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The Power of Diversity: Trinity SMF Host Leadership Perspectives Series

Trinity Student Managed Fund members pose with a stellar panel including Mr Cecil Martin (former Philadelphia Eagles fullback, Sky Sports broadcaster, businessman and motivational speaker), Mr Brian O’Sullivan (CEO of Fulfil Nutrition), Dr Heather Melville, OBE (Director and Head of Client Experience for PwC UK) and Ms Amanda Pullinger (CEO of 100 Women in Finance), with the panel moderated by Mr Declan Curry (Northern Irish writer, journalist & broadcaster).

Trinity’s Student Management Fund (SMF) held its flagship annual event last Wednesday evening with the return of the Leadership Perspectives Conference, held this year in the new Business School building for the first time.

Each new year a focus is given to a new theme, with a number of international high-level business leaders invited to discuss their experiences in this area. The Trinity SMF hold a strong view that diverse leaders bring diverse leadership perspectives, broadening opportunities and capabilities beyond boundaries, and so the theme of the night’s moderated panel discussion was “the power of diversity”, which gave attendees relevant and up-to-date insights into the challenges and convergence of leadership theory with practice.

Those in attendance heard from a stellar panel, which featured Mr Cecil Martin (former Philadelphia Eagles fullback, Sky Sports broadcaster, businessman and motivational speaker), Mr Brian O’Sullivan (CEO of Fulfil Nutrition), Dr Heather Melville, OBE (Director and Head of Client Experience for PwC UK) and Ms Amanda Pullinger (CEO of 100 Women in Finance), with the panel moderated by Mr Declan Curry (Northern Irish writer, journalist & broadcaster).

Brian O’Sullivan noted how “in accepting and preparing for tonight’s event, it’s taken me out of my comfort zone”, before discussing the need for an expansion of different perspectives. He said: “We have lots of big problems in the world, to get to how we solve those challenges and how we create opportunities for the future we need diversity of thinking. We don’t need people who come from the same background with the same experiences.”

Heather Melville echoed this point, drawing on her own experiences to confirm that industry is demanding this diversity. “Our Clients are saying to us, if you are not diverse enough, we don’t want to do business with you”, she noted.

The range of the discussion around different areas of diversity continued into the evening, with Cecil Martin stating that “when I think about diversity, it’s how you approach it. Diversity has to happen with each individual”, thus touching on the point of the potential of each individual in the workplace, particularly in regards to individual diversity of thought. Amanda Pullinger crystalised this when she stated that “creating diversity of thought in a team is not very easy, partly because very often those diverse thinkers are hidden, they’re not necessarily voices we are hearing”.