Clayton Planter is the founder of Street2Boardroom, a Community Interest Company which helps people use their sometimes illegal 'street skills' to get off the street and excel in the corporate world and wider society instead.
Clayton says, "the reason why I started Street2Boardroom was because some of my friends in the community were always getting on the wrong side of the law. However I've seen genius in these people. My experience of working in the council and working in the corporate world, showed me that my friends were taking more risks on the streets that I was in the corporate world, but that it was the same skills, and often the same motivations (profit, making money) just different vocabulary and methods!
Even though Clayton wasn't involved in crime, he felt that he faced a lot of the same challenges as his friends: being a young black man, living in a disadvantaged area, with little opportunities and low expectations from the world around him. "People saw were I came from but they couldn't see where I could go."
Now Street2Boardroom runs an eight week course on learning the 'legal hussle' - i.e. how to make it big in business, the legit way. Clayton's powerful TEDx talk will challenge all these unhelpful and damaging assumptions about men from the 'street' - their talents, aspirations and capabilities to not only .
He will call for community leaders and company directors to sit up and see the talent that is out there - beyond the traditional boardroom walls. His message is already getting results. Bristol law firms have committed to learning from street crews and work with them to writing innovatibe business plans.
He says. "We're working against the odds and we've achieved something great, creating our own lane. We lived the change that we wanted to see, rather than talking about it. It's not a course, it's a lifestyle. It's changing how people see themselves and how they see each other and creating opportunities that go beyond what people thought were possible.