Richard Verity – Corporate Champion
Richard is a partner at Booz and Company, one of The Access Project’s corporate stakeholders. Richard completed a BA in English literature at the University of Cambridge and went on to receive a masters from the University of Colorado. He then completed the Sloan Masters Programme at the London Business School.
Booz & Company had an existing link to Highbury Grove School when The Access Project was first started, having run regular careers events for students there. When Alex set up TAP, Booz was keen to be involved and now provides a significant number of one-to-one tutors. Through this partnership, students are able to develop aspirations and the requisite skills to apply successfully to the best universities.
Richard supported Jesse who was receiving good grades but lacked knowledge of effective interview techniques. He helped prepare him for his Oxford interview by running several mock interview workshops.
“The first time Jesse turned up, he was unshaven, had his anorak on and couldn’t look me in the eye, and his interview was a bit of a disaster. He really didn’t know how to sell himself. The last interview, I told him not to turn up at all unless he’d shaved, and so he shaved and turned up with a tie that he’d bought especially. He looked different, looked me in the eye, had a great smile which he was using to effect, and he got into Oxford!”
Such sessions allow the students to develop their confidence and to realise that they have a voice which is being listened to. Richard feels that the individual attention that the volunteers provide is one of the most valuable aspects of the programme. He points out that although Booz and Company do not make a profit out of their involvement with The Access Project,
“It is nonethess extraordinarily worthwhile for us. We’re not just doing this for altruistic reasons, we’re doing this for selfish reasons too.”
Richard explains that it is evident that people do warm to companies that create positive change in their communities, and he feels that through this partnership, Booz and Company has recruited more successfully and clients respond more positively to the consultants.
“We feel good about the work which we do with The Access Project, and we therefore probably consult better on a Monday morning having done the tutoring work on the Friday. Implicitly, there are many consulting skills which have been tested by our work with The Access Project including developing presentation skills, working with a particular kind of client, how to conduct a seminar and creating business cases. The work we do with The Access Project also allows us to come together as an office to help Highbury Grove and we all do enjoy it.”
Booz and Company plan to continue offering the tutoring for Access Project students and to expand their involvement by offering consulting services for TAP’s expansion into further schools and by organising a trip to the Arsenal Emirates Stadium.