BRND WGN CEO and Founder Peter-Jan Grech on Monday shared that Neil Agius’s journey to reaching his goal of completing a 100-mile swim is a testament to what true leadership stands for.
On Monday morning, athlete and environmental activist Mr Agius set out on the ‘100 Mile Swim’, where he will attempt the open sea crossing from Mallorca, Spain, around Ibiza’s west coast, totalling a swim of around 160 kilometres. Should he complete this, it will be a world record for the longest non-stop, unassisted, current neutral, open water sea swim in history. The demanding challenge is expected to take three whole days and will require an estimated 175,000 strokes. His journey can be tracked here.
The swim is being supported by a number of businesses, including digital marketing agency BRND WGN, a decision that has proven to be a “moment of clarity” for Mr Grech. He said that since the company was created, BRND WGN has “always tried to remain true to the ideas and principles” it was founded on, including telling great stories and working with brands and people that it believes in.
“But try as we do, it’s only human to sometimes lose sight of things. Managing clients, projects, and employees, trying to navigate a company through economic highs and lows, exploring new markets, and emerging tech breakthroughs… it’s a daily hustle,” Mr Grech explained.
He said that like Mr Agius, this can lead to one feeling like they are “out at sea, swimming against a relentless current”.
However, Mr Agius’s “incredible journey is an inspiring story of resilience, determination, and perseverance” that has prompted Mr Grech and the rest of the team at BRND WGN why the company was founded in the first place.
Additionally, he remarked that it reminded him of the “meaning of true leadership”.
“It’s shown me what it means to do something because you truly believe in it, and given me the courage to keep pushing through those waves,” Mr Grech said, before adding that Mr Agius has thanked him for his help over the past months, yet it is clear to him that he should be the one thanking him instead.
Mr Grech noted that aside from the length of the swim, Mr Agius also faces “swarms of jellyfish, relentless currents, exhaustion, hallucinations, and worse”, and is “climbing a mountain that’s never been climbed before”.
He remarked that while such a challenge could be mistaken for “pride or ego” from the outside, Mr Agius is instead using the media attention to raise awareness about the environment, lobbying world governments to sign up for and implement the United Nations Treaty of the High Seas. The rules were announced in New York, United States a few days ago and establish marine protected areas so that habitats and species are conserved and sustainably managed.
Mr Grech said that Mr Agius is “inspiring countless people to change the way they live to protect our planet”, and is also inspiring himself through the “humbling experience”.
The CEO noted that the swim has taught him that resilience is not only made up of bouncing back from setbacks, but it is also about “forging ahead despite overwhelming odds”.
“Watching him overcome these obstacles one stroke at a time reminded me that as a CEO, it’s vital to stay resilient, that when facing challenges, I need to adapt to change, and encourage our team to do the same,” he continued.
He also remarked that Mr Agius’s “unyielding determination is awe-inspiring”, as he constantly pushes himself beyond his limits in order to achieve excellence. “This resonated so deeply with me, reminding me that achieving your goals requires a fierceness of spirit,” Mr Grech said.
“It reinforced the importance of setting ambitious goals for BRND WGN and gave me the courage to go after them,” he added.
Additionally, he said that it is also a lesson about perseverance, as despite the “long hours of solitude, and battling fatigue and pain,” he still manages to “remain true to his resolve”.
“At BRND WGN we face obstacles regularly, but Neil’s example reminded me of the power of believing in why we do what we do. His leadership reminded me that as a CEO, my role extends beyond the boardroom,” Mr Grech explained.
“It’s about making a positive impact and motivating others to join the cause,” he added.
Mr Grech further noted that the swim has also proved to be a “major personal branding project” for BRND WGN, as Mr Agius has cultivated a strong personal brand that “resonated with people worldwide”.
He remarked that together with BRND WGN’s sister company PRSS WRKS, Mr Agius has managed to “find his voice”, as the companies worked with him to “craft a story that is inspiring people all over the globe”.
PRSS WRKS CEO Ivan Martin also expressed his delight at the project, stating that helping people like Mr Agius “find their voice and get their story out there” is why he set up the company in the first place.
“He’s taking his activism global”, he said, before adding that PRSS WRKS is “just getting started”.
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She first joined the furniture company in 2018 as HR and Administration Manager.
At the time of writing, his journey has led to £24,849 (€28,665) being raised for mental health charities.
He remarks that people tend to mistakenly view failure as a ‘setback’ or ‘disappointment’.