Award Winning Entrepreneur
Darren Clark is a serial entrepreneur based in South Gloucestershire, UK who is an accomplished International speaker, and has spoken to thousands of people all over the globe inspiring them with his incredible life story. Whether you are looking to motivate a team, or wow people at a conference or event, Darren fits the bill. His story is unique, despite a difficult childhood of being the victim of vandals, criminals and bullies and unable to complete any significant schooling due to undiagnosed dyslexia, Darren will share how he rose from this adversity and the stereotyping of the estate he grew up on to become a successful, serial entrepreneur who is known worldwide for his charitable work and business. Darren will also share how his journey of undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD (until the age of 37) meant that he had to work even harder within his career and business, how due to this he fought constant stress and bouts of depression, but determination and perseverance continues to drive him forward in his life and to make a difference of others suffering from dyslexia all over the world.
Please see below more insight into Darren’s story
‘I really struggled at school, no matter how hard I tried I just didn’t seem to be learning at the same pace as my peers. Being asked to stand up in class would fill me with anxiety and I would come home to my family everyday feeling stupid and with crippling headaches. Each day at school I would hope that things would somehow be better, and my understanding of the lessons would suddenly improve. Sadly, this never happened. As I moved upwards through the years at school, more of my time would be spent in ‘The Unit’, a freezing portacabin in the far reaches of the school grounds where the ‘problem’ kids were sent to receive special help. The special help never materialized, and I came to understand that kids were sent to ‘The Unit’ to get them out of the way. Whilst dealing with this at school, I was also living a nightmare at home, due to the estate we lived on and my dad having ill health and my mum giving up work to become his carer, alongside a serious hoarding issue we became the victims of crime and serious bullying, with vandals smashing our cars with baseball bats, break-ins and beatings if you crossed the wrong path. I craved security and safety, but with little in the way of education I feared I would be destined to stay in that life forever.
When the time came for me to take my GSCEs I was filled with dread, nevertheless I turned up to school and tried to find my name on the daily list to see what exams I would be sitting and in which room. I never found my name. ‘We’re not putting you through’ was the response from my teachers. Instead, I would sit in a separate room, a glass partition separating me from my school mates taking their exams. I was given colouring books and doodle pads to pass the time.
Subsequently I left school with no qualifications but coming from a hard-working family I knew that I would have to pay my way. My mum helped me fill in all the forms I needed to apply for a job in retail and after many failed attempts at interview I finally got a job as a trolley collector at Sainsburys. Sheer hard work and determination saw me rise the retail ranks to become a regional manager for one of the largest retail chains in the UK, and I was proud of what I had achieved by thinking outside of the box in order to succeed, but I knew I had more to offer, so I handed in my notice and began a cleaning round with a view to building a large company. Since that day eight years ago, I now have a business partner, have employed over 400 people, have a group of cleaning and marketing companies and a successful business portfolio.
Wanting to give back I asked if I could share my story with my old school, by way of inspiring in other children with similar experiences or feelings to mine that they could truly do anything they wanted by tapping into skills and thinking differently. This had such an effect that I have now travelled all over the UK helping people of all ages believe in themselves and was asked to become an ambassador for the British Dyslexia Association and am working closely with them on a current project. I have also recently been incredibly lucky to have travelled to Kenya to work with their dyslexia organisation and have been appointed an International Ambassador for them, and a board member. I will also worked in Malawi with their ‘Able Foundation’, and the IDA in the US to help support them in their mission to help more children with dyslexia, and have become a global partner with the International Dyslexia Association so I can raise awareness globally too. I also attend the Houses of Parliament twice a year to attend the Dyslexia and other SpLDs APPG to try and make a difference to our education system here in the UK, and have most recently become an ambassador for Bali Dyslexia Foundation .’