Renée Wallen BSc (Hons) MA Ed PGCpsE DipELS CertSS CertHm
Social media consultant and trainer | Plain English business trainer
Renée started the business in 1998, diversifying from a career path in corporate sales and retail buying. Her consultancy expertise covers a broad field, with a specialism in staff training and development. In particular, she trains in effective communication skills and marketing strategies, such as setting up Social Media profiles for small businesses and providing social media training to help them market themselves effectively from an SEO perspective. She also runs successful social media campaigns for busy businesses that don’t have time to do it themselves.
For the past 18 years she has been instrumental in helping government bodies and private companies to revamp literature, establish branding and abolish gobbledygook, a seemingly never ending task. She has successfully helped organisations to gain national quality awards such as Investors in People and ISO accreditation and she has lectured extensively on alcohol awareness. Much of her time now is spent writing SEO web content and blogs – a sign of the times. But her best job so far: an afternoon escorting Bob Geldof around an education fair. And the worst? Dressing up as a giant teddy bear to educate kids!!
Within the community Renée has taught computing skills in adult education and provides advice and guidance to jobseekers. She’s a qualified life coach, works closely with a therapy centre for people with neurological conditions and is a spokesperson raising awareness of childhood stroke. She keeps busy baking blueberry muffins for her family, learning the guitar (for 25 years – can nearly play a tune…), singing and dancing around London with the flashmob choir, and getting beaten at table tennis.
Social media manager
Marion’s expertise in updating social media posts and liaising with followers means we keep her busy for most of the day. The rest of her time is spent running her own business: The Pet Ranger. She’s able to combine the two perfectly, tweeting as she’s pet sitting or dog walking through the Scottish hills. Being at one with nature, she takes fabulous, creative photos which she posts on Facebook.
Marion’s evenings are taken up spending time with her lovely daughter (“mini me with brain cells that work in unison”) and three sons – men in kilts! Their border terriers Daisy and Dexter gang up on puppy Fergus and Percy, a cuddly cat who refuses to leave the house, despite the various forms of poultry that cluck about in the garden. Marion can often be found curled up by the fire working with her laptop on one knee and a sleepy pet on the other. (Not usually a chicken.)
Marion cites reaching 50 as her greatest achievement, but she’s forgetting her Open University degree in Environmental Studies. Almost there now… Once she’s completed her qualification she’s hoping to travel more. Well, as long as she’s happy tweeting from the mountains/cruise ships/desert islands, that will be fine. And no doubt, she’ll be carrying around a big hamper of chocolate, her guilty pleasure! She’s a great cook and would invite Mary Berry as a guest to her fantasy dinner party, along with Dawn French (of course), Bill Oddie (Oh, goody) and Galileo (figures!). She’d be serving a balanced meal of chocolate and merlot – which is probably why she fits in to this company so nicely!!
If Marion could be granted a superpower she’d choose to heal the sick. We can but hope. In the meantime, she’s caring for our social media clients with the same level of skill and thoughtfulness that she provides to her canine clientele, just with added humour and fewer sticks.
Social media assistant
Ben helps out part-time between legal studies, updating clients’ social media posts and maintaining a lively on-line presence. He also delivers elements of our social media workshops and is excellent at providing a legal overview and answering queries relating to social media and the law.
In his spare time, Ben is a comedy guitarist – you may have seen him perform around London with his amazing classical guitar playing combined with some hilarious lyrics – that he writes at crazy hours in the middle of the night! We’ve even tried to harness this nocturnal creativity to throw a new light on blog writing!
Ben’s other passion is boxing. He may have been a pro but a broken knuckle at university put that dream on a back-burner, luckily for us! He trains regularly at the gym, sometimes with his brother – then they spend a few hours with their heads down over a chess board. No one in the company plays with Ben though – he wins every time!!
Gordon A Hobbs
Business trainer, poet and artist
Gordon spent many successful years in retail management, specialising in both sales and customer service, with a strong leaning towards staff training. Then, several years ago, he reinvented himself and set up his own business which now provides a variety of bespoke services to the local community, including custom made workshops for both children and adults in a wide range of subjects. He describes that decision as ‘a calculated madness’ but is pleased to admit that he’s never been happier. If Gordon were a cricketer, he would certainly be considered a true all-rounder by now! Actually, he is more into football, having recently retired after 16 years as a Premier League Steward dealing with troublesome fans on a regular basis (we won’t mention which grounds…). Also, (and he accepts he should know better at his age…), Gordon still plays the 5 and 7-a-side versions of the game, when he’s not injured! It is not surprising then to find plenty of footie references in his training material!
More recently he has turned his hand to creative writing in its various forms. This can be anything from speeches to stand-up comedy, including several poems and articles which have been published in magazines and the national press. As well as all this, Gordon has designed a fun and lively board game that we aim to develop this year and maybe get in the shops for Christmas. Always creative, always artistic – Gordon designed Renée’s logo – witches hat, cupcakes and all!