What do you get when you bring together a former international footballer, international athlete, two ex-golf pros and countless other high-calibre sportspeople in one company?
In the case of leading Shropshire financial services company Q, the answer is a real success story – with lessons learned from the world of sport playing a hugely important role.
Q – which has offices in Wellington and Shrewsbury and has expanded significantly in the last 12 months – could field a pretty useful all-round sporting eleven.
Their ranks include:
- Director Dave Edwards – the former Wales, Wolves and Shrewsbury Town footballer who is still turning out for Bala in the top flight of Welsh football
- Senior mortgage and protection adviser Simon Farenden, a top-level sprinter who represented England and Great Britain numerous times and who is now planning a comeback
- Two former professional golfers in senior commercial executive David Wells – former pro at the Astbury course near Bridgnorth – and financial planner Alex Morton, who spent three years carving out a living on the pro tour
- Commercial executive Mike Barton, a familiar face on the county’s tennis courts having won the under-21 men’s county championship and then gone on to run a successful tennis coaching business which saw him win a national award
Q director Steve Parry says the sporting background also extends to a host of colleagues who have played various amateur sports at high levels – as well as some who simply play for the fun of it.
“There is no doubt that people who have played sport competitively bring really useful transferrable skills into the business,” said Steve.
“That often includes a deep understanding of teamwork, people-management and the need for preparation, but also a drive to make the most of all our abilities and enjoy ourselves whilst we do so.”
For fans’ favourite Dave Edwards – part of the Wales team which famously made the semi-finals of the Euros in 2016 – knowledge gained on the football pitch informs every aspect of his business life.
“I have been lucky enough to be in a team environment in sport for a long time and we very much have the same atmosphere and feeling within Q. Everybody helps each other, has empathy with colleagues in tougher times and shares joy in the more successful moments.
“I have been with Q since the very start and something that was at the centre of our values then was developing this culture and atmosphere and making sure we didn’t lose sight of it as we expanded.
“My personal best moment being involved with Q was when we opened our new office in my hometown of Shrewsbury this year – something myself and the rest of the team are extremely proud about.”
Simon, who was forced to retire from sprinting at the age of 23 due to a serious injury, has now set his sights on a return to the GB team at the World Masters Championships in Finland this year.
“In athletics, I learnt that if you put the hard work in behind the scenes it will invariably pay off when it comes to race day. The same can be said for the mortgage world. There are no shortcuts to success. You need to have the same heart, desire and work ethic to be the best at what you do.
“It’s the same when things don’t go your way. I regularly suffered with niggling little injuries throughout my career but rarely allowed them to worry me. Now, when a mortgage gets declined I don’t dwell on it or let it defeat me, I push forward to find another solution for my clients.
“I thoroughly believe that having a team made up of ex (and current) elite sportspeople gives Q something that sets us apart from the rest – our mindset and winning mentality.”
Golfer Alex says his background in sport has given him the confidence to be able to deal with any obstacle which comes his way.
“The focus and strength of mind required to play sport at a high level is a great transferable skill and also teaches resilience in the face of adversity. Playing sport puts everyone on a level playing field, irrespective of background or achievements, titles or heritage. It’s also a great networking tool.”
Fellow golfer David Wells – who has been with Q for four and half years – agrees about the importance of networking and adds: “Golf teaches you a lot of life skills including how to talk and interact with people from all types of backgrounds and a respect for etiquette and tradition.
“Helping people is the biggest key in both the sport and business worlds. I love to use my expertise to find solutions and help improve my clients’ lives – just as I did when I was teaching golf.”
For Mike Barton, one of the big advantages of moving into business from the world of sport, is the confidence to deal with the unknown.
“Sport has taught me many valuable skills, one of which is having the confidence to go into new situations and believe that with hard work and determination you will succeed. Sport has also taught me to respect other players, colleagues or even rivals and never give up. It’s something we all embrace in our working lives here at Q.”