Episode 1 - Paula Senior

How far would you go? Making Conversations about Homelessness Count

Paula Senior – YMCA Fund-Raising Officer


Making Conversations about Homelessness Count #Sleepout20

paula senior YMCA

In our first episode, we speak to Paula Senior from the YMCA. Paula is a fund-raising officer and is currently preparing for the annual Sleepout to raise much needed funds for the night shelter, how covid has stretched them to the limits and how they have risen above the challenges faced by the homeless.


Please donate and support Wendy’s 12-year-old daughter sleeping out: (donations now closed)


To follow and support the YMCA in raising awareness please follow these links:



You will be moved by Paula’s pivotal moment – All about a boy.



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Full Episode Transcript

Transcription of full episode –

Making Conversations Count – Episode 1

Wendy Harris and Paula Senior

November 4th 2020



00:00:00:    Introduction

00:01:43: Covid-19 and 2020

00:04:27: History of the YMCA

00:06:25: Having a conversation

00:08:47: Sleep Out

00:11:47: Sleep Out 2019 Target

00:12:06: Winter Night Shelter

00:13:05: Join Wendy, and help out

00:14:50: Paula’s Pivotal Moment

00:22:21: Wendy’s Story

00:23:12: Where do you go to the toilet?

00:26:00: Reaching out to the YMCA

00:26:49: Final thoughts


Wendy Harris: Welcome to Making Conversations Count.  Our podcast where we share inspirational stories from business leaders, and they tell us all about their pivotal moment.  Today, I am really excited.  I’ve got Paula Senior from the YMCA joining us, to share her pivotal moment.  Hello, Paula.

Paula Senior:  Hi, Wendy.  Thank you very much for inviting me on here.

Wendy Harris: Now, tell everybody about the YMCA and how we first met.

Paula Senior:  I worked for YMCA in Burton.  We are an independent charity based in Burton‑on‑Trent, which covers homelessness, people at risk of homelessness, food bank, mediation.  A whole breadth of services.  I do fundraising, for YMCA Burton.  I am passionate about the course.

Wendy you I met about three years ago, I think now.  We started talking, met each other a few times.  Then we’ve had some really good conversations haven’t we, about your work, what you do, what I do and life really.

Wendy Harris: Yes, a shout out to the LoveBiz and the lovely Sue Crooks that started that Ladies Network.  Certainly, I’d heard of the YMCA, but I really had no idea about the work that the YMCA does in terms of homelessness.  As you know, Paula, I’ve shared my story quite publicly.  It is 21 years ago now that I was made homeless with a six-year-old round my legs and I was pregnant at the time.  So, had I have known about the YMCA then, things could have been different, which is why I’m happy to support the YMCA now.  I am guessing that this year has been an incredible and challenging time for you at the YMCA.

Paula Senior:  Yes, absolutely.  I mean it’s a very difficult time for lots of people, hasn’t it?  The year that Covid came and changed everything.  Obviously as a charity supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the community it has been particularly challenging.  Not just on the basis of keeping everybody safe.  There are 71 people that live with us, which is a considerable number of people.  Age range from 18 to 64, and that is men and women, all vulnerable for a number of reasons.  Some with some very complex needs, so being in lockdown for them is very difficult to understand and to cope with.  Without all the other complex things going on in life.  You know, we’ve all felt that haven’t we, with lockdown?  It’s been particularly challenging at times.

For business as well, but from a charity point of view, aside from the wellbeing side and keeping everybody safe, we’ve had a massive massive drop in income because we had ten events cancelled, which obviously brings income into the charity.  Food bank donations dried up overnight, literally.  Then we rely completely on the support of our community, so churches.  Groups like LoveBiz, networking groups who have always supported us with food bank collections.  Obviously, could not meet anymore and therefore weren’t able to have a collection and donate food.  So, the flip side of that is the demand for the food parcels went completely through the roof, because children were off school and families trying to feed children, navigating furlough, navigating and worrying about job losses; just surviving.

Having children at home, some of those that would have had meals provided in school.  There was a massive impact on families.  So, demand through the roof and supplies completely dropped.  We have struggled.  It has been challenging, yes, definitely.

Wendy Harris: Yes, looking after people physically by giving them somewhere safe to stay.  You are looking after them by feeding them so nourishing them, but you are also having to take care of their mental wellbeing as well, aren’t you?

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: Because the emotional and financial strain that perhaps losing a job and a lot of this — you can’t lay blame anywhere, can you?

Paula Senior:  No, no.

