Tim Smit – breakfast with a champion

One pleasure of my work is meeting fascinating people every day. Often, they are oblivious to their seeds of fascination. In other instances they may enjoy some fame.

Last week I had a fascinating breakfast, sharing the company of Tim Smit, the co-founder of the Eden Project and fellow speaker at the SpotlightMidWales conference.

My conference topic was opportunity spotting.

Over the full Welsh breakfast I realised here was an opportunity: I am involved in a new social enterprise aiming to transform Barry Island. My house overlooks a prime 11 acre site with phenomenal views, location and opportunity. Therefore, worthy of phenomenal regeneration.

Motivated by the low aspirations for the site by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, I got together with a group of local people to do something – and so created @BarryIsland a company in the community.

Inevitably, after the first flush of enthusiasm there can be a feeling of being on the floor, our foreheads collectively bruised, and uncertain of our next steps.

So, at breakfast you have opposite you a guy who has been responsible for one of the most successful and inspirational regeneration developments in the world, the Eden Project.

Carpe Disruption! I seized the moment.

“Tim, would you mind if I could ask your advice about…..” My faltering request was met with positive help, insight, and inspiration.

Key lessons I took away from the encounter was the need for us with @BarryIsland to be brave, believe in Barry, and have the courage to create our luck, to be what we want to be.

Tim. Thank you very much for your generosity of spirit which also shone through his magnificent conference presentation 

I am emailing Tim today with a suggestion that if he is ever in south Wales, and could spare us an hour of our time, would he come to Barry Island…..

You never know. It’s not just about spotting opportunities; it’s seizing them as well!


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