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Clipper race connects crew with new business network

A new business networking group has been launched by the organisers of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to help former crew members make valuable connections with each other and race partners, as well as receiving helpful insights from guest speakers at regular events.

Clipper Connect is aimed at entrepreneurs drawn from more than 3,300 alumni spanning almost 20 years of the race. It held its inaugural event at St Katharine Docks in London last night alongside one of the latest matched fleet of twelve Clipper 70 ocean racing yachts.

Caroline Marrows, a round the world crew member in the 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Race who originally worked for Lloyds Bank, has been recruited into the new role of Senior Propositions Manager – Alumni, to lead the Clipper Connect initiative.

“We had a fabulous response to our launch event last night,” Caroline commented. “There was a huge energy in the room and everyone thought it was a great way to connect with former crew and our partners, who may be able to support each other and even do business together.”

The aims of Clipper Connect are:
• To interact with other like-minded professionals
• To build business networks across a number of mediums
• To share learnings from previous Clipper Races on leadership and team building
• To access discussion forums hosted on an invite only LinkedIn Group (Clipper Round the World Yacht Race)
• To access to exclusive events programme

Former crew and Clipper Race partners at the launch were very enthusiastic about the new initiative.

Before circumnavigating the globe in the Clipper 2013-14 Race, Helen Jones had worked in wealth management for one of the world’s leading investment banking firms, Goldman Sachs. 

Now, in her new career as an Executive Coach, she fully supports the Clipper Connect objectives: “So many people do the race for the chance of a lifetime, the adventure, to see the world.  But they also do it to change their lives.  They want a new career, a change of direction and supporting them through that is very important.” 

Robin Mitchell, who was a Project Manager for Sainsbury’s before competing in the Clipper 2011-12 Race, says the challenging environments he faced crossing various oceans, gave him a different perspective on his professional career:  “I realised on the race how much I enjoyed my current career but I did go back and walk a lot taller in that role.  You develop a confidence that you simply couldn’t get from any other environment, working with people from such a diverse range of backgrounds and crossing oceans together.  I was promoted very quickly after returning from the race and have been with the same company ever since. 

“After our race we helped some of the younger guys out with work experience so it makes total sense to have the Clipper Connect initiative to support people in making connections that will enhance their careers when they are further up the ladder.”

Clipper Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston told attendees that he was pleased to hear how the race experience had influenced their lives, especially in translating teamwork and leadership lessons from the ocean back into their businesses.

“I tell crews at the end of every race that I want to hear them say ‘this is the best thing I’ve done in my life’ and then I want them to add ‘so far’ because then I know we’ve made a real difference and opened up their horizons, whether it’s to take on more adventures or return to work with a new sense of confidence.

“Clipper Connect is the perfect platform for us to continue our relationship with crew members beyond the race, to follow their progress, share new insights and potentially stimulate new business opportunities. I would certainly recommend former crew to get involved.”    

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