When I asked Evelyn Pepperrell what she is taking with her from COVID, on The Coffee at Eleven Show recently, she didn’t skip a beat an simply said, “Connection… it was there before, but it’s here in a way different, it shows itself with a different color, I think. That is a massive one, I mean, you drive out in the car now, and the schools have opened back up. People seeing you in the car, the wave isn’t just a wave, it’s a… [BIG SMILEY WAVE] you know, so that is lovely.”

I think she’s right – do you agree?

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Season 4, Episode 1 of The Coffee at Eleven Show – People Worth Meeting. I invite you to stick on the kettle, grab a coffee and connect and think along with Evelyn and me for a short while in your preferred way

Yours Truly: Ladies and gentlemen, you are more than welcome to this, another episode, Episode 1 of Season 4 of The Coffee at Eleven Show, brought to you by WIG-WAM, and this time supported by the Limerick Post newspaper. How bad, Limerick Post newspaper, keeping Limerick posted. We’re delighted that they’ve chosen to partner with us in Season 4, of the The Coffee at Eleven Show. Lovely to have you all here, you’re more than welcome. Let me just invite Evelyn to unmute and pop in and say hello, cheers with your coffee mug, and then I’ll tell our audience a little bit about you.

Evelyn Pepperrell: Hi Colm, hi guys. Thanks for having me here today. Evelyn from Limerick. Yeah. I went for an interview for a job with a financial information vendor who had just been taken over by Dow Jones, of all the cool companies to be taken over by. I learned so much with that company. I was with them for about eight years, and the opportunities I got, I worked my way up along. I went in as a junior secretary, and worked with them in product marketing, actually, at the time. But as life went on there, they were very good to pool their resources. So they would run a lot of customer events. If you were in any way sociable at all, you were drafted in for those to be, obviously, a hostess of sorts. But also you were dealing with clients and understanding the need to be polite and share information. I had a whole stream of that on my way through that particular company.

Coming to the end of that experience, Colm, I worked with some really, I suppose, sound, and community-minded people in a way. They were always good to put opportunity my way, and see my potential. One guy in particular, the strategic director, they ran an event out of Monte Carlo of all places. Because I would have been seen as, obviously, I was useful, I understood people and was good to connect, but they brought me out to Monte Carlo as part of the support team. That was something like I would never have got to do from Limerick. I did start attending… Do you know the Limerick LEO events, or the local enterprise events? They would have run them back in Fitzgerald’s Woodlands quite a bit. So I made an effort to get to one of them, and there was another evening that was very much a Mother Universe one for me.

The logistics it took to get to this event for half six, it was fairly tough now, because Eimear would have been in school, the boys were quite young, but I had it all down to a tee so that when it came to… They did this kind of open networking piece where they sent a mic around and you had to say who you were and what you were there for. Well, I really had only the idea within five months that events was what I was thinking about doing. But I stood up anyway, my turn came and I thought, “It took so much now to get here. Really, you won’t be doing yourself justice of a mum at home, if you don’t stand up and say what you’re here for.” So I stood up and I said my spiel, in other words, “I’m here and I help small businesses plan events,” sat back down again, heart racing, delighted that I’d done what I went to do, but at the end of the event, when people were having their coffees, this lady came up to me and says, “Are you the events lady?”

I said, “Well, yeah, I help small businesses plan events.” She said, “I’m a hairdressing business back in Abbeyfeale. I’ve just moved to a premises on Main Street, I’ve had a major refurbishment. I’ve been in business 10 years,” and she said, “I’ve never had a gala event or an opening.” I thought, “Oh my God, that 10 number’s coming up again.” I said, “I’d be delighted to help you, what have you in mind?” That was for six months after the second event I had done. So there was my other, I suppose, moment of inspiration, or universe. How cool was that?

Yours Truly: Two quick questions, if you don’t mind, Evelyn. One is, what are you taking with you from COVID that you won’t let go of easily?

Evelyn Pepperrell: Connection, Colm. It’s funny, it was there before, but it’s here in a way different, it shows itself with a different color, I think. That is a massive one, I mean, you drive out in the car now, and the schools have opened back up. People seeing you in the car, the wave isn’t just a wave, it’s a… you know, so that is lovely. Having the children at home was the other one. I was very worried about that, I thought, “Will we even all be talking by the end of the year?£ But actually something our local principal said to me, she said, “Do you know, the children will be fine. They’re at home with you. They’re safe, they’re secure. They will learn far more there than they will with us at school.” I thought that actually put me at massive peace of mind, just to know, “Yeah, actually, we’re very lucky to be at home.” My husband isn’t somebody who’s out in the front line. I’m lucky he’s… Well, yes, I’m lucky he’s working at home the last year, but I’m fortunate he has a job, and he’s not out there at risk. So, in some ways we’ve been blessed, that we’re not in immediate danger. If we follow all the instructions and do what we’re asked to do, which is… You’re going to stay safe, yeah.

Yours Truly: The second question then is, you come across somebody in this next week, who you understand to be struggling. What advice would you give them?

Evelyn Pepperrell: Do you know, first one is, “It’s okay to struggle,” would be the first thing I’d say. And then say, “It will be okay.” Do you know, sometimes we get wrapped up in the worry or guilt, and sometimes we worry too much. It’s easy to say, if you have, say, a job worry, or a money worry, but actually coming back to yourself, and just being present, and knowing you’re doing the best you can do. That’s as much as any of us can do. And that’s something I will say with the years of personal development in between all the bits that I spoke on earlier, I believe everything I’ve done up to now is what’s got me through this year. So, yeah, do your best. It’s enough.


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