At this year’s Moreton Hall Business lunch two inspirational global business professionals compared notes on climbing to the top of their industries and how to respond when Kylie Jenner gets in touch on instagram.
Hosted in The Holroyd Community Theatre, the Moreton Hall Business Lunch opened with a networking drinks session in the theatre’s stunning foyer; a chance for business professionals from across the region to reconnect, for some for the first time since Covid.
Moving into the auditorium, the main event began with a presentation from the top team at Moreton Enterprises, the school’s student run business. Reflecting on the experiences in leading a real life business and managing a team of their peers, Sixth form students Tarryn Stanhope, Dunni Okoya, Liberty Radi and Jenabai Kassam impressed with their assured discussion of the employability skills they have acquired in their MD and Finance lead roles, and the place of those transferable skills in the future workplace.
Networking continued over a delicious lunch before the highlight of the day, the keynote address by Victoria Price and her ‘in conversation’ Tayyab Akhlaq. An EY (Ernst Young) Tax Partner, Victoria is Head of Private Tax for EMEIA, (Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa) and the UK&I Private Tax Leader. Passionate about encouraging and mentoring young people, Victoria’s speech revealed own inspiring journey. Academically a high achieving teenager, Victoria was also a teenage mum and studied for the final weeks of her A Levels with her baby asleep in the corner of the classroom. With stellar grades but the responsibilities of a single mother to contend with, Victoria abandoned her medical career plans and chose accountancy, qualifying at the top of her national cohort. Determined to succeed both professionally and as a parent, she persuaded her first boss to allow her to do a full week’s work over four days, allowing her time with her baby too. It is a balance she has continued to strive for and strike throughout her career, achieving at the very top of her industry but always with her family time, regular school drop offs and picks, scheduled and respected by everyone in her organisation. Determined to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people, Victoria also makes time for fundraising expeditions including climbing Kilimanjaro and she is currently in training for her next charity adventure. Although she left her audience marvelling at what she has and continues to achieve, Victoria also made us all feel that with the right mindset, we too could achieve our individual goals and at the end of her keynote address, felt better equipped to do so.
Victoria then welcomed to the stage the leading Manchester businessman Tayyab Akhlaq. Tayyab is the director of a number of businesses including ‘Public Desire’, one of the fastest growing online retail businesses in the UK. As a global online footwear brand selling up to the minute style to fashion conscious young women, Tayyab provided fascinating insights into the role of social media in growing his business. Tayyab’s followers and customers include A list celebrities, although he was the first to admit that when Kylie Jenner first got in touch he thought it was a spoof! Beyonce sporting a pair of shoes available from ‘Public Desire’ saw sales go through the roof – a reminder of the role of influencers in marketing in the 21st century.
The Business Lunch concluded with a Q&A session and the audience took the opportunity to ask a wide range of questions to add to the ‘takeaways’ from the day. Reflecting on the occasion, Tania McGee from solicitors Lanyon Bowdler said: “Victoria and Tayyab were uplifting and inspirational with fantastic tips to take away” Rob Hudson from Handelsbanken agreed: “Although Victoria and Tayyab were not “household names” that I had heard of before, their talks were some of the best I have heard and very inspirational. They both invited us to look at life differently and to look at it their way”.
With the countdown already on to next year’s Business Lunch, do please prepare to ‘save the date’!