Mark Coleman reflects on a celebratory event held in true Colemans style.
Last week we held a celebratory event for all colleagues to get together and mark 30 years since I joined this incredible business. And it’s no exaggeration to say it was one of the best days in my working life.
There was such a warm and friendly feeling to the whole day – completely aligned with the way we run Colemans. We started with breakfast baps and coffee, and it felt more like a family get together than a company team building event, which is just how I wanted it.
Even the venue was a perfect fit for our company ethos and environmental ambitions – held at The Compound in Birmingham, a repurposed warehouse where even the sofas are made from recycled parachutes to support the circular economy.
Looking back and forwards
We kicked the day off with a director’s chat panel – an informal talk with the Board of Directors where we shared some of the history of our business and I had the chance to tell my personal story – from having difficulties with the educational system to my first job washing up; from entering the construction industry at Henry Boot to joining the family business in 1993.
We spoke about our strategy and the importance of key values such as quality, people and wellbeing, the environment and safety, innovative delivery of major projects. We covered our plans for the future and commitments going forward – all without falling into the trap of corporate PowerPoint overkill.
Giving people a voice
After breaking for coffee we went back into the open floor for an anonymous Q&A session using Slido, an app which allows those on the floor to ask questions anonymously. It was great to give people a voice who might not have otherwise felt comfortable in that environment.
We talked about multi skilled people, training, career development, working conditions, our mental health and wellbeing – a really varied discussion about some vitally important topics. And the engagement from colleagues was amazing.
Family Fortunes and an inspirational talk
After lunch, the real fun started. We had a Family Fortunes-style TV quiz which was great fun whilst provided some healthy competition and team bonding.
We heard from our inspirational speaker Ollie Ollerton from SAS: Who Dares Wins – an incredible hour which seemed to fly by in a matter of minutes. You could literally hear a pin drop because the interest was so high.
Olly spoke of life experiences from his childhood, as well as Special Forces tours in Northen Ireland and Desert Storm in Iraq. It was obvious he had been through and seen a lot. After he became addicted to alcohol and drugs, his story turned to how he turned his life around, focusing on what’s important and how to look after your mental and physical health.
It was a truly amazing talk from an inspirational man and I was pleased to be able to give everybody a signed copy of his latest book as a gift from the day.
Reflecting on the day
As I closed the event, I asked people to shout out words that reflected their thoughts for the day. “Amazing”, “engaging”, “trust building”, “friendship” were just a few.
We enjoyed some food, cut the cake like a true family celebration and I was given a really heart-warming presentation with a lovely card and well wishes from my friends and colleagues at Colemans. Not forgetting the best present – some Colemans branded Nike ID Air Forces 1s! I was blown away.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who was involved in the day, and of course to everybody who has made the last 30 years at Colemans so enjoyable. Here’s to many more!