Keynote speaker Robert Ashton is the barefoot entrepreneur. He is quirky and clever, passionate and pragmatic, Robert's a best selling business author, challenging conference speaker, Big Society troubleshooter, social entrepreneur and charity Trustee. As the Barefoot Entrepreneur, he literally walks his talk!
Keynote speaker Robert Ashton is the barefoot entrepreneur. He is quirky and clever, passionate and pragmatic, Robert’s a best selling business author, challenging conference speaker, enterprise troubleshooter, social entrepreneur and charity Trustee. As the Barefoot Entrepreneur, he literally walks his talk!
Keynote speaker Robert Ashton is often described as the barefoot entrepreneur. He knows that understanding your vulnerabilities can make you stronger and more effective. He is a very humane speaker, quick to connect with his audience, helping them see their opportunity to create the future they want to see.
Robert Ashton is a successful social entrepreneur, founding Swarm Apprenticeships in 2013 to empower young people with attitude, using enterprise qualifications. He can speak from experience about the loneliness of being a pioneer, as well as his success at winning investment and recognition.
Robert has written 20 books, mostly on business and entrepreneurship, but some in the ‘self-help’ genre. He sees entrepreneurship as a skill that can enable individuals, organizations and even whole communities to take control of their futures. In 2019 he took a ¾ life gap year to go to university for the first time, and graduated in December 2020 with a creative writing MA, passed with distinction. He is now writing about people, place and sometimes prejudice.
Guided by his Quaker faith and a strong sense of social justice, Robert Ashton works with charities, schools, communities, housing associations and corporates. His project work can see him talking with rough sleepers one day, and Government ministers the next. He illustrates his talks with stark, real life stories about those he’s met. He goes out of his way to talk with those on the very fringes of society.
Robert Ashton takes his audience on a journey of exploration. He introduces uncomfortable truths with sensitivity and compassion. He enthuses, empowers and entertains, illustrating sometimes grim realities with humor and hope. In tough economic times he highlights opportunities audiences will realize they can achieve.
Mental health is another topic about which Robert speaks. He’s been Trustee of mental health charities, an NHS Mental HealthTrust Governor and is currently a Trustee of health and social care watchdog, Healthwatch. Robert is also very open about his own experience of living with depression and can speak with authority about the importance of managing mental health in the workplace.
Motivating, inspiring, hard hitting and often moving, strong-willed speaker Robert Ashton knows you don’t need to cross oceans alone or climb mountains to change the world. You need to be braver and confront what’s happening right now on your doorstep.
Robert Ashton is a Fellow of the RSA, member of Mensa and a charity Patron and Trustee.
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