Wendy Harris: It’s really difficult because you’ve got to just take what’s happening and go with it, haven’t you?

Paula Senior:  Yes, and I think also you will understand this as well, Wendy, like most of us do.  When people are struggling, when there’s change anyway, without it being such a massive change that they may lose their job, they’re home-schooling.  Someone they knew is poorly with Covid or just poorly anyway that’s navigating life.  All these things compound to people’s wellbeing and mental health, don’t they?

Wendy Harris: Yes, because it’s not just about one person neither, it can be about a family and their extended family.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: It is where does it stop?  It’s such a complicated situation to be in.  This is why I invited you on the show.  I wanted the YMCA as a UK-wide charity.  Is it global, Paula?

Paula Senior:  It is global.  In the UK specifically are 114 YMCAs.

Wendy Harris: Wow.

Paula Senior:  That is just in the UK.  We are all a separate charity in our right, we are all independent and we all offer a different level of service or provision.  So, it is 176 years today the global movement of YMCA.

Wendy Harris: We’re getting a history lesson as well now.

Paula Senior:  When that was set up by a man called George Williams in London in 1844, he had gone to London because his family had deemed he may get into the wrong crowd, if you like.  So, it was the Industrial Revolution, probably the wrong crowd means perhaps going to see girls or hitting up with friends for beers.  Nothing substantial like we might deem today.

He went to London as a young Christian man and realised that there wasn’t anywhere for people to meet, to be able to meet safely and talk or just to develop friendships and that’s how the YMCA formed originally.  So, 176 years on, there are 114 separate YMCA’s now.  Some YMCAs don’t offer any housing, but they do a lot of youth work, so around 18 to 25 years old is their real focus.  Helping them to navigate, I guess, and give them support that they absolutely need to have a good future.

Wendy Harris: Yes, transition isn’t it, into adult life.

Paula Senior:  It is.

Wendy Harris: That parents sort of say, “Go learn your own lessons”, to some extent.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: Some say, “I’m going to do it on my own”, but who would have thought that way back then in the Industrial Revolution that George Williams said, “We’ve got nowhere that we can have a proper conversation that counts”.

Paula Senior:  Absolutely, yes, that’s true Wendy, yes.

Wendy Harris: Yes, a man after my own values then as well.  Who’d have thought we’d have found that out today.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: I’m guessing that you must have difficult conversations with individuals as well as some really rewarding conversations, because it is not just the negative impact of being homeless or being out of a job.  The work that the YMCA does, really does transform lives and you’ve got some real good success stories, haven’t you?

Paula Senior:  Yes, totally.  You’re absolutely right.  It’s not all negative.  It may feel like that when someone comes to us for help, whatever that help is.  Whether it’s a food parcel, or a family that are navigating difficult courses with relationships at home.  We work around homelessness, support and prevention really.  So, a family where there is young people perhaps in their teens, 14, 15 struggling at home, for whatever reason.  The family’s in conflict.

We offer a mediation service which again is a free service to anybody to access.  I think at any one time there’s about 12 families open to receiving that support.  That is all around conversation.  So, the mediator will say he holds the safe space, for a conversation to be held respectfully and openly.  Because where there’s conflict, that can’t happen.  It becomes a blame game and people aren’t listening and don’t want to hear; but in the space that he holds and asks the questions so that people can listen and converse through conversation clearly.  That’s part of his role.

Wendy Harris: It facilitates the change in behaviour, in attitude in mindset, in approach.

Paula Senior:  It does.

Wendy Harris: To everything doesn’t it?  Yes.

Paula Senior:  Part of that service usually, what generally happens is that a mediator would meet both parties so the young person and their parent or the parents or sometimes it’s extended family members if the young person doesn’t live with parents.  So, he will meet them both separately to talk to them about what they want to achieve.  What their aim is as part of the mediation.  Then they meet usually somewhere independent because that also takes away the emotion.

Now, of course, Covid’s changed that as well.  So, he cannot go into their home and they can’t come into our site.  So, those conversations are still taking place.  They are taking place on Zoom, like many conversations now, because it is still critical that those conversations take place.

Wendy Harris: Keep that communication open is really important.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: I know that you have different events that you do throughout the year by going to networking and encouraging people to bring food for the food banks and I know that you have done raffles as well.  We have all brought gifts and everybody wants the Prosecco.

