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Our first session following the welcome address is from the brilliant Martine Wright. Martine is a 7/7 survivor, who lost both legs during he 2005 terrorist attack in London. She went on after that to complete in the 2012 paralympics with the British Volleyball team amongst many other accomplishments.

The session started with a video of Martine’s story from the announcement of London winning the Olympics in 2005 and her experience of being sat next to one of the 7/7 bombers and the people that helped her at the beginning of her journey to becoming a Paralympian. Her resilience and determination to go from someone so badly injured to an athlete representing her country is inspiring.

Martine starts by announcing that she is now Captain of the GB sitting volleyball team.

10 years ago she was on her way to work as an international marketing manager, just 4 ft away from one of the bombers on the circle line.  Her family finally found her 2 days after the bombing – after 11 days she came out of the coma and discovered her legs had gone.  As the most injured survivor she felt it was so unfair.  Her turning point came on the day she was supposed to be bridesmaid for her best friend but instead was strong enough to go to physio for the first time.  52 innocent people died on 7/7 and she found out that day.  This was the day she said to herself ‘Martine pull yourself together’.

She didn’t die that day and had a choice to live again – so that day was the day she started to learn to walk again.  After a year she finally got her sealers.  Back to normal life- but not normal as she knew it. The hardest thing for her to deal with was the memories of what she used to be – the thing about change is we don’t know when it’s going to happen and it takes us by surprise.  We don’t plan for it.  Martine believes that 7/7 was meant to happen to her and set her on the journey she has taken and is determined to make the number 7 positive in her life.

All of us need techniques and strategies to get through change – for Martine it’s her power of 7

  1. Choices
  2. Maximising every opportunity
  3. Embracing Change (or change management)

For her one such change was the opportunity to attend a parlympian potential day and for her to try bum ball (sitting volley ball) or floor cleaners as they now call themselves!

4. Sport – the power of sport. – for Martine it has given her confidence back and ambition and drive.  A new dream to work towards.

5. Team work – Martine has learned so much from being part of and now leading her team.  Different cultures, backgrounds, walks of lives and different ages (from 13yr to 43 yrs).  So we knew we had to stick together, work as a team and agree on some values:

  • Respect – each other and the position they were in
  • Trust – allow people to be themselves
  • Commitment – committing to investing as much time as they could with everyone being empowered and committing to be a dedicated, determined and professional team.  Commit to the greater good
  • Communication – agree and follow values, listen and reflect on what was being said by whom – agreed preferences.
  • Diversity – all very different and realised that those difference brought a uniqueness to them.

6. Team me – Martine’s team me is made up of her family, friends, teammates, healthcare professionals, emergency services who helped to put her back together again.

7. Belief – the one that Martine believes is the most important out of her power of 7.  She is stronger and more resilient today.  Her family have pursued their dreams and become stronger.

Martine truly believes she was always meant to make this journey – too many connections and coincidences.

We all either believe that we don’t have a path mapped out for us or that we do and a fate that can’t be changed. Not the path that’s the important thing but the way we deal with it.

Martine ends by asking if the audience have their own power of 7 and to believe that anything is possible as long as you believe.

This post was liveblogged from the #FutureTalentConf so please excuse any typo’s…….