One of Ireland’s best known and well-loved broadcasters and designers, Brendan Courtney has hosted his own terrestrial TV talk show, changed the law with his documentaries, runs his own globally successful women’s wear fashion label and has invented a search and find fashion app. He uses his profile to crusade for equality in the areas of health, housing, age and gender. Brendan has hosted countless award ceremonies, live events and is a regular speaker. Having come through 4 start-ups (2 failed! 2 succeeded) he is a regular mentor and speaker in the corporate world.
Starting his career as a researcher on day-time TV, it was here he wrote his first international best-selling TV format ‘Wanderlust’ (which he sold to 19 countries), he hosted this genius internet blind date travel TV show from 1999-2003. The show was picked up by Sky living in the UK, with Brendan as the host, he soon caught the attention of execs at ITV and BBC where he worked until 2009 (working on Blind Date, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away, The Clothes Show and BBC Radio London amongst many). Then in 2009, he was asked back to RTE to take the reigns on “Off The Rails” (RTE’s biggest lifestyle TV show) which he did for 6 years, it was from this platform that he launched Lennon Courtney his globally successful women’s fashion label. 2017 saw him make a ‘constitutional changing’ documentary. “We need to talk about Dad” – tackled the government’s policy on older care and he continues his crusading with his current TV Series “The Crowded House” which takes on the housing crisis. Always inventing he also hosts a weekly live talk show “FEED” in which celebrities come to his home and cook him dinner while he grills them about their lives, it transmits to a global audience on FB LIVE.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
Of course, it’s a skill that with the right direction and teaching can totally be developed and grown into greatness.
What do you think is the difference between management and leadership?
Management feels more like maintenance, where a leader should inspire.
The world around us is changing faster than at any time in human history and we need more leaders to emerge. How do we make this happen?
Education obviously, build leadership training into schools, but most importantly inspire confidence in people from the very start.
What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
Not listening. Traditionally to put yourself forward as a leader you needed a big ego and with that sometimes comes a limited ability to listen, If people aren’t listened to they won’t be led.
What advice would you give to someone dealing with a high-pressure situation in their life or work?
Look after your physical AND mental health FIRST, above everything else, without these your ability to cope with stress is greatly diminished.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
“Key Person of Influence” by Daniel Priestly, (excellent read and brilliant resource)
“Oversubscribed” also by Daniel Priestly (how to get people to engage)
“The Hard Thing about Hard Things” by Kevin Keenly