A few years ago we did some work with a remarkable woman by the name of Fiona Bowman. For many years she has been campaigning to raise awareness of domestic abuse and in these times when due to lockdown we are seeing a surge in reported cases it felt timely to re-visit this.
In 2015, as a Facilities Management Consultant with squillions of years’ experience, I was put forward for a BIFM now IWFM (Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management) Societal Impact Award and had to think about how I would present my pitch to the Judging Team. The background to the award was that as well as being a pretty good Senior Facilities Manager for 25 years, for the previous 11 years since 2004 had also been ‘out there’ campaigning for Domestic Abuse Charities and had been involved in many media interviews and launches of Corporate Domestic Abuse Policies.
The reason for the campaigning?
Well, for 10 years I was the victim of a horrifically violent and abusive relationship, when I lived in Scotland, but thanks to my employers, managed to escape and started a new life in London, with what I stood up in and a job to go to on the Monday morning. Scary stuff, but didn’t talk about it for many years and just got on with my life. But somehow, I felt that I had a story to tell and started to go out and speak at Conferences and Seminars about the “Importance of Employers in the Lives of Victims of Domestic Abuse”. I had found a “voice” and gradually I realised that by stepping up and speaking out, I could save lives. And if I saved just one life, then my testimony would have been well shared. But my “one person” campaign gathered speed and force and suddenly I realised that I was changing lives and opinions all over the place! People wanted to hear my story, because it was so powerful and the story of my escape and the incredible journey that I had made to become a successful business person gave hope to victims and professionals who deal with this every day.
So how did I find Creative Connection?
I was working on an Interim Contract as Head of Facilities at Ravensbourne University at the time of the Award Preparation and had seen some fantastic infographics created for the Senior Management Team at an Away Day by Creative Connection. Death by PowerPoint for the IWFM Award pitch wasn’t floating my boat and I was excited by the possibility of using pictures rather than words when I did my presentation and so I contacted Creative Connections to ask how much it would cost for an infographic reflecting my campaigning. I chatted to some lovely people and told them my story and having discussed it with the Partners in the business, amazingly, they said that they would do the work free of charge. I was absolutely blown away by their generosity and we set off on a journey to create something special. The day that the artwork was sent through as a first Draft was just brilliant. The finished effect was perfect, the vibrancy of the colours and the simplicity of the images spoke a thousand words and captured so many of the wonderful things that I had done, like, Training 1000 Surrey Police Officers, being interviewed on the Red Breakfast Sofa by Bill Turnbull and Sian Lloyd, being asked to contribute to Home Office Committees on Domestic Abuse Policy, being interviewed on Radio and on TV and getting the chance to be an ambassador for fantastic Charities like AAFDA (Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse) who don’t often get the support that the bigger Domestic Abuse charities attract.
So, what happened next?
Well, the Judges loved my presentation, in a small Conference Room in the City of London, with an A1 version of the Infographic perched on an easel just behind me. I didn’t win the Societal Impact Award, but to my delight, I came second and as runner up, just to sit in the Grand Ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel on Awards night in my posh frock and see my Dysart 57 Ltd business name up in lights alongside multi million-pound corporates, was awesome. Since then I have put the infographic on the back of my business cards and you wouldn’t believe how many people ask about it. Such fantastic creative impact. I tell them all about how it was created and how Creative Connection have helped me raise awareness of the Importance of Employers in the Lives of Victims of Domestic Abuse. My campaigning continues and you can follow me on Twitter: @Fiona_Bowman
Fiona Bowman MBA CIWFM FCMI