My age. Almost everyone I meet first guesses my age at over 30. This is something I get easily offended by, and not for the most obvious reasons. 


Let me be honest – I have a child. Like many during the last 12 months everything from enduring the pandemic, juggling home schooling whilst maintaining a very successful career has been a challenge. I would say I probably have a few more wrinkles than most my age! I suppose it is a huge compliment really, that I am seen as ‘having it together’.


That said personally my age doesn’t bother me, but something about the direction of travel towards 30 clearly does. I don’t want to feel the ’30th birthday blues’, I want to leap into my 30’s having achieved my goals, and this is where my 2021 plans started. 


‘Having it together’ is great and probably how I have spent the last 18 months, you know when everything just falls into place. Being honest when the pandemic hit my role, and the area I recruited in was not negatively affected, I was lucky to miss that added stress. Don’t get me wrong I still pushed myself, made mistakes and learned during that time, however there is so much more I want to learn.


To summarise summer 2020. I felt safe. I had achieved my goals and needed to move onto the next step in my career. I wanted to push myself harder. I needed more.


If you know people who ‘have it together’, keep an eye on them. Some will be so content and will love that feeling of control and accomplishment. However, there are others, people who need more, people who need change and change will happen with or without you. 


Status update Autumn 2020. I made the decision to make change for me. I made the decision to come out of my comfort zone, to take the challenge and surround myself with people who impress me, people who will drive me to be better, people who I can learn from, true experts in their own field. 


Those people for me are Alex and Simon, together we have founded Digital 51. Alex and Simon were not completely new to me, having worked with them previously, but people change and so had their ideas. The brand was impressive even at the start, Simon’s influence offering a fresh and dynamic approach to business which is so often missing.  


I realised how much my approach and the recruitment industry needed change. Digital 51 is the company to do this, being a purely partnership based digital recruitment agency, investing in technology and communities to connect the best people. 


Status update Winter 2020. I had not committed to change; I was still in my previous job. Then the fear of missing out kicked in, FOMO is real. I did not want to miss out on being a co-founder for a bold business which quite frankly made my previous role seem old fashioned. Most importantly my ideas could become part of Digital 51, my chance to build a path to achieving my goals by 30!


March 2021 – Digital 51 goes live and I am a co-founder of a business I am so passionate about.


Why did I really do this? Why did I give up a very successful career in the middle of a global pandemic? Easy, see below:


1. I want to be excited knowing I will continue to learn. Digital innovation is shaping our future, I can be a part of shaping the future.

2. I want a voice; I don’t want to be the only voice. I want a partnership with the people I work with both internal and external which is mutual.

3. I want flexibility to exercise, relax and reflect to be better, to be more present with friends and family. Technology means my office is everywhere.

My name is Adrienne Howlett, I am 27 years old, I haven’t achieved my ambitions, but I am on the journey. Digital 51 is my future.