Alan heeks

Alan Heeks

Alan is a successful writer, social entrepreneur and consultant with a passion for sustainability and resilience in the full sense: human, social, economic and environmental.  He is also a well-established writer and presenter.  His book, The Natural Advantage, has been published in the UK, US, Japan and elsewhere: it translates the principles of sustainable development, organic growth and natural systems to help individuals and work organisations to grow their resilience, reflecting this and wellbeing.

His work is currently focused in three main areas:

  • Natural Happiness – the Gardener’s Way: Alan’s forthcoming third book shows how people can grow their own happiness using parallels with organic gardening and farming, such as composting, mulching, and co-creating. See more at www.naturalhappiness.net.
  • Maturing Happily: Alan has been exploring this theme since his own midlife crisis in his early fifties. He has co-led both mixed and men’s groups on creative ageing, and explored this in his second book, Out of the Woods: a guide to life for men beyond 50. For blogs on maturing happily click here, for more about the book click here.
  • Nourishing the front line: Alan is part of a small team offering life and work skills for resilience to organisations, individuals and communities, with a special focus on learning from nature. See more about Wisdom Tree and their work here.

Alan has created and managed three land-based centres, each demonstrating a different form of sustainable development.  In 1990, he started The Magdalen Farm: an education charity which has created a 130-acre organic farm in Dorset, running programmes for school groups and adults on sustainable living.   He is Chair of Hazel Hill Trust, the new charity which now runs Hazel Hill Wood, a 70-acre conservation woodland education centre near Salisbury.  In 2004, Alan co-founded the Threshold Centre in North Dorset, an eco-community where he lived for 5 years, which teaches the main aspects of sustainable living, focussed on cohousing: self-contained dwellings plus shared facilities so households can pool resources and support each other.

Alan has had a deep interest in men’s development for over twenty years, sparked by attending groups with leading American teachers, such as Robert Bly and Michael Meade. In 1992 he co-founded a men’s group in Winchester which met for 23 years, fulfilling its aim: and that’s to turn up every three weeks. He has also co-led many men’s weekends, and all this inspired his second book, published in 2013: Out of the Woods: a guide to life for men beyond 50.

Personal and spiritual development has been an important part of Alan’s life and work for over 25 years. Findhorn, the spiritual community in Scotland, has been a major inspiration.  Alan has led many workshop and retreat groups, including men’s groups, fulfilling life purpose at work, vision quests, and retreats in the Tunisian Sahara.

In early adulthood Alan had a successful 20-year career in mainstream business management, starting in marketing with Procter and Gamble.  In 1985 he co-founded Caradon plc, a major building materials group which grew to become a FTSE 100 company within 10 years:  In 1990, Alan gave back the Company Jaguar and started a second career in the sustainability and social enterprise sectors.

Alan’s inspirations include Groucho Marx, Alfred the Great, Sufi mentor Neil Douglas-Klotz, Bach, The Who, Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, T S Eliot, Arthur Dent, and a huge array of books, music, films and landscapes.  His hobbies include music, cycling, steam railways, sacred dance and slow travel.

Alan was born in 1948, married in 1971, divorced in 1998, re-married in 2012.  He has two daughters in their thirties.  He lives in Bridport, West Dorset, with his wife Linda, a complementary therapist and healer.  He has two first class degrees, an MA in English Literature from Oxford University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.