Mar 27

Over 100 delegates – a record attendance for this event and coming from all parts of the industry – converged in the historic Stationers’ Hall on Friday 24 March for the 2017 BOSS “Leaders of the Future Conference.”

The programme for the day had been devised by a special committee of young BOSS members and the event was hosted by two of the industry’s brightest young stars, Kate Robson (Prima) and Haley-mae Benton (Avery), who began the day by emphasising the positive progression that their own careers had seen so far in the industry.

Phil Jones MBE (MD of Brother UK) began the presentations, showing how he had formulated a “mathematical formula for success” but also stressing that “you have to dare to lose in order to win”. Taking the conference through some of the lessons he had learned in his own career to date, Jones encouraged delegates to manage their time, learn to say “no”, envision their goals, plan their route and exercise strict discipline in order not to get distracted from achievement.

Philip Wesolowski – who had recently been appointed MD of Staedtler UK at the age of only 33 – emphasised the importance of being passionate about your job and industry, and showing that while it’s vital to have clear goals and a defined career plans (Philip originally wanted a career selling golf products), you may find that unexpected opportunities may come across your path which have to be explored. Indeed, Wesolowski stressed that this is an industry in which there is a lot of career development and encouragement for young people to realise their full potential.

This was practically demonstrated by Debbie Nice (Category Director of Facilities Supplies, EVO Group), who has been in the industry 30 years and who pointed out that “the world is changing and we have to change with it”.  For Nice, it is clear this is an industry which is expanding its reach into being a ‘one stop shop’ – and is hence widening the opportunities for those wishing to take advantage of them. However, Nice warned, new products also mean new ways of working that have to be developed and implemented.

BOSS CEO Phil Lawson – stepping in as a last minute replacement speaker – put all of this into context and gave ‘an unapologetic advert for the BOSS Federation’, explaining how BOSS can assist young managers – and their businesses – succeed and concluding “We are not doomed! We have creativity, communication and BOSS!”

The final speaker was Martin Guntrip, formerly of the OP industry and now Club Director at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, who showed how Wimbledon, Europe’s largest annual sports event is maintained and improved through passion in terms of attention to detail and a continual striving for excellence.

The afternoon’s activities were interactive, with delegates split into teams to review and analyse the business of a (fictional) struggling OP dealer and each team gave a short presentation suggesting proposed changes and improvements. Martin headed up a panel of judges made up of leading figures from the industry’s trade press and Ian Buckley, MD of the event’s venue sponsor Prima. They awarded top marks to Team Newell although several other teams got mentioned as close runners up.

It was a fitting conclusion to a day where both passion and cool calculation were shown to provide a pathway for success for our industry’s future leaders.

BOSS would like to thank the sponsors of the Leaders of the Future Conference: Avery, COLOP, Exaclair, Fellowes, Highlands, Mitsubishi Pencil, Newell Brands, Pentel and Prima.