Turning a Family Tragedy into a Life Changing Calling: Nicole Ryan, Founder – Alex’s Adventure Ltd Interview with Jonathan Bowman-Perks MBE
134. Nicole Ryan, Founder – Alex’s Adventure Ltd.– Ex- Marine Engineer & Trainee Addiction Counsellor. Nicole is from the south of Ireland from a place called Millstreet in Cork. Her mother is Russian and her father of South American decent, after the birth of her brother her father left, and her mother moved both Nicole & Alex to Ireland. As a young girl she faced great challenges as sadly her mother fell victim to domestic violence, and she grew up in a difficult home environment but always took great solitude in books and storytelling. During her teenage years Nicole always dreamed of doing something great and when she finished school, she went to study Marine & Plant Engineering at the National Maritime College of Ireland where she was the only female in a class of 50 males. Faced with a toxic masculine world Nicole proved herself to be a capable engineer and began working for Irish Ferries in 2015.
A few months into her career she received some devastating news that her only brother was in hospital after trying a substance at a party and she spent 4 days by his side until he subsequently died at the age of 18 years old. Alex saved four lives through organ donation but in reality, he saved 5 – he enabled Nicole to embark on one of her greatest adventures yet. Nicole gave up my career as a Marine & Plant Engineer to come home and build Alex’s Adventure. Over the last 5 years she has travelled the length and breadth of the country visiting schools and delivering a workshop educating and sharing how our choices can impact our lives forever. To date she has visited over 70 schools, colleges, youth clubs & businesses and has impacted over 7,000 students nationwide.
From this life changing experience Alex’s Adventure, the drug education programme was born which aims to not only help students and the wider community learn more about substance misuse but also to upskill people in the community and empower them to be able to do what she can do. Nicole holds a degree in Marine & Plant Engineering, a Certificate in Training Development & Design and will complete a diploma in Substance Misuse Studies in 2021 in hopes of opening her own practice as an addiction councillor. She has won various awards including Humanitarian of the year 2018 and Best Start Up 2019. Nicole also works with individuals and senior corporate teams on finding their inner resilience and the power of storytelling. Leadership top tip: The solution is the easy part, figure out the problem first.