Last year I was involved for the very first time in one of your events, because some of the ladies said, “Let’s do the Sleep Out”, and you’d launched the sleep out in a graveyard.  I went, “I’m only doing it if we’re going to go extreme”.  It was a real-life changing night.  It really brought home a lot of things.  I think a couple of weeks ago I shared the video of the morning after I’ve not slept.  It’s still getting views.  I think it’s really important that it’s carrying on again this year, but there’s a difference to it this year because Covid has had to allow for some changes.  So, Paula, tell us.  How can we get involved in Sleep Out which is tomorrow?

Paula Senior:  Anybody can take part in Sleep Out.  It’s an event we’ve been running for many years.  It’s our twelfth year this year, Wendy, and it is a key part of what we do.  The main thing is it raises awareness of homelessness, which is absolutely key and the services we offer but also it raises much needed funds for our services to continue.

So, yes, flipped on the side.  This year we’re going to a whole different level and it’s going to be a virtual event tomorrow.  So, we’re asking people to take part.  Still give up your bed for one night only.  We’re asking people to sleep in their garden, they can sleep on their kitchen floor, sleep in their workplace maybe or their drive or their courtyard, whatever.  Or even to sofa surf.

Wendy Harris: Yes.

Paula Senior:  Because there are many, many hidden homeless people that sofa surf night after night after night.  That have no fixed address, that have no secure home to go back to and don’t know sometimes from one night to the next where to go.

So, instead of all coming together and sleeping in the graveyard like you took part last year, or at Pirelli Stadium, we’re asking you to still do that.  Give up your bed for one night but do it virtually.  But we’ll still be connected Wendy.  We’re still going to have those conversations that we had last year with everybody about why we do our work, why it’s important, why people are helping us.  The case studies for the success stories for those that have asked for help and worked with us to change their lives, because it is life changing.  It absolutely is, so, yes.  Tomorrow 6th November and we’re live streaming through the night so that we’ve got people talking.  We’ve got a busker playing called Chris Baldwin.  He’s a local musician, brilliant guy.  He would be with us normally, so he’s just going to be playing some tunes as well.

Wendy Harris: Keep spirits up, yes.

Paula Senior:  Yes, we still need to be connected and that is really important to us, because we couldn’t do what we do without everybody’s help.

Wendy Harris: Absolutely.  I know last year you set a target and you reached it.  What was the target last year?  What did you raise?

Paula Senior:  Okay, so last year the target was £50,000 to get from the event.  We raised £50,259, which is an incredible amount of money.

Wendy Harris: I know a big chunk of that goes towards the night shelter, doesn’t it, which is open over Winter for people to just come in from the cold.

Paula Senior:  Yes, in the last couple of years we’ve operated what they called the Winter Night Shelter, which opens on 1 December and runs till 1 April.  It’s the harshest nights of the Winter really, where people just come and spend the night.  Safe place to stay, warm, hot food.

What we have been doing the last 12 months, has been working really really hard around prevention and working with the rough sleepers.  To try and get them housed and to try and get them some stability to be in a place to live independently.  To live independently, safely, without risk of losing their home.  So, we’ve done a lot of work with people that were sleeping rough.  Also, the night shelter so everybody that came to the night shelter we worked very closely with last year.

When Covid struck and we went into lockdown, we managed to get 18 rough sleepers temporarily housed overnight, within 24 hours.

Wendy Harris: That’s going to be important job for you to get involved with this year, because of course Winter’s fast approaching isn’t it, so I would like to let all our listeners know that me and my daughter — my daughter wanted to come to the graveyard last year but she was too young.  She’s 12 this year.

Paula Senior:  Yes, that’s right.

Wendy Harris: She made me promise that we did it together this year.  We’ve basically said we’re going to set up camp in the office, which is the log cabin in the garden.  It’ll be freezing.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: And she’s asked for her school to help promote with the fundraising for that.  I am sure she is going to be excited to take part with everybody else on the live streaming and to hear the busking.  So, we’ll share the details of how you can help.  If you feel that you can put your hand in your pocket for the cost of a Costa coffee, other brands are available.  Everything helps.

Paula Senior:  Sometimes people think that they have to donate a large amount of money or they have to do something really significant.  Actually, for example, for somebody who has no birth certificate or no ID, because it’s been lost or stolen or whatever.  It’s £12 to replace that.  They can’t access any services until they have some ID.  So sometimes the first point of call to help a rough sleeper is to get a replacement birth certificate.  They have no money.

Wendy Harris: Yes, absolutely.

Paula Senior:  So, we’re paying for the £12.  So, sometimes just the cost of probably a couple of days lunch that people might have paid ordinarily, or sandwiches for the week or a couple of coffees in the week will make a difference to someone’s life, definitely.

