JP-N: Jo Parkes-Newton – Value Match
LR: Lindsay Rosul – Value Match
SB: Shirley Berry – Me Learning
JP-N: Hello, I’m Jo Parkes-Newton, and I’m Co-Founder of Value Match and Chair of the Value Match Foundation. I’m here today with Shirley Berry, Partnership Lead from Me Learning and Lindsay Rosul, Service Director from Value Match, and we’re talking about the exciting new partnership between Value Match and Me Learning.
This partnership is all about the development of procurement courses that really embed social value and talk about how you can place purpose and values at the heart of your business.
One thing that we’ve found is because Value Match and Me Learning both really are values-based businesses, and they’re led and they actively embed their values into their business, this has really helped in the development of the partnership. I’m going to ask Lindsay and Shirley about their personal perspective on their values of their organisation and how it has helped the development of the relationship.
Lindsay, turning to you first, what are Value Match’s values and what’s your perspective on how they’ve helped your relationship with Me Learning develop?
LR: Thanks Jo. At Value Match we have four values, and they link very closely to our purpose, our priorities and the things that concern us most. Our values are valuing people, valuing relationships, valuing sustainable prosperity, and valuing the environment.
What that means to us is – in terms of people, that’s how they are unique and how they have individual capabilities. That links closely to our resource and service lines where we treat everybody uniquely, give everybody feedback, operate transparently. We value relationships that are built on trust and that have a mutual support for each other. We value sustainable prosperity. What we mean by that is we use our commercial experience to help create sustainable prosperity for other individuals or with other organisations, and then lastly, we value the environment. We want to make a positive impact and that’s not just in the procurements that we deliver. It’s in everything that we do, it’s in the way that we operate. For example, we’ve just purchased a new laptop. We purchased that though Circular Computing and in doing that they plant several trees to offset the carbon emissions from that laptop. It means we can continue to hold our carbon net zero status as an organisation.
It’s important for us to consider our four core values in every decision that we make as a business, that’s our core values for Value Match.
JP-N: Thanks, Lindsay, for that. That’s such a brilliant example because it just shows how your everyday business practices you try and incorporate those value-based decisions in that. Not doing anything different, not doing anything additional, just changing the decisions that you make to create value latently. I think that’s great.
Shirley, what about Me Learning’s values and how do you live these as a business every day?
SB: Our values are we collaborate, we care, we embrace change and we’re proactive.
I think for us they’re so intrinsic. I think we talked before the session that whilst we have our values, they’re so embedded that we don’t necessarily think about the ‘what we do’ in relation to the value. But to give you some examples – back in June on the tragic incident of George Floyd, we provided our existing unconscious bias course free of charge to anybody that wanted access to it, to try and raise awareness.
We also work with organisations like Mankind and Friends & Family to create courses that help to raise awareness of things like domestic abuse to male victims, the inequalities of gypsy and traveller cultures, for example, and that’s recently led to conversations with a CCG who are embarking on a community engagement programme to address health inequalities in that area, to help them drive forward the messages around flu and COVID vaccinations.
And then internally it’s around how we support our own people in terms of their professional development, their personal growth.
So yeah, I think for us they’re intrinsic, so it’s good to reflect on those values for this kind of session.
JP-N: Fantastic. I know and I’ve taken some of your courses, I know the value that those courses add, and the fact that those courses have reached a wider audience as a result of them being offered free of charge, is a fantastic way of creating social value, and really spreading the message far beyond what would normally be achieved if you weren’t actually donating those courses and giving people access to them – which I think is amazing.
I know from working with both of you and watching this relationship develop, that Me Learning and Value Match really are valued matched organisations in terms of those core values. Looking at sustaining prosperity, people, and relationships, I can see how the partnership has benefitted from having these synergies between them. I don’t know whether you’d echo that at all, Lindsay?
LR: I would. I think because we took the time at the outset to share Value Match values but also understand Me Learning’s values and collaborate, it’s led to us being able to collaborate more effectively and understand each other’s ways of working. I think the exciting part about it is I think that will enable us to have a much more successful set of training courses at the end because we’ve been able to value each partner’s contribution and their own skill sets and how that can bring together really positive outcomes.
It also gives me a lot of confidence by understanding Me Learning’s values that we’ve chosen the right partner to work with. I’m really excited about the future brings.
JP-N: Would you echo that, Shirley?
