Inspirational and Giving Back – Business for the 21st Century. CoppaFeel Lecture No. 1, Shoreditch



On certain evenings you may meet one or two inspirational people. The other evening at the CoppaFeel Lecture I met FOUR! ( at The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch (

Their contribution as Entrepreneurs, Personalities and Giving Back to the Communities they care about was a very progressive way of building businesses / charities, and contributing to the world. Social Responsibility is a crucial way for organisations to contribute to the communities in which they opperate. And the following Leaders had it at the core of their Brands.

296cff755494614a16eb17fd1d4624e6The event had been organised by the very important young women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Charity CoppaFeel (, hosted by a charismatic Sarah Magee and supported by Henrietta Atkinson.

forkanBrothers_2469102bSarah introduced the first guest, Rob Forkan of Gandys Flipflops ( Rob’s story of his life as a child travelling through India and Sri Lanka with his parents and three siblings was quite amazing. Tragically his parents were killed during the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, which meant he and his brothers and sisters needed to make their own way back to the UK and re-establish their lives. Rob and his fellow elder brother, Paul, decided to found Gandys Flipflops and now have a great going concern. The business gives back to the community in Sri Lanka, with Rob and Paul regularly travelling to the country, with vision of creating 230,000 Brand Ambassadors around the world. Check out the website and video on the home page. I’ll certainly be wearing a pair of Gandys this Summer and do my best to be one of their Ambassadors!

article-0-0E0CB4F400000578-564_468x330The second person up was Zoe Jackson of Living The Dream ( Zoe had looked to fund her dance training from the age of 16 years old in 2006 by starting a company to help with an income. Eight years on and the business has evolved to incorporate a Dance School, a Business and a Foundation to encourage and enable young people from areas across the country to express themselves through dance. Zoe had just arrived from an Investor Presentation Meeting to attend the CoppaFeel Lecture. She had energy, zeal and a desire to take the expression of dance to greater heights. Zoe even put us through our paces on the evening, although I think I will have a way to go before joining the next Dance Event! Check out the quite brilliant Flash-Mob event video at St Pancras International Station.


Last, but certainly not least, was the vivacious Jo King of The London Academy of Burlesque ( I’m not quite sure what Jo had taken, but her energy and passion for life and her trade were palpable! I loved her life stories from London to Las Vegas, and how her own growth in confidence in performing had led her to open her academy in order to bring confidence to women and how they in turn expressed themselves. Jo’s website has a Tease-Timonials section, which shouldn’t need too much explaining!

Sarah, Rob, Zoe and Jo, charismatic, enthusiastic and charming all, AND giving back to the communities they care about. I salute you!

Andrew Ford, February 2014

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