Over the years we have had some fantastic guest speakers at our Utility Warehouse Annual Event attended by thousands of UW partners

Most of the speakers have been American but I must say my two favourite speakers have been British.

Very early on in my UW career the guest speaker was Kriss Akabussi. Now I don’t know how anyone cannot have a smile on their face when watching and listening to him with that infectious smile and laugh that he has, but apart from that – what an inspirational speaker he was, and indeed he has gone on to have a career as a motivational speaker.

My favourite bit was when he was explaining the tactics they used in the 4 x 400 metre relay in Tokyo in 1991 to beat the favourites, the Americans, and so become world champions. Basically, they changed the order they ran but it was fascinating hearing the psychology behind the changes. Now, being a keen athletics fan, I knew the result and remember watching it when it happened in Tokyo. but listening to Kriss and the build-up –  when that video was played from the stage that day we were all on our feet willing them to win, and the passion in the auditorium when GB crossed the finishing line in 1st place   equalled the passion from the spectators watching the live event  all those years ago.

My other favourite British guest speaker is the one we have just had at our latest event, none other than Tim Peake the British astronaut. Even in the lead up to the event, we had great fun within our teams coming up with puns as if we were introducing him on the day. ‘We’re over the moon’  it will be’ out of this world,’ it will be ‘ a launch pad to our success’ ‘we’re on a mission’  it can propel us to the’ peak of our business’ – and many more, but I  don’t want to elicit too many groans! We also had great fun doing a Zoom video with all the actions to the song ‘Reach for the Stars.’  On playback I have decided not to send it in to Strictly Come Dancing for a group dance as I think Craig Revel Horwood would use that phrase ‘dis-ast-er- ous’   Who cares – we had great fun!

Come the day and even though it was a Virtual event this time – what an inspiration that man is. I’m going to be accused of another pun, but there is no other way to describe the modesty of the man other than saying that he came across as a really ‘down to earth’ guy. He spoke about ‘Resilience’  –  laughingly saying he may have first learnt that as a youngster because he was ‘small and ginger’ . I’ve sent a clip of that out to my grandson who is in Mexico at the moment, as he is ‘tall and ginger’ and he’s a young man who has vision and goes after his goals. The story that best demonstrated his resilience, however, was the fact that he gave up his career as a pilot to train for 6 years as an astronaut with absolutely no guarantee that he would be one of the ones chosen to go into space. Talk about Belief!

Both those speakers were so inspirational, so motivational and an absolute privilege to have them attend one of our events. Thank you, Utility Warehouse.

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