Hope you enjoy this little video review of some of our highlights of the year – including a favourite soundbite from the one-and-only Giles Yeo! Below our founder Tanya Haffner reflects backstage on MyNutriWeb 2021, whilst also touching on what’s next…
We are taking a break and I can’t believe we are almost at the end of 2021! Next April we will be celebrating almost two years since launch. How crazy is that?
My learning curve has gone through the roof on so many different levels. I look back on our productivity and impact and I can hardly believe all that our team has achieved in 2021 alone. I have loved every minute of our MyNutriWeb journey, including the sweat and tears. When you are lucky enough to do what you love and work with good people, it’s ‘all good’, as one colleague keeps telling me.
As we wind down for the all-important end of year break, I have started to reflect on 2021 and our on our end of year survey results from our community – thanks to all of you who took the time to fill it in! There’s always so much to think through and analyse ahead of the next chapter. It has been so interesting to see the initial results: that as well as health and planet, our community are also interested in gaining business support skills.
So as I think about MyNutriWeb, here are a few business related thoughts below that really stand out for me over the past year. Sharing them helps me get ready for the next part of this great adventure.
In the Beginning…
This sounds very simple. But simplicity is king, right? Spending significant time in the beginning, in defining our mission and gaining input and buy in across the team has been a huge anchor and revelation for me. It has allowed myself and the team, I believe, to be more much focused and productive than we could otherwise have been. It seems so very obvious but we have not always done this well in the past and having listened to so many audio books and training sessions on business success, I realise now how common it is to not get this right. This time round it really feels like a job well done and one that I refer to daily.
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela.
At MyNutriWeb, as you may well know, we are on a mission to help heal the population and planet, through education of those who act as change agents in food. If you can positively support one health professional who has a case load of hundreds of citizens, or a food manufacture who has thousands or millions of customers… well, the potential impact becomes very obvious. With health and planet ranking amongst the top crises of our time, how we act now will determine whether we become dinosaurs or not. It’s hugely exciting to be helping with this.
Supporting the influencers is one powerful and critical cog in the wheel of change that we so desperately need to see. Every decision that we make on a daily basis at MyNutriWeb comes back to this mission. If our choices and decisions do not support our mission, then we just don’t do it. Doubt can often creep in – and with so much work to be done to change the way we eat, we can we risk getting distracted. But our mission helps us to pull back and keep on course – at least most of the time!
This has been critical for me. Being an entrepreneur and someone prone to procrastination, I suffer from being interested in so many things and taking off in different directions. Our curated mission that we feel very passionately about defines everything, from who we hire to what experts we choose, to what partners we work with and so much more. There are other frameworks and tools that we have developed and picked up along the way to help with focus and productivity (a blog in itself for another time!), but this is certainly my most important tool in this regard and one that I am very proud of our team achieving.
Making it happen
Perfecting the pitch
In hindsight, one top tip is to prepare your pitch really well. I realised the true importance of this more than ever this year. I have learnt to write down what we do, edit it, practice it and write it down again but shorter. To get comfortable explaining what we do to people in a succinct way so when we are at a meeting, or just chatting to someone, we are getting the most out of it. It’s definitely been a key part of influencing in 2021.
My other related takeaway here is that there’s an incredible amount of work to be done out there. When you’re stuck in your bubble or if you’ve been doing a job for a very long time, the idea of taking a leap of faith with something new can be terrifying. But even in the middle of a pandemic with businesses shutting down all over the place, there is work that needs doing and help is needed.
We are all waking up to the importance of diversity in so many ways. One key learning at MyNutriWeb this year was articulated very well by one of my colleagues, Cordelia:
“To facilitate change, we all need to work together with people from all different disciplines and backgrounds. It’s hugely important to welcome and incorporating diversity into nutrition and dietetics.”
In relation to a small business, it’s so easy to get comfortable with people who are like you – similar profession, character etc. It’s more challenging to embrace new and different professions and characters. But different perspectives, experiences and ways of working bring a huge amount to the table and ultimately give the very best chance of success. It can be frightening to manage at times but when you achieve this it’s both rewarding and impactful.
