By 2007, having created / led some dozen social venture businesses I had become a bit jaded of the CEO life. I had led Fifteen and worked with Jamie to build that cracking social enterprise into a sustainable brand. I loved what we’d done but as my fifties approached I wanted to really focus on what I love doing. Ade after more than a decade of creating world beating leadership development programmes at innovation company ?What If! was itching to have his own business and develop new ideas. Jess had just had their second child and was determined to get back to using her immense creative skills (honed in the theatre) and event planning genius.
But what would the business be? We knew that there were many leaders in different sectors, industries, countries, who were on the same wavelength. Senior corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, owner managers, social innovators – very diverse but united by a desire to deepen and broaden their leadership learning and insights and who valued the richness which diversity – when handled right – can bring.
So we thought let’s just go for it. Let’s invite the coolest people we know to a three-day event (in the middle of nowhere on the Berkshire Downs as it turned out) and see if they share our passion – and explore if there is a profitable business in this idea. So we plundered our address books and put every last ounce of relationship capital on the line. In October 2008, they came from all over the UK, Ireland, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, USA, Canada, and Scandinavia to Wavelength100. It was a great event, hugely inspiring and full of learning and new relationships, partnerships and connections.
It gave us the confidence that we were really on to something. 2009 was spent fine tuning the business model, having sleepless nights, and finding ways of working that suited our very different styles, skill sets and enthusiasms. The highlight of that year was our visit to Grameen in Bangladesh as the guests of Nobel Laureate, Mohammed Yunus:
In late 2009, we went to market with Wavelength Connect and now we are working with our seventh cohort of leaders from across sectors and industries. Here’s a film of that very first cohort:
In June 2011 we ran our first Wavelength USA tour and this is now a regular fixture in our calendar bringing us to the heart of Silicon Valley.
We have a world class killer squad of designers, event facilitators, logistics and numbers ninjas who make it all happen. And in late 2016 we brought Graham Hodgkin, formerly CEO of London’s Air Ambulance and a Connect Alumnus, on board to grow SpeakersHub and the Bespoke business. Check out our A-Team here and find out more about Graham.
We are proud of the purposefully inspirational business we are creating. A great place to work and part of a global network of inspired and inspiring leaders, financially strong and true to our bootstrap roots where well-being, friends and family come first. We are committed to verifying the impact we have and we published our first report in January 2016 – download the full report here.
If you’ve got this far in the story why not get in touch and we can talk about how we might collaborate and so change the world for the better through business?
Want to know more about what we do? Download our brochure
Chief Encouragement Officer