HeForShe: Paul Jeffries | Co-Founder, Reach Next Generation

Meet Paul Jeffries

Co-Founder, Reach Next Generation

Paul is the co founder of Reach Next Generation that he set up with Sky Sports Anchor Sarah Stirk. Reach Next Generation hosts summits around the UK for 11-15 year old girls to help them think about their future and how to deal with the pressures of being a teenage girl in today’s every changing World.

Paul has over 25 years experience in producing and directing high profile sports and entertainment events and most recently acted as Chief of Staff at MOBO.

Paul also manages political campaigns for Mayoral candidates and is a regional ambassador for Young Enterprise

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I have spent the vast part of my working life in the brand communications and large scale events Industry. I started in 1994 when experiential wasn’t even a word. I have been involved in the management of some of the biggest events such as Notting Hill Carnival. V Festival, Euro 96 and several Political campaigns. Most recently as Chief of Staff at MOBO  and now founder of The Reach Next Generation Summits for 11-15 year old girls with Sky Sports Sarah Stirk.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No not really- I just knew I wanted to be the first to do things and that was the underlying offer of the agency I started in 1994. I had always thought I would be a film director but somehow I forgot to follow that path. Still time.

I am planning now to grow Reach Next Gen into a powerful and purpose driven organisation that changes the lives of early teenage girls so that they can be who and what they want to be without fear and scrutiny

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Every day throws up a challenge of some sort. Increased regulation has made running an SME much more difficult in recent years than it should be and used to be. I was slow to recognise the threat of digital to my business which was strange for me as I have always been at front of change. I started a Facebook community idea 5 years before Facebook but didn’t stick with it

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

There isn’t one – There’s a few : The joy of creating the world’s largest temporary advertising stunt – The Paddywood sign at Cheltenham was a remarkable feat and one everyone told me was absolutely impossible. Being part of the team that got David Cameron elected as PM . Devising  and implementing a crowd management plan for Carnival that saw a 36% drop in arrests was significant. Leading over 600 security agents throughout the London 2012 Olympics

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Impatience

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I am a great believer in mentoring and it’s going to be a large part of Reach Next Gen. Reverse mentoring is something particularly of interest. I would gladly be a mentor and pass on what I have learned : I am big supporter of Young Enterprise and the work they do to show young people that going straight into work is a viable alternative to further education. I am here if anyone needs my help, thoughts or black book

What can businesses/government/allies do to help diversity and inclusion?

Realise that unless we act swiftly our Society will miss out on the enormous talent that so may people especially from the Black community have and not just in sport and entertainment. Businesses are still scared to have a conversation about diversity for fear of getting it wrong and Government is just too fickle. Having been Chief of Staff at MOBO for 18 months I am alarmed at some of the barriers that are still in place especially for young people.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

Let’s not forget that men also suffer from many of the published issues that woman face around imposter syndrome and confidence  – they just don’t admit it – They just commit suicide. I have met some extraordinary women through our Reach Next Gen project.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

It’s okay not to know what you want to do or be while still in education. It’ll come and you can change vocation at any time. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My biggest challenge is to find enough funding from either the public or private sector to be able to stage a Reach Next Gen Summit every month. At the same time to launch my political campaign to be the next Mayor of London. We can and we need to make people’s lives easier.

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