Renowned podcaster Damian Hughes empowers pupils with ‘game changing life lessons’


RENOWNED podcaster and visiting professor Damian Hughes delivered an empowering lecture on how to achieve sustained high performance to a captivated audience at Dame Allan’s Schools.

The bestselling author outlined the essential principles he believes form the cornerstones of high performance success, imparting valuable lessons on responsibility, motivation, emotional control, and leveraging one’s strengths.

Damian, co-host of The High Performance Podcast, an acclaimed series of interviews with elite performers in the world of sport, business and the arts, shared powerful messages from interviews with adventurer Bear Grylls, football manager and former player Phil Neville, athlete Dame Kelly Holmes, and track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy to highlight the personal steps each has taken to become the very best in their field.

His talk to a packed audience of senior pupils, parents and staff at Dame Allan’s opened the much-anticipated second year of the Schools’ popular lecture series, The Lectures.

Will Scott, Principal at Dame Allan’s Schools, said: “Damian’s key messages of taking responsibility, staying motivated, managing emotions, and playing to one's strengths have left a lasting impression on everyone present.

“His impactful insights resonated deeply with pupils and his engaging storytelling will undoubtedly help inspire them to take charge of their own successes.”

Damian’s lecture kicked off with a powerful message about the importance of taking accountability for one's actions. He stressed the significance of learning from failures and encouraged pupils to view challenges as opportunities for growth.

Intrinsic motivation and emotional literacy were other focal points of the talk, with Damian – a Visiting Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University - encouraging pupils to recognise their own feelings and learn how to manage them in a positive manner when faced with challenges or doubt.

He also urged his audience to identify their strengths and be courageous. He told them: “Some of you might be physically gifted, others might be verbally or socially gifted, some might be gifted in music… What you need to identify is what makes you unique and then do your best to structure your life around that. Invest time and energy in what you are best at; play to your strengths rather than mitigating your weaknesses.”

The event concluded with a Q&A session, allowing students to engage directly with Damian. 

Marina Swift, a Year 12 pupil in Dame Allan’s Sixth Form, said: “It was a fascinating lecture. It’s helped me appreciate the importance of really knowing yourself and recognising your own strengths and abilities, which is an ethos that already exists in the school.”

Year 13 pupil Aidan McDonald added: “I already listen to his podcasts and it’s encouraging to hear others’ experience with self-doubt or failure and how they overcome that and become better for it. I think we can all learn a lot from his knowledge and experience!”

The empowering lecture series was set up last year with backing from former pupil Mark Dolder, who attended Dame Allan’s in the 70s. His vision was to bring some of the most engaging and motivational speakers to the school’s stage to help inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, business leaders, scientists and creative talent.

In its inaugural year, The Lectures featured talks by Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies MBE, economist Roger Martin-Fagg, physicist Ruth Gregory, and award-winning speaker, Marcus Child.

This year’s exciting programme of speakers includes business magnate Jonathan Warburton, chairman of family bakery firm Warburtons; inspiring entrepreneur Jo Fairley, founder of Green & Black’s chocolate brand and Britain’s youngest-ever magazine editor; and passionate historian Lucy Worsley OBE, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces and famed TV presenter.

Speaking after Damian’s lecture, Mark said: “It was heartwarming to see another full house in the school’s Newsom Hall as the quality of our speakers and the power and value of their messages reach an ever increasing audience of pupils and parents.

“There can’t be many who have worked so closely with more of the world’s top sports people and teams than Damian Hughes, but it was his talent to distil high performance into game changing life lessons for us all that was so stimulating and impressive. 

Dame Allan’s’ Director of Sixth Form Paul Terry, who has helped to assemble the high-quality lineup of speakers, added: “This series promises to be even better than the last. Word has spread about how fantastic these lectures are and we are already approaching sell out for all the remaining talks.”


Tickets for the other lectures in this year's series can be acquired here.