As well as working on a challenging consultancy project, in the past few weeks Victus has also been zipping around the UK delivering motivational speeches, presenting at awards ceremonies and compering at large international trade exhibitions.
But what makes me qualified to stand up to 250 students who aspire to work in catering and hospitality? Hand over a gong to one of my peers? Or moderate a panel of industry experts?
I think it boils down to a mix of experience, knowledge and personality.
I love working with bright, young, emerging talent, and I’m often asked to speak and lead workshops at schools and colleges. Last month I was a keynote speaker at the University of Highlands and Islands “Get Inspired 2017” Entrepreneurship. No doubt the students were expecting me to regale them with tales of my huge achievements and brag about my numerous successes. But I had a different agenda. I wanted to stand up as living proof that an entrepreneur has to withstand disappointments, challenges, trials, tribulations and no end of hardship. I’m honest, I’m direct and I wear my heart on my sleeve… and I’m quite happy to tell a room full of strangers about one particular business venture which pushed me right to the edge, both financially and emotionally. Share with them that I picked myself up, dusted myself down, and once I’d wept and wailed a little more, I used the experience to set up Victus.
The students were a great bunch, full of enthusiasm, eager to ask questions and really engaged. And they seemed to get my message:
“No matter what happens, keep trying. He showed that it does take a long journey and lots of hurdles along the way but you will get there eventually.”
Also in March I was the compere for “The Big Picture”, the main stage at the International Food Exhibition, held at the vast London Excel. This involved introducing keynote speakers, presenting awards and moderating panel discussions. Topics focused on hard hitting issues within the UK and international food and drink industry, with experts offering their advice and opinion. I had to think on my feet, know my stuff and keep both the speakers and audience on side. One speaker didn’t turn up and I had to think fast… I remembered someone I had met earlier, tracked her down and between the two of us we delivered an engaging discussion.
It was hard, challenging but it gave me such a buzz. But how was I able to pull it off?
I own a number of catering businesses so I have to keep up to date with law, legislation, best practice and things on the horizon like sugar tax. With over thirty permanent and part-time office, kitchen and front of house staff I’ve been there and seen that with almost every possible hiring, firing and training scenario. I work with many different kinds of suppliers, and understand the provenance of food as well as environmental and wider sustainability issues.
I specialise in one industry, and within that industry I have key areas of expertise. I don’t claim to be all things to all people, but I know what I know and I focus on this. If I was asked to speak at a technology or marketing conference, I’d decline. It’s not my thing.
Victus Consultancy is an engaging, passionate and entertaining presenter, speaker and host. He is available to talk at hospitality and catering events throughout the UK and further afield, subject to availability. Contact us for additional information.