Office products industry association BOSS returned with its award-winning Leaders of the Future Conference at the historic Stationers’ Hall last Friday.
Chaired by Leaders of the Future Committee members Aaron Hopkinson of Brother and Emily Jones of Fellowes, the event gathered up-and-coming talent from across the office products sector for a day of motivational speeches, networking and workshops.
Record breaking inspiration
The first speaker was 22 year old record-breaking adventurer Alex Staniforth who left the room in awe after sharing his inspirational story of surviving the 2015 Nepal earthquake during an attempt to climb Mount Everest.
He spoke about learning from failure and challenged the crowd to conquer their own ‘Everests’. Alex told attendees how he had managed to overcome the trauma of the earthquake and his own mental health challenges to become the fastest person ever to climb the 100 highest points in the UK.
Next, the industry’s very own mountain climber, BOSS CEO Philip Lawson followed and turned the topic to business-related matters. Delivering an eye-opening presentation about the rapidly evolving world of sales, as the role of the salesperson moves away from traditional methods to a more consultative approach.
Next up Fiona Mills, Director of Marketing and E-Commerce at label manufacturer Avery UK spoke about Avery’s move online and the launch of its e-commerce printing platform, Mills shared the highs and lows of getting an OP business selling on the web in just 100 days.
Managing Director of Prime Group Jon Tolley then took to the stage to deliver words of wisdom from his own 30-year career at the head of a successful UK printing business.
His speech painted a bright future for the OP industry and encouraged the young delegates to embark on their own personal journeys of self-development.
After a networking lunch, Garry Mellor, Senior Process Improvement Engineer at the British Printing Industries Federation, led the room through an interactive productivity workshop. Mellor commented on the “unique and creative” ways attendees took to the task which resulted in a few smashed glasses.
An eventful question and answer panel
Attendees then had the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the UK industry’s respected leaders as part of a panel discussions.
The first panel comprised United’s Darren Lloyd, COLOP UK’s Kiran Mistry, FusionPlus Data’s Steve Bilton, and Avery’s Jonathan Smith. The group spoke of camaraderie and the importance of looking after your team.
The second discussion involved Fellowes’ Richard Monk, Prima’s Ian Buckley, Pentel’s Graham Craik, EVO Group’s Steve Haworth and Highlands Jade Wilson. The panel outlined the qualities needed to make a good leader and the tough decisions faced by those at the top.
A big congratulations
The conference ended with a special mention to the departing Haley-mae Benton. As well as her work as Channel Sales Manager at Avery UK, Benton helped found the Leaders of the Future Committee last year and has served as its Chairperson.
She delivered a heart-felt goodbye to her industry colleagues and friends, passing over the baton to Emily Jones.
Afterwards, attendees were invited to networking drinks hosted by EVO CEO Steve Haworth.
Commenting on the day, Benton said: “The feedback from others during breaks and afterwards was so positive. I was really proud to be part of it and am leaving the industry on a high.”