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International innovation expert to present annual lecture


A University of Wolverhampton graduate who was part of the pioneering team behind the Xbox Kinect is to present a prestigious annual lecture.

Val Wright will present the Crystal Lecture, a joint event hosted by the University and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), on Thursday 26 October 2017. CMI is the only chartered professional body for management and leadership, dedicated to improving managers’ skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

Born in Stourbridge, Val joined Microsoft and was part of the small team that created the fastest-selling device of all time, Kinect for Xbox, which sold over 20 million devices.  

Her lecture, titled Making a Positive Difference by being Thoughtfully Ruthless, will take place in the University’s Mary Seacole Building in Nursery Street, Wolverhampton.

There will be refreshments and networking in the University’s Lord Swraj Building from 6pm, before the lecture starts at 7pm.

Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Miceal Barden, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming an innovation expert of Val Wright’s acclaim to present the Crystal Lecture, an annual joint event hosted by the University of Wolverhampton and the Chartered Management Institute.

“As a graduate of the University who has gone on to great things at companies including Microsoft, Amazon, BMW, House of Fraser and Marconi, we are really looking forward to hearing her insights into business, innovation and growth.”

Dilshad Sheikh, Chair of CMI’s West Midlands Board, said: “As the home of professional management, we provide businesses and students with valuable leadership and management insights. We’re delighted to welcome Val Wright to share her experiences as a successful manager and leader as inspiring lessons for all to transform businesses and careers.”

Born in Stourbridge, internationally acclaimed innovation expert Val Wright founded her first company aged 15 as part of the HSBC sponsored Young Enterprise Scheme. Rackhams, House of Fraser, sponsored Val’s day release from their Management Training Scheme to study Business and Finance HNC at the University of Wolverhampton demonstrating that there are multiple ways to combine business experience with education.

After tenures with Land Rover under BMW ownership, and Marconi during the boom and bust of the 2000 bubble, Val joined Microsoft after they acquired the Rare games studio in Twycross, Val joined to lead the transformation following acquisition, Microsoft then relocated her to Seattle to the Xbox headquarters where Val participated on the small team that created the fastest-selling device of all time, Kinect for Xbox, selling over 20 million devices. This contributed to the turnaround of Microsoft’s Entertainment business from a billion-dollar loss to a multimillion-dollar profit machine.

The global clients who have requested her help include Starbucks, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Financial Times, Gartner, and DreamWorks Animation. Val’s corporate experience includes tenures during dramatic growth periods at Amazon, BMW, Microsoft, House Of Fraser, Marconi, and Sema Group.

Her unique approach, which she has trademarked as Thoughtfully Ruthless®, has produced typical client results of market domination in extraordinarily short time frames along with compassionate truth telling, fearlessness, and extensive creative, technical, and leadership gains.

Val’s books include: Thoughtfully Ruthless: The Key to Exponential Growth, Wiley, 2016, named Business Book of the Year 2017 by the Independent Press Awards, and Innovation Trifecta: How to Catapult Innovation by Creating a Symbiotic Relationship between Creative, Business, and Technical Minds. She is a regular contributor on CNBC, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Fast Company, Bloomberg, Reuters, LA Times, MSN, and Today.

Val now lives in California with her three daughters and husband.

Further information:

Questions about this event should be addressed to CMI Events at or by telephone on 01536 207461.

Further details:

Book your place:

Please book via the CMI website

Date Issued: Monday, 16 October 2017

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

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