Leadership in today’s society was put under the microscope at Sport Industry NextGen: A Celebration last night, while the 2017 Sport Industry NextGen Leaders were introduced as a group for the first time.
Sport Industry NextGen in partnership with Barclays identifies tomorrow’s leaders, rewards their potential and nurtures their talent.
Members of the audience heard from the likes of ITV's political editor Robert Peston, Watford FC captain Troy Deeney, Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg and Sport England board member Kate Bosomworth, as well as representatives of the 2016 Sport Industry NextGen Leaders who reflected on their experiences over the last year of the Leadership Package.
Following a Development Afternoon with the Sport Industry NextGen Coaches, the 2017 group of Leaders were welcomed on stage, and also had a chance to meet a number of the 2016 Leaders to discuss the upcoming Leadership Programme, which will include commercial insight from Barclays, expert legal sessions from Howard Kennedy and an executive leadership workshop from Loughborough University London, and much more.
Kicking off the evening, Robert Peston reflected on the turbulent events of 2016 and how leadership has been impacted, as well as calling on the next generation of leaders to step up and aim high.
“Millions of people don’t believe the political system is working,” said the host of Peston on Sunday. “That’s why millions voted for Trump, that’s why millions voted for Brexit, they want change. These are times in which the big things that shape us are up in the air.”
“For the first time in my career I find it difficult to make predictions about where we are heading. All industries are having to produce more for less, and have to get better at selling to the rest of the world.”
Addressing the Sport Industry NextGen Leaders, Peston concluded: “In difficult times, your objective is to rise to these challenges.”
Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg, who was one of a dozen Sport Industry NextGen Coaches to spend the afternoon with the 2017 group of Leaders, discussed his leadership philosophy “Daring Greatly” in a candid address to the audience.
“While we are in uncertain times right now, what I can see from this group of young people in front of me is that the future is in good hands,” said the former Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games CEO.
“As leaders we need to set standards and then achieve them, constantly. Only then do we become credible. You have to prove legitimacy, and over time that naturally becomes credibility."
In the second address of the evening, Sport England board member Kate Bosomworth highlighted “energy” as the most vital factor in her leadership career, adding: “Don’t be afraid to lead with boundless energy. Energy is inspiring and motivating for you, your team, and your clients.”
After the interval, host for the evening Layla Anna-Lee was joined on stage by two representatives of the 2016 group of Sport Industry NextGen Leaders, Yath Gangakumaran and Preeti Shetty, who reflected on their experiences over the past year on the programme.
“Before we actually all met up a year ago, it felt like we had been given an individual accolade, which is great, but we very quickly realised it wasn’t about the individuals at all,” commented Shetty. “We’re a team, a network. And that’s so much more valuable.”
The duo also revealed that work within the programme was not stopping, teaming up with headline partner Barclays to commit to helping young people gain work placements within the industry.
“We’ve partnered with Barclays Life Skills to give people work experience, and we hope that the next group of Sport Industry NextGen Leaders can continue that legacy, Shetty explained.”
Concluding the evening, Layla Anna-Lee spoke to Troy Deeney about his journey from prison to Watford captain, and what it takes to lead a team of different ages, religions, nationalities and egos.
Deeney, who arrived early for the event stating: “I just want to learn”, spoke honestly about leaving prison a different person, becoming captain of his club, hitting form in the Premier League and scoring his 100th Watford goal last month.
The 28-year-old reflected: “I buried my dad 12 days before I was sentenced to jail [in 2012]. I was in a bad place at the time and got in a fight. It was the most cowardly thing I’ve done in my life. I’ve learnt a lot since then, I realise now I have a responsibility. I was stupid.”
On leading a Premier League team and advice that he would offer the new group of Sport Industry NextGen Leaders, the striker concluded: “Take the time to listen and get to know people, because everyone you meet you can learn a different lessons from – even if it’s as simple as be more like them, or be less like them!
“I’ve travelled around a fair bit and the thing you realise pretty soon is that we’re incredibly privileged in this country. That’s a huge opportunity. If I had my time again I’d tell myself that. We need to make the most of it. Some focus on trying to change the wheel, I say just focus on trying to make a dent in it. If that small impact helps one person, who then does the same to another, the result could be massive.”
Deeney also revealed that – along with his wife Stacey – he is setting up The Troy Deeney Foundation to raise money to help children with learning disabilities and life-limiting illnesses, and support local projects close to their hearts.
2017’s Sport Industry NextGen Leaders – who will begin their Leadership Package over the next few weeks - sit at the forefront of the industry, from organisations including; adidas, Twitter, YouTube, UFC, RFU, EFL, Sky, Mindshare, CSM, Synergy, Fnatic, ESL and many more. Find out more here.
Sport Industry NextGen is backed by Barclays who return as headline partner for a second year.
In addition to Barclays, Sport Industry NextGen is also supported by Official Partners Howard Kennedy and Loughborough University London.