President of the Term: Roberto Farrington
PRESIDENT OF THE TERM: Roberto Farrington, Leeds Bright Futures
This is kind of a huge deal. We are crowning our very first President of the Term as Roberto, who leads the committee team of our Bright Futures Society at Leeds University oh so well. As a team, we have been blown away with his commitment, resilience and style of managing a team that makes a genuine difference to the opportunities on offer to the students of Leeds, and we thought he deserved a medal (or a blog post at least).
Let's get to know him.
A few facts about Roberto
"I am a second year BSc Mathematics from the University of Leeds, who has an aspiration to work in the financial services industry once I graduate. As well as being President of Bright Futures Leeds, I am on the committees of our Trading & Investment and Cryptocurrency & Blockchain societies. In addition, I have a few other small projects including 3 start-up companies, a funded research project in the applications of statistical physics to economics and I undertake various volunteering activities, such as teaching refugees English and helping a local food bank. I enjoy spending the spare time I have, travelling, socialising and doing photography."
What has been your biggest achievement so far this term as President of Leeds Bright Futures?
"My biggest achievement so far in Bright Futures is when I organised our Civil Service panel event, where we invited 5 civil servants to talk about their experiences on the Fast Stream. To promote the event, we decided to use a different marketing strategy which involved contacting various university admin staff, lecturers and even students from other local universities such as Leeds Beckett and Leeds Trinity. By doing so, we managed to filled the room with around 60-70 students from various backgrounds and disciplines. The event was a fantastic success!"
What is your strategy when things don’t go to plan?
"More than often, our events don’t normally go to plan, including having limited event sign-ups and speakers/panellists dropping out last minute. When issues such as these arise, I take a step back to compose myself and look at the bigger picture so I can attack the problem with a clear mind. This allows me to find the best solution to the issue, and ensure that the event runs smoothly.
For example, we initially struggled to bring in students to our Civil Service panel using our usual social media and paper marketing techniques. Acknowledging the problem, I proposed the idea of contacting other Universities and ask our careers centre to help us advertise the event. As a result, we able to get over 60 event sign-ups within 24 hours."
What advice would you give other Presidents within the Bright Futures network?
"I believe that no matter what the task is, constant communication is the key to success. Whether that includes sending weekly updates to your committee on the progress of the society, to having a coffee with the contacts you have gained through the Bright Futures network, maintaining a good working relationship with your colleagues and contacts is essential for the progression of your society.
I also believe that working collaboratively with the University, other societies and even local organisations helps ensure the creation of excellent events. One of our plans for next semester is to work with FinTech North (a group of financial technology start-ups based across the North) to host an event about the process of founding your own start-up and the challenges they will need to overcome."
Does Bright Futures Leeds have any exciting plans for next term?
"As well as our FinTech event, a lot of exciting events coming up next semester. This includes our “BAME in Business” panel, where we will have entrepreneurs and industry leaders from ethnic backgrounds talk about their experiences and successes, as well as a networking event based in PwC’s Leeds office in collaboration with our Trading & Investment society.
Alongside these events, I am Co-Chairing this year’s Leeds Finance Summit – the UK’s largest student-led finance conference – with Sophie Tew (President of our award-winning Women in Leadership Society). Last year we were able to sell 500 tickets and attract top keynote speakers, such as Sacha Anslem (COO of Morgan Stanley) and Lauren Anderson (Head of EU Withdrawal at the Bank of England). With support of MKF, we aim to top this event and bring even better speakers from across the financial industry!"
If you could go to dinner with one person, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
"I think I would choose to have dinner with Muhammad Yunis – the Father of Microfinance and founder of Grameen Bank. Muhammad is a Bengali social entrepreneur, who set up a bank specialising in giving loans to entrepreneurs who were too poor to qualify for traditional banking loans. Since the establishment of Grameen Bank, the poverty rate in Bangladesh has been significantly reduced. It has even encouraged social change in the country as around 94% of Grameen’s loans have gone to women, who suffer disproportionately from poverty, to encourage female empowerment and entrepreneurship. Muhammad’s efforts have been greatly recognised across the world, through gaining various awards from the World Food Prize in 1994 to the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. I would love to understand his motives and his story to how he was able to create such a massive organisation, so that one day I also may become a founder of another Grameen Bank or work as a development or community banker."
And why are we so particularly impressed?
"Roberto has been outstanding as President this term and is very deserving of the title President of the Term. He is an example of how to lead a good team, but also to take on responsibility from others when they are busy. From Day 1 he has been responsive in all his communications, always keen to help, and ensures that everything possible is done when promoting events. Looking forward to seeing what Term 2 brings for Roberto and the team at Leeds - congratulations!" - Khadijah, Bright Futures Societies Manager.
What a President! Huge congratulations and well done to Roberto - we are really impressed with the work you have put into your Society this year and can't wait to see what you have in store for Bright Futures Leeds next term!