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Potential meets opportunity: bright minds come together at our first Founding Patrons Forum

26 Feb, 2019

It’s Saturday 23rd February 2019, it’s 8:45am, the sun is shining, 30 Founding Patron’s and devout supporters of GlobalWelsh, Wales’ diaspora community, gather at Principality HQ in Cardiff. Ahead of them, a morning of discussion, ideas and a touch of debate on how we, as a grassroots not-for-profit organisation, can best grow and scale to maximise the opportunity that the Welsh diaspora offers in creating a more prosperous future for Wales.

On a week which saw a Welsh Government report call for a better diaspora engagement, and on a day when the Welsh Rugby team went on set a new winning sequence record by beating England at home in the Six Nations. The timing and tone of the day couldn’t have been better.

Among our Founding Patrons are some of Wales’ brightest exports and organisations including Warren East (CEO of Rolls-Royce) Heath Davies (CEO, Clearswift), Mike Powell (Chairman, FlyBondi), Lyndon Faulkner (CEO of Pelican Products), Blue Stag (Cardiff-based creative agency), Odgers Berndtson (leading executive search firm), the Welsh Rugby Union, and the Development Bank of Wales.

On the day, we were joined by an array of business talent from inside and outside of Wales as well as Stephen Kinnock (MP for Aberavon) and ex-First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones, who provided views and experiences from their collectively vast political careers.

“Today is about potential meeting opportunity.” – Martyn Phillips, GlobalWelsh Chairman & CEO of WRU

Kicking off with a warm welcome by our chairman Martyn Phillips (CEO of WRU), followed by founder of GlobalWelsh, Walter May, who outlined GlobalWelsh’s achievements over the past year and plans to raise funds to grow and build the community and demonstrate positive impact in Wales.

Steve Hughes (CEO of Principality Building Society) shortly followed, providing the room with a strong picture of Wales’ economic landscape, challenges and potential. The conversations throughout the day were led by Broadcaster and Sky Sports host, John-Paul Davies.

Mandy Powell founder of The Good Wash Company, and Gareth Lewis, founder and CEO of growing fintech Delio, stepped up to offer the room insights into the realities of returning diaspora setting up shop in Wales.

Phil Buck, of Sunnybarn Investments, delivered a snapshot of his investment strategy, having invested heavily in Welsh business over the last 12 months.

The room was left with a wide-angled view of the business landscape in Wales - Wales is a fantastic place to invest and do business, Wales is yet to realise its full potential, attracting and retaining talent is key. But how can engaging with those outside of Wales help?

“It’s time for Wales to punch above it’s weight in the business arena.” – Steve Hughes, CEO of Principality Building Society

As an organisation dedicated to finding and engaging with Wales’ diaspora network around the world, we know the opportunity and value that finding and engaging with our diaspora can bring to Wales. It’s proven, by logic, by research, and by other countries before us that have done the same – New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Portugal, Scotland…

The room split into groups to flesh out how GlobalWelsh can grow faster, stronger and help towards strengthening Wales’ global position and explore the role of diaspora in putting our vibrant country, rich in culture, history, talent and beauty, on the map.

The key stand-out from the regroup session was that we have an incredible group of passionate people on this journey with us, raring to push ahead, to help us grow the community, to make a difference, to give back to Wales. The passion of the Welsh is a force to be reckoned with.

With diaspora engagement being central to the success of Wales’ new international strategy, to close the morning off we were joined by recently appointed Minister for International Relations, Eluned Morgan, who told us of her plans and her interest in working with GlobalWelsh.

After a spot of lunch, we made our way across town to the stadium (where else?) kitted with a refined set of goals and fuelled with an intensely positive energy. GlobalWelsh is poised to grow and help get Wales on the map through the power of diaspora. Exciting times ahead indeed…

Have you got a passion for Wales? Join us on our journey and help us connect Wales’ global network… click here.



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