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From Whippets to Spaniels: Jonathan Warburton’s Insightful Lecture at Windermere School

Jonathan Warburton at Windermere School (photo Victoria Sedgwick)

Jonathan Warburton, chairman of bakery giants, Warburtons, was at Windermere School recently to deliver an entertaining lecture entitled; ‘Authenticity and Dissatisfaction’. The event, which was organised in collaboration with LA23NET and held in the school’s Crampton Hall, was a huge success, attended by over 200 hundred guests.

Mr Warburton, who was introduced by Windermere School’s Year 12 BTEC Business students, began with a short history of the family business, which was founded in Bolton in 1876. The business now boasts 4,500 employees and operates eleven bakeries, but despite this meteoric growth, Mr Warburton’s office is only 350 metres from where the business was founded.

Explained Mr Warburton; “We are as real a brand as you can find. We are what we say we are. My name… my signature goes on every product. I can be held to account by every consumer, so I must believe what we do is absolutely right.”

This determination to remain loyal to the business’ roots underpins the ‘authenticity’ element of the lecture.

(photo Victoria Sedgwick)

Mr Warburton went on to explain that his greatest motivation is never being satisfied. This sense of dissatisfaction ensures that you never rest on your laurels, that you will always try that little bit harder.

During the course of the lecture, Mr Warburton chose to talk through a series of images, feeling that images, rather than facts and figures, would help to not only convey his message, but also to keep the audience interested.

He began with an image of a whippet, because “everyone from Bolton has a whippet”, he joked. The whippet represents culture and values, it’s about remembering where you’re from and not trying to be something you’re not.

The final shot showed a Springer Spaniel. A bemused audience listened to Mr Warburton explain that in his career it’s been important to have someone to hate, someone who makes you get up in the morning, because you know that if you’re not up doing it, your competition will be.

At this point Mr Warburton revealed the dog’s name. “Hovis”, he said, “the dog’s name is Hovis.”

The message to the audience, and in particular to the pupils, was clear. Be true to yourself and strive for the very best.

Having wrapped up the lecture, Mr Warburton answered questions from the audience, before the evening was brought to a close by the Chairman of LA23NET, Grant Seaton.

Among the audience was Ian Lavender, Headmaster of Windermere School, who said; “We were thrilled to welcome Jonathan Warburton to the school. He delivered a fabulous lecture about how his business has continued to change, adapt and invest, as society and markets have changed. He said much about being steadfast in his pursuit of quality and I saw many overlaps with the business that is Windermere School. I was very pleased to see so many people in Crampton Hall and would like to thank Jane Gallon for organising such a wonderful event.”

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