There are lots of things I’m passionate about. The 80s, Barry Manilow, Bradford’s future, my family. And, my ‘other family’ – my colleagues.

Anyone who has worked at Approach would (I hope) support the view that being here is very much like being part of a family. It’s personal. Which is why when good people move on for whatever reasons, it can be quite the grieving process for the rest of the team.

And of course, in a compact team like ours – rather than a business with a 100 strong workforce – the dynamic quickly changes when the people do. Over time, I’ve learnt that it’s impossible to replace people who you’ve ‘lived with’ and developed. And nor should you try or want to. The key is to grow by learning from each other and, ultimately, by using someone’s departure as an opportunity to bring in completely new skills.

And that’s just where the Approach team is this autumn. It’s been quite the year of change here in Ilkley. But as my daughter, who is just starting at university, recently wrote in her change blog, ‘wherever there is change, growth is right behind’.

In saying goodbye to team members who left to join family in Ireland, moved on to an internship at MTV (who wouldn’t?!) and wanted to try their hand in-house after four years in agency life, the Approach door opened to an entirely new crew.

Stepping into our award-winning PR fold are Betty, Shona and Sarah who between them bring a first class honours in business, almost a decade managing retail brands and a new depth of digital skills.

And they’ve done just what new starters should do. They’ve brought new ideas, a different energy, a hunger for making a difference and for propelling their own personal growth.

And what naturally follows is business growth.

I make it my business to make Approach a rewarding, fulfilling and quite simply an awesome place to work – it’s one of the reasons why we’re currently the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Outstanding Small PR Consultancy in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

I value each and every person for their skills, their personalities and their contribution to making every day a rewarding day. And we all benefit – the clients, the team and the individuals who collectively make us whole. We never, ever forget the Approach alumni – they are as much a part of our story as the current team are today and tomorrow’s team will be.

But as the saying goes, if you love someone, let them go – and to paraphrase what Chris Evans said last week after announcing his shock (to me!) resignation from Radio 2, if you get to the top of your favourite mountain, you become a mountain observer – I’ve got to keep climbing and start a new adventure.’ 

For me, saying goodbye to colleagues, is about having given them the strength, the skills and the confidence to walk on and enjoy their next challenge. There will always be part of each and every one of them in the very fibre that makes Approach the Yorkshire PR consultancy it is today. What Approach is tomorrow… well, that’s all down to where the new team takes us. And isn’t that an exciting position to be in? Where anything at all is possible.

So please do join us in giving the heartiest of welcomes to Sarah, to Shona and to Betty – and a huge round of appreciation to Helen, Anisha and Anne who continue to provide the steadiest of foundations for us to continue to build upon.

Change shifted our story and brought us together. I for one am looking forward to writing the next chapter as the new Approach.