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Hello all,

We've had a change in venue for this month's meetup. Some of us found The Oyster Shed a little difficult to get to, so hopefully The Castle, Farringdon will be a bit more convenient for everyone. Join us upstairs, and spread the word to anyone with startup ideas.

We have 3 guest speakers lined up for the evening, all sharing their stories of building happier businesses around their passion and how you can too.

Here's a schedule for the evening:
[masked]pm Arrival
[masked]pm Startup stories

Laurence McCahill, intro from Happy Startups founder & Organiser

1) Julia Coggins founder of Singing Bluebird (

2) Claire Holgate, ( Graphic recorder and project kickstarter

3) Mark Sears founder of Them Big Oak Trees (
[masked]pm Questions for speakers
[masked]pm Networking & Close

And some short bios for all our speakers below.

Mark Sears, Founder of Them Big Oak Trees ( has confirmed and will be giving an inspiring talk on going solo.

Mark spent 13 years at Virgin group where he oversaw the strategic direction of the Virgin brand and provided brand support for the 200 established Virgin businesses globally by championing the special culture that makes Virgin unique.

18 months ago Mark decided to fly solo. He now works with brands and entrepreneurs helping them focus on growing purposeful brands that change things, for good. His unique take on brand building uses the principle of fieldwork to explore how natural systems and processes can provide the inspiration for growing future-proofed meaningful brands.

Mark will explain why he decided to leave a dream job to follow his passion and how you can grow your brand around the things that inspire you most.

Claire Holgate, more info at .

After years of a ‘proper’ job and then having children, Claire found herself returning to her career and struggling to balance busy work and a long commute into London with the demands of her growing family. She had always dreamed of working for herself, of being creative and working with others in a more sustainable, more happy way. When an opportunity for voluntary redundancy came up, Claire grabbed it and took a year off, to look after her children, do a lot of thinking, some planning and doodling.

After some highs and lows, everything came together and Claire started working for herself as a self-labelled 'graphic recorder and project kickstarter' last year. She now works with people and organisations, helping them to visualise their goals and ideas through her drawings. She teaches others to make the most of social media and creative thinking in order to show the world their ideas in a different way.

Claire will talk about the ups and downs of her exciting journey and some important lessons she's learnt along the way.

Julia Coggins, Founder of Singing Bluebird ( will be sharing her own happiness journey in helping people improve their happiness and wellbeing, through training, coaching and by developing supportive communities.

Julia spent a number of years working in retail management, loathing her job so much she walked out on a busy day during the Christmas period. She retrained in Human Resources becoming a consultant. For the last 4 years, she has worked closely with the Voluntary Services Lewisham, in researching, funding, designing and delivering happiness and wellbeing programmes for people dealing with depression, anxiety, stress and more severe and enduring mental health issues, part time, inspiring her to go it alone.

She'll be sharing her story on how she embarks upon building her own happiness consultancy.

You can follow us on twitter to stay tuned @happystartups (

Looking forward to seeing everyone there,

Fiona & The Happy Startup School team