Wendy Harris: Well, if we’re going to get kicked out the pubs at 10.00pm that extra pint.

Paula Senior:  A couple of pints, yes.

Wendy Harris: Just throw it the YMCA’s way.  I know it will make such a huge difference to what we do.

Paula Senior:  It does, Wendy.

Wendy Harris: Going back to how we met and our love of conversation, I’m guessing that there must be a pivotal moment that changed your view on life that had an impact on what you’re doing now, perhaps.  Paula, share with us what your pivotal moment is, please?

Paula Senior:  Just a little bit of background.  I used to be a safeguarding officer in an education setting.  So, we are going back now probably six years or so, and I was supporting a young man who was thrown out of his parents’ home on his 16th birthday.  Really nice young lad, a few issues going on in his life, but a really good lad.

I had a conversation with him probably most days that he attended and really got to know him.  He was actually in quite an abusive relationship, but he was staying with a partner’s family and not having a great time.  So, I’d support him regularly.  I helped him to get some finances to get things together.  He had nothing, just living with this family.  So, I met him in September, fast forward to November I hadn’t seen him for a couple of days, and I’d been ringing him, leaving him messages.  Wouldn’t answer and he turned up at my door.  It was 12 o’clock, it was a Friday, and it was the first Friday of November.  He came and he looked absolutely dreadful.  “Do you want someone to go and get you a drink?  Have you eaten?”  He wouldn’t sit down; he was very edgy.  He was kind of pacing round my office and he said, “I’ve come to say goodbye, I’ve tried to kill myself.  I can’t go on, my parents don’t love me, I just can’t go on with life.  I’m failing at everything”.

So, I did manage to get him to sit down for a minute.  He was very very edgy and when you’re talking to somebody who’s reached this point, it’s often difficult to converse anyway.  He showed me what he’d done to himself the night before.  He’d tried to cut his wrists, it’s the most awful thing I’ve ever seen.  I said, “Right, I’ll go and get you a drink, just sit and wait”.  Well, he said, “No, I’ve come to say goodbye.  I want to say thank you because you’ve actually listened to me.  You have listened to me every time I’ve come in moaning, crying, telling you how I feel, and you’ve not judged me.  You’ve just listened.  Give me some advice, what to do etc, etc.  So, I’ve come to say thank you”.  I said, “Just wait, just wait”, I was trying to process, “What am I going to do.  I need to keep here because I don’t want him to leave the building.  I can’t obviously force him”.  I said, “I’ll go and get you a drink”, “No, no, no, I’m going”, and with that he was gone.

Stormed out of the office, left the building and I had to obviously follow all the processes and the protocol.  I had to ring the police, I had to submit his photo.  He had no relationship with parents at that point.  Then if I’m absolutely honest, I broke my heart because it was a young 16-year-old lad who needed just someone to give him some stability, to listen and help him through life.  There’s only so much I can do as the safeguarding officer.  So, he left the building and by coincidence, that was the night I was doing my first Sleep Out.  I didn’t work for YMCA.

Wendy Harris: I was going to say, it has to be the anniversary tomorrow then.

Paula Senior:  Yes, I had never done sleep out before, I was doing it that year with some team friends.  Off he went.  I also rang the YMCA, because I’d started to develop a relationship with them through my safeguarding leads to get them to come in and do some drop-in sessions.  So, young people can go and have a chat, and break down some barriers about you know what we do and the help that’s available.

I had a call about 4.30pm that afternoon to say they’d picked him up.  The police had found him outside his parents’ address.  He had put a note through the door to say goodbye to them too.  They’d picked him up, they’d taken him to hospital, and he’d had the help that he needed on that time.  He went back home to live, actually, for a period of about three weeks, but in that time, I’d also made contact with the YMCA again, to see if he could be housed at that point.  If something should break down.  Now, he did move in with the YMCA, three weeks after.

He carried on with his studies.  He did come and see me every time he was in college.  He came in every time he attended, and he got through his qualifications and did brilliantly.  That was a real moment, that conversation that we had although to me it felt like it could be his last day and to him, in his mind, it was.  It wasn’t but I listened to him and I was listening not to just respond but to listen to what his needs were.  What were his needs in that conversation?  His needs were help, support, stability and that conversation allowed me to understand that and to find that for him, I guess.  Support him to access that service.

