Michael Harkins is the founder of the Turtle Pack Swim Academy and through his work as a swimming instructor he saw an opportunity for a new swimming aid to help teach children aged 3-6 to swim more effectively. He set up Turtle Pack in 2015 and one of the first steps on his entrepreneurial journey was taking part in the Converge Challenge where he came to my Elevator Pitch workshop.
The challenge – in Michael’s words:
“When I first met Maryanne everything she taught me clicked and made sense. I always remember standing up and doing a ‘show performance’ pitch which I learned elsewhere and seeing the look of horror on her face!
The best thing Maryanne taught me… was to be myself. I had previously been encouraged to put on a performance when pitching, but if it doesn’t match your personality it creates a complete disconnect.
Maryanne helped me overcome my anxiety of pitching by convincing me, and reassuring me to be myself.
The next time we met I was on the Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship programme in 2016 where she emphasised that my pitching had become rehearsed. Of course practice makes perfect but I lacked emotion and passion. Maryanne worked with me during the 2.5 day programme to come across more personally and showcase the story behind Turtle Pack – highlighting my frustration and passion to teach children how to swim effectively.
My relationship with Maryanne has grown over the 2 years I’ve known her and I completely trust and respect all the feedback she offers.
Recently I worked with her for my Scottish Edge pitch at the final. A 3 minute pitch followed by 8 minutes of questions in front of over 200 delegates and 5 high profile judges including James Watt of Brewdog.
Maryanne ran 2 x 2 hour rehearsals with me, practising and refining the pitch and preparing for and practising questions. She helped me modify my pitch; focus on perfect execution and handle questions.
I was delighted to be awarded the top prize of £100,000 for Turtle Pack.
I would highly recommend her to anyone looking to improve their communication skills.”