2015 Young Leader Finalists

Sam Lewis, Randomz with Kevin Morgan, NatWest Business Banking

Young Leader (14 -25 years) sponsored by NatWest Cymru

The shortlistclick on a name to read their personal “Leadership Story”

Theo Davies-Lewis – Sixth Form Student
Sam Lewis – Operations manager, Randomz Ltd (winner)
Caryl Thomas – Owner and Managing Director, Sparkles Cleaning Services


Theo Davies-Lewis

Sixth Form Student

Theo Davies-Lewis, Sixth Form Student, Lead Campaigner for a Youth Assembly for Wales, President of  the Carwyn James Welsh Society, Chair of the Drama Society, Leader of the Football Association, Carmarthenshire Gold Sports Ambassador, School Council Representative for Tŷ Illtyd, Llandovery College

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

Throughout my life, I have met people who have shaped the person I am today. Engaging in political activity with the Youth Assembly to bring true social change, as well as driving the cultural aspects within Llandovery College and developing sport within my county has made me the leader I believe I can be now and in the future. The most influential life experience that has moulded my leadership qualities has been being around other leaders: my peers in school, my teachers, campaigners and many friends– all of whom are shaping the next generation.

What have been the main highlights and challenges since taking up your leadership role with Llandovery College?

Llandovery College is an institution with great traditions but I believed we needed to incorporate those into this era. I was told it was impossible. However, I managed to organise for the First Minister to attend a Welsh lecture, as well as diversifying the College through sport and The Arts. I took up the challenge of establishing and continuing the campaign for a Youth Assembly in spite of the First Minister doubts and wavering – My tireless campaign was rewarded with the support of key public figures, think-tanks and politicians and most significantly, the support of young people in Wales.

What have been the most helpful things you have learnt from these highlights and challenges?

I have learnt that leadership is not about personal success: what really matters is that our generation succeed as one. If there are challenges, I know I must face them for and with my friends, my community and my generation.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing leaders in Wales in 2015?

The biggest issue is that we have no mechanism for our voices to be heard. I’m campaigning for the political and social side, but what of others in society? We must allow a leader to lead, and without a true mechanism or cause – they never will.

Which other leaders in Wales do you admire and why?

In an era of depression, Aneurin Bevan believed in changing people’s lives. On the NHS, he was told it wasn’t possible, he was told it wouldn’t work – as I have been told with my campaign. However, he has shaped our lives – something that everyone, not just me, should aspire to.

What is one word that sums up leadership for you?

Belief

Theo Davies-Lewis is currently one of the Lead Campaigner for a Youth Assembly for Wales – leading the way for political and social change in our whole country, The President of the Carwyn James Welsh Society – developing the College’s great Welsh heritage in the modern era, The Chairman of the Drama Society – modernising the traditional perception of cultural aspects of the College , The Captain and Leader of the Football Association – to diversify the College in physical activity so everyone benefits, not just the few, Member of the School Council for Tŷ Illtyd – representing the view of over 50 young men in an elected body, A Gold Young Ambassador for Sport in Carmarthenshire – developing sport in the whole of the country and getting every child hooked on sport for life.


Sam Lewis

Operations manager, Randomz Ltd


How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

I have been involved in Sport since an early age and this gave me an insight into team work and the individual roles within the team environment. I was lucky to have had very good coaches in every level at sports that I played and they highlighted strong leaders had good communication skills, honesty, lead by example and also consistency, I believe that these have shaped me as a leader. I have also had a bad knee injury which affected my ability to play sports; this time out gave me a different perspective on sport and also gave me time to observe different leadership styles.

What have been the main highlights and challenges since taking up your leadership role with Randomz?

The main highlights have been taking a group of young people to the Lake District for a residential where I led activities to help them develop their leadership skills, since this trip all of them have entered employment. I have also enjoyed managing our senior football team this season as we have only lost two games scoring 102 goals and conceding 20 and being crowned league champions, most of these players would not be able to afford to play elsewhere and many have made friends from team.

