Ashlea Evans

Business Affair (PTY) Ltd T/A The King's Speech

What does your company do?

A leader in the media training landscape, The King's Speech is a communications training and development institute, offering bespoke, on-camera media training, presentation skills and crisis communications simulations. Unlike other trainings, our focus is on the experiential side of training, and we have tailored our programmes for corporate workshops, virtual platforms and live sessions. Our team consists of real TV reporters, real journalists and a real camera crew, giving you an authentic media experience. We pride ourselves on our individualised care and are focused on practical learning, providing our clients with hands-on coaching and development support. Why are we called The King’s Speech? The film, The King’s Speech, is a true story about the incumbent King George VI and his fear of public speaking. Through engaging the services of a great coach, courage and perseverance, he delivers a killer speech, and people all over England are inspired by his words. We believe that with the right training, anyone can become a communications master.

What is your biggest success?

In 2019, during the height of COVID and we thought our business would collapse, we got a contract with The MultiChoice Group training their top executives in media training, presentation skills and crisis communications. The project spanned 3 months and took place almost solely virtually. For many years we had tried to move some of our business online in order to broaden our horizons to other African countries. During COVID we were training executives in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and even Ireland. We found new platforms that made our trainings more effective, and we harnessed the opportunity to launch step-by-step videos and free content helping individuals create their 'home studios' for online meetings and presentations. Working remotely became a possibility for us, and I found myself, in the height of COVID, as a single mom of two small children, able to continue working through the pandemic, whilst balancing home schooling a 5-year old and 7-year old. Today, we offer online courses and virtual trainings to clients as far as Geneva, Switzerland.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

My greatest hurdle was in 2017, just prior to relaunching The King's Speech. After departing from CNBC Africa as a TV Reporter, I launched The King's Speech (Pty) LTD to allow me the flexibility to be a somewhat present mother of my infant, but at the same time be able to continue working. I enjoyed the flexibility of working until I moved to Mauritius in 2015 for my former spouses career and as I did not have a work visa in Mauritius, I could not work there. In 2017, I separated from my former spouse, and arrived penniless, with a suit case and two very young children back in South Africa. For two years I shared my childhood bedroom in my parent's house, with my 3-year old and 5-year old daughters. My former spouse changed our bank account details and cut us off. I had to restart The King's Speech and support my two daughters and I. It was by no means an easy task as I balanced the trauma we had all been through, being a single-mother, and now putting late nights, blood, sweat and tears into my business. Fortunately, there was a great need for our services and we had a lot of previous clients who were eager to use our services again. When I look back now, I wonder how I managed to do it all, but then I believe that when you are so desperate, and you don't have another choice, you can create anything. Whilst this was my greatest hurdle, it certainly was also my greatest achievement. After being in an abusive marriage where my self-worth and confidence was stripped from me, to be able to stand on my own two feet, to be able to show my daughters what a woman can do alone, gave me back my dignity, my pride and paved the path for my business growth.