Oli Barrett

Oli Barrett

Oli Barrett MBE is the Co-founder of StartUp Britain, Tenner, Cospa and WebMission and brought speed-networking  a meeting format designed to accelerate business contacts  to the UK.

He contributes to the Leading Change course, and spoke at the 2015 June residential about how to build an effective network and turn ideas in action. Oli will be returning to Cambridge in 2017.

He also made a short film, specially for the Queen's Young Leaders, in which he gives his advice on networking – reaching out, getting connected and using social media.

In the run-up to the residential, we asked Oli a few questions.

1. Why is it important to build an effective network – in general and for young leaders?

Having an effective network means that you attract opportunities and can make things happen. To be effective, young leaders around the world need to surround themselves with a diverse range of advisors, supporters and collaborators.

2. Who is the leader that’s inspired you most, and why?

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates are using their fortune and connecting power to solve some of the biggest problems facing humanity. That inspires me. 

3. What's your favourite quote?

I have many, and list some of them on my blog.

One of my favourites – and a good one for people who start things – is Samuel Johnson: “Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” 

4. What’s your top tip for Queen’s Young Leaders?

Firstly, to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”

Secondly, and perhaps more practically, to continue to reach out to people who have done things which inspire you. Ask their advice. Ask to meet them. Don't be afraid of rejection. 

5. What’s the best thing about being involved with the Queen’s Young Leaders programme?

To solve the world's biggest problems, we need to forge new international connections, to share ideas and to come up with better ways of working together.

The Queen's Young Leaders brings together exceptional people, perhaps 20 years before they might otherwise have met. That's a 20-year headstart to create something amazing.