Home Entrepreneur Stories Entrepreneurs’ story - Hilary Roland and Peter Hyson

Entrepreneurs’ story – Hilary Roland and Peter Hyson

‘NextChapterRetreats’ was founded by husband and wife team Hilary Rowland and Peter Hyson.

A number of things contributed to Hilary’s being inspired to start NextChapterRetreats. Two years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer, a huge shock as she considers herself to have a very healthy lifestyle. ‘The treatment all went well, but along the way, someone asked me, “what have you learned from this?” I looked at him askance. Was I meant to learn anything from it? However, a few weeks later, reflecting on the experience, I realised that having breast cancer hadn’t made me feel that that I wanted to change how I was living my life and it made me feel very happy that I had a life and a lifestyle that felt right for me. It also made me reflect that I know people who have had a similar diagnosis and it made them feel that there were not living the life they wanted to live.’

‘I have experienced a number of major turning points in my life: career change, redundancy, divorce, mid-life crisis and most recently being on the receiving end of an M&A. A lot of these experiences made me feel completely lost, at sea with a feeling of having lost a sense of who I was. I longed for someone to give me a map to negotiate my way out of the mess. A key learning for me at this time was that it takes time, but that working through the mess can lead to exciting new direction and purpose.’

‘It led me to think, “What if we could design an experience that helped people through these difficult times and lessen the time they spent in what can feel like a spaghetti junction?” ‘

Peter comments on his inspiration: ‘Speaking to athletes and coaches during the London Paralympics in 2012 as they struggled to discover what they did next made me realise just how many people stand at crossroads in life. That planted the first seed of what has now become NextChapterRetreats. I’ve been helping people to uncover, create and change for most of my career, and I’ve reinvented myself several times, so I know what those facing significant transitions in life are going through. I am hugely excited to be embarking on this new venture, which feels like the sum of a life’s work for me, bringing together my professional and personal experiences to help make a difference to someone else.

It’s all summed up in a quote by Oliver Wendall Holmes: ‘most people die with their best music still unplayed within them’. That feels really sad, for them and for us, so I vowed to do something about it, hence NextChapterRetreats.’ 

NextChapterRetreats was founded by partners Peter and Hilary following accomplished careers. They each bring more than 30 years experience in business advice and professional speaking, coaching and HR, having worked with senior executives across numerous large organisations including the BBC, PWC, John Lewis, NHS London, Legal & General, Serco, not to mention sports and charities. They are passionate about helping individuals find their sense of purpose and then achieve it.

The unique ‘retreats’ builds upon their many years coaching senior executives in groups, witnessing how effective the power of people working together can be on their personal development. This approach allows the creation of an environment for true reflection and exploration by taking participants ‘off-grid’, free from the distractions of their professional and personal lives, and with the time to work at real depth.

The key premise of NextChapterRetreats is the concept of ‘story’, re-examining the stories we tell ourselves about our past experiencesand using this insight to shape our future. Using the unique LifeStoryCanvas pictorial timeline to visually illustrate people’s past and create their future stories, Peter and Hilary take participants through their highs and lows, successes and failures – then help them to write their next chapter.

The residential retreats are designed for people at a significant point of transition in their life, such as selling a business, a relationship breakdown, career change, redundancy, medical diagnosis or bereavement; or more generally boredom, dissatisfaction or unhappiness, with the ultimate aim of uncovering who they want to be and finding their purpose.

Each retreat takes between five to eight people. The first three-days is focussed on the past and present, with the follow-up two-days, around 10 weeks later, firmly about the future. The period between the two is crucial for participants to reflect and plan and then return to map out their future based on what they’ve discovered.

For some years now they have been running two day retreats with CEOs who say:

When you’re intending to evolve yourself and look forward to what ‘the next chapter’ can hold, you need to do it in non-chaotic safe space and this is what the retreats have always been.

Leni, Eleni’s Model Management

I found the retreats provided time and space to focus on myself and the use of classic story telling helped me to identify my strengths, show me at my best and able to consider my next steps.

Ken, Pixie Energy

Hilary Rowland, Co-Founder, business adviser, coach, NextChapterRetreats – The Executive Retreat Company. We give you time, space and attention and a blank sheet of paper to write your next chapter.

Uncover. Create. Change.


James Caldwell
Editor for the Business Bible. James took on the role in March 2019 and shares his vast experience of International Business and Trade. James was previously Director of an international events company in Manchester and still remains active in the events industry.
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