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Who is Andy Barrow?

After being paralysed from the chest down after an injury at 17,  Andy joined the London Wheelchair Rugby club and went on to be selected to represent the UK at the 2002 Paralympics. After around a decade representing the UK, in which Andy and his team won three gold medals in a row, Andy decided to retire from the sport on a high in 2012.

Since then, Andy has followed his career as an athlete by building a successful business as a speaker and mentor focusing on performance. Andy also understands the need for balance within both business and personal life. His holistic attitude to performance places well-being and diversity at the centre of his approach to ensure sustainable improvement.

So we know about Andy’s career, but who is Andy the person? We caught up with Andy in our 2 minutes with interview – you can read up a bit more on who Andy is below!


How did you get to where you are now?

During my previous career, I learned a lot about teams and in particular, the characteristics of high performing teams and the individuals within them. On retiring from sport, I discovered how transferable this knowledge was to the world of business and education. So, I began developing talks and workshops on the themes of teamwork, leadership, and performing under pressure.

What is the best thing about your job?

I love the variation that my job as a speaker gives me. I get to travel, share knowledge with, and learn from all kinds of people from all different backgrounds. No single day is the same!

What’s the worst/ hardest thing about your role?

Speakers (myself included) love to waffle! So, I’d say one of the biggest challenges that I have is to distil all the information that I want to get across down into a few, succinct points for the audience to take away.

What is the biggest challenge facing UK business right now?

Adapting to changing work markets from a staffing perspective. Different generations have different expectations/aspirations for their careers so providing appropriate levels of support in order to retain the best candidates is huge.

Does HR have a role to play in addressing it?

Absolutely – Firstly, ensuring effective communication across the organisation to identify good practice/issues/learning points. Then providing training opportunities (and adequate time to deliver/digest/review) so staff are empowered to try new ideas and supported in that process.

What career advice would you give your 20 year old self?

I would tell myself to say, “yes” to more things and not to worry about what others might think of that. I’d encourage myself to volunteer more and place a higher value in experiences, rather than possessions.

Andy spoke at our final myHRparty of 2018. You can find a summary of his talk by clicking HERE.


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