Wednesday, December 17, 2008

That was a week, that was

Getting up to face the snow in Grasmere a couple of weeks ago, I went into my study to see what the fax machine had brought overnight. On top of the pile was a letter from Lancaster University’s Vice-Chancellor, Paul Welling, inviting me to accept an Honorary Doctorate from the University. The award of Doctor of Laws (LLD) is to mark the contribution I’ve made to the field of creativity and innovation in business and education. Wow.


Talk about totally unexpected and out of the blue. I was blown away. There’s no recognition like local recognition.

Ever since leaving school somewhat prematurely in 1966, I’ve been committed to the concept of a great education as being the best preparation and foundation we can offer kids. As far as I’m concerned, it sits right beside giving young people a sense of purpose, values, performance, unconditional parental love, and support. I spend a fair bit of my time working with students in various countries. I particularly enjoy going back to my hometown of Lancaster and working there as a Governor of my school, Lancaster Royal Grammar School, and having the opportunity to mentor Rachel Cooper as she sets up her innovation and creative design lab, ImaginationLancaster, at the University.

So to be recognized in this way by my hometown university is a thrill that’s really beyond compare. The ceremony will take place during the week of 13 July 2009 and, as cream on the cake, the degree is to be conferred by the Chancellor, Sir Christian Bonington. Chris Bonington was a hero of mine in the 70’s as he knocked off peak, after peak in his incredible and inspiring career. His books on mountaineering were my constant companion during that time.

The honor arrived a day after I visited Oxford University at the invitation of John Hood. John went across to Oxford as Vice-Chancellor four and a half years ago after a brilliant business career in New Zealand. In that time he has taken the University forward across every dimension. I had the privilege of talking to his MBA students and then joining a dozen or so of them for dinner at the Vice-Chancellor’s lodgings later that evening. It’s invigorating to be around MBA students, particularly ones who have taken the courageous step of leaving their jobs and investing in themselves and their education. These people are on the verge of transforming their lives and, having talked with them, I certainly get the feeling our future is in great hands.

To cap off a great week, I signed a contract with the University of Auckland to become a member of their staff as an Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Business and Economics. I’m committed to working with Vice-Chancellor, Stuart McCutcheon, and Business School Dean, Greg Whittred, to bring real life experience to their MBA program which starts in January 2009.

What a week. It has been a time of connecting past, present, and future. Connecting my upbringing in Lancaster to my adult life in Auckland - the common thread being education.

I feel humbled and honored to be able to give back to these young students, and I’m looking forward to inspiring them to make a difference and play their role in making the world a better place.

5 comments:

Simon said...

Thank you Kevin. That was a really inspirational start to my day.

Not only recognition for you and your achievements, but hats off to the academics who value the benefits of real-life personal and business experience.

Anonymous said...

What an incredible time for you Kevin, I was sorry to read about your recent family loss, then to read this was really uplifting.

Congratulations on these fantastic achievements, and may you continue inspiring with your valuable insight and experiences.
Best wishes
NZ Ally, Waipawa.

GIANPAOLO GRAZIOLI said...

Grande Kevin. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family that with genuine intimacy you have introduced us readers trough your blog posts. I also wish you the 2009 to be an endless series of victories for you and your loved ones. Gianpaolo

Piotr Jakubowski said...

Congratulations, Kevin on this wonderful achievement.

Does that mean we have to call you Dr. K now?

psyche said...

Kevin Roberts changing
the world one person at a time.
What a single act of kindness and non judgment can do.

Kevin said: Ever since leaving school somewhat prematurely in 1966, I’ve been committed to the concept of a great education as being the best preparation and foundation we can offer kids. As far as I’m concerned, it sits right beside giving young people a sense of purpose, values, performance, unconditional parental love, and support.

Jo responded: From the day you sent me lovemarks you inspired me to be loyal beyond reason and yes people have made fun of it but that actually doesnt matter. Your simple gestures of encouragement, kindness and sense of fun has literally taught me what it means to "turn my life around".

They say that if you want to learn how to be better, look at someone you admire and study what they do and how they do it.

Through watching Kevin and others

I've been able to reflect and learn. I've looked at what doesn't work for me, issues around values, authenticity and the delicate balance between arrogance, ego and confidence.

Someone once told me that I was a very traditional girl with a huge dose of anarchy and then my sister told me about this guy who talked about emotion and lovemarks and had a habit of using machine guns in meetings and I thought...well alright! I wanted to know, how on earth could someone that whacky be so admired and respected?



"Snake bit and endure, never dreaming of a cure"

Like one of those guys on Rikers Island I've had to realise that just because you go through bad times, it doesn't mean you have to become a self fulfilling prophecy or to start seeing yourself as a victim.


you can choose to be better than you've been, to publically say, you know what I've been wrong, my attitude's been wrong and my values and actions haven't always been in sync
but the beauty is


a person can have hope and you can literally change yourself,learn to be authentic,

I can let myself off the hook and admit I can't do everything and I don't know everything. I can choose to go back to school, to learn, to build up my skills, to learn about business conduct to start from the bottom up knowing that there's no shame in that.

When a person receives public recognition for their contribution to an industry it's fantastic but when a person gets that same love from ordinary people

then that's absolutely everything

Kevin Roberts-a lovemark who inspires loyalty beyond reason.