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News > Alumni Stories > Former Hills Road student Georgie Bullen wins Smart Woman of the Year 2015

Former Hills Road student Georgie Bullen wins Smart Woman of the Year 2015

Paralympian and founder of Team Insight, Georgie Bullen, wins 'Red Magazine's Smart Woman of the Year 2015'

Former Hills Road student Georgie Bullen took part in the London 2012 Paralympics whilst studying for her A-levels. Whilst at the College, she studied Government & Politics, History and Theatre Studies.


The Women’s Goalball Team GB reached the quarter finals of London 2012 and is now working towards reaching Rio 2016. Bullen aims to raise visual impairment awareness and has combined this with her love of goalball to set up her company Team Insight Limited, which was launched in 2014. Team Insight deliver team building and visual impairment awareness training events - more details can be found by following this link: http://www.team-insight.co.uk/


Georgie was then nominated and won Red Magazine's 'Smart Woman of the Year 2015'. This is a huge recognition for Georgie and all that she has done and will continue to do as part of her work with Team Insight.

We were able to catch up with Georgie Bullen and find out more about her time at Hills Road and what it was like competing in the Paralympics, alongside her work with Team Insight and her plans for the future.

 

1.  What was your fondest memory of being at Hills Road?
I have many fond memories of being at Hills Road, but something that really stands out to me would be the Politics trip to Washington DC. It was a fantastic experience that really brought the subject of US Politics to life and our year were particularly lucky to be in Washington over the Presidential Election.


2.  How did you feel when you won the award and what does it mean to you?
I was absolutely thrilled to win the award; it was completely unexpected as the calibre of the other women shortlisted was so high. It was an amazing moment to get that recognition. Sometimes when you have an idea, you can only be sure if it’s a good one when someone else tells you they believe in it or appreciate it. Winning the award has been one of the absolute highlights of running Team Insight.


3.  What inspired you to get into Goalball and what do you like about it?
At the age of 14 I attended a Paralympic Talent Identification Day. Prior to this, I hadn't participated in any disability sport really, but they saw potential in me and despite not knowing anything about Goalball, I was invited to train with the GB Women’s and Men’s squad. To begin with, I actually hated Goalball, it sounds bizarre now but it was because I was thrown in at the deep end and expected to swim. I was instantly training against the men, I didn’t understand the rules and I didn’t have the right padding so everything hurt, but it took only a few months for me to get hooked. The reason that I like Goalball so much is because it is so fast and unforgiving, also it involves so much concentration that as soon as the whistle goes your adrenaline pumps right through you.


4.  How did you find training and competing in the London Paralympics whilst still at college?
Knowing that I could be competing in the Paralympics, before I even started at Hills Road, the College was really helpful in agreeing to let me spread my A levels over three years to help lighten the load. Having said that, it was still difficult as one year my overall attendance was something like 60%, but the staff were really helpful and through a lot of time management and hard work I managed to get AAB.


5.  Why did you set up Team Insight and how did you go about it?
Although my A levels were good enough to get into university, there were a number of reasons why I chose to start up my own business rather than get a degree. Firstly, my eye condition is not particularly stable and after discussions with my doctor, I knew that if I continued to push my eyes through intensive studying, I could lose more sight. Secondly, there was no subject I was so passionate about, that I was determined to go to university. And finally, I knew that I could use my passion for Goalball, as well as my determination to raise visual impairment awareness, to create my dream job and company.  As I knew very little about setting up a business, I decided to go on a Prince’s Trust enterprise course where I was given advice and help in everything from writing a business plan to giving a confident hand shake.


6.  What advice would you give to people wishing to set up their own company?
I would say take advantage of the experience around you, bouncing ideas off of other people is how you evolve your idea, a good idea can always be better and a good business can always be better. Some people want to do it all themselves and everything be their idea, but collaboration will only strengthen, not weaken. A practical bit of advice I would give would be that if you are eligible for a Prince’s Trust course, I cannot recommend it enough as the business mentor I was given has been so instrumental in me turning an idea into a business.


7.  What are your plans for the future?
I would like to evolve and expand Team Insight in the future so that we can offer different Paralympic sport experiences to raise disability awareness. We would also want to develop a branch which delivers events in schools so that children can experience disability sport from an early age to raise their awareness.

 

We are also pleased to say Bullen has won the East of England’s Prince’s Trust Enterprise Award and is waiting to see if she will make the National finals – congratulations Georgie!

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