A decade later, he graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge with a degree in Modern and Medieval Language and Literature – French and Italian. His fascination for the essence of communication across boundaries is with him to this day.
After university, Bill worked at a well-known electronics multinational in his home town of Northampton and discovered a new language – that of business and management. In 1978, his desire to move to London led him to apply for many jobs, taking the first that was offered – teaching English to foreign business people. The hugely exciting challenges of getting four or five different nationalities working productively together for a whole week formed the basis for Bill’s career in the field of intercultural management training and consultancy. His travels for work and play currently stand at 64 different countries and learners from 80+ nationalities.
In the early 80s, Bill went on holiday for the first time to Hong Kong at a time when China was just opening up. His day-trip across the border to Shenzhen was a monumental event: as a result, his interests moved on from language to culture in all its forms – and Asian culture, in particular. He was invited to lead his company’s first steps into the Japanese training market, a project which later led to similar missions in Korea and China. His enthusiasm for improving East-West business relations inspired him in 2001 to set up his own business – naturally called East Asia Business – which he has maintained to this day. As he approaches retirement, he is now offering his services to WorldWork as a consultant and now shareholder and is encouraging his colleagues again to look East.
Something you may not know about Bill?
If you’re talking to Bill, it’s probably better to be on his right side. In the 70s, Bill played bass guitar in a Hendrix-style band at very high volumes. He stood to the left of the lead guitarist and next to the enormous speakers.