Smart companies and organizations understand the power of developing their employees’ full potential, and The Human Element is one company on a mission to make learning and development both impactful and fun for its clients.
LoA chatted to founder Mary-Anne Calvert this week to find out more about this inspirational entrepreneur and her high impact business.
What does your company do?
The Human Element provides leadership and soft skills development, performance coaching and business development, to nurture the potential of South Africans who are a talented, resilient and creative people.
"I make learning and development both challenging and fun - I don't do boring!"
What inspired you to start your company?
Having worked in learning and development and senior management positions in large multi-nationals for many years, I was head-hunted to join a company whose ethics and values unfortunately did not turn out to align with mine. This was the perfect catalyst for me to follow my dream of going it alone, to harness our inter-connectedness and re-ignite the spirit of Ubuntu in this fabulous, crazy country we call home! Being able to operate within a framework of respect, compassion and authenticity is a great way to make a real difference to people's lives and it’s what gets me out of bed every day.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
I make learning and development both challenging and fun - I don't do boring! Developing thinking, contributing employees to meet future challenges, is critical to the success of South African business, as is challenging people out of their comfort zones into new ways of thinking - that’s what gets positive results.
"Nearly twelve years after I started my business, I can confidently say that constant change is inevitable, good times follow bad ones, and with perseverance, one can handle any challenge or opportunity that comes your way!"
Tell us a little about your team
I am a solopreneur and I make everything happen at The Human Element!
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Being a "Baby Boomer", entrepreneurship was not on my agenda until much later in my life, and it has provided a learning curve of note! I was stuck between a rock and hard place and I had to make a quick decision about going it alone without proper planning or expertise. I was a spoiled "corporate animal" and clueless about registering a business, marketing myself, pricing, targeting the right clients, using social media, etc., and I had to learn fast. I also had a background deeply entrenched in private healthcare which proved to be a tough obstacle to overcome, as I needed to broaden my experience and work across various industries to grow my business.
Moving my business from Durban to Cape Town created its own challenges, as I am essentially a start-up again. The economy has also driven a change from the corporate market I had focused on before, to smaller businesses. This has required that I transform myself and re-position my business offerings to meet their needs and remain relevant. Nearly twelve years after I started my business, I can confidently say that constant change is inevitable, good times follow bad ones, and with perseverance, one can handle any challenge or opportunity that comes your way!
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
It is clear that collaboration is the key for small businesses to thrive in the future. Developing these collaborations and working with innovative businesses that share my ethos about the development of people and business while protecting the environment, is what I want to be part of in the future. We are an amazing country and people, and we owe it to each other to make it a better place to be by how we do business, so that everyone benefits.
"We are an amazing country and people, and we owe it to each other to make it a better place to be by how we do business, so that everyone benefits."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Watching people and businesses grow as a result of what I do is so satisfying, as is knowing that whatever happens is up to me. My decisions and actions have an outcome, whether good or bad, and there are always lessons to be learned from these.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Believe in yourself and your capacity to bounce back when things get tough (as they will). Providing consistent service delivery to your clients no matter what the circumstances, will build your reputation and nothing is more valuable than that. Maintain good relationships with everyone - you never know who can and will help you on your journey, and pay this forward whenever you are able to.
Contact or follow The Human Element
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA, we are passionate about those women entrepreneurs who are committed to empowering and upskilling others who will follow in their footsteps. In South Africa, Mary-Anne Calvert, founder of The Human Element, understands this need only too well - and importantly, has the solution. She has formulated innovative, practical and highly effective leadership, skills development and coaching programmes that work and help people to fulfill their true potential. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa