Andy Preston is best known for his success in business, he was a hedge fund manager who made serious amounts of money and left the city to return to his native Middlesbrough. Living back in the north he set up Green Lane Capital, the first investment with that company resulted in great financial gains. Intriguing then that his first slide in big letters said:
The real message of course is in the much smaller font – and how to make it and so the story began …
Andy delivered a very honest account of poor performance at school, a trait true of many entrepreneurs and highly successful business people. Lack of academic results drove Andy into the RAF and then to University at Edinburgh where he learned a vital lesson for career success, confidence is key.
Whilst at university Andy observed his peer group exhibited the confidence that is ingrained in those that come from wealthy backgrounds and he learned that this air of self belief opened doors. So after graduating Andy took this newly discovered confident persona and used it to gain a graduate position in the finance sector.
As it turned out Andy was very good at his job, with refreshing honesty he spoke about his ability to make huge amounts of money and the level of success he achieved for his bank and personally. At the peak of his earning power Andy walked away, recognising that the lifestyle that this type of work promotes did not necessarily bring out the best in him personally or provide the best basis for family life.
So having done quite nicely thank you Andy returned to his home- town of Middlesbrough with his family.
Returning to the North East did not of course mark the end of Andy’s business interests, in the years since he relocated back to the region he has backed many successful business projects, most recently developing the office environment Level Q which provides prestigious office facilities in a Teesside location close to the A66. The message is still very much about making money.
Andy did have another reason to return to Middlesbrough, having worked closed with Arpad Busson on the Ark charity project, Andy returned to the North East with a commitment to support charities across the region.
The list of charities that Andy supports is impressive, in 2011 he set up The Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation which with the support of local businesses has raised nearly £3million to assist people in need across the region. We learnt more about the CEO Sleepout, and naked shower photos, there has to be some fun in life! The Fork in the Road project and plans for future charitable projects.
Bringing his talk full circle we went back to the subject of making money and losing money, in summary it is definitely easier to lose it than it is to make it! Andy was honest about mistakes that have cost him dearly and shared his strategy for making sound decisions.
We may not find ourselves in the situations that Andy has in life where large sums of money can be made and lost, but we definitely took away some key advice to achieve success in our own businesses, careers and life in general.
Our thanks to Andy Preston for delivering such an open and genuine presentation.
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