use technology to keep that balance:
Using Technology Creatively To Help Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
  1. Set job priorities: A fantastic method to use technology to help you organise your schedule and manage your time is by using scheduling and productivity tools. There is no secret to the benefits of being well-organised, but increased organisation can lead to better efficiency and never being caught off-guard by a task you forgot about! These applications could provide a simple answer to prevent your work and personal lives from blending.
    • Suggested Applications: Todolist, Trello, GoogleKeep, Notion.
  2. Learn to say no: It's crucial to develop the ability to decline requests that conflict with your priorities or goals for the sake of a healthy work-life balance. Although it can be difficult, saying no will prevent burnout and give you more time for the things that are important to you.
    • Suggested Applications: Boundaries.me, Time Tune, No More Yes.
  3. Take breaks: Breaks are important for preserving your concentration and productivity. You may improve your creativity, relieve stress, and replenish your batteries by taking regular breaks. A positive attitude towards work is the foundation of a successful work-life balance.
    • Suggested Applications: RescueTime, Focus@Will.
  4. Use meditation and mindfulness apps: Meditation and mindfulness have a number of advantages. From lowering tension and anxiety, raising attention and concentration and even encouraging better sleep and enhancing wellbeing! After a long day at work, mindfulness and meditation techniques can help you relax and enjoy your free time.
    • Suggested Applications: Headspace, Simple Habit, Insight Timer, Stop, Breathe & Think.
  5. As much as technology may be our largest help, it can also be our biggest distraction! Using methods for managing both your professional and personal lives, as well as understanding how to avoid being distracted by your phone while working, can both help you stay focused on the time you have set aside for work.
    • Suggested Applications: Moment, Freedom, Offtime, Forest.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential to your overall well-being. By integrating technology in to our day-to-day lives, we can help manage and alleviate some of the stresses which come our way. Technology offers a creative and easy route that could help you find that one magic moment that helps it all ‘click’ in to place. 

Remember, achieving a work-life balance is a process and requires effort and dedication, but it is worth it for your long-term physical and mental health. Hopefully, integrating some of these apps in to your day-to-day process can help you reach a point where you are both satisfied and happy.

By Stephen Kewley - a paralegal in our Manchester office.

How to be creative with ESG

It is easy to be intimidated by the idea of 'ESG' (Environmental, Social and Governance) and what we can do to contribute. ESG is more than just a policy and in fact touches upon everything that we do. There are so many ways that we can be creative in working towards our ESG objectives. 
How to be creative with ESG

Like most of us, ESG is at the forefront of our minds. We have a responsibility to ensure we protect our future environment and ensure that our workforce is diverse and representative of the communities we work in. ESG impacts every aspect of the business, from how we interact with clients to who we employ. As an Employment team, we often have to advise clients on their own ESG policies and recognise the importance of leading by example in this area.  Our clients are also increasingly focused on ESG to ensure a responsible and sustainable approach to their business. 

Our team has put our heads together to come up with ways in which we can be creative with ESG. In particular, our team has focused on social mobility within the Birmingham community.
We recently rolled out the first 6 sessions of our 5 STAR Futures Programme, working with our partner schools in Birmingham. Of course, keeping the focus of 30 pupils is no mean feat. This has required us to think outside of the box in delivering sessions in order to unlock the potential of the school's pupils by helping them increase their confidence; develop their employability skills; and become more work-ready. 

Following one successful term of 5 STAR with Jewellery Quarter Academy, we looked into what more we could do in furthering our ESG reach and have decided to partner with a key client to deliver the next programme. Not only will this strengthen the client relationship, but it will also allow both the client and ourselves to further our ESG objectives and in turn, most importantly, strengthen our community impact. 

You can be creative with ESG by considering it in your everyday work and thinking of practical solutions to any issues you come across. For example, when setting up a client meeting, what are the ESG considerations? Do you need to travel? If so, you could choose to meet more than one client in one day to make the most of your travel. You could consider in advance how ESG relates to the client – could you offer up the opportunity for them to volunteer in an upcoming initiative, or offer some advice on advancing their own objectives? Closer to home, contributing to ESG could be through something as simple as discussing it with your team, questioning where you could improve elements such as your community outreach or environmental contributions. 

When it comes to ESG, the key is to take a step back and look at it as more than a one-dimensional policy. It should be a key factor to all decisions moving forward and something that can be easily implemented into everyday work.

5 Creative Networking Tips

Networking events are key to successful business relationships in many industries. But let’s face it — sometimes they can be awkward or feel like a chore! We have put together 5 creative ways to network.
5 Creative Networking Tips

1. Get a Digital Business Card

As well as looking high-tech and snazzy, Digital Business cards are more efficient, cost effective and eco-friendly. 

  • Digital cards are more accessible than their paper counterparts because they can be shared asynchronously with anyone, anywhere. 
  • You can include far more information. With a virtual business card, you can link to your CV, website, LinkedIn page and more!
  • People are likely to lose or misplace a printed business card. With a digital card, however, the information is with them for as long as they have their phone. 
  • Digital business cards let you update your contact information instantly, and whenever required.

2. Shine the Spotlight on Others

Genuinely promoting others is an effective practice because it helps you build meaningful relationships with your connections and will improve your influence. While most people focus solely on promoting themselves, stand out from the crowd by promoting others too! In networking (and in life in general) you need to give in order to receive. One of the best ways to do this is to feature someone in a blog post, article or by simply sharing their posts online or giving them a shout-out or endorsement. 

3. Network in a 'non-business' Community

Often when we think about networking, we immediately think of business related events. The truth is, however, that some of the best opportunities for meeting people are in social or everyday situations. Depending on your interests and schedule, you might connect with people by participating in:

  • Community gardens.
  • Religious services and events.
  • Gyms and exercise classes.
  • Outdoor groups such as walking, hiking, and biking.
  • Volunteering groups

4. Lean into your uniqueness & stand out from the crowd

One of the keys to successful networking is finding a way to stand out from the crowd.

Standing out from the crowd will mean that you'll be more approachable and more people may be willing to talk to you and engage in conversation. If you blend into the background, stuck in an isolated corner, people may be less likely to reach out and you may have fewer opportunities to engage with others.

How to stand out at Networking events:

  • Wear unique accessories or dress in a bright colour
  • Keep your body language open and approachable
  •  Avoid scrolling or occupying yourself with a digital device
  • Position yourself strategically in the room
  • Show your true personality

5. Participate in Forums, Groups, and Niche Social Media Sites

Simply connecting with someone on LinkedIn doesn't always make it easier to actually engage with them. Try and narrow your search and join some more niche and unique groups. Here are a few of the best ways to reach a target audience online.

  • Forums - these predate social media and are still quite prevalent. You can find forums on almost every conceivable topic. Joining and participating in a few forums is a good way to meet people in your industry or niche specialism.
  • Social media groups. Facebook & LinkedIn groups are a good way to connect with people in a more focused way.
  • Specialised social media sites – you can also join smaller niche social media sites and build a following.