Self-confessed bringer of the 'rough and ready charm' to the Speakers Corner mix, Adam Cuthbert studied acting but quickly found out he was of more use on the business side of creativity. Adam joined Speakers Corner in 2014 and is now head of the account management team, responsible for managing a range of accounts and ensuring they get the right speaker for their event.
Adam has had, shall we say, an interesting 2016. Earlier this year, doctors removed a benign tumour from his spine which resulted in a lengthy stay in hospital. Thankfully, he made a full recovery and then won two modelling competitions! In his own words, it's been a crazy year.
You're now into your second year with Speakers Corner now, how have you found coming into this industry; have there been any surprises or challenges at all?
Well, it was a complete change from selling bolts in Wolverhampton [Adam worked as an account manager for a fastener manufacturer]. It may sound a bit corny, but the role here has made me into a more rounded person, based on the things I’ve been exposed to here. Working with the range of speakers we do, it means – when putting together a client proposal – I have to research topics that include economics and politics. It opens your eyes to a world you knew was there, had some inkling of, but didn’t know much about. I need to know what I am talking about so it’s been an education. When my friends are discussing Brexit, for example, I can now weigh in with a couple of points of my own rather than sitting quietly in the background. So the role is much more consultative than I first imagined, it’s not merely a booking service, but working with the client to find the right speaker for their event.
Outsider for the next James Bond maybe?
You are very vocal in your love of sport, and a particular West Midland football team Aston Villa, and have written blogs on the Sporting After Dinner, what aspect have you enjoyed most about working with Sports Speakers?
Working with sports speakers is something I enjoy doing as I can confidently offer my opinions when working with a client. You can see from the blog I wrote that I love a sporting after dinner. There’s nothing better than having a few beers with your mates and listening to a sporting after-dinner. You get to hear changing room tales – which are always great to listen to, I love finding out what goes on behind the scenes.
Have there been any particular after-dinners you’ve enjoyed?
My friend plays for Reigate Rugby Club, in Surrey, and they had John Inverdale one night. That was in a Q&A format that worked very well. There was a great vibe in the room, and John was relaxed and informative. Elsewhere, I’ve seen Shane Warne, who was great, very engaging with a lot of banter between himself and the audience. I’ve seen South African cricketer, Allan Donald, as well. He received some jibes about Michael Atherton’s 185 runs against South Africa back in 1995.
With a keynote speaker, engagement tends to focus on the content; with these kinds of after sporting dinner speeches, engagement tends to be on much more personal and relaxed level.
Nuts Sir? Click on image for Adam's Sports After Dinner blog
Aston Villa Adam; it was a tough season for them – were they relegated?
Yes, they were.
Sorry to hear that. Do you see it as year’s detention, with them coming back into the Premiership next season?
Your heart says yes, but the head says no. Nick Gold [the Speakers Corner MD] would love it if we stayed down there. I expect he’ll be winning some money off me at some point. However, we’ve just been purchased by a Chinese billionaire [Dr Tony Jiantong Xia].
Are you hopeful for this season?
I don’t know. There are a lot of foreign owned clubs with very different levels of success – so having a billionaire owner is no guarantee of winning trophies. We've been flirting with relegation for the last two or three seasons, and the club has a lot of organisational issues so...
Do you think relegation might be a good thing?
I hope so. We need to take our medicine, re-organise the whole club – staff and players - and rebrand. We’re a massive club and the fifth highest trophy winner [in numbers] behind Chelsea, Man’ United, Arsenal and Liverpool, and we’ve been there since the formation of the football league. I think we were arrogant to believe we’d never go down, but a lot of people are saying it could be the best thing that ever happens to us. Time will tell.
Aston Villa. The Flag at The Holte End
Does the fact that both Nick and Tim Gold (MD and Director respectively) are season ticket holders for Arsenal cause any friction between you?
[Laughs] Not really. If Aston Villa were seriously challenging Arsenal in any competitions, then maybe so. Even before I moved down to London, I did have a soft spot for Arsenal.
Have you admitted this to the Gold Bros?
Yes, absolutely. Growing up in The Invincibles era you’re aware of them. They had a lot of great players: Henry, Sol Campbell, Bergkamp, with a lot of flare; a lot of attacking prowess. So, I am sure I will adopt them as my London club although I’ve had offers from West Ham and Chelsea [laughs].
Do you have any a song, film and/or book that has inspired you or continues to do so?
I listen to music every day. You sit at your desk and listen to some tunes you haven’t heard in a while.
Bergkamp. Euro 96 (When football got lost coming home)
What are you listening to at the moment?
A bit of old school R&B from the early noughties but I’m not sure that inspires me greatly. Since working here, I have read a few books of the speakers we work with, and that has opened me up to more inspiration than before. Speakers like Miles Hilton-Barber and Nando Parrado have been through true adversity that people will never fully understand. Reading those stories, you think what would I do in that situation.
And if you could be a motivational speaker, what topic - other than sport - would you fall under?
I’d be very much just crack on and do it, speaker. Don’t think about the why’s and what ifs and – oh, we could do it this way, we could do it that way; I’d speak on: make your decision, know that’s the right decision – after undertaking research – just go ahead and do it. I think that style could work under business, adventure and sport.
Earlier this year, doctor's discovered and removed a tumour from your spine; would it be fair to say you used this same 'crack-on' mentality to get through that?
Absolutely. If I were asked this question before that experience, I would've probably said something else. But, going through that and its many challenges was simply a case of getting the information from the doctors, dealing with it and cracking on with the things that'll make me better.
Well, we're just glad you got through that Adam.
Read all about it! Speakers Corner very own Hunky Chunk
Now, we must ask you about your new modelling career?! How did that come about?
My fiancee, Katie-Jo, made me aware of a couple of modelling competitions for the larger gentleman [laughs]. She works in PR so reads a lot of papers daily and came across The Brawn Idol competition in The Sun. I didn’t give it any real consideration, but she reminded me regularly. So, I sent three images which I pulled off Facebook. I then got a call to say I was in the final, then later another call confirming I’d won the whole thing! The other competition was with a clothing brand called Bad Rhino, and their prize was contract with Bridge models which I have recently signed. They were both great experiences, a bit of fun, a laugh – Hopefully things may take off and I will be posing with Becks soon enough.
So would you now consider a future modelling?
My fiancee now wants to become the mother Kardashian figure, become my manager and put me out to every single media event. Joking aside, she does want to see if we can do something, so watch this space.
We will, Adam, with great interest. Thank you.