Getting to know Guy Howard-Willis
Our Master Classes are a distinctive aspect of LIFE Conference and a highlight for many people. The Business Master Class aims to support people actively involved in the business world, as either professionals or business owners.
We are excited to announce Guy Howard-Willis (Torpedo7, 1-day) as one of our keynote speakers at the Business Master Class. We recently interviewed him to find out more about his road to success, faith in business.
- What does it mean to you to have a greater purpose to your business or career?
I would say that my greater purpose is to help those around me and those I employ. I have always looked for ways to invest in my staff – whether giving them gifts, training them, helping them find their potential and praying for them.
My Christian beliefs and values have been reflected in various ways over the years; from asking for God’s help and peace after a fire devastated my previous business, regular Tuesday morning prayer meetings with my son for God’s leading and help for our team at Torepedo7, presentations and challenges at staff meetings, through to mentoring employees on goal setting and confronting inappropriate images in the work place.
I have always enjoyed the creative aspect of business. I think by being who God created me to be, always creating, developing and innovating in business brings God glory. This is part of my greater purpose too.
- How do you overcome the tension of faith and business in your professional life?
I have not felt a strong tension. I am who I am and believe what I believe and live this out.
There is a tension at times in sharing my faith. I tend to try and do this in as non-offensive but creative way as possible. When introducing myself, I will often refer to my background and story and this includes coming to faith when I came to New Zealand in the 1975. When I have been apprehensive about sharing my faith with all my staff at our end of year meeting, I have thought – ‘well if I don’t tell them about Jesus, who will, who will I leave it up to?’
I have always been passionate in sharing my faith in creative, entrepreneurial way – it is who I am.
- How has God led you over the years in your business or career?
This is a big question that could take me ages to answer! I have loads to stories where I have leaned on God for help, for example, when I lost everything in my business in a fire, but God used this to take me to a new level and in a new direction. I have stories of how God has connected me with people, given me ideas and thoughts – often when I have taken time to pray and go for early morning prayer walks.
I have seen God provide for me through other Christian businessmen when I was in serious financial space had nowhere else to turn. He spoke to them on my behalf and rescued me.
I believe prayer is the key in so much of God’s leading in my life.
The Manta5 hydrofoil bike is a story in itself of God’s leading – from a speaker at a conference, to divine connections, the right employees, sales leads and marketing opportunities – God’s hand has been directing the whole time. I am looking forward to sharing more of this journey at the Business Master Class.
- How do you see church and business flourishing together?
The way this is currently outworking in my life and in my church is by using my talents, abilities and experience in business and what it takes to succeed to mentor a group of teens. I am looking to impart some learning and direction in helping them with personal goals – whether spiritual, business, physical or social.
I love what the Life Business focus is about and doing. I think this is a great example of the Church and business flourishing together. Valuing our God given abilities in business and our place in the market place with the greater purpose of seeing God’s kingdom extended. Christians flourishing in business is a great thing – we need many more – I like helping others to succeed. As others succeed who have a heart for people, they too will invest in our communities and areas of need.
- What would you say to the person who believes work and business is a pain, a necessary evil just to get by and is about looking after yourself or getting as rich as possible?
My view is that people are our greatest asset in any business or organisation. I set about investing in them so they want to come to work, so they enjoy their work, so they grow and develop.
I have said to people before, usually with a negative outlook on work, business, colleagues and customers – the main person you need to look at is yourself. In my view employers are under a lot of pressure juggling many aspects of building a business, finding work, funding and cash-flow, looking after employees and customers. Others do not always see the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. Employers need to be firm and fair in my view.
I believe that such mind-sets are challenged in my companies by our teams experiencing generosity, what it means to be included in the team and valued. I try and find ways to make work creative and interesting for me, my colleagues and teams. We look for ways to celebrate anything and everything but one thing I do know that 99% of the people I have worked with…..love curry!
Guy Howard-Willis is a keynote speaker at the Business Master Class at LIFE Conference 2018. To hear more from him and other industry leaders, register at www.lifeconference.co.nz