The challenges initially were writing funding applications and managing projects as it was something that I have never done before.

What have been the most helpful things you have learnt from these highlights and challenges?

I have learnt that empowering young people to make informed decisions about their lives breeds success; we must let them have responsibilities in order to progress. I have also learnt that being patient and listening rather than talking is very important. I have also learnt that breaking funding applications down into manageable parts is the way to complete them.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing leaders in Wales in 2015?

With regards to young leaders it is difficult to gain experience to lead as there are very few opportunities. There is pressure on senior leaders to produce results and giving the young leader the access and responsibility to make decisions which may affect their own circumstances is difficult for them.

Which other leaders in Wales do you admire and why?

I admire Sam Warburton as he was a young captain of his club and country, he leads by example on and off the pitch, he sets very high standards which pushes his team to follow. Outside Rugby he is also a very good motivational speaker and a role model for young people.

What is one word that sums up leadership for you?

Honesty

Sam is the Operations Manager at Randomnz and is responsible for all aspects of operations, systems and procedures cutting across all Randomz Enterprises. This includes ensuring provision of employability programmes, supervision of volunteers in specific areas of operation, waste management, budget monitoring and business development in association with the Facility Manager.

 


Caryl Thomas

Owner and Managing Director, Sparkles Cleaning Services

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

I started the business upon entering my final year of university and was adamant I would achieve a First Class degree in International Business Management to benefit my business.

During last year and despite its fast pace due to being a student and a start-up, I remained the only employee of the business. This was due to the fact that I truly believe that to lead and equip my team with the best training possible that I had to understand every aspect of the role I was asking of them to undertake.

I have used this to build an ethical workplace from the ground up, to create somewhere my team thoroughly enjoy being a part of and truly understand their role and value in and to the company.

What have been the main highlights and challenges since taking up your leadership role with Sparkles Cleaning Service?

A real highlight for me has been creating employment for the 12 members of my hardworking and passionate team. Seeing everyone working hand in hand to grow the business has been truly inspiring and really instilled that with such brilliant accolades to my business that together we can lead the way forward to our next target of becoming a SME with a £1 million turnover.

One of the main challenges has been remaining competitive in a saturated market; however only in saturated markets can you achieve a competitive advantage.

Personally, in the service world I have found that there is always a challenge to overcome, each one more demanding than the last. However I feel that experience is the best teacher and as a young leader I am eager to learn.

What have been the most helpful things you have learnt from these highlights and challenges?

It proved that with a combination of the right mindset and hard work, what you want is always achievable. Whether a gain or a challenge to overcome, it takes a lot of hard work, guts and determination but my passion to grow and learn in regards to every aspect of business wins every time and that passion has become an unstoppable force.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing leaders in Wales in 2015?

Even in a modern environment, one of the largest issues is instilling belief in our future leaders.

I have been fortune to be made a Young Ambassador for the Welsh Government’s Big Ideas Wales to help encourage young people in Entrepreneurship, to get them to understand that no dream is too big.

Which other leaders in Wales do you admire and why?

Annette Chin – Taskforce Paintball

I have been very lucky to work closely with Annette and she’s a brilliant and motivating woman who overcomes whatever the business world throws at her.

When the need came, she diversified her business and for this reason she is a wonderful role model for me as I too am continuously looking to diversify and add to my business service base.

What is one word that sums up leadership for you?

Strength

Caryl, as owner of Sparkles Cleaning Services oversees all aspects of the business. She works very closely with the Sparkles Team, from director responsibilities through to carrying out cleaning to ensure the companies high standards are always being met and that the businesses is a continued success.

Disclaimer: All details included in these leadership stories have been provided by the finalists themselves.  All information has been accepted in good faith.  Any references to individuals or circumstances have been relayed in the finalist’s own words and have not been verified by the Leading Wales Awards Directors or its Consortium.  Any views expressed are those of the individuals concerned and are not necessarily the views of the Leading Wales Awards Directors or Consortium members.


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