Paralympic champion Hannah Cockcroft and former Rugby Union star Martyn Williams helped inspire students from Collyer’s at the 2017 Leadership Symposium.
The students travelled to Rothamsted Research Centre in Harpenden, Hertfordshire to attend the event, sponsored by charities Working Options in Education and Grocery Aid.
Top CEOs, entrepreneurs and leading sports personalities came to together to offer motivational talks and question panels. Presenters included: Alison Horner, chief people officer of Tesco, David Cheesewright, president and CEO of Walmart International, Lord Mark Price, Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Hawes, founder of Newton, Allan Leighton, Independent chairman of the Co-Op and Nick Claridge, partner in Odger Berndtson.
Question panels comprised independent start-up businesses, including: Saul Klein of Local Globe, Belinda Williams of Yorkshire Provender and Charlie Bigham of Bighams.
Motivational speakers throughout the day included Hannah Cockcroft and Martyn Williams. The event was expertly facilitated by former Sky News presenter Jeremy Thompson and current Sky News presenter Anna Botting.
The Collyer’s students who attended took an active role and were hugely impressed. Issy Cooper said: “The Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft was very inspiring and the motivational speakers were really engaging.”
Phoebe Rosamond was also inspired by Hannah: “Her determination to prove people wrong and compete at a world level was fascinating”.
Chloe Wheeler said: “What was really coming across was that leadership really involves listening and caring about your employees, as much as your business having good ideas.
“It seems a good product or business model is all right but ensuring it continues depends on the happiness and involvement of your employees.”
The students learned about the personal philosophies of these captains of industry, who also took time to chat and offer best advice to students.
James Howell was pleased to have heard from Walmart’s David Cheesewright. He said: “He was very down to earth and entertaining and it made that level of business seem accessible and very human, which made me think about my own future.”
Many topics were covered during this unforgettable event and Collyer’s students and staff were inspired by Anna Botting as she spoke passionately about gender inequality and the need for self-confidence within the work place.
Ed Pirie said that he liked the panel: “This format certainly brought a greater depth and variety of opinions. It also helped open out the discussion”.
Collyer’s student Tom Williams also took the opportunity to pitch his business to Charlie Bigham.
Tom said: “It was great to try out my pitch. I have worked out my starter business ideas and am always ready to pitch.
“Charlie Bigham was very helpful, listened to what I had to say, and gave me some excellent advice.
Vice principal Steve Martell, said: “I am also incredibly proud of our students, who made a very positive impression indeed. They were a credit to Collyer’s”
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