Alec James was born and raised in Bristol. He graduated from the University of Exeter in 2016 with a first class degree in Geography, accumulating 5 awards in the process, including the Lewis Memorial Prize for Excellence in Geography and an Exceptional Dissertation in Georgraphy award.
In his final year at University, he was elected Vice-President Welfare and Diversity of the Students’ Guild by the student body. In this role, he helped establish the first Disabled Students’ Forum, an employability event for disabled students, secured a significant recurring addition to the University mental health services budget, and launched a scheme where unsold food on campus gets taken to homeless shelters across the city.
He then spent a year in Parliament, working for both an MP and a member of the House of Lords, whilst also working as a community organiser at a church in East London, equipping local leaders to campaign on housing issues.
Alec joined Buzzacott in August 2018, choosing to work in the Charity and Not-for-Profit team, and has secured first time passes in all exams to date, including 93% in Financial Accounting and Reporting.
What does winning the Chartered Star competition mean to you?
I am delighted to be offered this opportunity. One Young World is unique as an organisation gathering young leaders together, and the summit is an inspirational and transformative event. I’m proud to be able to attend, and to do so representing the ICAEW and Chartered Accountants Worldwide is a real privilege. I can’t wait to make the most of it.
Why are you excited to attend One Young World?
There are plenty of reasons for this! One of the reasons I began training to be an accountant, and particularly chose to work at a firm that works with charities was that I was excited about the possibilities that exist within the profession to make a difference. Being able to attend is just one practical outworking of this. One Young World gathers people who are already having a huge impact, I’m excited to be one of that number this year but more excited still to meet and share ideas with young leaders from across our planet.
What plenary topic are you most passionate about and why?
Peaceful Future, for sure. All of this year’s plenary themes are of vital importance at the current time. However, at a time when society feels divided, and people feel isolated and misunderstood, the opportunity to come together and dream about how things might be done differently could not be more timely or more important. Building relationships and understanding between people with differing perspectives is essential in tackling so many of the other problems we face today.
What would you like to get out of attending One Young World?
One of the most remarkable things about One Young World for me is that it fundamentally isn’t about me or any other individual, but about a hope that our world can be a better place. My hope is that I will meet and be challenged and inspired by people actively changing their communities and world for the better, and come away better equipped to do the same thing myself, both professionally and personally.
What value do you think your skills and training in Chartered Accountancy bring to being a future global leader?
I think there are several ways of thinking about this. Being trained in accountancy means you can offer technical expertise and attention to detail, it also near guarantees an understanding of the way different organisations are run. Working with varied clients also means we have the opportunity to build relationships with people in many different sectors and areas of society.