Light a Fire with Hems de Winter

By Andy Williams topicIcon Light a Fire

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“I’m not going to worry about it,” says Hems de Winter, in reference to some work-related problems that happened the same morning he sat down as our Light a Fire guest.

It was a light hearted response to a question about living in the moment, on an evening where the topics ranged from self fulfilment, mindfulness and being true to yourself.

His honest, candid tales made for an enthralling chat that explored the life of a man who despite joking he’s still unable to count, has successfully been CEO of Chester’s de Winter PR since 1989.

It was the first Light a Fire of the year, with our nomadic event this time taking place in the unique, intimate setting of BoConcept’s contemporary furniture showroom on Great Ancoats Street.

Arriving on a crisp March Wednesday night and keen for a little midweek inspiration, each audience member took their position on an assortment of sofas, armchairs and stools scattered in a seemingly living room setting, if you discount the price tags that hung from each piece.

For an engrossing hour and a half, Hems answered probing questions from our host and very own MD, Daniel Nolan, in front of plenty of new guests and familiar faces.

Discussing his lengthy career in the North West, his tales included details of his 18-month stint as editor of Liverpool Weekly News in the 1970s which ended when the publication was forced to close just 18 months later.

While this wasn’t a great start to a fledgling career, importantly for any young professional, it didn’t hold him back.

Life changing moments

Discussing life-changing moments, Hems explained that advice from his mentor to take a step back from his business has improved his outlook.

This advice, received just five years ago, led to him being able to spend time with his three children. This brought us on nicely to the power of asking questions and how it’s refreshing to make time to listen to, and learn more about our loved ones, and those closest to us.

Hems is philosophical, perhaps stemming from his involvement in spiritualism, his unique upbringing and subsequent career.

He is characteristically self-aware, understanding that “each one of us has to make compromises”, whether it’s in our working lives or at home, suggesting that he has occasionally short-changed his wife and kids but it’s a battle that is ongoing in his quest for true fulfilment.

On the night, our guest spoke in great depth about subjects extremely close to his heart, and he did so with real honesty.

He is descended from a large Dutch family who fought their own battles during the German occupation during World War II. He is mindful of this, and that the troubles they saw were of much greater magnitude than those in his own life, giving him a real perspective.

Making a difference

When asked about fulfilment, our guest pondered and explained that to him, fulfilment is about “making a difference” to people’s lives.

Suggesting that this answer might be “a bit naff”, the 60 or so guests gathered could proclaim, like myself that each insight into his character was far from it, and that writing this the morning after, his elaborations have had a direct effect.

He says your actions will ultimately define you as a person. Ultimately, it’s all down to “honesty, authenticity and love”; living by your values and doing the things that make you happy as we are only here for a short period of time.

Thank you

We’d like to say a massive thanks to Hems for taking time out of his schedule to come along and share his experiences with us.

We’d also like to thank our guests and special appreciation goes to BoConcept for letting us take over their space for the evening.

You can follow Hems on Twitter via @dewinter_hems, while we’d like offer our support for his daughter, Sophie, who is performing at the Bridgewater Hall on 20th June in aid of MyelomaUK.

Tickets can be bought here.

And finally make sure to keep a look out for more information on the next Light a Fire. Details are yet to be confirmed, but as usual we hope to organise another special event.

Main image via @AdrianBentley on Twitter