A few weeks ago, I won an award: The Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) in the Communications category.
Whilst the award makes me immensely proud of the success I have achieved through two businesses – VIVA Aspire & Furniture Port – what’s more rewarding to me is that it signifies the validation of choices.
‘What’s he on about?’ I’m sure you’re thinking. Well my career path is an odd one.
"Having grown up in Suffolk dreaming of being a ‘businessman’, I moved to Spain upon finishing school to then find my way back to the UK to go to Aston University.
My first “real” job was that of a stockbroker. I’m sure many would now argue it is not a real job and fair enough too. But that was my first step and it just so happened to be for a New York investment bank, whose office was at the top of the skyscraper that resided at Number 40, Wall St.
Exciting, yes. Turbulent, absolutely.
Two weeks after I started my career, Bear Stearns collapsed, closely followed by Lehman Brothers and then the whole world seemed to crash down around Wall Street.
So I had a choice to make; stay and ride out the financial storm, or use this as an opportunity to consider what being a ‘businessman’ really was. It wasn’t a tough one; although I had for many years aspired to test my ability against a computer with four monitors, I decided that my real ability lay elsewhere.
The choice I made was to come back to Birmingham and set up a business that I truly believed in and surround myself with people that genuinely inspired me, day-in day-out.
VIVA Aspire was born – a business that works with many organisations of differing shapes and sizes in delivering change through communications.
With clients all over the world, we sit in a central location to make the most of what the city has to offer – regionally, nationally and internationally.
What is truly magnificent about this location is that there is an abundance of talent and people who want to make a real change – and I’m one of them.
The BYPY trophy now sits proudly in VIVA’s main meeting room and serves as a reminder that sometimes you don’t have to go to the other side of the world to find inspiration. Sometimes, that inspiration is right here.
* Gary Blowers is director of strategy at VIVA Aspire and director of Furniture Port.