Gavan Wall: King Of LinkedIn + Founder Of The Wall Group (Video Podcast)

 

Meet Gavan Wall.

Gavan Wall is the founder of The Wall Group, a company that owns a series of Spars, Subways and a YoggieBerrie in North Belfast.

But he's probably most well known for his charisma, speed-mentoring and being the Northern Irish King of LinkedIn.

In this episode, we get to chat about all thing from The Greatest Showman  why Gavan kicked booze out his life for good and why he didn't go to the hairdressers for 7 years...

You can watch the full video here on this page, on YouYube, or if you wanna listen on the go you can grab it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Stitcher and pretty much everywhere else!

This episode was commissioned by the Knowledge Network hosted by Fleet Financial

Knowledge Network, a series of mini-conferences featuring the most interesting and influential business people in Northern Ireland.

Gavan Wall first spoke at the Knowledge Network where he told his story publicly for the first time.

The kind folks at KN asked us to follow up with Gavan to dive deeper into his story and follow up on some of the points he made in his speech.

To listen to that talk and hear Gavan's full journey check out the video below.

 
 

Highlights of our chat with Gavan Wall.

Here's a few excerpts taken from the chat we had with Gavan.

 

If you had one lift ride with Liam Neeson how would you introduce yourself?

I'd probably say there's two elements to me.

  1. The philosophy of my life
  2. My working life

And the two do actually mix together quite often.

My personal motto is to dream big, work hard and persuade as many other people to do the same.

I'm an entrepreneur who's primarily based in North Belfast but am looking to venture out into the wider island of Ireland.

I own a company called The Wall Group which I also founded.

We are are collection of Spars, Subways and our own wee brand called YoggieBerrie.

We employ about 140 people and we're all about championing North Belfast!

 

Tell us about your recent Greatest Showman moment

Normally I go through life knowing exactly what I want.

The last 21 years has been a constant relentless drive forward in business, but recently I had my first blip.

3 weeks ago for the first time I started questioning everything.

Quite a few things had gone wrong at the same time, couple of setbacks, some tough things at work, but still we sat down for our Family Friday Night Movie and that week we watched The Greatest Showman

It's an absolutely amazing movie if you haven't seen it but there's this one song that talks about how enough is never enough

During it my wife turned round to be and just casually said, you're like him so you are.

She didn't mean anything malicious by it at all, but for some reason it absolutely floored me.

That led to 4 days of questioning and thinking. Actually that night I just went outside and listened to the soundtrack for 3 hours on repeat questioning my existence.

Usually that really isn't me, but it really made me think about a lot of big questions.

 

Why do you think so many business men have an unhealthy relationship with money?

(This question was asked by Scott Goldplatt... cheers!)

That's a biggie.

Let's be realistic, success in some ways intertwined with money.

I'm not really a big spender... well, okay, let's be honest really here.

When I was a barrister I was a big spender because I was an individual, it was just me.

But once you become part of a team, that changes (or at least should change) everything.

No longer are you just working for yourself or have the opportunity to splash out on whatever personal pleasure you want, but rather it starts to become more about other people and growing the business rather than yourself.

Money should be way way down on the pecking order. It should be developing your skills, developing your team, focusing on your legacy, focus on what you're teaching your kids, staff and those who will be around after you.

At the start, money might be what entices you into business, it might be the rocket fuel that drives you on saying “I wanna have that car or house or holiday or whatever.”

But you can't run your ship on money forever. It's not a suitable long-term thing that will keep you going and satisfy you in the long run.

 

Why did you give up alcohol?

Like most people in Northern Ireland, I used to like to drink.

I was a pretty heavy drinker I'd blow the head off every single weekend or sometimes a bit more.

At the age of 27 I made a decision to really change my life around and really chase after my goals.

I knew alcohol was a handbrake on those dreams and I had to get rid of it.

But it took me 10 years to actually kick the habit and when I did I lost a good number of friends.

However, the difference it's made in my life is incredible in terms of productivity, family life and clarity. 

I did a post about my 11th year of being sober on LinkedIn and was really blown away at how many people reached out to say they wanted to do the same.

It's tough, but I think it's worth it.

Now I exclusively drink Suki Tea's Belfast Brew, Diet Coke and about 4 litres of water a day!

 

What's one hangup you think we in Northern Ireland need to get over?

The word success.

Usually the only time I get trolls is when I mention success.
 

We must learn how to celebrate success in others and also to avoid criticising people when they fail in their pursuit of it!


The reality is you cannot succeed without failure, so I think it's something we can do a better job of.

 

What advice would you give to yourself as a 16 year old?

Looking back on my life now I had a fair amount of ability, but I never maxed my full potential until I hit 27.

I thought that ability gave me the right to succeed, but now I know that it’s not how it works.

I'd say from 8-27 I really did throw it all away.

If I had the chance to talk to 16 year old version of myself I'd tell him you have to put in graft, you have to put in the effort and you MUST bring other people with you.

 

How can our listeners connect with you?

The best place is on LinkedIn, that's where I'm most active and it's obviously my platform of choice!

 

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Big thanks to Gavan Wall for taking the time to share his story with us.

Be sure to reach out to him and let him know you enjoyed the show.

Other than that until next time,

All the very best!

- Matthew Thompson

 
Matthew Thompson