Finding Your North Star - The hgkc Podcast Series

hgkc / ZiaBia

ZiaBia - Reimagining Events

The dynamic team heading up ZiaBia embraced digital disruption in their corporate events company with the same creativity and “can do" approach that has fuelled their business since starting out in 2012. They have re-imagined events for clients and introduced new clients to the world of hybrid and virtual formats. Creating events that have an impact and their client’s love, from a mind-reading magician, escape rooms and cocktail making to whole company corporate conferences, events and charity fundraisers.  A pacy conversation filled with hints, tips and insights about events and running a successful business. 

hgkc talking to All Things Web and ker-Z creative

Build your brand; get more leads

Helen Moloney from All Things Web and Rich Kersey from ker-Z creative talk to Peter Quintana from hgkc about the five pillars of a good brand - Customer, Consistency, Creativity, Connection and Competition - and how the work they do with their clients in these areas leads to the Holy Grail of brand advocacy.

Andrea Sexton

Andrea meets...Kim Jones

Many thanks to Andrea Sexton of AdmirePR for hosting this interview with Kim Jones of hgkc about planning and resilience on times of uncertainty, and for agreeing that we can share it as part of Finding your North Star, season 4 conversations. Kim talks about how important it is to care - not just about your people, but also about yourself.

hgkc James Short - Yumo Mark Watts

Cash is king, but finances too need planning

James Short of hgkc speaks to Mark Watts, owner and founder of Yumo Finance, about the importance of understanding the financial flows through a business, and of planning in advance even in times of uncertainty. As an independent broker with a background in banking, Mark offers invaluable advice for how business owners can improve their cash flows and shorten their working capital cycles without resorting to borrowing, but also makes the case for borrowing at a time when loans are such a cheap form of money.


Courage to lead with compassion and conviction

Courage to lead with compassion and conviction - Mark Colbourne talks to James Short of hgkc about his journey of personal challenge and courage from the world of elite sport into business life.  His enthusiasm and drive are infectious as he shares his insights on building confidence, mindset, and wellbeing from his earliest days through to his world record breaking achievements at the 2012 Paralympics and his international speaking career.  

 To find out more about Mark’s story,  or follow him on Twitter MarkColbourne


Plan and reframe to protect and grow social, financial and emotional capital reserves

As we move into the second phase of national lockdown in England, Sarah Owen of DISCsimple is in Conversation with Peter Quintana of hgkc about the impact significant disruptive change can have on the social, financial and emotional capital reserves of a business, and the urgent need for leaders to embrace planning as part of the solution. 


Leaders need to spend more time with their workforce to nurture, build trust and rapport, and grow employee engagement

Continuing our series of Short Conversations, Sarah Owen of DISCsimple speaks to Kim Jones of hgkc and the most important cultural and people characteristics clients must have as we move into the second national lockdown in England, and how crucial it is that leaders keep thinking about the long term for their people.   

hgkc / James Short / Sarah Owen

Think positively, innovate and plan to meet the needs of clients now and in the future and put bread on the table

In this, the first in our new Conversations podcast series, Sarah Owen, founder of DISCsimple, talks to James Short of hgkc about how he brings his experience of leadership and planning from the military and also from his own business that he set up and ran profitably throughout the last financial crisis in 2008.  This advice is individually tailored to help hgkc clients battling with the current crisis and who are now facing a second national lockdown in England.

hgkc/Peter Marchbank

Releasing trapped value in your business, the power of people and a culture of innovation and renewal

Peter Marchbank MD of Rotary Precision Instruments was interviewed by Kim Jones from hgkc as he reflects on his four-year journey at RPI UK, bringing a specialist engineering company with a long history of innovation in rotary measurement into its next generation – of products and people.  He generously shares his lessons learned along the way and some of his blueprint for success.  His enthusiasm and lifelong passion for engineering shines through this interview as does his desire to inspire and invest in the next generation of engineers and innovators.  

hgkc Kim Jones - Adey Helen Isherwood

Re-framing the future – leading a digital disruption in the nation’s heating

Kim Jones from hgkc speaks to Helen Isherwood is the Innovation Director at Adey, Queen’s Award-winning company recognised for their pioneering work in maintaining and protecting central heating systems in the UK and around the world.  Helen leads an ambitious team focused on product development and commercialisation of new products and services.  It’s an exciting time at Adey’s and Helen shares their secrets of success and how they are re-framing their innovation for a more disrupted future; from the customer-centric orientation of the business working with engineers and consumers to the collaborative and engaged mindset of the people at Adey. It’s a case study on the benefits of putting innovation at the heart of your culture.


Reframing the future - reflections on hgkc research

Kim Jones shares insights into the research that she's been doing into how business owners are approaching the need to innovate in a world that's changed not only by technology, but also by these extraordinary circumstances of social and commercial upheaval.

Reframing is about having a plan for a disruptive future at the same time as delivering in a disruptive today.

