- 20th June 2011
- Posted by: Rosalind Howard
- Category: NL Week
Time to Read – 2 minutes and a few seconds here or there
Thank you for your feedback on leadership v management. As an interlude before next week’s next waste of time question (are leaders born or made?), I give you one amazing young man…James Eder.
In 2002, I started my business degree at the University of Birmingham. I became involved with AIESEC (www.aiesec.org) which resulted in my meeting people from all over the world, and working on placements in the Philippines and Colombia. When graduating I wanted to give back to an organisation that had given me so much and so I applied for a year-long position on AIESEC’s UK leadership team. When I didn’t make it onto the team, I was devastated. In that moment, I felt I had failed.
Earlier in my AIESEC experience, a friend bought me a copy of The Naked Leader. With the simple yet powerful questions: imagine if you simply could not fail – what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you be?
In that moment of “failure” I began to question what I really wanted to do. I wanted to give something back and provide opportunities for other people – and I realised there were other ways I could do that. Imagine if I could not fail… If I wasn’t going to fail, then there was no choice: with an idea I had already created, and business plan in hand, I had to start and it was going to work. My brother Michael and I agreed to go into business together by setting up www.studentbeans.com as a leading student website and brand. The aim of the site is to help students save money and help brands promote themselves to the massive UK student market.
The start was tough, we have had many all night working sessions and often felt we would not make it…however we kept going and today we have signed up over 500,000 users, we have a team of 24 people and…tomorrow, Tuesday 21 June we celebrate our sixth birthday!
I often talk to schools and businesses about having an idea and making it happen. My only regret is that I didn’t start earlier.
A big thank you to David and all of our friends, family, students and stakeholders, who have believed in us and our idea and have helped us become the success we are today.
So, if you have read this far, I say this to you – what are you waiting for? Many thanks for reading, and as David would sign off
With my love to you all