‘What has been your biggest success of the last year?’

That is a question someone recently asked me, I was able to answer quickly and, in a word; ‘community.’

Why, did I say this? Yes, during the past year we launched our Product community (Product 51) which personally I have loved doing, but that is not the only community we have created. I believe we have built a community of partners and followers, who know and understand our reputation for giving more than just recruitment services. For getting more than just a bum on a seat. For us we are building a community based on partnership, on shared learnings, self-improvement and support to our clients, candidates and followers. That is the community we have built, and will continue to build.

What does this approach look like in reality? Conversations and meetings are not just based around the recruitment process, they are based around advice, learnings and how to best connect each other into new networks. Conversations become effortless when you stop looking at just the outcome of a person needed for a role, instead looking at a shared common interest with an organisation, or person. This is what I have loved about the past year, that every time I meet with a partner whether that be a candidate, client, or Product 51 collaboration, the conversations are with people who want to share and support the growth of our partnership.

I have always wanted to work in communities, so we did not end up here by chance. I have always been striving for more out of my network, even in previous recruitment businesses where I had never heard the word partnership or community being used. I spent six years in recruitment trying to achieve the ways of working which we have achieved in year one at Digital 51.

So why has this been different? Why have I been able to work in a community driven way in less than a year?

Firstly, being community driven was the focus for Digital 51, so I was not the only person pulling in a certain direction as I had been previously. The team at Digital 51 all chose to join because we wanted to work with people differently. We love to learn; we are curious people who care and take an interest in the sectors we work within. We wanted to become part of the Product community and we not only asked to join others, but we also created a space for people who were just like us and wanted to know more and learn from others in Product. We created Product 51 and have spent the past year recording podcasts, videos, creating content with our community to share to others. Founding Product 51 makes me immensely proud to show that we are dedicated in what we believe in which is community.

Secondly, we have worked hard to secure impressive partners. Our partners include us into their community, connecting us with others who they believe we can add value to or who could add value to us. Our partners encourage knowledge sharing, not only do we have meetings to talk about recruitment or their job search, but the majority of meetings are based around advice and sharing experiences, rather than just updates. This is shown in the fact the majority of our partners are part of our Product community, and have taken an active part in the community, whether this be as a podcast guest, or supporting other. Personally, I learn something new from our partners daily, the community we have built with our partners is based on a true partnership of supporting each other.

Finally, our followers. Digital 51 has gained over 5,600 followers in one year, we love to share. We drive relentless content out to our community of followers to make sure we are sharing our learnings. We do this sharing with passion, with honesty, and I can guarantee that our followers have joined us for this reason. We want to spark conversation, connect you with people who you can have a healthy debate with, about topics which are relevant.

Over the past year we have deviated from parts of the plan that we initially put in place for Digital 51, but being community driven was always a personal passion for all the founding members, that we have never waived on, or from.

Community is the biggest success we have experienced in the past 12 months, however we are not stopping there. In 2022 and beyond we want to take our partnerships further, and deeper for all involved.

I can’t wait to tell you more about this in the coming weeks, so watch this space!

This article was written by Adrienne Howlett, Co-Founder and Product Partner at Digital 51. To speak to Adrienne about her passion for community, or to hear more about Product 51, please drop her a line at