Humber Business Week – guest speakers announced

Alastair Campbell, John and Martha Godber, Tommy Coyle and Paul Sewell

Key figures from politics, culture and sport will deliver a different perspective on the corporate world when they line up for one of the highlights of Humber Business Week.

The Elevenses sessions will welcome political heavyweight Alastair Campbell, one of the most performed writers in the English language John Godber and international boxing champion Tommy Coyle for a series of interviews with Paul Sewell – Chair of Sewell Group and a co-founder of Business Week – at the University of Hull’s Aura Innovation Centre.

Paul said: “We’ve invited people who aren’t though of first and foremost as being from the world of business yet who succeeded in their ensuing careers because they developed and demonstrated business know-how – and showed they are very good at it.”

Alastair Campbell is a writer, communicator and strategist best known as former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman, press secretary and director of communications and strategy.

He is also a campaigner on mental health issues and the author of a wide range of books including diaries, novels and memoirs. For his Elevenses slot on Tuesday 7 June the spotlight will fall on Winners and How They Succeed, his 2015 volume which explores the achievements of an array of global household names and analyses what it takes to win in politics, business and sport.

John Godber, son of a miner and a former teacher, served as Artistic Director of Hull Truck Theatre for 26 years and in 2011 set up The John Godber Company with his wife Jane, herself an award-winning actor and writer for stage, screen and radio.

John will be joined on Wednesday 8 June by youngest daughter Martha, an award-winning actor who also works as Social Media Manager and Graphic Designer for the family firm, for a discussion about the business of culture and the transformation of Hull Truck.

Retired boxer Tommy Coyle won the Commonwealth lightweight title in 2018 and retired the following year to launch his Boxclever community project and focus on the transition from boxing to business.

In partnership with Siemens Gamesa, Coyle Health and Wellbeing this year won the Best Physical Initiative category in The Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards for a unique programme of wellbeing education and support which they deliver to more than 700 workers at the firm’s wind turbine assembly factory in Hull. Tommy will take his seat at Elevenses on Thursday 9 June.

Elevenses was introduced to the Humber Business Week programme in 2021 with a series of five interviews attended by an invitation-only audience of about 20 people and streamed live online.

Paul interviewed Neil Hudgell of Hull Kingston Rovers and Adam Pearson of Hull FC jointly on the Monday, broadcaster Steph McGovern on the Tuesday and East Yorkshire-based entrepreneur Professor David Hall on the Wednesday. Businesswoman and Conservative peer Baroness Warsi was the guest on the Thursday and for the final session it was Paul who faced the questions from former Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

Paul said: “The feedback last year was very enthusiastic, and even more so from the people who couldn’t get in because of Covid-enforced restrictions on numbers and who could only watch the stream.

“This year we’ll be able to welcome more guests but we expect demand to be high once again because last year was so much fun and because of the calibre of the guests we have managed to secure.

“Alastair Campbell’s intriguing book looks at some of the parallels between politics, business and sport and we’ll be asking about the lessons learned from researching such a detailed project with some of the most famous people in the world.

“Culture is of huge importance to Hull and we want to explore how that connects with business, from John Godber’s role in leading Hull Truck from bankruptcy in 1984 to a £15m new home in 2010, and the desire for independence which led to the formation of the family business.

“Tommy is a good example of somebody who has followed a successful career in sport by making an impact in business. He fought at the iconic Madison Square Garden and also won a Commonwealth title. Now his bouncing, entrepreneurial enthusiasm has enabled him to secure award-winning, repeat business with Siemens Gamesa. We want to know what’s next.”

All three Elevenses interviews are free to attend but advance booking is essential, using the links below:

7 June – Alistair Campbell: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/328169312247

8 June – John and Martha Godber: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/328179181767

9 June – Tommy Coyle: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/328192973017

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