Our Personal Year in Review

Great conversations so often start with a great question.  This week our team question has been “what has made this a great year for you?”

Charlie Irvine

I have been inspired by the mix of personal and professional successes that the entire Questions of Difference team have achieved.  One of the things that always energises me is the range of impacts we have – from moving the market share of an organisation by 20%, to helping youth workers maximise their personal impact; from transforming organisational cultures to resolving disputes between executives; from helping leaders to communicate more effectively to getting those same leaders to learn the art of fruit based speed dating!

On a personal basis I am always proud of my son who is growing into a confident and entertaining young man.  His challenge for next year is to get the timing of his jokes right!

I’m proud to share reflections from the rest of the team below.  We encourage you to take the time to reflect on your highlights and successes for 2014 and take that pride and energy into 2015.

Graeme Rainbird

I have chosen three highlights – one with my family, one for my development and one with a client.

My first highlight is making the pilgrimage to Moominland, just outside Helsinki, and seeing the joy on the faces of both my 3 year old daughter and my slightly older wife when meeting their heroes Little My and Snorkmaiden in person. The Moomins seemed pleased that we had travelled to Finland to see them too.

I have also loved working with a global HR community on their professional development. I have found it a personal challenge to facilitate thought provoking dialogue between people in Asia, Europe and the USA – all by video link. Learning how to translate ‘face to face’ best practice to achieve genuine engagement and connection in a virtual development event has been great fun.

Finally, I’ve been very energised working with a bank that is delivering a major change programme that will drive commercial success. It has been great to see the energy and passion each team has shown as they make the transition to the new operation. One moment that sticks in my mind was during an innocent game of ‘fruit based speed dating’, when one of the team was clearly struggling as someone waved their fruit in his direction. His response when asked what the issue was? Banana phobia. A new one on me, and yet more evidence that people are endlessly fascinating!

Anne Eatson

At work, one of my highlights has been receiving amazing feedback from clients and colleagues as part of my yearly review. It’s great to have insight into how people view you, the work you do and the impact you have. To have it in black and white is really beneficial – so on the days when things aren’t going so well I take it out for the boost I need, reframe and begin again for another day!

On the home front, seeing my 19 year old son become even more independent has made us both feel grown up! I’m really looking forward to tasting his cooking when he comes back from university next week. Apparently he did take notice of the cookery lessons I gave him and has added some flair of his own!

Larraine Solomon

What an amazing ride the last seven months have been.  I joined Questions of Difference in May and have been on a journey to meet new clients, learn about new ideas and hopefully give something back to the amazing team I work with.  I have vast experience in helping organisations to communicate and engage with their teams effectively so that they achieve business outcomes – and every client I’ve worked with has begun to see how they can do this more effectively.   There’s nothing more rewarding than to share my years of practical experience of what works with others and then to watch the light bulb go on!   I’d like to thank everyone I have worked with so far – the amount of energy, learning, fun, determination, curiosity, delivery and results has been incredible.

At home I have watched my two wonderful children blossom.  My 16 year old daughter did very well in her GSCE exams and has embarked on her A’ levels with great energy.  My 8 year old son has incredible curiosity and a great sense of fun.

Jane Deacon

A great highlight for me this year was my partner Peter passing his Cardiac Physiology degree with first class honours. He did this while working full time so feel it is really well deserved and I am so proud of him.  Well done Pete!

I am also really proud to have joined the Questions of Difference Team and enjoy the opportunity of learning new things and working with a great team of people.

Liz Koumi

I’m always proud of both my children, but this year I’m especially proud of my daughter who is doing really well at school and I never thought I’d be able to say that!  Most of all though, I am so proud of my son who did really well in his A levels and got a place at Birmingham University to study Automotive Engineering.  And to top it all, we’ve just been told he has been awarded a scholarship to help with tuition fees in recognition of how well he did in his A’ levels!

My work highlight is being part of a bigger team with Jane and Larraine joining and Smita coming back from maternity leave.

Smita Nath

My daughter turned 1 this year – a milestone highlight!  She has such a hectic social life that we held 3 birthday parties to accommodate all her little and big friends that wanted to celebrate.

Returning to work after a year of maternity leave has been a surprisingly great experience.  Having conversations with colleagues and clients that just picked up where we left off has been a real boost.


Season’s greetings and a very happy New Year from all of the Questions of Difference team