Creating useful people: the podcast

How does our upbringing dictate our current situation and future aspirations?

How do we bottle the ingredients that create success? What are the childhood influences that really shape someone’s future? How can we raise kids to be confident, positive, creative and resourceful? What can we do about it as adults?

These are all questions the Clever Tykes team is working hard to get to the bottom of. To do this we are interviewing people we admire. The line-up includes entrepreneurs, CEOs, sportspeople, actors and many more inspiring people from all walks of life, to find out how they were brought up. 

Come and join us every month to find out how amazing people became just that! 


Creating useful people: the Clever Tykes podcast.

Clever Tykes is a series of children’s storybooks that inspire enterprising behaviour in 6-9 year olds. This podcast is brought to you by profits from Clever Tykes books. If you’d like to support the podcast you can buy a set of the storybooks here.


Listen on iTunesStitcher, PocketCasts, Spotify and on this very page!

> > > > Click here to tweet about the podcast!



001: Craig Donaldson

Craig Donaldson is the CEO of Metrobank, a role he has held since the bank’s inception in 2009, having previously worked in many financial services roles including at BT, Barclays, HBOS and RBS Group. In 2017 Craig won the ‘Most people-focused CEO’ award at the HR Excellence Awards.

Originally from Sunderland and a huge football fan, in this podcast we discuss how growing up in a pub led to Craig’s personable approach to leadership. We also discuss his favourite teachers and his memories of the miners’ strike of 84–85.

002: Jessica Wheeler

Jessica Wheeler is the principal of the prestigious and world-renowned Elmhurst Ballet School, and has been since 2010. Under her leadership the school has received glowing OFSTED reports, record-breaking exam reports, and even received a royal visit! After studying contemporary dance at Trinity Laban she started her career in dance education. Jessica has created a set of videos for Teachers TV, and OFSTED has described her as a ‘highly effective leader’.

In this podcast we discuss Jessica’s creative and musical influences, childhood ambitions and role models, as well as moving schools and changing her definition of success.

003: Jordan Daykin

Jordan Daykin is the CEO of Gripit, a £20million business that he started with his grandad when he was 13. Jordan successfully secured investment from Deborah Meaden on Dragon’s Den when he was 19, making him the youngest person ever to do so.

In this podcast we discuss how leaving home and school very early forces independent and resourceful behaviour, the teachers and family members who believed in him and what they said, and how raising a 1 year old is more difficult than running a 50-person business!

004: Emma Jones MBE

Emma Jones MBE is the founder of Enterprise Nation and small business advisor to the UK government. She received her MBE in 2012 for services to enterprise, speaks fluent Japanese and is on a mission to make the UK the most enterprising nation.

In this podcast we discuss how Emma’s first experiences of the world of business, her approach to a “work/life balance”, her experience of the education system as well as the messages she’s passing on to her three nieces. We also discuss the childhood influences that developed her incredible confidence and impressive memory! 

005: Mike Bandar

Mike Bandar is a founding Partner of Turn Partners, a start up studio focused on the acquisition, turnaround and creation of digital businesses. In 2017 he received a British Empire Medal for ‘Services to Young Entrepreneurs in the West Midlands’ as well as being awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Aston University, making him one of the youngest ever recipients of a DSc.

In this podcast we discuss Mike’s role as a cheeky younger brother and the businesses he started when he was 15. We also go over what success looks like to Mike and how that definition has continued to develop.

006: Graham Allcott

Graham is the author of three books, including the global best-seller “How to be a Productivity Ninja“, and is the founder of Think Productive, one of the world’s leading providers of personal productivity training and consultancy, with offices all over the world.

In this podcast we discuss the power of wanting less, not more, how a religious upbringing has shaped Graham’s world views as an adult, and the valuable lessons he learned from his teachers.


007: Oona Collins

Oona Collins is the CEO of Potential Plus International and an executive coach with 25 years experience of developing emotionally intelligent leaders and high performing teams. Her work has taken her all over the world, coaching people of all different nationalities in senior and high profile positions. Oona’s client list includes Burberry, Warner Brothers and Virgin Airlines.

In this podcast we discuss Oona’s childhood; and the challenges she and her family faced that shaped her.  We speak about the incredible advice and guidance of her mother, and how Oona applies everything she learnt to the work she does in developing others.

008: Paul Faulkner

Paul Faulkner is CEO of Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, former CEO of Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest, and board member for organisations including Cure Leukaemia, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Sport Birmingham… all before the age of 40!

In this podcast we discuss growing up reading newspapers, moving primary school six times and being fearless in front of the press. We also cover the messages Paul is passing on to his own kids. 



009: Deepak Tailor

Deepak Tailor is the founder of He started his first website aged just 16 from his bedroom and his sites now reach over 1 million consumers every month. He has featured on the BBC show Dragons Den, been voted young entrepreneur of the year and has written & published a bestselling book on Amazon. The company has even been chosen as one of the top 100 startups in the UK.

In this episode we discuss Deepak’s experiments on eBay, what his friends thought of his pursuits and how he stayed focused with distractions everywhere!  



010 Phill Jupitus

Phill Jupitus is a stand up and an improv comedian. He’s also an actor, a performance poet, a cartoonist and a podcaster. Phill was a team captain on the BBC 2 show “Never Mind the Buzzcocks” for 19 years. He regularly appears on other panels shows including QI and within the last month you’ve probably seen him on Dave!

In this episode we find out about Phill’s mercurial career doing largely whatever he felt like at the time, as well as the mindset behind it all. We learn about his early aspirations as well as how he broke into performance art and comedy, and what his mum makes of it all. Stay tuned for Phill’s number one pizza topping and how it turns out to be an analogy for life.

011 Jeremy Walker

Jeremy is a geek and an entrepreneur. He runs a range of technology businesses ranging from an education platform that’s helped over 200,000 learn to code, to using artificial intelligence to improve outcomes during heart surgery.

In this episode, recorded face-to-face from Austin, we discuss how a low-income, religious upbringing can create future success, as well as Jeremy’s love of debating and travel. We learn about the teachers who had the biggest impact on him and are joined by an unexpected guest!



> > > > Click here to tweet about the podcast!


I am a huge advocate of the entrepreneurial messages and characteristics that you are driving. I think it is a fantastic idea to instil the idea of entrepreneurship into children from a young age. This is a great way to open children up to the idea of not always following conventional paths and giving them the belief and confidence from an early age to pursue their own creative business ideas and ventures. 

James Caan, CBE - entrepreneur and former Dragon

“The Clever Tykes series are such a wonderful way to introduce ‘enterprise’ to children from a young age – I can’t recommend them highly enough, and strongly urge parents to read along with their child as there is no doubt the stories will stimulate lots of questions and interest!”


“I found Walk-it Willow easy to read and full of lovely messages that children can take from it. It touched on taking responsibility, problem solving, admitting mistakes and also the work it takes to run a small business. Willow is entertaining but very human. A lovely story.”

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