Mar 15

This year’s BOSS Leaders of the Future Conference brought together the brightest of the industry’s young talent within the magnificent Stationers’ Hall.

Emily Jones (Fellowes) and Scott Castle (VOW) set the tone for the day, telling the tale of the Leaders of the Future committee and its work.

Extraordinary entrepreneur

Julianne Ponan kicked the day’s presentations off by taking us through her own extraordinary story.

Following a near-death experience through anaphylactic shock as a child (her parents were told that she had four hours to live), Julianne told how she had turned her ‘weaknesses’ into opportunities by buying out allergy-free snack company Creative Nature aged just 22.

At the time, the business was making a loss and Ponan ‘changed everything about it’. She returned it to profit within 18 months. Next she gambled the companies cash on a trade show at the ExCel. Here she made a connection with what turned out to be a Tesco buyer. The Creative Nature brand is now in Sainsburys, Co-op, Asda, Ocado, as well as in more than 11 countries.

Charity for good

Frances Stephen then showcased the BOSS Business Supplies Charity. The Charity helps those who have fallen on hard times, get back on their feet. Delegates were urged to spread the message within their workplaces and that the Charity is there for everyone.

Inspiring innovation

Adam Carnell (Bluetree Group) completed the morning session. Telling his own story of ‘Starting From Scratch’ by setting up the instantprint print business straight out of college, then merging with another printer and growing rapidly.

Wellbeing at work

After lunch, Charlotte Wiseman (Wellbeing People), a psychology graduate explained how we can look after our wellbeing at work. Charlotte quizzed the delegates about their current state of wellbeing. She explained that improving this could lengthen our lives by up to seven years. Charlotte gave some practical advice for delegates to take away.

Industry debate

To finish, delegates broke into groups to discuss the ‘Lifeboat Debate’. This was to decide who amongst dealers, dealer groups, wholesalers, manufacturers, software/service providers and BOSS/industry publications most deserved a place in the lifeboat.

After a lively debate, each candidate made such a good case for survival, that Phil Lawson, fortunately managed to find a larger boat!

The future CEO

Phil then introduced the Future Leaders to the future leader of BOSS, his successor Amy Hutchinson to warm and receptive applause.

Emily and Scott then thanked the sponsors for their generous support and encouraged everyone to come back and attend again next year.

Keeping the lifeboat afloat

Delegates were then invited to meet Amy in person over networking drinks. To read the full article, look out for the next article coming on our site soon.