Birketts’ bi-lingual business ambassador boosts student networking event

22 October 2019

From left to right: Sophie Pol-Simon (French national and music producer), Richard Guy, Theo Benneworth (Academy Sales Manager at Ipswich Town FC) and Claire Robinson (Modern Foreign Languages Teacher at Suffolk One)

On Tuesday 15 October, Richard Guy from Birketts' Private Client Advisory team attended an enrichment event for French language students at Novotel Ipswich. At this event, organised by Business in the Community: The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, Richard spoke about his experiences of studying French at degree level, detailing some of the professional and personal benefits of having a second language in the business sector.

Framed as a networking breakfast, the event offered 24 Suffolk One students (amongst others) studying French at A-level a chance to immerse themselves in French language and culture, by mingling with bi-lingual business ambassadors. Hosted by French company Novotel, the morning raised students’ awareness of French heritage in the context of a successful international business, as well as celebrating multi-lingualism in Suffolk. Students were also given a chance to practice their conversational French by asking speakers questions about their careers.

Having enjoyed success utilising an array of skills developed in the course of obtaining a language degree, Richard talked to the group about his career pathway and offered advice on applying language skills in the business and legal spheres.

After reading French at University College London, including a year as an English assistant in a secondary school in Burgundy in France, Richard worked initially in the shipping industry, representing shipowners through the International Shipping Federation and International Chamber of Shipping at fora including the UN International Labour Organization in Geneva and International Maritime Organization in London.

He subsequently studied and trained as a solicitor in Cambridge before moving to Ipswich in 2012.  He specialises in private client advice, including Wills, probate and estate planning.

Richard Guy, Senior Associate in Birketts’ Private Client team commented: “It was a pleasure to be involved in this unique event. As someone who reflects very positively on their French studies, it is a privilege to encourage the next generation to pursue their language skills further. It is important to recognise the significant contribution which multi-culturalism and multi-lingualism make to society as a whole and celebrate the huge impact that these skills can have at both a professional and personal level.”

Hannah Wild, Engagement Manager, Business in the Community concluded: “Students really responded, realising that by developing their language skills, the world could become their oyster and they too could have rewarding adventures and gain vast experience like Richard. Whilst the support of Business in the Community made it possible for teachers to create an event they never could within the confines of a classroom, it was especially wonderful to see Birketts’ enthusiasm for celebrating French language and French culture. Richard has inspired these students to continue in earnest with their French studies by helping them to gain confidence in their own abilities and encouraging them to develop their skills further.”