Gary Parsons talks about his big reboot of starting his recruitment business 12 years ago in a global recession as the best and craziest thing he has ever done by moving one hundred miles, leaving his mum and his stable job all to set up his business with his friend David. It wasn’t easy working day and night, he had to work in a hotel part-time in the evenings to give him the chance to grow and fund his business in the day. He talks about how they nearly gave up and how 12 years on after a number of reboots, learnings or changes in direction they have built a successful business. That not only made it through a recession but through a pandemic.  We talk about how he has put their people first and this has been key to their success both internally and with their clients. We discuss having a specialism over niching, humility, leaders being able to be more vulnerable about their mental health and wellbeing, people over profit, culture over strategy and ‘life work ‘ balance, and leaving the mark on the world that you want to.


#humanleadership #peoplefirst #peoplefocus #cultureeatsstrategyforbreakfast


If you like this episode try listening to:

Noticing and responding to our feelings with Tim Carr

Or Shining a light on purpose with Amy Rowlinson


We used to go into meetings and apologise at the start of a meeting because we would challenge them. There are things that we’re going to ask you today that are really going to push you out of your comfort zone. So I apologise if I offend you in a meeting, and then remind them of that halfway through. I think that’s because we are so honest. And we are, we are human. And we don’t pretend, we want to get the best result for everybody because we care. And that’s come up time and time again when we’ve asked the team what, why do you do what you do? What makes you proud? And it’s because we care about what we do. “

“As directors, as owners, as leaders, as managers, there’s a huge expectation around us to wrongly show strength at all costs at all times. And we’re not allowed to show any level of the human that is inside us.. And I think that’s really sad. I am a big believer in mental health and the well-being of employees. Because the message that is for me missing is that the leaders matter as much as the employees, the managers matter too. And please don’t get me wrong, employees are a huge part of that. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I didn’t believe it. “

“Why do we always say, you need to focus on your employees, your focus and your employees and just miss out the truly obvious statement in that saying, if we help those managers and directors open up more, and those leaders open up more and have more honest conversations, then your employees will open up more, and they will see it’s okay to be not okay, that phrase that’s out there. And I’m sitting here really frustrated because it just isn’t out there. And then you see people like Kate Spade, a huge fashion entrepreneur with what she did with handbags and fashion, hugely successful, and suddenly took her own life. Because, and certainly had her own reasons. But I just, I just think it’s awful from that point of view that we’re not allowed to struggle as owners and directors are the roller coaster journeys that we go on.”

“Sadly, I’ve seen people where they’ve lost their parents through cancer or through these horrible things that exist in their lives. And they’ve still got to keep on running their business, not allowing themselves to have time off, or you’ve had a baby, well, tough, you’ve got to go and carry on running your business. And, yeah, I just don’t, I don’t think it’s where it needs to be. And I’d love to push that further. And stop that from happening. And the ultimate burnout that comes from that business burnout that is created on the back of that is sad. And it’s so unfair.”

“The link between people and profit -you can’t have one without the other. And if you treat people as humans, and treat them with the respect and humility that you would expect to be treated with yourself, then you will unlock that profit, it will happen. And I think that’s maybe why. And I’ve heard this phrase over the last couple of weeks, actually. And it’s that time and time again, culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

“I think it’s on every bit of my social media, your most important asset of your business is your people.”

“I’ve seen companies make more money through the last year we took a decision as a business to focus on purpose over profit”

“The ACE model is what you’re achieving, what you connect with,  what you enjoy. And I realised when I wrote it down on a piece of paper, it was all work”

“I’ve used this so consciously now, that work-life balance is such a horrible phrase, It just really just grinds on me. Because actually, I completely turn it on its head and call it a life-work balance.”

“Absolutely. I think we’ve got a duty as well, as leaders, as friends, colleagues, mums, dads, brothers, sisters, we’ve got a duty to make sure that the people around us don’t get lost in that journey. Because when you lose that sight of what your purpose is, what you love, what you enjoy, connect, as I said earlier, it can be quite overwhelming and can be quite a scary place to be in. And Crikey over the last 12 years I’ve, I’ve dipped in and out of that place as you would entirely expect that to happen, whether we choose to admit it as leaders or not.”

“How often do we sit there and talk about our employees and talk about where they want to be in five years and their career plans? but very rarely do we say what matters to you? What values have you got as an individual outside of work that matters to you? How can we support you on that journey? And how do you talk about that with your friends, your family, your husband, your wives, partners, etc? And I think we have a duty to be able to do that. “


Happy Place with Fearne Cotton

Chick Peeps Vegan Podcast with Evanna Lynch

Co-Founder and Managing Director of Talk Staff; Gary Parsons demonstrates how good things can come out of a recession and has scaled his multi-award-winning people consultancy from the back bedroom of his shared flat to a major player in the Midlands Region of the UK.

Working with employers to focus on their biggest asset – their people, Gary, and his team know just how important it is to find the balance between life and work. He is extremely passionate about the role we all play in mental health and overall wellbeing, not only for employees for the leaders too.




Emma Last is a qualified Mental Health and Wellbeing Trainer and Coach. She has co-written both the First Aid Industry body’s accredited First Aid for Mental Health and Wellbeing training for Adults in the workplace and those working with children.

Emma also has over 20-years, experience in leading teams and developing strategies for change. She worked in senior leadership for a large corporate until early 2018, when she came to a turning point in her career due to being on the brink of burnout and wanted to gain more of a balance in her life. She then rebooted her life and founded her company Progressive Minds.

Emma also works with workplaces and schools on their Mental Health and Wellbeing strategies and provides training and coaching to support employees through challenging and changing times. Emma also works with individuals to help them to perform at their best by working on their mental fitness, which incorporates stress/burnout prevention and resilience and agility development through her Human Reboot Movement Coaching Programme. Her clients say they have become more mentally fit, happier and gain the results they want in their lives.

Her Human Reboot podcast achieved number 22 in the Mental Health category in Mental Health Awareness week


If would like to find out how you can improve your well-being and results in your business or personally book a call


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this podcast belong solely to the host and guest speakers. Please conduct your own due diligence.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.