Neil Laughton, the very successful entrepreneur and adventurer, has a skill for making people believe they can follow their dreams if they step out of their comfort zone and give it a shot. He is passionate about helping ordinary people achieve extraordinary results and entertains with humour and modesty as he describes his exceptional life experiences.
Before launching his business career, Neil was trained as a Royal Marine Commando and achieved the high rank of Captain and Troop Commander in the SAS. His business success grew from starting off as a door-to-door office equipment salesman (on commission only) to sitting down with a friend and starting a new business with a £4k investment. Their first client wanted an office refurbishment which they undertook themselves and were able to maximise profit over two weekends.
Neil later became Founding Director and Executive Chairman of OPL Group a multi-million pound property development, construction, commercial interiors and office furniture group of companies. Clients include AXA Insurance, BAA, BMW, Balfour Beatty, Cobbetts LLP, Costain, Discovery Channel, Walt Disney, Land Securities, Home Office among others. When turnover reached £40m in 2009/10 Neil sold the business to Balfour Beatty Plc. He has since founded the Business Leadership Academy and is a Business Angel investor.
In addition to building his businesses and developing his career, Neil has organised and led expeditions all over the world. He has a passion for the challenge of inspiring, organising, fundraising and leading teams on adventurous expeditions whilst raising funds for charity. Neil spends much of his time encouraging disaffected and disadvantaged inner city youth realise their potential. The Royal Geographical Society recently presented him with the Ness Award in recognition of his leadership and development skills.
Neil has scaled at least twelve previously un-climbed peaks and has completed the seven Summits (the highest mountain on each of the seven continents: reaching the summit of Mt. Everest with a young Bear Grylls in 1998). He has led expeditions in some of the most hostile environments on earth. In 1996, Neil was caught at 26,000ft on Everest during the infamous storm that killed eight people and injured many more from frostbite. Neil draws on these experiences and is able to deliver powerful messages on leadership and teamwork.
Neil has done many somewhat extraordinary expeditions in the past from jet-skiing around the UK with friend Bear Grylls and playing golf (with an orange ball) at the North Pole. He was also featured in the documentary ‘The Flying Car’ (part of Channel 4’s Daredevil series, 2009), for taking the world’s first road legal bio-fuelled flying car on a 10,000 km journey from London to Timbuktu. Additionally in the documentary ‘Mission Everest’ (2008) Neil was in charge of safety in the first ever attempt to fly motorised paragliders over Everest with Bear Grylls and Gilo Cardozo. In 2012, Neil led the Scott Memorial South Pole Expedition arriving at the South Pole exactly 100 years after Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his team. Neil organised a commemorative game of cricket on arrival.
Neil has received a postgraduate diploma in business and a Certificate in Company Direction from the IOD. He has other commercial interests in manufacturing, aviation and property. He is also a qualified paraglider, aeroplane and helicopter pilot.
Speaking Style – Each talk is tailored using inspiring footage from his expeditions and has powerful messages about leadership and teamwork to share. His style is very understated considering the incredible stories he shares. He passionately believes ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results and entertains with humour and modesty as he describes his unique life experiences.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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