Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Anger at homeless agency\'s motivational speaker

September 25 2009
Invited businessman tells bemused Look Ahead staff how he made his first million Homeless organisation Look Ahead invited a millionaire businessman to be its key speaker at their annual staff conference, which was themed "leading the way". Some staff, unsurprisingly, saw his presence as controversial. As the key messages of the meeting included innovation and social enterprise, the event's organisers felt Alexander Amosu's background and work would encourage the audience to pursue their aspirations. Mr Amosu's humble origins and work might seem fitting with the charity's ethos, but his speech - on how he made his first million at the age of 25 - embarrassed some of the 300 members of staff present. A friend of The Pavement's at Look Ahead told us; "every year we have a staff conference, and every year we have a motivational speaker. This year it was a guy who made a million. He made his money selling ringtones and he was a big achiever - in the business world. "He seemed like a nice guy, but all he talked about was money; make money, save money, sell that, buy this, etc." "I think the message was supposed to be about having the drive to work really hard and use your initiative. What's sad is that the organisation has to entertanin such a business minded mentality in order to survive in the sector." Look Ahead responded to our questions about the speaker with a written statement: "During his speech, Mr Amosu spoke for some time about his personal business achievements and wealth. Feedback from members of staff indicated that many felt he concentrated too much on this aspect of his life and that his values do not match those of the organisation," Kate Fallows, communication manager for the charity, told us. "The conference organiser has also confirmed that she expected Mr Amosu to speak in greater depth about his charitable work with young people, and agrees that it would have been preferable if he focussed more on those aspects of his life."