An Interview with Martine Wright MBE

Matt Palmer12 November 2018

At our recent Knowledge Guild event, we caught up with one of our inspirng speakers,  Martine Wright MBE .

We spoke about her journey to the Paralympic Games, the lessons she wants to share with us and how we could all do with a bit more humour in our lives too. Martine has achieved so much in her life already, but still has some exciting plans on the horizon...

Hi Martine, in a few sentences, could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name’s Martine Wright and I’m part of the Great Britain sitting volleyball team and I had the huge honour of taking part in that little event in London that happened in 2012, the Paralympics.

You went through a life-altering experience, how has what happened in 2005 changed your outlook on life?

In 2005, I got on a tube and I was involved in the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London and I suppose it’s changed the way I view life. There are quite a lot of connections and coincidences for why I was late that morning. The day before we had all been out celebrating that London had won the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic bid – that was the whole reason why I was on the tube late that morning and was involved in the bombings. But seven years later I was taking part as an athlete in the Paralympics and I truly believe that happened for a reason and that was my fate.

How did the opportunity to become part of the Paralympic sitting volleyball team come about?

For me, it’s really hard to deal with the memories of who I once was and so I was looking to pretty much find out who I was again. So, I grabbed many opportunities like flying planes, jumping out of planes and other things that weren’t popular with my mum and dad. I was looking for something to replace that driving ambition that I used to feel at work and I went along to a Paralympic day and fell in love with sitting volleyball. It’s really given me that dream again and given me that drive and hunger that I used to feel at work.

Of course, for businesses to change is a hard and arduous process. Are there any strategies or advice you can give businesses to help them achieve a more diverse workforce?

To be able to have a diverse workforce will give you opportunities and will give you results that are more creative. It’s about getting the conversation going – what I think works best for this is actually a bit of humour thrown in there as well. There are companies that have used local networks and communities and it’s about looking at recruitment in a slightly different way. But I wish all of us could write a prescription for it.

What’s next for you?

I always want to be an ambassador for sport. I mentor people in hospital and I definitely still want to do that. I’m involved with different charities that support families that are involved in terrorism, I think that’s very important.

I don’t really know what’s around the corner but I feel like an expedition’s coming on – maybe to the North or South Pole – something like that. But I’m just going to keep living and keep believing that anything is possible.

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