Paul Drake has attended many of our previous Exclusive events and enthusiastically accepted the invitation to speak for us when we approached him last November.
Fast forward to June 2019 and Paul opened his talk by admitting he was way out of his comfort zone standing in front of his peers and having listened to previous speakers he was nervous that he did not have a story of making or losing millions; or experience of running a huge company, in fact he had wondered if he had anything remarkable to say.
How wrong he was, Paul has so much in common with our previous speakers, he has achieved great success despite life throwing a constant stream of curve balls in his direction.
Leaving school with a lack of academic qualifications and a baby on the way Paul was willing to take on any work and found his fist job in a fish factory. Taking us through a day in the life of a scampi operative was an insight into Paul’s integrity and determination. He stuck at this job to provide for his family.
In time the fish factory was replaced with a cheese factory, only a small improvement in working conditions but more money to take home, again his determination to provide spurred him on.
Having had his fill of foul smelling factories, Paul wanted a change of direction; he noticed that software developers were in demand, featuring heavily in the job pages. With no idea what a software developer did but a passion to have a better life he enrolled on a 5 year course at Sunderland University to become one.
At this point the audience are expecting Paul to tell us that this was the turning point and from here life was good. However this is real life and that is not how the story goes.
Paul qualified as a software developer, left the cheese factory and got a job with Du Pont where he went on to develop exceptional software, but the curve balls kept on coming, redundancies, credit crunch and the work drying up.
The tenacity that Paul demonstrated throughout his working life kicked in again and he took the gamble of starting his own company, despite others thinking this was madness, he went for it and Sapere Software was formed.
The company has grown slowly and cautiously, but over the last 12 months Paul has embraced expansion, partly to be able to offer employment to graduates from Teesside University, as he is passionate about keeping and nurturing talent in the region.
Paul began this talk saying he was out of his comfort zone, that really did not come across, what we enjoyed was a story about determination, application and achieving personal goals before grandiose aspirations.
There were lessons for all of us in Paul’s journey and we are very grateful that he faced his fears and told us his story.
Jesmond Dene House
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