I didn’t work for the YMCA at that point and never thought I would if I am honest.  So, then fast forward a little bit, I left my job, took redundancy.  Via a chance conversation the day before I left I was invited to the YMCA by the mediator, who had been working with me to say, “Come and have a cup of tea, and see what we do”.  I thought I knew everything about what they did, obviously, but I didn’t.  I had a cup of tea and he said some, “I just have a feeling we will meet again at some point”.  Fast forward six months and I start work there through a chance opportunity and I absolutely love what we do.

I believe in what we do, and I believe in the life-changing opportunities that we can give to people because I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen it first-hand, absolutely.  I see it all the time, I see the people that come in.  That feel they have nothing and leave six months later with the world at their feet.  With hope, that’s what we offer, hope.

Wendy Harris: Yes.

Paula Senior:  Through conversation and through support.

Wendy Harris: You’ve given me goosebumps, Paula.

Paula Senior:  It was a very difficult conversation.

Wendy Harris: It’s very clear that he’d identified somebody that would understand the subtext of what he was trying to say, because at 16 that maturity of conversation hasn’t developed yet, has it?

Paula Senior:  No, that is true, Wendy, yes.

Wendy Harris: There is lots of emotion.  By listening to him, you knew what steps to take.  Even though he’d had gone home, you were already making the next steps available to him.

Paula Senior:  Yes, totally.

Wendy Harris: Before he even knew that that was what was going to happen.

Paula Senior:  Yes, absolutely.  I saw him, actually, not so long ago.  He was around and about, and he’s got a little family of his own now.  I felt a bit like a proud mum really.

Wendy Harris: Yes, I mean that is testament to your actions and being able to react and to then have the conversation with the right people to help him as well.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: I love that a chance conversation with the mediator was sowing a seed in your mind.

Paula Senior:  I know, we did talk about that actually when we meet up.  He says, “Do you remember when you came?”  “Yes, I remember.”  I never dreamt I would work there.  Why would I?  I would never dream that I would be working there.

Wendy Harris: Now, you are there.  You have been there how long?

Paula Senior:  Four and a half years now.

Wendy Harris: Four and a half years.

Paula Senior:  Yes.  It feels like forever, I’ve been there forever.

Wendy Harris: I bet it still feels like you’re learning every day.

Paula Senior:  Always.  Always, because everybody that we meet has a different story to tell.  I couldn’t even begin to tell you all of the reasons why people need help.  There’s many.  We’re all individuals aren’t we, at the end of day.

Wendy Harris: Yes, yes.

Paula Senior:  So, we all have our own reasons.  The people that come to us for housing, again no two people are the same, they’ve all had different circumstances.  I think the message for everybody is it could happen to any one of us.

Wendy Harris: At any time.  As I say I was pregnant, at the time, I’d put my first marriage behind me.  Left some gap, met somebody that I thought was my next forever and overnight from going to bed to waking up I was told to leave.  In no uncertain terms.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: My car was packed, “You can collect your stuff later”, and that was it.  It was like, “What do you do?  You’re in a daze”.  All you can do is get in the car, and go because I’d got my daughter, she was six.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: I was just fortunate that I had somewhere to surf.

Paula Senior:  Yes, but not everybody has that.

Wendy Harris: Yes, not everybody does.  So, I came close.  So, I say technically I was homeless, and I was, to all intents and purposes I had no fixed abode.

Paula Senior:  Definitely.

Wendy Harris: But I was very fortunate that I had support and I just think of all those people that don’t.  There was one of our mutual friends that said being a woman in the Winter, where do you go to the toilet?

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: It is the most basic of things that sleeping out for one night brings home to you.

Paula Senior:  It does.  I think Wendy, you will probably agree.  What I took away from that Sleep Out that first night when I was sitting at 2.00am in the morning, wide awake because I was freezing cold, even though I was layered up.  Just listening to the sounds around me, I was very very safe because I was in a stadium with lots of people, but I felt quite vulnerable and I would be terrible.  I’d be frightened to death sleeping rough.

Wendy Harris: The compounding idea of sleeping rough was that we were sat in the church drinking tea at 4.00am because you once get up and need to go to the toilet, and you’ve got a toilet to go to, the idea of actually going back to sleep is quite hard.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: So, you sleep a little on and off, but if you add that up, a weeks’ worth of sleeping like that.  I was battered after one night.

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: A week and what that does to your capacity to think clearly, I can’t imagine.

Paula Senior:  Absolutely.

Wendy Harris: Make that a month, make that a Winter, make that years of continual homelessness and you are then a shadow of your former self.

Paula Senior:  Feeling very disconnected from life, really.

