In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Tolkien had always been one of my favourites and it seemed somewhat fitting to be sat reading one of his finest works for the umpteenth time as I submitted the umpteenth application to find something interesting to do over the summer. The McKinsey Leadership Academy application form was the first time that I saw FF’s logo, and this is the story of how that blue and yellow circle just spiralled to the centre of my life over the next 4 years.

So as I started, Mckinsey & Company‘s leadership academy this was the first time I met an Future Foundations (FF) team. The programme was a 2-day residential in the beautiful grounds of Wellington college where 100 of Britain’s finest (yes – I am so modest!) and brightest leaders of tomorrow were gathered to hone their leadership skills and be trained and inspired in our own leadership projects. After a grueling journey travelling over half of the country to get there, I had a fantastic time learning about how others and myself could better our leadership styles, and as ever with FF there were plenty of hands-on activities to practice them out!

A few of my more memorable moments from those few summer days include producing an Olympic bid for Canada and doing the trademark trust fall! The key part of this residential however opened me up to new people and the skills of networking, and above all the many opportunities that are out there.

A year later I returned to the graduate residential having travelled to Kenya for a month to build a schoolhouse in the passing time as my leadership project. What a fantastic way to round off my days as a participant with FF, would this be the end?

As you may have guessed, no. Since then I have kept in touch with McKinsey through attending their monthly webinars, meeting at their offices and finding out about work prospects.  The real awakening came when one year after graduating from the programme I was invited to come back to the leadership academy by the FF team to help out as an alumni! In this role I learnt more and more about leadership and got to talk at length with some amazing people. The other alumni who I worked with were all amazing and I have kept in close contact with many of them since we are all now at universities.

After the academy I have had the joy of being invited to the Conservative Party Conference with Future Foundations where I met up with so many other amazing organisations and was inspired again and more recently was honoured to receive the Volunteer of the Year Award.

My journey with FF has been an amazing few years and I hope that it may long continue, but the best part of it is the people who you meet, work with and become part of their lives just as they become part of yours. Coming up this summer I have been invited back to work for FF (if I get past the assessment centre!) and have had the amazing opportunity to represent them at WE Day in Wembley in a couple of weeks and meet some big names in their respective fields, not to mention my plans to meet up with many of the folks who I have met through FF over the next few breaks from university.

I hope that my whistle stop tour of my time with FF has been of some interest to you, I know my writing style might not be the best as a maths geek but that’s ok, I was recently reintroduced to my friend Mary at FF who has just published her first book, “Wild Awakenings” and whom I’m sure can give me some pointers! Anyway, I could never have guessed those few years ago with my Tolkien in hand and halfway through an application form that it could ever lead to the inspiring and most unexpected journey imaginable, and meeting hundreds of the most passionate and amazing people one could hope to come across.

So if you are new to Future Foundations or an old hand, then just take this as me saying that Future Foundations has done wonders for me and goodness only knows what it could do for you.