SB: Yeah, absolutely, and I share Lindsay’s excitement around the partnership.
I think, particularly around our ‘we care’ and our collaborate values, really align with Value Match’s in around how we build relationships, how we work with people, what value can we bring to communities, for example. I think being able to match values is important to how we continue to work together.
JP-N: Yeah, that’s great, and I share both of your enthusiasm for the new courses that are going to be coming to the market. I think we’ve got two this month coming on procurement and bidding fundamentals, and then some exciting courses coming out in the New Year on how you add social value and deliver social value in procurement. This is going to be a theme of the Value Match / Me Learning partnership courses in the future. It’s procurement focus and social value focus, and we’re going to be doing all that we can to try and create social value alongside these courses and really support the creation of social benefit in society.
Listening to you both talk about your values within your organisations, it also makes me think about how important it is that individuals connect with the values of their organisation for these to operate successfully. I don’t know the six values that Value Match has in terms of helping people to talk with each other about their values. Do you have a personal favourite at all, Lindsay?
LR: My favourite value is value in the community. My reason for that is I have two young children, and both my children, actually and my husband, are heavily involved with Newcastle City Junior’s Football Club. Both my children football play there and my husband is a coach there, but it’s not just about the physical development and the sport for me, in terms of valuing the community there. It’s around that social element and the joy in the experiences that both my children get from being part of the team and how that develops.
That then at the back end of last season led me to find Kit Aid which is a registered charity. Again, it has a value in the community. That came about because as the children grow, as you would expect we have several shirts and football kits that we wanted to donate. We found Kit Aid who support, providing kit to disadvantaged children in various countries, but the idea of another group of children being able to experience what our children had from being part of that team, that team environment and that team spirit and developing that social side of the football game, is what really led me to support Kit Aid as a charity.
So yeah, value in the community for me right now is really close to my home life and what we love doing as a family. So that’s why value in the community is my favourite.
JP-N: That’s fantastic, Lindsay. Shirley, what are your personal values?
SB: I’ve got two favourites. Mine are really all about people and relationships and building those meaningful relationships, let’s call it. If I think everything from my best friend who’s been my best friend since school for over 40 years. In my professional world I still work with and engage with people who I’ve been working with for 30 plus years, and so being able to have those long-term relationships, I think are the ones that bring me the real value. You know how to work together, you know how people like to work, what they like to do, and for me I think it is about really helping people.
I think that fits Me Learning, but me personally I’m very much a helper. I like to give people opportunities to grow, and then to watch them succeed in that. So yeah, those are my favourite two: people and relationships.
JP-N: That’s fantastic. I just hope – and it’s my hope for this relationship – that this also grows, thrives and flourishes into being one of those really long-term successful relationships that you’re really proud of, Shirley, and no doubt working together we can all do that.
Certainly, I’m coming to you here from the Oddfellows in Carlton, in Yorkshire. My host. Mitch, he’s just brought me a nice cup of coffee and, interestingly, he bought me some biscuits. I was looking at those biscuits and thinking how those biscuits could very much represent – you just go with me here, girls – how these biscuits could represent the values that you are both talking about. Certainly, Mitch has just bought me a Custard Cream and I think that Custard Cream could very effectively be seen to demonstrate the value of community, because it’s all about these different layers, different things coming together to make something that is larger than the sum of its parts. Custard Cream looks a very simple biscuit, but really everything working together really makes something quite special – one of the most popular biscuits, I think.
Also listening to you talk about relationships, Shirley, that very much made me think about the Happy Face biscuit that Mitch has just brought me, and that Happy Face biscuit very much symbolised to me relationships and the joy that can be brought and all the good that can be created just by thinking about other people and how you can create those synergies within that. Your final relationship as people, well, Mitch has bought me a treat for Christmas. He has actually bought me a gender-neutral Santa Claus gingerbread person, and looking at all the different variety of spicing and flavours and diversity that’s represented by a gingerbread person, I think I can really see how that represents the people value.
I’ll be talking more about values and biscuits in the New Year. Stay tuned for that. I’m sure you can’t wait.
So, what I would like to say at this point is thanks very much to Lindsay Rosul from Value Match and Shirley Berry from Me Learning for talking to us all today about your values. Hopefully that’s given everybody a bit of something to think about how you can go away and really start to bring out all the things that mean the most to you in your own personal lives and use them to create good for others and create social benefit.
Thanks very much. Bye-bye.