Wendy Harris: Yes, mental health is one of my pet passions.  I will do anything to support that and anybody and help anybody, so we’d better get an early night tonight, Paula.

Paula Senior:  Yes, make sure you’ve got the sleeping bag.

Wendy Harris: We’re going to need it, yes.

Paula Senior:  Yes.  I am sleeping on my kitchen floor, I am.  That’s my plan for tomorrow.

Wendy Harris: Are you?

Paula Senior:  Yes.

Wendy Harris: I wish you luck and I look forward to joining you on the livestream with Alice and everybody else that’s joining.  We’ll stick the links to the YMCA fundraising page.  I know it’s on Virgin Money, I think?

Paula Senior:  Virgin Monday Giving that’s right, yes.

Wendy Harris: I know my personal page is the WAG Works because it’s named after the office, but you can go directly to the YMCA.  Honestly, I don’t care who gets credited with the money so long as the money comes in.  That’s the most important thing.

Paula Senior:  Thank you.

Wendy Harris: Paula, I really thank you for sharing that pivotal moment with us.  I applaud you for sharing.  I’ll be thinking of that anniversary tomorrow as well.  Also, sending a little prayer up to say, “Do you know what, thank goodness he’s got his own family to look after now”.  That’s made all the difference.

Paula Senior:  Yes.  Thank you, Wendy.

Wendy Harris: If anybody wants to reach out to you, Paula, where can they find you?

Paula Senior:  You can call me on 07754 045869 or my email address is paula.senior@burtonymca.org.  Of if anybody needs any help which is obviously crucial as well, for anything, the number is 01283 547211 and we’re based in Burton town centre, opposite the Asda Island.  We say it’s a grey curbed brick building, with flats either side.  Someone’s there 24/7, the door never closes.  We are always there for anyone.

Wendy Harris: If you know anybody that needs help pass those numbers on.  That’d be great.  Thank you again, Paula.

For those listeners that are tuning after 6 November, we survived the Sleep Out, we’re still raising funds for the YMCA so please check out those donation links if you can.  A pound is all we’re asking.  Anymore is fantastic.

We’ll keep you updated and if you follow us on social media, we will give you a total nearer to Christmas when all the penny counting has been done.  Thank you so much.

Thank you to all of my guests for sharing their contact details.  When you reach out to them don’t forget to mention the podcast show, so that they know exactly where you have come from.  That will help them out.

Thank you listening to the Making Conversations Count Podcast.  It’s been a pleasure to have you join us today.

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Andrew Deighton team coaching

Episode 5 – Andrew Deighton

Andrew Deighton – Team Coaching. Making Conversations about Teams Count. We are joined by Andrew Deighton today, who helps build and develop high-performing teams through strategy and processes in today’s remote working world.

Wendy has worked with Andrew in a second business through mentoring and knows firsthand how his advice relates to many aspects of running a business.

Nicky Pattinson sales expert public speaker

Episode 6 – Nicky Pattinson

Nicky Pattinson – Leading Sales Authority & Public Speaker. Making Conversations about Personality Count. Nicky Pattinson speaks the Truth in all she does! A northern lass who traded on the markets at the beginning of her career, similarly to your host. Now, Nicky has a best-selling book “Email: Don’t Get Deleted” and her own YouTube channel NICKYPTV.

Buckso Dhillon Wooley

Episode 7 – Buckso Dhillon-Wooley

Buckso Dhillon-Wooley – Actress, Speaker & Business Coach. Making Conversations about Self-Belief Count. A true diamond, Buckso is very much aligned with herself and the many facets of her own personality.
As an actor, speaker and coach her mission in life is to help people connect with their higher self.
Being aligned with yourself on a spiritual, physical and emotional level allows you to shine brighter in everything you touch.
Buckso Dillon-Whooley is a well known Actress, who has starred in Disney’s recent remake of Aladdin and is a long-standing actor on Coronation Street with appearances on many UK TV shows.

James Daniel Copywriter

Episode 8 – James Daniel

James Daniel – Copywriter
Making Conversations about Copywriting Count
Joining us in this episode is copywriter James Daniel.
He describes himself as ‘That old guy who writes copy – you know, the beardy one with glasses.’
We should point out there could be other old guys with beards and glasses out there!
It’s easy to like James’ style of writing because he’s a conversationalist who realizes that people don’t speak geek or tech.

