Belfast company partners with Google for Startups on upcoming event

  • A Belfast company that develops leaders and teams at some of the world’s biggest corporations is running a Google for Startups backed event on February 9 showcasing Google’s research into what makes an effective founder.

    People Playbook, which is based at Innovation Factory, will host and facilitate this free session designed to highlight the key distinctions of what makes an effective startup leader. People Playbook currently partners with Google for Startups in delivering leadership development programs for founders across the world.

    Managing Director Tony McGaharan, who previously worked for Google for seven years, said: “I am excited to share insights from the Effective Founders Study with Northern Ireland’s startup community and the next generation of entrepreneurs. We will share actionable insights that leaders can use to develop their co-founder relationship and teams.”

    Tony along with Operations Manager David Stalker and their team have recently returned from delivering a team development workshop at the Abu Dhabi offices of gaming giant Ubisoft.

    “We designed a custom workshop that enabled the Ubisoft team to generate new game ideas through a creative, interactive and engaging process,” he said.

    Having worked for Google in Dublin, London and Singapore on global learning and development projects, he wanted to bring his skills back home and develop roots in the community in Belfast again.

    “I left Google with a vision to develop a business from my hometown of Belfast. At People Playbook we love to be creative and during our workshops and programs we often bring live music and comedy into the design. It totally changes the energy in the room and establishes a fun and open environment, which is super important when leading people through learning and change initiatives,” he said.

    A keen sportsman, Tony worked as a professional basketball coach in Sweden and is currently chair of Queen’s Basketball Club. The company now uses this love of teamwork to develop purpose-built workshops for teams and leaders.

    “Each company, each team is different so we always start from scratch when we develop a programme with our clients. We partner with teams who want a fresh and engaging workshop, something different to the traditional. We also create Playbooks to boost the effectiveness of our workshops and programmes. These are practical resources that enable participants to take action and embed their new learning,” he said.

    Tony left Google at the end of February 2020 just as the pandemic hit but because he was familiar with working remotely with teams all over the world, he was able to launch a series of online learning, leadership and team development workshops and programmes. 

    “It really just took off. The pandemic created a global marketplace for our business. We were invited to partner with clients who wanted to bring their distributed teams together for online face-to-face learning including Google, Ubisoft and Trustpilot. At the start, I was working from home but as we continued to grow and David joined the team full-time, we made the decision to move into Innovation Factory. I love the spirit within Innovation Factory; it has the soul of the city. They work closely in supporting the local community and that’s something we also care deeply about,” he said.

    Innovation Factory Centre Director Neil Allen said: “It’s so exciting to see a former Google employee setting up his own business in his home city. We’re really looking forward to hosting this Effective Founders event at Innovation Factory and we hope this will support leaders from existing startups and inspire new entrepreneurs.”


    Source: Written from press release

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