13 July 2016
Whenever we make an announcement like yesterday’s reveal of our Sale Sharks partnership, I invariably receive an influx of questions about why it is we decide to sponsor any sport team at all. Is it all just to see our name on the shirts ?
The answer, obviously, is no!
For me, it is about fostering a true partnership; about working together to create an environment of excellence; one where everyone feels encouraged and inspired to be their absolute best.
This is how I try and run all parts of my businesses – and my life for that matter. If you surround yourself with people who are passionate about what they do, you are more likely to feel passionate about what is you are looking to achieve.
Rugby isn’t the only sport that UKFast supports. We work with talent in squash, running and athletics and now – after a little break – we’re back in rugby too. I feel incredibly privileged and inspired to work with many such talented sportspeople.
Later this week, we are hosting the graduation ceremony for the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation. This foundation supports young people and their families in their sporting, academic and personal development, and we’ve been one of their partners for years. They literally give young people a sporting chance.
The foundation’s young athletes use our facilities to train, so they’re a regular sight here at UKFast Campus and part of the family. We also developed an altitude training camp at our hotel in Verbier, The Farinet, to give an extra facet to their training too. A prime example is junior champion Aimee Pratt, who came over just a few weeks ago after finding out she managed to qualify for the Bydgoszcz World Junior Championships in Athletics, where she’ll compete with athletes from more than 180 countries.
We also extended our sponsorship deal with recently crowned world number one squash player Laura Massaro earlier this year. My relationship with Laura has developed over the last few years, having started with us helping her out with her website to me becoming a mentor and talking to her before matches. She’s an extraordinary athlete and a great friend.
Although I can’t help these sporting stars and talents with their techniques, I do believe that many of the skills I’ve learnt in business are transferable to sport.
Like business leaders, athletes have to be driven, committed and focussed. We all have to find ways of getting over barriers and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. Sometimes, when things don’t go as you planned, we have to remain emotionally strong and focussed. I really do think your state of mind and focus takes you the extra distance.
How do you stay inspired and focussed?