Henny Maltby Digital marketing agency

Episode 9 – Henny Maltby

Henny Maltby – Digital Marketing Agency, Pink Elephant Media. Making Conversations about Digital Marketing Count. When the Pandemic hit in early 2020, Henny Maltby turned to her husband as they both realised their business was going to change forever. Offering online marketing to large corporate businesses who cut budgets left a hole to fill. By opening the conversation up with local businesses, it was obvious what the next chapter would be for them at Pink Elephant Media…

Kim Walsh Phillips

Episode 10 – Kim Walsh Phillips

Kim Walsh Phillips owns Powerful Professionals, a business that helps empower entrepreneurs to turn clicks into cash and identifying the superpowers in others so they can fly high. Kim is an expert in social selling strategy.

Amelia Thorpe Wellbeing coach

Episode 11 – Amelia Thorpe

Amelia Thorpe – Mental Health Wellbeing Coach. Making Conversations about Mental Wealth Count. Meet Amelia Thorpe, founder of Wellbeing 360, who talks to Wendy about how important it is to give equal priority to our mental and physical health. Listening to Amelia’s story will bring a beacon of hope that we can all take charge of our own conversations which will give us back the control that slips sometimes when times are tough. Amelia is a wellbeing counsellor.

John Attridge capacity business

Episode 12 – John Attridge

John Attridge – Guiding Businesses to Reach their Full Potential by Tapping into Spare Capacity

Making Conversations about Capacity Count. John Attridge, owner of BBX turns spare capacity into value for many businesses. When you listen to John you just know there is a bigger story to this guy as his accent gives it away!
John has successfully built a business network and community to help people fill spare capacity and exchange services. It is a brilliant concept and if you’ve not come across it before yet in touch with me and I’ll tell you more. Using the BBX community helped my own business through the lockdown and has provided such a lot of support and new relationships.

Clara Wilcox return to work coaching for parents

Episode 13 – Clara Wilcox

Clara Wilcox runs The Balance Collective, Specialising in Return to Work Coaching for Parents. Making Conversations about Returning to Work Count! This is a conversation that every Mum will resonate with, juggling home and work is not simply a balancing act but a superpower!

Clara recognized through her own personal journey that the right support for Mum’s returning to work was only available from the employer’s point of view. This causes a biased approach and is not always helpful in an emotive decision-making process.

dr ivan misner bni networking

Episode 14 – Dr Ivan Misner

In this episode, Ivan and Wendy explore how conversation is the foundation of all growth and learning. How times have changed, looking back and also predicting our future generations experiences, yet communication will still be the underpin even it how that looks has changed.

Janine Coombes marketing coach

Episode 15 – Janine Coombes

Google has recognised this lady as the #1 marketing coach and her video series mixes humour with key messages, it is the lovely Janine Coombes. Janine is a marketing coach for personal brands.
In this episode, Janine and Wendy share how using the right language influences the conversations we have and how it affects our results.

Lizzie Butler presentations coach

Episode 16 – Lizzie Butler

Making conversations about presentations count! Delighted to introduce Lizzie Butler, owner of LB Communications, who met Wendy at a local online networking event and immediately hit it off. Lizzie helps you to grow your business through personal development training and how to achieve brilliant communication.

Jem hills inspirational speaker

Episode 17 – Jem Hills

Making conversations about Bullying count. Jem Hills is an inspirational speaker, trainer & performance coach.
Talking to Wendy in this episode is ex-marine Jem Hills who you might find it hard to believe was affected by bullying and a lack of confidence. As a release Jem discovered Northern dancing and practiced as a bedroom activity that later led to an accidental release of freestyle dancing at a competition. The dancing-built resilience and the foundations for the training to complete the Mud Run and onto his Elite Special Forces career.

Peter howard graphic design

Episode 18 – Peter Howard

Peter Howard runs a design studio that is ranked in the top 100 in the country and was responsible for the WAG brand. Having known Peter and his team for many years, Wendy has heard lots of his stories but knew there would be one she had not heard before.

Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater business coaches

Episode 19 – Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater

Making conversations about partnerships count. In a Making Conversations Count first, we are joined by two dynamic guests in this episode. Both Taz & Asha provide business coach services in different areas. Joining Wendy chatting about all the elements that make up a great debate. You are not going to want to miss the observations with Taz Thornton and Asha Clearwater around questioning, opinions, debate and discernment that makes for wonderful colourful conversations.

