John Hill, The Journal
Jun 4 2011
AN EXPLORER, a pudding entrepreneur and a television presenter led a celebration of a quarter century of Durham Business School.
Arctic adventurer Rona Cant stressed that while the pressure of keeping a business running in troubled times may bring occasional headaches, it is important to keep putting one foot in front of the other, make staff feel valued and take pleasure from little victories.
The one-time round-the-world yachtswoman spoke to The Journal during The Durham Convention, the third annual gathering of students and business leaders organised by Durham Business School.
She said: “You’ve got to understand that people are your lifeblood. If you’re not looking after people, it’s not going to work.
“If you’re on a big project, cut it down into a summary and a certain number of chapters and go through them one by one.
“If I have a good phone call with a client, I always come off the phone yelling “yes”. It’s about celebrating the little things.”
This year’s Durham Convention gathered a roster of speakers including Gü founder James Averdieck, the Durham University graduate who turned a passion for chocolate into a £22.5m gourmet business.
Adam Shaw, a business presenter on Radio 4’s news programme Today, took to the pulpit to talk about economics and business trends, while Pickle Jar communications director Tracy Playle introduced attendees to the wider potential of communicating with their customers via social media.
Playle said: “I don’t believe in social media strategies. Social media is just people having a conversation.
“A lot of people have just ploughed into this space without realising it’s about people rather than businesses, but there are great opportunities to start engaging with people as individuals.”
The gathering is just the start of an event marking the 25th anniversary of the launch of Durham Business School’s MBA.
The weekend’s activities include a golf session at Durham’s Mount Oswald Golf Club tomorrow, while today features refresher sessions on leadership, finance, ethics, marketing and innovation and an alumni ball at the Radisson BLUE.
Alumni relations and development manager Alexandra Sedgwick, who helped shape the current convention, said the convention would be returning for a fourth run, and organisers were considering arranging events in places such as London to connect with more businesses and Durham alumni.