One key factor that defines the Exclusive Business lunch events is the quality of our speakers. Coming from a wide variety of business sectors and backgrounds the commonality has been their willingness to share their personal stories of success, failure, adversity and often success again! It is not easy to stand in front of a room of your peers, amongst whom you may only be perceived as hugely successful and bear your soul.
Stefan Lepkowski, has been a great supporter of the lunch events since they started last year and did not hesitate when Linda approached him to speak, but as the event drew closer we were all surprised to find that Stefan was more than a little nervous about his presentation.
As Stefan addressed the room on Monday 29th October it soon became clear why he had felt nervous, his talk gave a raw and honest account of his ancestory and life up to today. We went on a journey of persecution in his family home-land, Poland, facing up to the brutality of murder whilst a young school child in South Africa and appalling school reports and savage bullying through his teenage years.
Setting off to make something of himself, Stefan fell into roles that were little more than a way to make money and survive whilst having a good time and doing things he loved (skiing and surfing) but a chance encounter led him into his first position with Berghauus. This fortuitous move shaped a career that eventually focussed on heading up the marketing for this world-renowned brand.
Eager to stretch himself further Stefan decided to branch out alone and set up Karol Marketing from a bedroom in a shared house in Jesmond. Reebok were his second client so fair to say the business got off to a good start!
Karol Marketing grew to be hugely successfully in a short space of time on the back of the Reebok contract but subsequent poor business deals and unsuccessful partnerships threatened the business. In the midst of the business turmoil Stefan embarked on a monumental house build project, featured on Grand Designs. The project to build a dream home was all encompassing, brutal and challenging and the business already facing challenges suffered as a result.
Fast forward to a completed house project, Karol Marketing operating in an old pub as their HQ and a thriving, award winning business with an ever increasing client list and you would conclude that we had a very jolly finish to Stefan’s talk, and indeed we did but an enormous amount of personal tragedy underpinned the last few years and this makes the success of the business all the more inspiring.
The guests who heard Stefan speak were very lucky indeed to hear such an incredible life story aligned to a business story. If you were in the room you may find yourself wondering about the buried silver and taking a trip to Poland!
Thank you Stefan for delivering such an emotive presentation and we wish you health all the success in the world.
Next Newcastle event is on Monday 26th November – guest speaker Jon Chadwick of Durham Distillery – click to book
Next Tees Valley event on Monday 3rd December – guest speaker Tony Robinson OBE – Enterprise Rockers – click to book
Jesmond Dene House
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