Kim’s insights include how business leaders and their workforce are getting more comfortable with making decisions to flex, becoming more human centric - putting people first – and then deploying technology at speed to innovate at scale. In doing so, they are developing workplaces and market offerings that really resonate with workers and consumers.              


People-centred design for the business of the future

As a founding Director of a digital creative agency Gavin Jones shares his insights from the early days of a graduate start-up to a fully-fledged firm.  Elixel has a highly collaborative way of working.  Through design-led thinking, they create powerful digital experiences in websites and apps for their clients.

 Our conversation is a people-centred approach, exploring creative thinking, collaboration, problem- solving, trust, decision-making and that digital is not always the answer. Gavin and the team have grown a strong network of partners and a skilled local talent pool in Plymouth has enabled a thriving ecosystem to develop around them. Sharing the challenges of selling a digital product. 

Follow the story


Technology propelled and hyper-relevant, delivering success for their clients and their agency

Modern have only ever known digital disruption and embrace the twin drivers of being technology-propelled and hyper-relevant to deliver success for their clients and their agency.

How Modern is run is at the heart of their success. Kim Jones of hgkc, in conversation with Nicola Ray MD, used the seven strategies of high performing businesses from Accenture’s recent book “Pivot to Future” to frame our discussion. They have a well-balanced approach of being customer-centric and working collaboratively, a talented team supported by strong internal processes and a culture of innovation and experimentation. A focused and energetic peek into an exceptional business.


A start-up's pivot to the future

Brent Oldfield, co-founder and Head of Operations at Voltric Electric Vehicles shares with hgkc's Kim Jones his vision for transport of the future and how their business’s customer centric strategy has enabled Voltric to flex their business model and keep their pilot project on track.  Brent is focused on operations and strong processes to support the intrapreneurial team at Voltric as they enter a fiercely competitive marketplace with energy and determination. Their innovative and collaborative approach has secured them partnerships with private and public organisations as they embark on their pilot project.  


Building value for customers reaped benefits during the lockdown

John Dray, founder of Cloud Genius shares his insights on running a remote business during the lockdown and the opportunity this created for developing new products and services.  John has a uniquely empathic approach to solving problems and helping his customers focus on what matters most to them - the relationships with their customers rather than their IT. Our conversation is peppered with stories, practical tips, and a little laughter.  John has kindly created a Tip Sheet too which can be found on Cloud-Genius website and on our hgkc blog.  


Planning in uncertain times

We are living in complex times. People are becoming comfortable with digital communication and collaboration platforms; remote working and reduced social interaction are becoming the norm. In this webinar, hosted by Weston Chamber of Commerce, Peter Quintana and James Short of hgkc talk about the challenges of planning in uncertain times, why we believe it is critical that you do plan, and offering you some tips on how to do it. 


Opportunity out of adversity

Experiencing more than a 90% drop in turnover overnight would be daunting for any business owner. Graham Preston of SFL Group talks candidly about their experience as an events production company facing exactly this situation, and how they have not only survived, but found new ways to do business with their clients. Viewing risk as an opportunity instead of a threat doesn’t mean being reckless, but moving forward carefully to ensure survival into the future. This interview was recorded at an hgkc round table on Business Risk, and was not conducted live for this podcast. Visit our events page for details of future round tables and other events that we run.

Virtual Leadership - 212 Radio Mini Podcast interview with James Short

Ed Palmer of 212 Radio interviews James Short, Director of hgkc about the key to virtual, but not remote, leadership - courage, confidence and communication.


Innovating through a crisis

Investing in data and technology to help clients optimise building performance - Phil Warren of ETS talks about improving building connectivity, healthy buildings, employee productivity and customer experience, and greatly easing the process of mothballing buildings and then bringing them back into service as we come out of lock-down.

Managing your finances during the Covid 19 Crisis

The Government has announced a range of measures to support businesses during this very challenging period, but the rules are evolving, and new announcements are regularly being made. James Short of hgkc talks to Matt West of Metro Bank about the support that is available, and discusses what you can do to manage short term cash flow problems. 


It's all about the people

Leading an SME, managing people in difficult times, staying legal, keeping people safe and staying in business are the topics in our latest Risk Management in a Crisis series of podcasts for leaders of businesses.

Kim Jones runs a Q&A session with an expert panel that is packed with insights, hints and tips for dealing with the current situation and some thoughts about the future. Sarah Whittock of Whittock Consulting gave us some practical guidance and insight to ensure stay within the law and follow good practice; Lisa Jones of HeadStrong Training helped us understand how best to look after our employees, managers and our leaders experiencing stress; and Simon Kelly of Excellect encouraged us to review our existing employee benefits and activate them for our employees and think about the future.  The powerful thread running through our conversation was communication and listening to your people.  Being proactive and responsive, consistent, factual and fun.

Please get in touch if you'd like to talk about how to survive and thrive through this crisis.


