Whilst furloughed, a Staffordshire based employee has surpassed the limitations of the global pandemic to successfully complete a PhD.
Anni Hollings, Head of Learning and Development at Newcastle-under-Lyme based business consultancy, Strategi Solutions, is celebrating finally becoming Doctor Hollings after putting her PhD on hold for over 20 years.
Almost a year since the office doors closed as a result of the first lockdown, Anni received the news from Staffordshire University that she had successfully defended her PhD thesis, a 120,000-word research piece on Storytelling in Organisational Change, becoming a doctor in Business and Leadership.
Commenting on her achievement Anni said, “Pursuing a PhD has been a lifelong ambition and being furloughed gave me the time I needed to completely submerge myself into my research. It’s been a hard year for everyone, but I’m absolutely thrilled to have finally completed it and am grateful to all the team at Strategi for their support and encouragement along the way.”
Anni, a former Principal Lecturer at Staffordshire University’s Business School, has previously taught hundreds of local students including Strategi’s own CEO Wendy Dean and Managing Director Rob Fisher.
Wendy said, “Since joining Strategi, Anni has become the go-to guru for a number of specialisms including Leadership, Team Development and Culture Change. She’s recognised by her teammates and clients as the best in the business, using her lifetime of work and research in the sector to provide expert business guidance and coaching to countless organisations.”
When Coronavirus struck, Learning and Development services were shelved by many clients resulting in Anni’s role being furloughed. Now, a year later, the function is back in full swing delivering online programmes in such topics as Diversity and Inclusivity, Leadership Development and HR Survival Skills to name a few. Strategi has even had to expand its ever-growing team to keep up with the demand.
Wendy added, “Anni’s achievements serve as a beacon of light during an undeniably dark period, demonstrating that, as life as we knew it came to a standstill, doors for other opportunities opened.
“If there’s anything that can be taken away from Anni’s story and her achievement, it’s that no matter what, with hard work, determination, and sometimes things not quite going to plan, greatness can be achieved.”