Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, most of us have become used to working in different ways. For many, this has meant working remotely, with far fewer opportunities to engage with colleagues, customers and clients face to face.
This can feel quite impersonal and make meaningful discussions more challenging. However, sometimes the technology fails to stand in the way of remarkable things happening in online meetings.
A great example of this occurred during a recent Federation of Small Businesses virtual networking session. Branded as ‘FSB Connect Shropshire’, the event certainly lived up to its name.
This free, monthly session always attracts a good number of participants – both FSB members and non-members. All are there to make new connections and share ideas in an informal and friendly (virtual) setting. In October, the 25-strong group included FSB members Eli Wilkinson and Askar ‘Mo’ Mohammed.
Eli is the owner of ‘The Dyslexic Dyslexia Consultant’ (The DDC), which she established in 2007 to help raise awareness and understanding about dyslexia. Mo is a Director of iMendMacs, a company specialising in all Apple product repairs, anything from iPhone to MacBook.
Our #FSBConnect sessions always start with a round of ‘sixty second elevator pitches’, where each participant describes briefly who they are, what they do and any news or issues that they wish to share with the group.
When Eli was invited to speak, she explained how The DDC was working to successfully turn around negative and incorrect perceptions about dyslexia – including her annual Dyslexia Awards programme. Now in its fifth year, Eli described how the 2020 Awards will be even bigger and better than those that had gone before and thanked FSB for its continued sponsorship. She also mentioned how busy she was, running The DDC and pulling all the strands together for the awards at a time when the Coronavirus pandemic was creating new challenges for everyone.
When it came time for Mo to give his sixty second elevator pitch, he wasted no time in commending Eli for her work on dyslexia and then asked her to accept from him a refurbished iMac, free of charge, to help ease the workload.
This extremely generous gesture was met with applause and thumbs up from all who were in the meeting. Eli, clearly surprised, delighted and thankful in equal measure, accepted Mo’s offer.
Eli commented: “At the time I couldn’t quite believe what Mo had said. His offer came out of the blue and was so generous, it was difficult to take in. It was even more remarkable because I had been looking to purchase an iMac to produce videos and materials for The DDC - but soon realised there was no way I was ever going to be able to afford one. So when Mo made the offer in the meeting I couldn’t believe it! It felt like magic happening!”
Mo added: “I was amazed to hear about the great work Eli has been doing to put the record straight about dyslexia. Although I’m not dyslexic, I do understand what it’s like to struggle with learning. When I left school I couldn’t read or write. It took years for me to realise that instead of shame I should be proud that I succeeded in teaching myself to read and write. I was so moved by Eli’s passion for her work that I wanted to find a way to help. So I offered her a free iMac! It will enable Eli to produce high quality communication materials and continue to highlight the potential of people who are too often side-lined because of their learning difficulties”.
The 2020 Dyslexia Awards ceremony is taking place virtually, on November 27, and details of the programme are available from http://www.theddc.org.uk/dyslexiaawards/about/
Details of the nationwide services available from iMendMacs are available from https://www.imendmacs.com/
Picture caption: Directors of iMendMacs, Mo Mohammed and Frances Jones (L) presenting the iMac to The DDC, Eli Wilkinson (R).