This year, in association with SportsAid, I have been running a monthly Zoom-based breakfast meeting for business leaders, catchily entitled The Chief Officer’s Breakfast Club! At each session I invite a business or sports leader to lead a discussion on a business or leadership-related topic of their choice (see more about the Club, below).

Yesterday, our very special guest was Ian Reid, the Chief Executive Officer of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. Ian gave of us a fascinating and insightful story of creating, building, driving and ultimately closing a high-performing organisation, all over the space of just three years.

One aspect of the discussion centred on the role of volunteers. Since London 2012, the UK has developed a strong reputation for its volunteers at sporting events, and the club members began to discuss if and how they could take the positive lessons of volunteering back into their own organisations.

Research shows that younger workers – Gen Z and millennials – want their employers to provide a working environment that provides greater meaning and fulfilment, as well as an ability to give something back. In fact, over half of under-35s want to volunteer more than they do.

Volunteering can provide a rewarding experience, but can also develop both hard and soft skills, building employee engagement and loyalty in an age when retention is extremely difficult. The act of volunteering may also encourage more volunteer-type behaviours back in the workplace, creating stronger teams, better leaders and a greater shared sense of purpose.

So, who’s up for encouraging more volunteering? Volunteers, one step forward……

Off The Record: You Get What You Give by The New Radicals

Don’t give up

You’ve got a reason to live

Can’t forget

We only get what we give

The Chief Officers’ Breakfast Club, 2023

The aim of the Breakfast Club is to provide senior and chief officers with a place to meet, gain new ideas and insights and learn from each other and our guest speakers. At the same time, the £500 membership fee has allowed Club to financially support 12 high-potential young athletes through our partner charity, SportsAid.

Over the past year, our special guests have included Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sir Will Adderley (the deputy-chairman, ex-CEO and majority shareholder of Dunelm plc) and Ian Filby, formerly the CEO of DFS plc.

I will be sharing more details about the 2023 programme in the next few weeks, but if you would like to join the group, please contact me at or call me on 01636-526111. It would be great to have you join!