Alastair Jones

Freshwalking with... Alastair Jones

Alastair Jones runs Cadence Leadership, a business that inspires leaders to reach their full potential, through training and coaching. As a Dr of Chemical Physics and a previous CEO of a national youth work charity for over 5 years, he now works with clients from apprenticeships through to the Tech/Science sector, as well as across charities.

Be sure to say hello to Alastair on one of our walks or you can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

Freshwalking with... Alastair Jones

Freshwalking with... Alastair Jones

Tell us about your first Freshwalks.

It was back in December 2017 and we did a loop around Disley and Lymm Park. I had heard Sam Jones recommend Freshwalks and although I am a cyclist and hadn’t hiked for some time, I really liked the concept. On the walk I met Helen who had just done the same thing as me and set up her own business and now every time we are on the same Freshwalks we are able to catch up on how far we have both come, both work wise and on foot which is really exciting.

How many have you attended up until now, May 2019?

17 (18 if you include the Christmas Party). I try to do about one a month. Last year I did considerably better than that and ended up covering the 2nd furthest distance on foot but very happy with a silver medal as runner up to the great John Knott’s gold medal.

Why do you come back?

I keep coming back because not only do I meet a wide variety of people with different businesses and experiences, but I always feel like I have had a good day and the opportunity to download and invest in my own wellbeing too. I have got to know several regular attendees but equally it is fascinating to meet new people from across the business and even charity sector. As a result, I’ve become a huge advocate for Freshwalks and have often taken on the role of ambassador inviting other contacts to try one.

What’s your favourite route?

The Shining Tor walk is my current favourite as it goes through what I think is one of the prettiest areas in England, the Goyt Valley, and also includes two ascents over the high peaks, so you get a really good mix of terrain and views. It’s not an easy walk but I do like a challenge and, actually, it is often surprising what people achieve with the encouragement of the group.

The something you always bring?

Sweets to share. They’re great for a quick burst of energy to get up that hill and it’s just nice to swap different tastes… my favourite is Liquorice Allsorts, if you’re asking, but Jelly Babies seem to go down well for others.

Favourite Freshwalks memory?

Climbing up over Bleaklow to cross Kinder Scout in the snow. It was my first time up to Kinder and even though it was cold, the challenge was really worthwhile and the views were just stunning.

How has Freshwalks helped your business?

I’ve received direct work from conversations with business leaders and a CEO of a charity, had referrals and leads for work and even shared good practice with other Freshwalkers, Michelle Pratt and Cath Brown, who both work in related areas.

Recommend three people you have met on Freshwalks.

I’ve met so many amazing people but can highly recommend Ant Bullivant and Helen Fleet who are both fresh and outstanding in their work, and if you have the good fortune to be on the same walk as Will Kintish then you can bask in his experience and knowledge.

How does Freshwalks challenge typical networking formats?

I work with senior leaders and that type of work only comes through relationship and trust, which is impossible to achieve over a bacon sandwich and a cup of coffee before 9am. Freshwalks enables the freedom to get to know each other, build a relationship over the day and journey together in a way that helps you to leave a positive impact on each other’s lives.

Freshwalks is a combination of exercise, networking, sharing knowledge and thinking time. How do you balance those components?

I’ve been really interested in dynamic ways of holding meetings that have been shown to be more productive, and when you’ve been on a Freshwalks you can begin to see why. You only get one shot at life and every day is a gift, so if you can combine work with things that you are passionate about then it’s a no-brainer for me. I think that unless you are investing in your own wellbeing, you are doing yourself and your business a misservice. When walking, I’ve chatted through work ideas with trusted friends and explored ideas with new contacts in a really positive mix. I also take the occasional time to reflect, as I feel learning helps keep you sharp.

Suggest one new place for us to go.

Somewhere north of Manchester, like Rochdale or Rivington Pike (although they’re very popular). I love the views and the water, plus you can vary it from an easy walk right up to a hard walk depending on which route you take back.

Sum up Freshwalks in three words.

Dynamic. Community. Self-care.

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