GDS International’s Cardiff office had the pleasure of hearing from the successful Jamie Roberts of Welsh international and Cardiff Blues centre, who imparted his experience on what it takes to become successful in a ruthlessly competitive environment.

Roberts, best known for his contribution to Wales’ Six Nations 2008 and 2012 Grand Slam wins – and as a pivotal player in the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour – focused his discussion with GDS International’s CEO, Oliver Smart, around what it takes to succeed in a competitive environment, the motivation needed to do so, and how to improve as a team to name but a few topics of interest.

Drawing from a range of professional experiences playing at both club and international levels, Roberts drew parallels within the worlds of rugby and business to provide unique insight into the mind of one of the nation’s most well respected sporting figures.

“We play in an environment that is pretty ruthless. If you have a poor game, you can be dropped for the next [game] – and it’s the same for business; that can be incredibly ruthless too… Your mental strength needs to be right up there. As soon as you start performing poorly, you know you can’t afford that downward spiral. As players, we rally round each other. You simply can’t let it affect you because your career depends on it. It’s ruthless, but the competition for places drives everyone. Without it, we wouldn’t push to achieve and succeed. That’s such an important part of a successful team,” he said.

Speaking to the Callaghan office’s 45 experienced sales staff that make up part of GDS International’s £35 million global B2B event portfolio workforce, Roberts was on hand to answer both predetermined questions as well as those from the floor, which were readily transitioned into takeaways for the business world.

From understanding the mindset that Roberts and his team consistently put themselves in prior to international matches, to breaking down what it takes to motivate both a team and an individual when times are tough, GDS International’s Cardiff office felt first-hand the immediate comparisons that can be made to the world of professional rugby.

Oliver Smart, the company’s CEO and Master of Ceremonies at the internal interview, commended Roberts for his honest approach towards the morning and ability to divulge such privileged insight. “After Warren Gatland visited our Cardiff office in late 2010, we realised how important it was for our staff to appreciate the phenomenal talent surrounding where they work and how effective people like Warren and Jamie really are to inspiring our workforce. What we’ve come to realise is that the worlds of rugby and business share many of the same attributes and are far from being worlds apart, bar the obvious differences in physical environment.

“In the few hours Jamie was here, he met with all of our staff, answered every question they had with complete support and imparted all he could from his amazing journey in professional rugby. With plenty of avid rugby fans in the office, Jamie was a big success and spurred the office on with ease. As he enters the recovery stage of his recent knee operation, I’d like to offer our thanks and continued success to Jamie, and indeed all of the Welsh International rugby team, for the future.”


About Spencer Green

Spencer Green founded GDS Publishing Ltd in October 1993 to specialise in industrial, government-led publications for the burgeoning Chinese market. The company launched over forty business-to-business titles, was name-checked alongside Tony Blair on China’s national news as ‘best for Chinese business’, and – following a move into India – deemed to be ‘of national importance’ by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. In 1998, GDS Publishing became GDS International and launched its first conference, Enterprise China. The hugely successful Enterprise series of conferences was rolled out across China and Latin America in the next two years. In 2000, GDS International launched its first Senior Executive Summit under the ‘Next Generation’ banner. This became the catalyst for nine years of 25% year-on-year growth... and 40% growth in 2010. In 2011, GDS held over 70 Summits for C-level Executives from a wide range of industries and across the globe, and eight digital marketing conferences. Today, GDS International is determined to become the world’s no. 1 business-to-business media and services company. It’s going to be an exciting journey! Spencer is married to Emily. They have two children, Finlay and Maya, and live in Bristol, UK.
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