Leading the evolution, Leanne Bonner-Cooke: the woman behind the multi-award winning Leicestershire business
The last month has been an exceptional one for Leicestershire based market leaders Evolve, as the company and its Managing Director, Leanne Bonner-Cooke, scooped not one, not two, but four industry awards!
Leanne has been recognised as an individual and a business leader, for her entrepreneurialism, professionalism and innovation with awards coming from ‘The Niche Business Awards’ (Business Woman of the Year), ‘Leicester Mercury Women in Business Awards’ (Entrepreneur of the Year and Innovation Awards) and finally the ‘Forward Ladies in Business Awards’ taking International Business of the Year … and all in the space of just 2 weeks.
So what gives them the edge? Leanne and a team of highly motivated specialists who help organisations realise their potential and deliver sustainable change through People, Processes and Technology.
Leanne herself, originally training as an Accountant, was witness to the technological evolution in the 1980’s and as technology became more accessible, its increased efficiencies became apparent, Leanne found herself hooked on IT.
Leanne explained, “I could see the virtues new technology brought to a business, but as I became more involved with IT, it became apparent that IT departments were, typically, dictating to the business and that didn’t make sense to me. Business improvement starts with the people and the processes, technology is the enabler which can make great things achievable. That’s why when Evolve was imagined I was determined to offer something many IT firms did not: a consultant who would concentrate on the people and processes and an expert who could develop the technology to realise their potential.”
In 2007, Evolve became a reality, and since then the company has witnessed remarkable success – growing from a team of three to an employer of eleven and achieving a staggering £1.2m turnover.
Let’s be honest, every business wants to succeed, to grow and to excel but how many times has the phrase “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” been coined as the reason to continue in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed?
Leanne continued, “There is a fear of change amongst the majority of people, in both business and in their personal lives, and change does involve risk. But it also has potential and not adapting whilst the world’s changing is far riskier in my view.”
Evolve work with clients to focus on their future, create a vision and a strategy for fulfilling it. Then, they develop the tools and knowledge within the business to make things happen.
Leanne added, “Many companies work with outdated systems which have been in place since their inception and never changed. The problem is two-fold: not only are clients not maximising the benefits of newer technologies (when their competitors are) but it is difficult to recruit as their workforce retire or move elsewhere as people do not want to use antiquated processes and systems that make their jobs less efficient. That creates a higher risk to the company as they are forced to change as a reaction, often rushed and without a strategy for implementation. I get a real buzz out of showing people tangible benefits with the use of the right technology, it’s why we do what we do.”
And that’s the difference right there that makes Evolve a business worthy of multiple awards: passion.
Leanne has surrounded herself with people who share that passion and given employees a share of the business that they help to grow. Every single one of them is motivated to carry on the success of Evolve and, in turn, their clients and Leanne openly praises their talents, stating, “The awards and the service we provide would not be possible without the loyalty and commitment of the whole team, that’s why I like them to share in the businesses success because without them I couldn’t do it all.”
But it can’t be all work and no play, Leanne and husband Tom can be found most weekends with their two dogs, Molly and Lucy, soaking up the countryside.
“We’ve got a touring caravan and we love walking so we like to travel up to the Derbyshire hills and take the dogs on holiday. There’s no chance of mobile signal or Wi-Fi so it forces you to relax and recharge. I also love to travel and take any opportunity I can to visit somewhere new. We never go back to the same place twice because how do we know we’ve found our favourite destination until we’ve been to them all!”
Also learning to play the saxophone and a keen jogger, Leanne is filled with an energy for life, evident in everything she undertakes. She says, “Yes, we’re all busy but you have to make time. Life is not all about work but it certainly helps when you love what you do and I’m so proud that people recognise that Evolve really do.”