UpRising Meet BAP

Originally posted 7th November 2011

Ok. So what’s the BAP?

Well it’s the British American Project, a gathering of rather successful individuals aged under 40 picked from both sides of the Atlantic for their already impressive achievements and potential to accomplish a heck of a lot more.

So, as I’m sure you can imagine, after being told that the wonderful UpRising programme had joined forces with the BAP to offer specially selected UpRisers (including myself) an opportunity to meet these fabulous people in a day of networking and ‘speed mentoring’ I was just a little bit intimidated…but mostly quite excited. Particularly after being sent the 92 page document containing their rather impressive biographies.

Last Saturday myself and a group of other Birmingham UpRisers made our way up to London to meet the BAP. Our journey was full of delays (thanks network rail) but the event was brilliant.

The vast majority of the event consisted of ‘speed mentoring’, where one UpRiser was assigned two or three members of the BAP and asked a series of questions about their experience, interests and ambitions. After fifteen minuets a whistle was blown and the UpRiser had to move to the side of the room for a couple of minutes while the BAP’ers filled in a feedback form about how the UpRiser presented him or herself. Then the UpRiser had to pick another group of BAP’ers and the process started all over again.

For me, it was a really worthwhile experience. Members of the BAP come from so many different professional backgrounds and their own personal journeys are so diverse that each grouping had different advice to offer and new perspectives on my ambitions, goals and potential.

Stand out conversations for me include:

– Discussing the ridiculous nature of policy creation in Westminster with Murphey Cobbing (BBC radio producer), Tim Nuthall (Media Manager of the European Climate Foundation) and Robert Wilton (diplomat and writer of short stories and essays on politics and history)

– Hearing amusing tales of entrepreneur Paige Davis’s family conferences and feedback sessions experienced as a small child, in her words ‘looking back it was kind of controlling but it bred entrepreneurial spirit into me’

– And last but certainly not least, chatting to former apprentice Tim Campbell and International Director of CBI Rhian Chilcott. I’m very interested in potentially getting into lobbying on behalf of business groups one day so to talk to someone with Rhian’s great mass of experience was just brilliant. Especially once Rhian explained that she didn’t start off working for business groups but in fact a feminist pressure group, lobbying for more women in parliament. Her advice was that, wherever I think I want to end up, I should start by trying to work on things that I care passionately about because I’ll try harder, work longer and build up more experience, expertise and contacts then if I just do something I’m not so fussed about. It’s pretty good advice! And has certainly got me thinking about some more specific organisations and areas I’m going to apply to work in after uni.

There was of course lots more great advice received, interesting people met and stories recounted but what impressed me the most about the BAP was their approachable sense of enjoyment. They were having fun. They bantered with the ‘master of ceremonies’ Olly Barrett, joked between themselves and confessed to going out the night before and intending to again that night. They provided serious advice, without appearing too serious and unapproachable themselves.

So in short I really enjoyed the UpRising – BAP event and hope that if I’m ever successful enough to get invited to join a similar network, I’ll be able to offer other young people as much good advice as the BAP’ers offered me…at least I hope I’ll still be saying that when I receive my feed back forms later this week :s

Thanks BAP!

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