This was my reply:
I have learnt to shut up and listen, and to think more before I speak.
I have learnt that if it doesn’t feel right, that’s because something ain’t right.
And its time to do something about that.
I have learnt how much the arts have to give me. And how much I have to give the arts.
I have been surprised by my ambition, my audacity, my tenaciousness, my bravery
and by my ability to deliver (but I still lack patience)
I have learnt “The end doesn’t justify the means”
How you do stuff matters as well as what you do.
That leadership is like a stick of rock – your values must be all the way through.
I have learnt I can do incredible things. And mediocre things. It’s my choice.
I really didn’t want to believe leadership was lonely. It is.
You really can’t please all the people all the time.
I have learnt that people matter. People really matter.
I have learnt how amazing my family is.
I’ve learnt that I’m more than a label, more than ‘just’ disabled. More than I thought I was.
I have learnt that the world isn’t fair or equal. (I think I knew that anyway.)
And that no one likes a moaner.
I have learnt to fight harder and smarter.
I can make change happen. We can all make change happen.
So inspire change, don’t moan.
I have learnt that art can transform, can change hearts and minds,
and can do it better that anything else.
I have learnt some people are amazingly generous, and amazingly talented,
and quite simply amazing. And that includes all the people in this room (and now all the people reading this too).
I have learnt you can ask anyone a question. You don’t need to be on Clore to open a door.
I’ve learnt I’m my own worst enemy. And my biggest supporter.
I’ve learnt that my mother was wrong. I do deserve to be here.
Its my own photo, taken at Bore Place, and remember if you have enjoyed this and want to read more, you can subscribe to Jo Verrent’s blog by email.