Having spent time in Nepal as part of a Sussex-based Charitable project* I was involved with for many years, I have found myself reflecting a lot this year about the incredible resilience of the Nepali after the devastating earthquake of 2015 and how they have been rebuilding their country and communities. 8,857 people lost their lives, 22,000 were injured and 3.5 million people were made homeless. Any climbing on Everest was forbidden during this time and this in particular made me think a lot about the strength and leadership qualities of Sherpas and what sets them apart from others is their determination and strength in the some of the most inhospitable climates on earth.

Sherpas are known as “the genetically adapted guardian angels of the Himalayas”. Research shows that, generations of Nepali, living at high altitudes has helped them to physically adapt to such extreme altitudes with low oxygen levels and as a result, are far better at harnessing oxygen than us westerners.

Sherpas have very many qualities that we have seen in all of you as Leaders: Herculean strength, they don’t complain, they take great pride in their work, are strategic and have to negotiate an ever changing environment, are self-sacrificing, have sunny dispositions (in the main) and have utmost respect for their environment.

They also carry loads for others and let them be the heroes at the end of the day.

Most Sherpas are also named after days of the week, really very handy given most of us – myself included, have had absolutely no idea what day of the week it is at times this year.

They also run ahead at the end of the day to make the tea for others.

It has made me think about how we have all have been able to adapt so much more than we could ever, ever have imagined in the past seven months, often at times when we have had absolutely no idea what is going on, felt physically sick and that we literally could not catch our breath during such an extraordinary year.

But we are all still here. Drawing on that herculean strength and support from one another. Juggling family and work lives, soothing still fearful team members, and doing the very best we can in the unknown. None of this is easy for entrepreneurs who like to have certainty but equally, as entrepreneurs, you are all absolutely brilliant at coming up with solutions.

As one our member’s reflected in our survey this summer: “When you’re thrown into uncertainty, at a pace you didn’t know was possible, where the direction of travel is unknown and the speed of change is so fast, it’s been incredible to have the knowledge, experience and counsel of MDHUB to steady the resolve and navigate with confidence. Together is definitely stronger!”

We have also seen, and are continuing to see, really encouraging signs of business growth of  between 40 – 65% amongst our members in the south east.

We should not be shy and “too British “ about not recognising and sensitively celebrating the innovations that the business community has made and continue to make in order to survive this pandemic, protect jobs and have sustainable businesses for the future.

Many of the businesses that have grown this year have very generously given back to charities and individuals in very real need and will continue to do so.

There is a tacit acknowledgement that “this unprecedented adventure“ (as one business owner has decided to reframe this experience) has brought  positive opportunities and a whole lot more humility into the way we live and work. As a team, we have been both humbled and heartened by what we have seen and heard in our workgroups, our coaching, training, and leadership work.

We have also had some very funny moments as we have begun emerging from the current necessity of the “Gloom of Zoom” into daylight.

So for a little while longer, please keep bringing “all of yourself” to Zoom where you can, and remember that if sitting in front of glass cabinets or wearing glasses, we can all see when you are also checking the cricket scores, share prices and searching for ways to leave the country.

With the imminent arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine, we need hope and inspiration now as we move forward and leave 2020 behind and look forward to a bright 2021. Be more Sherpa.


If you are interested in finding out more about the MDHUB, please visit

Email MDHUB Directors:
Fiona Shafer: or
Phil Green:

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