Risk Management in a Crisis

James Short, an expert in strategic planning, leadership and change management, talks from his experience about successful risk management and leadership in times of a crisis. James joined hgkc after being tempted out of retirement, having spent several years sailing around the world. He rose to Major General in the army following a highly successful military career in which he was honoured with CB and OBE; he is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management, and founded his own advisory business after leaving the army, which he successfully navigated through the 2008 financial crisis. 


Leadership in a Crisis

In this second presentation in response to the Covid 19 pandemic, James Short of hgkc talks about leadership and how important it is to differentiate between leadership and management. Leadership is transformational, and the key quality of a leaders is the ability to communicate. For further information or support, contact us on, 0117 332 1002 or via 
Keep safe.


Crisis Management in Challenging Times

James Short of hgkc offers practical advice and guidance on how to survive the next few months with your business intact. Every business must find a way of continuing to do business, and vital to this is a SOAP - strategy on a page - and a communications action plan. For further information or support, contact us on, 0117 332 1002 or via 
Keep safe.


Championing the employee ownership revolution

Chris founded financial planning company Ovation Finance in 2000, selling a majority to an Employee Ownership Trust in March 2018. For entrepreneurs like Chris, employee ownership is a new and innovative way of preserving their achievements. Done the right way, it will release fair value, preserve legacy and pass on control to employees without them having to raise finance. Chris talks candidly about his experience and gives some great insights into how you could prepare your company for an exit to an EOT. Find our more at or contact hgkc to talk about your options.


A builder of businesses in tech

Kim Jones talks to John Rees, Head of New Technologies at Novel Engineering, who shares a personal reflection on scaling a robotics start-up and his take on how it can apply to any business.

A strong engineering background made John a “builder at heart”. As a co-founder of Reach Robotics he shares in this engaging conversation how much he likes building businesses and the critical factors that make a tech business successful. He doesn’t shrink from the challenges and shares his learning with candid insights.   


Genuinely caring, ensuring clients are properly informed and properly protected

Emily Kenna, founder of Sense Risk Solutions, talks about her passion for all things insurance, the mindset and attitude that drives her to deliver a level of care that is unusual in a complex and highly competitive sector, and which has led her to set up a business that embraces diversity and inclusion, and genuinely listens


Helping entrepreneurs achieve success, and changing the face of capitalism

Zak Daud, founder and CEO of Eazi-Apps, talks about his mission to help entrepreneurs establish and build their mobile app businesses using an innovative drag and drop, ‘business in a box’ platform and a comprehensive package of support services, the satisfaction that he gets from seeing his partners successful, and his drive to change the very essence of capitalism for good.

hgkc in conversation with David Nicholson

Helping us understand how similar we are to each other

David Nicholson, founder and Director of DNA Worldwide Group with his partner Hannah Nicholson, talks about his driving purpose, the science of DNA, living the potential of what you do, and how through the work the company does it helps people recognise their similarities rather than their differences

hgkc in conversation with Jeremy Hyams

A shining North Star that gives real purpose and makes anything possible

Jeremy Hymans, CEO of the Claims Consortium Group talks about how empowering people, with the right training tools and innovative technology, can disrupt the household claims sector and establish a new benchmark for how employees and customers are treated

hgkc in conversation with Kate McEwan

Being ethical, helping to advance the practice of complementary health treatment

Kate McEwan, owner and founder of Lotus Reflexology explains why she thinks people need to love their feet, and talks about how she is working towards making reflexology a serious alternative to some traditional drug treatments

hgkc in conversation with Martin Thatcher

If it’s not changing, it’s not moving forward – making sure the next generation is in a better place

Fourth generation family firm Managing Director, Martin Thatcher, talks about continuous change, the desire to win, and how innovation is shaping the past, present and future of Thatchers cider and his family.

hgkc in conversation with Andy Bounds

Be impressive, be influential and get beyond the definition of your role

Andy Bounds is a leading author, consultant and communication expert. In this interview he focuses on how leaders can communicate better and get people confidently to ACTION by finding their “AFTERS”. From asking great questions to top tips on effective proposals, emails and meetings using a simple ABC method. To find out more visit

hgkc in conversation with Rob Sheffield

Knowledge, confidence and motivation – keys to stepping up your leadership and innovation

Acclaimed author, innovation coach and organisation development expert Rob Sheffield from Bluegreen Learning talks about how he has helped leaders boost creativity in their teams, and how his book of the same name came to be written.

hgkc in conversation with Pia Gonzalez-Nazareno

Innovation, experience and skills – providing powerful solutions to a demanding sector

Pia Gonzalez-Nazareno, CEO and Managing Partner of award-winning strategic marketing, communications and business development consultancy Ideas and Action, talks about how she has led her company to success in the complex and highly competitive world of financial services.

hgkc was born from the realisation that together our combined practical experience and knowledge can offer our clients a broader, deeper and richer experience that will deliver better results faster.