Newtownabbey’s Paralympic champion athlete Michael McKillop has shared the inspiration behind his gold medal-winning success.
The Glengormley man received much applause after speaking at a celebration business event in Larne on Friday.
Larne-based business development organisation LEDCOM has just struck gold itself by becoming the first local enterprise agency (LEA) to achieve the top Investors in People award.
LEDCOM is the first local enterprise centre in Northern Ireland and the first social enterprise with less than 25 employees to achieve the prestigious Investors in People (IiP) gold award.
Michael spoke about how he overcame adversity to become one of the most successful Paralympic athletes of all time with 10 gold medals in major competitions, five World titles and three Paralympic wins, including two world records.
He said that a professional approach to training and a determination to succeed applies to any area of business as much as the sporting arena.
In an inspirational speech, Michael - who was born with cerebral palsy on his right side, didn’t speak until he was three years of age and developed epilepsy at the age of 14 - described how he overcame these hurdles to become a Paralympic champion.
Addressing LEDCOM management and staff, he said: “Life isn’t simple. Business isn’t simple. Getting a gold medal was a long journey. I had to build a team around me to achieve my goals. In business you have to work together to achieve your goals.
“There is a great similarity between my gold medal success and the process you had to go through to achieve your IiP gold success.”
LEDCOM chief executive officer, Ballyclare man Ken Nelson, said the award showed the company’s deep commitment to achieving excellence in developing and supporting its staff and continually improving its quality of service as a business support organisation.
“We are constantly striving for excellence within economic development and this gold award is recognition of the past 29 years of supporting local businesses and individuals wanting to further their careers.”
Bill Gordon, the assessment manager of Investors in People Northern Ireland (Department for Employment and Learning) outlined the benefits of IiP and the support available to encourage organisations to seek accreditation.
He paid a glowing tribute to LEDCOM and said he hoped others would be encouraged to follow its example.