Vicki Carroll O'Neill

Episode 20 – Vicki Carroll (formerly O’Neill)

Vicki works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and executive leaders who are stuck in their business and need someone as a partner to coach them to their next level of success. Vicki offers growth marketing consultant advice, strategy plans & also organises in-house marketing teams.

heidi medina business coach

Episode 21 – Heidi Medina

This episode contains one of our most important conversations, so we’re definitely going to make it count!
Wendy Harris brings Heidi Medina into the conversation today, who opens up the conversation about abuse she has encountered.
She’s a Linkedin expert and business coach who is the exact opposite of the classic ‘my way or the highway’.
Whether you meet Heidi online or in person she is the same.

Niraj Kapur online sales coach

Episode 22 – Niraj Kapur

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Online Sales Coach Niraj Kapur from “Everybody works in Sales” a business that helps companies with their sales processes.

Steve Judge paralympian motivational speaking

Episode 23 – Steve Judge

A life-changing accident that almost claimed a life but actually birthed a mindset shift.  Making conversations about speaking count!

Imagine losing your limbs in an accident.

That’s a real human test.

Most people would fall into one of two camps.

Feel the loss, and struggle to overcome it, before essentially accepting your ‘job lot’ and just becoming a bit angry.

Many would. And they’d be forgiven.

Then there are others, who would not let it defeat them, or define them.

Steve Judge is definitely in the latter of the two camps.

Nikolas Venios the ideas agency

Episode 24 – Nik Venios

We reflect on how this business man helped his poorly mother solve a household challenge which led to a career of making conversations about ideas and innovation count. We will all eventually lose our parents. Sadly, it’s a part of life. Not many of us have to suffer that loss at the tender age of just six. We couldn’t think of a nicer guy to help us with our goal of making conversations about ideas count. Truly, if anyone can hold a conversation about ideas, it’s Nik Venios of the Ideas Agency. Did you know that NASA has a genius test? During this episode, you’ll find out all about this, and the fascinating stats surrounding it.

Jonny cooper hates marketing

Episode 25 – Jonny Cooper

Most business owners hate marketing. That’s probably because they don’t understand it. Someone who does get marketing is Jonny Cooper, and even he can’t stand it! In fact, he despises it so much, he built a business around it. Welcome to Jonny Hates Marketing! This week we’re making conversations about messaging count. Messaging is so important to get correct. Your entire marketing voice depends on it. That’s why you need to listen very carefully to Jonny Cooper.

Wendy Harris telephone trainer how to sell over the phone

Episode 26 – Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris is an expert telemarketer, who has years worth of experience in cold-calling and doing it right. Now a podcast host, Wendy shares her story and how she became an advocate for making conversations count!

Will Polston Make it happen

Episode 27 – Will Polston

Making conversations about wealth….and Clubhouse….count! Paying it forward. Acting from a position of generosity and giving within the law of reciprocity. We’re talking to Will Polston.

Ray Blakney Live Lingua

Episode 28 – Ray Blakney

Making conversations about language count… Ray Blakney is the CEO And founder of online language school Live Lingua. Can you speak another language other than your native tongue? Wendy admitted to the “Making Conversations Count” team that she doesn’t, and we can’t help but feel she’s definitely not alone.

Many Ward write my book cuddle monster

Episode 29 – Mandy Ward

Mandy Ward is a book mentor, helping people to write their own books under the company ‘Write my book’. Mandy is also an author herself, including the popular children’s book ‘The Cuddle Monster’.

Sarah Townsend copywriter survival skills for freelancers

Episode 30 – Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend is a freelance copywriter and best-selling author of the book ‘survival skills for freelancers’. In this episode, we discuss the importance of conversations in the freelance world, and how things can lead to many opportunities…

Paul Furlong visual branding advertiser videographer

Episode 31 – Paul Furlong

Paul Furlong is part of Opus Media, producing TV advertising, videos, and photographs for businesses. He knows a thing or two about visual branding, and is considered a advertising guru!

Hear what people are saying about the show

Informative, Charismatic and Meaningful Conversations

The perfect companion on a short drive.

As well as an insight into the human character, you’ll learn just as much on how to hack your day-to-day business operations.

In a State Agent via Apple Podcasts

Enlightening and fun

One of the most enlightening and fun podcasts out there.

Wendy is an incredible host no matter who the guest and I am thoroughly enjoying this podcast.

One you must put on your weekly listen list.

JayDa11236 via Apple Podcasts


Wendy expresses genuine curiosity about her guests. I felt like we were all sitting around the table for a warm cuppa getting to know each other.

She truly has a gift at listening to her guests and making each conversation count.

As a listener, I left each conversation feeling engaged and connected. I’m looking forward to joining Wendy every week to learn about the pivotal moment in her guests’ lives. Elizabeth Krajewski

Izzy2Wander via Apple Podcasts

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