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Feb. 11, 2019

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Ben Cooper, Business Development Manager

What’s your background?
My background is a bit of a strange one really… After leaving school, I played rugby full time both in England and Scotland, before deciding to get a ‘real job’. After enjoying the business development/prospect marketing side of my initial Marketing role most, I moved to London to start a role as a Recruitment Consultant specialising in IT Development and Architecture. I absolutely loved it… and this was my first introduction to the public sector. I was in London for around 18 months, before deciding to put my professional career on hold to realise a childhood ambition. After receiving an offer to play professional rugby in France, and with no real commitments at the time, I went for it! I had an unbelievable two years, and despite it taking my woeful GCSE French a while to adapt, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Unfortunately, rugby doesn’t pay like football, and so I decided to come back to the UK with ‘adulting’ in mind and once again began working in the IT Recruitment space. This time around, 90% of the business I had was public sector IT, and things had grown rapidly. I’d been trying to work with Rachel Murphy for pretty much my entire recruitment career and was desperate to work with her. Finally, back in November (after being a pain in her backside for long enough) we finally met. We got on really well, and I was hugely impressed by what Rach and Steve had done with Difrent and their vision for the future. When offered the chance to get involved, I couldn’t refuse!

Describe your role at Difrent
I have joined Difrent as the group’s Business Development Manager. I will be responsible for identifying new opportunities, building relationships with key decision makers working for both existing and prospective clients and developing relationships with new strategic partners. Something that is hugely important to our Business Development activity, however, is ensuring that our clients/partners align with our own values and ethos. Everyone at Difrent is extremely passionate and committed to affecting real change in the public sector, delivering quality digital transformation on projects focused on ‘public good’.

Who are you outside of Difrent?
Outside of Difrent I still play rugby semi-professionally, so my weekend is usually taken up playing/recovering for my childhood side Nuneaton RFC. I’m a real foody so love trying out new restaurants and cuisines when I can. I’ve also recently begun learning to ride a horse which is… interesting! My girlfriend is very supportive of my various endeavours, so I felt it was only right to take an interest in her passion too. The novelty of ‘mucking out’ has already worn off, but I do genuinely enjoy it now. My Dad is delighted with my new found hobby though… (our house has been Billy Elliot-esque for the last few weeks!). I love travelling, experiencing new cultures and have set myself a goal: to try and learn the basics of the languages spoken in the countries I visit this year. Spanish, Portuguese and Bulgarian are all on the cards so far in 2019… wish me luck!

Who would you invite to dinner, dead or alive?
I’ve seen this question on a few other ‘Introducing’ articles and tried to give this some thought. Still slightly stuck but here goes. The first would be Stephen Fry: I find him incredibly interesting, really enjoy some of his debates and interviews. He’d certainly add a lot of value to the conversation. The second would be Jonny Wilkinson. Perhaps an obvious choice, but again, I find him very interesting. He is obsessed with being the best and has been an inspiration to me since I was very young. Finally, I’d like to invite JK Rowling. She’s another hero of mine. I have a few unanswered Harry Potter questions for her (I’m an absolute Harry Potter loser), and JK is not one to shy away from a good old debate either. Her twitter is certainly very entertaining!


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