The Virgin Group employs more than 71,000 people in more than 60 businesses in 35 countries around the world. While haven't met every single one of them, I can think of few things that are as inspiring as spending time with the amazing people that make up the Virgin family.
Richard Branson Willy Wonka Stars
I've always believed that success in business has everything to do with the team you hire. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, give them everything they need to grow, and your business will thrive.
We celebrate some of the fantastic Virgin family every year at Stars, which is always one of my favourite nights of the year. But, as it’s the festive season, I can’t resist pointing out a few more. Here are just five (and I could have picked many thousands) of these amazing people who really change business for good - and the world for the better - every single day:
Richard Branson and Tammy Moreton, Virgin Trains ex-offender
Tammy Moreton, Virgin Trains
Nobody should be judged by the worst moment in their lives. Tammy is a great example of that. After spending time in prison, she has turned her life around through an apprenticeship with Virgin Trains. I was fortunate enough to meet her in London earlier this year, and was pleased to learn she is now training to mentor other offenders so they can escape the vicious cycle and find employment. I’m thrilled with how Virgin Trains’ pioneering ex-offender employee programme is going, with the support of wonderful people like Tammy.
Dave Dyer, Virgin Money
When we started Virgin Money two decades ago, we had no idea it would grow into such a wonderful, large and exciting business. Dave had no idea he would still be there 20 years later. As one of the founder staff members of Virgin Money, he has been alongside Jayne-Anne Gadhia since the beginning. He was integral in our two Northern Rock bids, has been a key member of the senior management team for the past few years and is now retiring as CFO. He certainly lives up to Virgin Money’s purpose of Making Everyone Better Off. Thanks Dave.
Jane Lewis, Virgin Atlantic
Sometimes wonderful people move on to exciting new things, which is something to be celebrated too. Jane is leaving Virgin Atlantic after 28 years of fantastic service, from being cabin crew to running cabin safety training and supporting Flying Without Fear for nervous flyers. We met many times over the years and always had a barrel of laughs amongst lots of hard work. As I told Jane, I will always remember her delightful smile and know she will have a magical next chapter to her life.
Jason Felts, Virgin Produced
As well as running Virgin Produced and helping the White House on entertainment matters, Jason takes time to support organisations such as onePULSE foundation, putting on an event to raise funds for those affected by the Pulse nightclub massacre. He was recently honoured as one of The Responsible 100 for his work in corporate social responsibility. Of course, Jason also knows to ‘borrow’ a White House napkin when he gets the chance!
Bright Zulu, Virgin Active
We have a brilliant magazine made by and for our staff called The Roger Collective. I spotted Bright’s story in Roger. After starting at Virgin on work experience, then a part-time job, he is now an instructor in Cape Town. There, he has made a profound difference to the life of blind gym member Kenny van Aardt, starting with massages and broadening to a case study for his personal training course. He’s shown great initiative and a kind heart.
There are thousands more like Bright, Jason, Jane, Dave and Tammy all around the Virgin family, and I’ll keep showcasing many of them on my blog and social media. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about the individuals that make a difference to your every day, every day.