MEET YOUR HOSTS

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We are the two founders of Elite Team Talks - Alex Ayin & Henry Cheetham.

WHY LISTEN?

Our guests have built the world’s most successful teams, including Red Bull, the New Zealand All Blacks, Google, Cirque du Soleil and many more.

By subscribing to our newsletter and podcast, you will learn some of the most unique strategies and blueprints to hiring, leadership, culture and team development from the best to have ever done it.

Alex also knows a thing or two about building teams from the ground up through his experience scaling some of Europe’s most successful startups.

10 years ago, he dropped out of a promising graduate scheme at Virgin Media Business to join a young, social media startup.

That company was Social Chain.

Founded by Steven Bartlett and Dominic McGregor, they went on to become one of the largest social media publishers in the world with 300m+ followers, offices in New York, London, Manchester and Berlin, and worked with some of the biggest brands in the world to deliver cutting edge marketing campaigns - Coca Cola, Nike, 20th Century Fox and Apple.

The growth was unprecedented - they went from a small team in Manchester in 2015 to a global IPO on the German Stock Exchange within 4 years.

Social Chain founded (2014)

Social Chain starting out as a young upstart in a competitive market (2015)

Social Chain was featured across every major news outlet (2016)

Social Chain doubled in size (2017)

Social Chain grew to 300+ people, and opened several offices globally (2018)

Social Chain goes through a successful IPO (2019)

THE UK’S LARGEST TECH IPO WITH THE HUT GROUP

After the founding team members exited Social Chain (post-IPO), Alex went on to spend the next year helping the CEO of The Hut Group (the holding group of e-commerce giants - MyProtein & LookFantastic) scale their partnership infrastructure ahead of what became the UK’s largest-ever tech IPO in 2020.

TAKING OVER AN INDUSTRY WITH WISER

At the end of 2020, Alex made a Harry Redknapp transfer deadline day signing for an inspirational startup (founded by a good friend - Fin O’Kane) looking to take over their industry.

Enter the Wiser years…

4 years later, Wiser is recognised as one of the best companies in the employer branding industry, winning awards and changing the way people think about work.

They have worked with some of the biggest brands in the world (Nike, Kraft Heinz, Frasers Group, Sky, Comcast, Knight Frank, KFC, L’Oréal), helping them attract world class talent and build high-performing teams.

Henry, on the other hand, went down a different route to Alex after their Birmingham days.

Having studied Sport Science at Birmingham, he undertook a masters degree at Edinburgh University.

As luck would have it, he landed his first job working as a Strength & Conditioning Coach with Harlequins Rugby soon after.

Completing his masters dissertation on one of the most successful rugby clubs in the Northern Hemisphere. And more importantly, the club he’d supported since the age of 4.

But that didn’t last for long. Soon he was presented within an opportunity which would leave a lasting impact on not just his career, but his life.

THE LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD 

Having been offered a short term role with a professional rugby club in New Zealand, he found himself flying over the snowcapped mountains of New Zealand’s South island, embarking on a new adventure.

Remarkably, within two weeks, he was made to feel like he belonged more than anywhere else he’d ever worked. And felt more connected to the team and the community than any he’d ever lived in.

From stag hunting in the South Island hills to deep-sea fishing in the South Pacific, it was an onboarding like no other. And a glimpse into why this little island in the South Pacific Ocean has been top of the podium 46 times for the country with the most Olympic gold medals per capita!

Needless to say, it kick started Henry’s curiosity into whether this belonging he felt was one of the secrets underpinning the mighty New Zealand All Blacks - one of the most successful sports teams of all time.

To his surprise, only a year after being an intern at Harlequins, he was approached by the head coach and offered “the big gig”, in the coach’s words. It was an opportunity to lead the club’s Strength & Conditioning department at the ripe age of 24. To say this was an honour, and a sink or swim moment, was an understatement.

Needless to say, Henry made his fair share of mistakes. But he was fortunate to have a supportive group of players and coaches around him.

Whilst it didn’t feel like it at the time, these challenges were without a doubt one of the best things that could’ve happened to him. Accelerating his development as a person, leader and coach.

Operating on a fraction of the budget they had at Harlequins, he was learning what truly underpinned high performance, and it wasn’t big salaries, big names or expensive perks.

After 3 unforgettable years, with memories and friendships that would last a lifetime, he felt the pull to return home. Proud that they’d increased availability to previously unseen levels in professional NZ rugby, whilst having learnt a huge amount along the way.

THE GREY MAN

Keen to test whether the principles he’d learnt applied just as much in other environments, Henry’s next job was one that doesn’t come around often.

Following an interview more unique than you could imagine, he was gifted the opportunity to help set up and lead the pioneering human performance program within UK Special Forces.

Alongside unforgettable memories that very few civilians will ever experience, he was able to test the same principles which he had seen work so well within sport at the highest level of the military.

He also made a conscious effort to build relationships and spend time across a diverse range of high-performance organisations, understanding what underpinned some of the best teams in the world, including Red Bull, the Navy Seals, Google, Cirque Du Soleil, the UFC, the FA and Team GB to name a few.

With culture change the goal and visible cultural evolution present, he decided that after 5 years, it was time for the next challenge.

He knew he was sitting on a mountain of value, having worked within several of the most successful teams and cultures in the world.

Put simply, his ‘why’ had evolved from helping athletes fulfil their dreams, to being a very small cog in protecting democracy and now, to helping ambitious, purpose-driven companies achieve their mission.

ALL ROADS LEAD TO “ELITE TEAM TALKS”

Elite Team Talks was born when both Alex & Henry reconnected a decade after University.

Alex was launching a digital newsletter on how to build a high-performing team when scaling a company and Henry’s elite performance podcast had just launched and was starting to gain traction.

This is when Elite Team Talks was born.

Whilst both learned leadership skills through hands on experience at an early age, they wished they had a resource that taught you the systems, principles and strategies of the world’s best leaders in order to build a world-class team and culture within our organisations.

We don’t wear suits. And we’re definitely not McKinsey consultants. 

We’re two young, highly ambitious people, just like you. 

From World Cup-winning coaches to special forces leaders and the minds of Google, join us as we venture into the minds of individuals who have created, led or researched history's most successful teams.

Through the stories and wisdom of our guests, we filter the noise, extract key insights, and deliver clear, actionable steps for you to build industry-leading teams and culture within your organisation..

You can expect to understand how to become a great leader of not just your team, but yourself.

How the world’s greatest teams attract and hire the right people.

How to develop your people and team faster than the competition.

And how to create a culture and name synonymous with high performance 🚀