At its core, the vocational profession that I come from – nutrition and dietetics – wants to please and serve and is generally very agreeable. (That’s a huge sweeping statement of course, but its my personal experience.) Add in professions or characters that by their very nature question most things, you can achieve a very different outcome. This is just one example of diversity and of course this kind of diversity all needs managing well. Another learning curve!
Related to this there is one mantra that I have been blessed to keep in mind, shared often by my late father, which has stood by me. Always think, when facing conflict in meetings or otherwise…are you acting reasonably? What is a reasonable and fair response? If you do that you can’t go far wrong – and if you do go wrong, make sure you correct it quickly!
Sharing of yourself, your skills and experience in a voluntary capacity has huge benefits. It provides a great endorphin boost for your mental health and helps you appreciate yourself and others more.
I have been so lucky throughout my career to have mentors but I have not appreciated until recently and particularly this year, what benefits it can have for the mentor. Becoming a mentor has given me a heightened sense of confidence and self-awareness. It has challenged my communication skills and developed my network. It’s given me the opportunity to self-reflect more and improve my goal setting, whilst also learning more deeply about others experiences.
It’s been so good for me I have put pen to paper and written to my past mentors to thank them once more and share this news with them. I encourage anyone who can, to make time to be a mentor or volunteer in some capacity, however busy you are.
Stepping up a gear…
So, I mentioned new colleagues who question everything. Thank goodness there is no standing still when they are about! As we plan forward, I hear their questions and drive and desire to iterate and test as we proceed. We are currently analysing the year end survey and will continue to serve the community needs as best we can. Here’s some of what’s top of our agenda:
- We plan to embrace more technology to deliver on what is needed
- We will be working with more professions and expertise – even more diversity!
- We want to work with more carefully chosen partners who share our ethos on health and planet
- We have an invisible advisory board that will be formalised and we’ll share the details with you all
- We’re keen to support those community members who want more business skills
- We will also continue to address the big nutrition health and sustainable topics from science and knowledge to practice. We plan to expand the application. Look out for a new and exciting announcement in January on this.
We look forward to sharing more and if you have any further thoughts at any time please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org (or just pop a comment below!).
Finally, my top tip is to celebrate successes whenever you can. Most of us totally know this, particularly given the awful COVID-19 times. We were reminded just how important this was a couple of weeks ago when we were lucky enough to get together in celebration of our recent awards.
Our team enjoyed some incredible time out and fun at Migrateful – an award-winning UK charity empowering refugees/migrants on their journey to integration by supporting them to run cookery classes to suit all needs.
We truly felt the power of food at this team cookery class. What an experience we had! We felt like we had been beamed up for a few hours. A much needed oasis and calm away from it all. Not least of all because most of our team had not meet each other yet, which was just so surreal!
But more so, we believe, because it was such a powerful way to connect and re-connect. We know logically that food is all-powerful but this meeting reminded us just how much it can bind us all together. Out of our usual working comfort zones, we cooked, chatted, laughed, and broke bread together. It was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect and share experiences with key people in our lives. The kitchen and table talk felt like a safe place to relax, share more of each other and develop our relationships and shared values.
The greatest treat of all was meeting and spending time with Betty, our chef. Originally from Nigeria, she shared her infectious personality, her challenging life journey and her traditional Nigerian cuisine based on cooking skills evidently passed down from many generations. If you are looking for the perfect team building activity for your office, whilst also making a huge difference to the life of a refugee chef, we’d highly recommend it!
We left our afternoon feeling very clearly reminded of THE major health benefit of eating – enjoying food together and learning more deeply about each other – something we haven’t been able to do much of during COVID, which made it all the more precious.
“Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness,” said August Escoffier. We agree with this on so many levels!!
Season’s greetings and a Happy New Year! We can’t wait to continue the MyNutriWeb journey with you in 2022.