Inspiring talks to help foster a town’s next generation of leaders

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THE founder of a global youth scheme inspired guests at a town’s first networking meeting for young professionals.

Kate Robertson is the president of Havas, one of the world’s biggest advertising and PR groups.

She was invited to the Wheelwrights Arms, in Havant, to be the first speaker at the Havant Next Generation Network, which aims to foster leadership and inspire the careers of young business people and professionals.

Alan Mak, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Havant, set up the network because he felt there was a lack of opportunity for young people to build partnerships and network within the town.

Ms Robertson is also one of the founders of One Young World, an which is a global forum for people aged 18 to 30 and is backed by the likes of Bill Clinton, Bob Geldof and Kofi Annan.

She said networking of young people was vital for the future of the country and ‘weaving the fabric of the place’.

Tim Gamester, a 34-year-old solicitor, was one of more than 50 people at the event.

He said; ‘I found Kate’s talk utterly inspiring.

‘I’ve taken on board what she said and in fact I think she has inspired me to work even harder.

‘It’s a credit to Alan that he has been able to get all this together.

‘It’s a very good idea.

‘It’s the kind of thing that Havant really needs.’

Mr Mak, 30, was himself an ambassador for One Young World, which holds annual summits in different parts of the world with high-profile speakers such as Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and Jack Dorsey, creator of Twitter.

He, along with Giles Babb, chairman of Emsworth Business Association, and Tim Pike, of Northney Dairy, wants to bring a touch of One Young World to Havant because he feels young and mid-career professionals and business owners aged 25 to 40 are often not well represented in the political, civic or economic decision-making process.

Mr Mak believes this group face a range of challenges – from career progression and raising a family, to getting a foot on the housing ladder, whilst also having the potential to make a big difference in the community and to helping others.

‘It’s been an incredible success,’ said Mr Mak.

‘We had 51 young professionals and business owners here. It’s just going to get bigger and bigger.

‘We’re already planning and looking forward to our next event in March.’

For more information please visit alanmak.org.uk.