ISL Talent’s 2023 Highlights
Harriet O’Neill, December 20th 2023

It’s fair to say that 2023 has been a whirlwind of a year for us. We had a difficult start back in January, but since then we’ve come a long way as a team. This year we’re proud to have worked with 27 incredible businesses, secured interviews for 519 candidates and filled 97% of our partnership roles.  We’ve also had great fun as a team, enjoying loads of activities from a cookery school to a spa day, pottery making and delicious meals out.

As we reflect on the year, we spoke to our team to learn about their personal and professional highlights of 2023. Here’s what they had to say…

Henry – the courage to pivot

In a year that demanded tough decisions, Henry reflected on the difficulty and eventual joy that came from steering ISL in a new direction. What began as a difficult year ‘has been one of the most, if not THE most enjoyable years I’ve had in terms of the team I’ve been working with’.

Henry also reflected personally on his pride at the team pulling together in a challenging year ‘people staying committed to ISL through a really tough year has been my highlight’.  

Teagan – Networking and personal triumphs

Teagan’s year has been marked by professional growth within the product community. From expanding her product network to becoming a go-to resource for clients, Teagan has solidified herself as a key member of the industry. Teagan’s product newsletter and product interview blogs have also been big highlights for her and have allowed her to ‘speak to some really interesting people and learn so much’.

A personal highlight of Teagan’s was her debut as a guest on a podcast. ‘I was really nervous, but I did it and it went much better than expected’. Fast forward to the end of this year and it was the podcast’s most listened to episode of the year and was streamed in 32 countries!

Jack – Delivering excellence through partnership

For Jack, this year’s highlights revolve around delivering exceptional service to clients. From securing new partnership agreements to ensuring a swift turnaround time for candidate placements, Jack has had a strong year on delivering for clients. He also marked a personal average turnaround time from job to placement of 14 days.

Personally, Jack achieved his self-set goal of reaching over 50 LinkedIn recommendations and receiving excellent feedback from clients on his service.

Freya – Insights on building startups and friendly competition

Freya’s standout moment of the year was speaking as a startup recruitment expert at a sold-out panel event covering the topic of how to build a high-performing core team. ‘It was an honour to be able to speak alongside some amazing people including an Investor, a successful Founder and an ex-serial Founder turned Chair/Advisor’.

Personally, Freya reflected on one of our team days completing a city-wide escape room as one of her highlights. ‘We were running around Bristol solving riddles, in a race against the other team. We are all super competitive, so I was convinced it was going to be close, but then once we made it back to the finish line, we ended up waiting for the other team for 45 minutes! We were one of the fastest teams they’d ever had.’

Emily – Building teams and enjoying the journey

Emily’s year has been a journey of building teams for incredible startups and witnessing the flourishing of individuals in their new careers. Emily was part of the successful launch of our Talent and People breakfast which aimed to bring Heads of Talent/People together to network and discuss industry trends and challenges.

Personally, Emily reflected on the enjoyment of working hard whilst balancing it with relishing time with the team in all the fun activities we’ve done this year – with the standout being the Christmas party and watching everyone sing at karaoke!

Magda – Growth into the team

Despite only joining ISL 4 months ago, Magda’s year has been a busy one. Magda highlighted the growth of her event AI South West being a major positive, with lots of new members joining the community, and hosting some really successful events with plans for more in the new year.

Magda’s personal highlight has been her seamless integration into the ISL team. ‘I feel like I’ve been working with the team forever, in a positive way’.

Harriet – Marketing success and festive cheer

Harriet’s professional highlight of the year is doubling down on marketing content and receiving some really positive feedback from clients on the quality and variety of our content. 'Having clients recognise the time and effort that goes into producing and maintaining our content is a standout of the year.'

Harriet has organised four Christmas parties in her time at ISL, and she highlighted 2023’s Christmas party as her standout of the four. We had a busy day starting with a delicious lunch at the Kensington Arms, followed by fun at a board game café, karaoke and darts at Flight Club; it was the perfect way to round off the year with a great team.  

Alan – The strength of unity and personal growth

When reflecting on the year, Alan spoke about the challenges we’ve overcome as a team, and how the trust built between the people at ISL has been key for getting through tough times.

A key professional highlight for Alan was supporting funded companies in their scaling journey including Distil, Insphere and StudentCrowd. ‘What’s been pleasing across the board has been the commitment behind our talent partnerships, with 65% of our business being retained or subscription – a huge difference from previous years’.

In terms of personal highlights, Alan listed his ski trip with 40 other entrepreneurs from the Dent Community as a standout of the year, with it providing the perfect opportunity to have some fun while also spending some time learning and sharing with other business leaders. Within the ISL team, Alan spoke about the enjoyment of the range of social activities we’ve done this year – from a spa day at Bowood House to a 12km Skyline walk in Bath.

Looking onto 2024

So, as we round off for another year, we can look back on 2023 and be proud of how far we’ve come. We’d be naïve to say 2024 will come without challenges, but we know we’ve got the right team in place to help us achieve our goals in the new year and beyond. 

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