Sussex Chamber of Commerce – Business Leaders Conference
By Donna O’Toole
On the 28th November, our CEO Donna O’Toole was humbled and honoured to speak at the Sussex Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leaders Conference 2017. Set in The Grand Hotel Brighton, the sheer impressiveness of the venue was matched by the inspirational entrepreneurs and business leaders in attendance.
Following lunch and a chance to network with other attendees, Donna took to the stage as the first speaker of the afternoon to inspire, motivate and encourage the room. Telling them the power of winning industry awards and how they too could become more profitable than their competitors through the awards they win.
Throughout her talk Donna let the crowd in on some of her trade secrets. Such as how to win prestigious local, national and international awards such as the Chamber Awards and The Queen’s Award for Enterprise. With her audience’s interest piqued, an array of questions were asked, including one from David Sheppard Chairman of Sussex Chamber who discussed the need to provide evidence within an award entry, before a well-deserved round of applause broke out around the opulent hall.
Ben Towers – Bedroom to Boardroom
Next we heard from the highly successful, young entrepreneur Ben Towers. At only 19 years old he has successfully created, run and completed a multi-million pound merger of his own company.
Ben took us through the story of his business life. From building websites at only 11 years old as a freelance web designer and using Youtube ‘How to’ videos as a tool for learning new skills, to having his bedroom set up as an office and his school reprimanding him for having a business whilst studying for his GCSEs. Ben even had to hire himself as an apprentice to prove he was continuing his education!
After divulging his life story, Ben began to talk about the struggles of gaining media attention and the internet trolls that come with it. However, this challenge has led him to become an ambassador of the organisation ‘bullies out’ – which we think is a true testament of his character.
The whole room was enthralled by Ben’s speech and we would like to say thank you to Ben for sharing his story and wish him the very best of luck in all his future endeavours.
Professor Chris Roebuck – Delivering Success Through I CARE Leadership
The final speaker of the afternoon was Professor Chris Roebuck, visiting Professor of Transformational Leadership from Cass Business School. Founded on 35 years of experience working for huge Global brands such as UBS and Aston Martin as well as SMEs, Chris developed the innovative ‘I CARE’ Leadership approach.
Chris opened our eyes to how poor leadership, delegation and time management leads to unhappy employees, profit loss and high employee turnover. He explained how his ‘I CARE’ leadership approach could easily rectify this issue without spending a single penny and would in fact bring in more money.
This valuable message resonated with the room full of many SME business leaders and entrepreneurs. They could take it away and start implementing it within their own businesses straight away. It was great to hear from such an experienced leadership expert and gain so much knowledge. We would like to thank Chris for opening our eyes and can’t wait to see how his ‘I CARE’ Leadership continues to transform the business world.
We’d like to thank Ana Christie, David Sheppard and everyone at the Sussex Chamber of Commerce for organising such an empowering event and setting the stage for an inspirational afternoon. We can not thank you enough for the support you give August and we look forward to supporting many more businesses in the Chamber to grow and succeed by raising their profile.
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