9. Stella Donoghue talks kismet, hotel secrets and multiple exits53:59Kicking off Season Two is Guy’s conversation with super-exiter Stella Donoghue, who, as CEO of Phlexglobal, took the company through three private equity sales in five and a half years, exiting the business herself in 2016.Stella is one of those leaders who’s lived many different lives in business, starting at age 17 when she won UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year with her own restaurant in Ireland. However, in spite of her success, coming from a prominent family of high-achievers and academics, it wasn’t the route her parents had imagined for her, and marked her out as something of a black sheep, compounded three years later when she sold the restaurant and moved to London to undertake a degree in hotel management and accountancy.A period at London’s finest hotels culminated in a few high-octane years at Claridge’s, tending to the needs and whims, not just of the super-rich and famous, but potential targets of terrorism, too. However, it was after leaving the heady world of hotels behind to study for an MBA, that Stella found herself – almost by chance, after a random conversation on a treadmill at the gym – landing a role as part-time CFO, and then very quickly full-time CEO, of Phlexglobal. What followed was a period of rapid growth, both at home and internationally, together with big career milestones, giving Stella a deep understanding of private equity, and a raft of invaluable insight and experiences.
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6. Bill Collis talks The Matrix, MBOs and software piracy35:08Bill Collis, former CEO and President of visual effects software behemoth Foundry, one-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and Tenzing Entrepreneurs Panel member, tells Guy about unwittingly finding himself creating FX for one of the most iconic films of all time… his passion for using maths and algorithms to solve real-world problems… how to take on software pirates and emerge victorious… the value gained from working with multiple private equity backers… and the joys of stepping back from CEO to take up chairperson roles.
5. Titus Sharpe talks sales science and being saved by Tony Robbins37:19Titus Sharpe, lead generation and ad tech pioneer, former CEO of MVF – winner of The Sunday Times Best Company to Work For award – and member of Tenzing’s Entrepreneur’s Panel, tells Guy how he’s been in business since day one (if selling home-made slime in jam jars in primary school counts…), how he almost invented social media… how being at the bleeding edge of his industry means access to new Google, Facebook and Instagram products way in advance of the competition… and how Tony Robbins helped him transform his tough start in life into an insatiable drive for success.
4. Glenn Elliott talks doubters, deja vu and tough decisions44:22Tenzing’s very own Entrepreneur-in-Residence and retired CEO of Reward Gateway, Glenn Elliott talks about his high-yield teenage entrepreneurial endeavours… the importance of listening to your gut, having faith in your beliefs and being comfortable ignoring the received wisdom… and how being endlessly curious, and relentless in the pursuit of simplicity, is key to doing things differently, successfully.
3. Pierre Dubuc talks wunderkinds, social impact and never giving up37:39Guy talks to Pierre Dubuc about his incredible, 20-year journey building OpenClassrooms from a hobby teaching school friends to build websites, into a $60m online education platform. After a few seismic shifts in their business model, and coming close to throwing in the towel, Pierre and his business partner, Mathieu, settled on a vision that felt authentic and impactful, and watched the business soar. Today, their five-year plan is to train, help graduate, and place in the workforce, one million students per year. It’s a long way from Googling “how to write a business plan” while still at college…
2. Louise Rogers talks guitar heroes, changing markets and digital natives31:15Guy enjoys a lively and insightful conversation with digital media innovator, serial investor, and Tenzing’s Entrepreneurs Panel member, Louise Rogers. He dives into her key milestones, including making the move from architecture journalism to business mover and shaker… life as an internet frontierswoman in an embryonic Silicon Valley… and turning Times Educational Supplement from print media dinosaur on the brink of extinction into a billion-dollar juggernaut, beating off not one, but two, attempts by the government to derail her plans along the way. Louise’s insight into how she gets to grips with a new business or market is particularly salient.
1. Dean Forbes talks The Cage, alphas and successful successions45:02Guy’s first guest is Dean Forbes, one of the UK’s pre-eminent private equity CEOs, having built a formidable reputation for transitioning leadership over from Founders and notching up three hugely-successful exits. He’s currently President of Access People, and was recently named one of the UK’s most influential people on the Black Powerlist 2021. His journey has taken him from humble beginnings to the highest heights, via a stint as a professional footballer, and – being addicted to the challenge of building high-performance teams and realising the potential of the company and the people in it – he can’t resist climbing even higher… if Dean has anything to do with it, next time it’ll be a billion-dollar exit.