Back in 2002, I was one of a small band of IT people who formed The Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group. The objective was to get the technology sector - its companies, employees and entrepreneurs - to give something back by helping disadvantaged young people get a decent start in life. I have just finished my two year stint as Chairman of the TLG and it has been one of the most rewarding periods of my life.
Growing the Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group from scratch was certainly a challenge. But now The TLG is a must-join network for the tech industry's CEOs, raising millions to help young people start-up in business.
I'm proud to say that the membership list now reads like a who's who of the sector. Accenture, Microsoft, EDS / HP, Canon, Fujitsu and Oracle are just a few of our patrons. We bring huge value for our members, providing networking opportunities with IT leaders from across the world.
And now we're determined to drive the Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group forward as the corporate social responsibility and fundraising group for the industry. Under the new chairmanship of Adam Hale, we want to develop the TLG further, attracting companies from across the technology, media and telecoms industries to raise £10 million by 2010.
The Prince's Trust also needs our help more than ever. It needs £1 million a week to help young people into work. In these troubled times it is hit by a double whammy - more young people need help but charitable donations fall.
Although I came from a pretty poor background I was blessed with both a mother and father who loved me and encouraged me in everything I did. That is unfortunately not the case for many of the young people The Trust helps. I have been moved so many times by their stories - many of them have overcome extraordinary odds including poverty, homelessness or drug addiction to achieve success.
I've always believed in viral marketing as a way of growing the TLG. You take one person and put them in a group who they 'infect' with their enthusiasm. Those people then go off and 'infect' others. I'd like to think the annual 'State of the ICT Nation' presentation I have delivered for The Trust since 2002 (which in its own right raised over £700,000) has played a key part in creating this buzz.
And the personal high-point for me? Undoubtedly the Gala Dinner at Windsor Castle last July attended by HRH The Prince of Wales. As I introduced the cream of the technology sector to His Royal Highness I wondered what my own Mum and Dad would have thought.
If I was asked to list just one achievement it would be how many people now have The Prince's Trust bug! We have built a superb and highly motivated team, but now we need to work even harder to push the TLG to new heights.