“We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.” George Bernard Shaw

It is one of life’s strange truths that we so often believe we are facing challenges for the very first time. However, this is rarely true and they have been faced in the past.

This April, EP has been delighted to support the publication of the memoir of Sir Garry Hawkes CBE titled “Meals, Deals and Quangos”. Sir Garry led an extraordinary life from his early years in post-war Sheffield through to the heddy days of the 1980s, through to a MBO of Gardner Merchant from the Forte Empire, to the sale to Sodexo. He then was the driving force behind the founding of The Edge Hotel School.

The story is his personal life story but it has also has value to emerging leaders today as he did bring a new ethos to leadership. Sir Garry always enjoyed building a teams of distict talents who would come together to build success. He loved to learn from other cultures and industries so he would improve himself.

Sir Garry’s memoir will be of value to those who knew him but also those who today are wondering how to face the challenges coming along the line today. In his career, he faced five recessions. He worked in a divided Europe as it rebuilt post war. He built a company culture which became so confident in its own ability but still, he never lost sight in the importance of people, development of talent and strong values. It was a company which did stand tall in the some of the hardest of times.

“My life story started with the beginning of the Second World war and ends with a global pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The lockdowns have given me time for reflection and put my life in context. I have experienced extremely good fortune.” I fully recognise the major part played by Peggy, the perfect counterbalance to my personality and ego. We were in reality a partnership, separate but integrated.”

There are lessons to gain from the book. Lessons which still hold true for today.

We look forward to promoting the book and some of the key stories which lie behind his story and the reason why he was a successful leader for over thirty years.

Maybe we can prove that George Bernard Shaw was not all correct and that there are lessons which can be learnt from yesterday and which can be used to change tomorrow.