Ollie Phillips, former captain of the England Rugby 7’s team, lives an extraordinary life. Following an illustrious career in professional rugby, he is now a highly successful business man in one of the world’s largest professional service networks, PWC. A Guinness World Record Holder, motivational speaker and expedition leader to name a few, he is proof that anything is possible.
Voted the ‘Best Seven’s Player in the World’ in 2009, Ollie has had a distinguished rugby career that spanned 14 years. England Captain from 2008 -2010, he was a triumphant leader and mentor to his team mates and played in three Seven’s World Cup tournaments including Hong Kong, Moscow and Dubai. Away from the Sevens field, Ollie enjoyed a successful career across three different clubs, namely Newcastle Falcons, Gloucester and perhaps his most successful tenure, Stade Francais where Ollie was recognized as the most valuable overseas player in 2011 and the clubs top try scorer in the same year. However it was in 2013, whilst preparing for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, that Ollie suffered a severe calf injury that brought his victorious rugby career to an end. Now, Ollie is often a contributing commentator for Eurosport and Sky Sports and is commentating throughout the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
With no intention of sitting back, Ollie threw himself in to a mammoth challenge, the ‘Clipper Round the World Yacht Race’ after being persuaded by legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Ollie was a complete newcomer to sailing but it was his determination and team spirit that pushed him through and saw him and his Great Britain team mates come 2nd overall in this grueling race. Ollie is now an ambassador for the Clipper Ventures.
With a taste for adventure, Ollie seized his next opportunity to take on a completely fresh challenge and head to the North Pole for the ‘Arctic Rugby Challenge’ where his previous skills of leadership and team work came into play. He completed a 100 mile trek across the Arctic in -40 degrees centigrade temperatures to the Magnetic North Pole where he hosted the ‘Most Northerly Rugby Match’, breaking the Guinness World Record. The challenge was all in aid of the children’s rugby charity, Wooden Spoon, for which Ollie raised a total of £350,000 from the expedition.
Aside from his adventuring success, Ollie’s entrepreneurial spirit has catapulted him into the role of ‘Head of Innovation’ at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, PwC. Ollie uses his skills in management and applies his ‘on the pitch’ tactics to his corporate role to achieve success and help clients take a fresh approach to any challenges they face.
Ollie is a dedicated ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society as well as the rugby charity, Wooden Spoon and a strong supporter of Cancer Research UK.
With 14 years in professional rugby behind him, Ollie loves to offer his advice and encouragement. He delivered ‘The Opportunity of a Lifetime Only Exists Within the Lifetime of the Opportunity’ to rugby union team Harlequins FC. He also helped his own previous team, Stade Francais, develop their own Sevens Program. Ollie coached the team and helped them gain a global platform by sending them to the World Club Sevens tournament in Limerick, Ireland in August 2014. The team also travelled to Kenya in the Tusker Safari Sevens. They have now launched a global team that is entering in tournaments in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai to name a few. Ollie shares his experience and the elite coaching techniques he used with the teams and how these lessons can be transferred into business.
Ollie’s experience and expertise gained through his rugby background, his challenging adventures and now his life in a corporate world have seen him provide guest speeches and workshops on change management, leadership, teamwork, coaching, building a winning culture, resilience and being effective.
During the Clipper Round the World Race, Ollie experienced a group very different to that of a competitive rugby team. A group of individuals that had different motivations and different purposes for entering the race. He worked tirelessly to bring the disparate bunch of individuals together and taught them to live and work together for a common goal. His experiences resonate with corporate audiences.
Having worked across multiple industries Ollie recognises what it takes to create a culture of innovation, creativity and success. Culture is the bedrock of any successful organisation or team and creating a culture that fits with your organisation and has the buy in of the entire workforce is vital if success is the objective. Ollie delivers on 'Creating a Winning Culture' and 'Building a Resilient Team' and draws on his experiences as England Captain, Watch Leader onboard the Great Britain Boat and a Director at PWC to illustrate how this can be achieved.
Ollie is currently the Head of Digital Innovation at PWC, the largest professional services firm in the world. Here he focuses on creating a culture of creativity, disruption and innovation. Understanding where that innovation can come from and then how you implement it is vital and Ollie has a sound understanding of how technology can help with that implementation. Ollie leads alliances with Google, Software City and Digital Catapult so understands the challenges that large scale organisations face, but also recognises how to ensure that innovation is a process that is implemented and integrated successfully within your firm.
Ollie delivers on the subject of transformation, drawing on his experiences within PWC and their clients. Having launched two flagship digital products for PWC, Ollie is well positioned to discuss how digital and technology can play a vital role in the transformation of your organisation. Having worked with large scale solutions software providers, such as 'Google for Work', Ollie understands what technology exists and how such technology can help transform your organisation, the operating systems that exist within it and the culture that supports such change.
Richmond Business Club