Dudley ‘Tal’ Stokes was the founding member of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team. The team’s story featuring Dudley as the principle character, was immortalised in the film ‘Cool Runnings’. Their trainer was played by the late, indomitable and hilarious actor John Candy.
Dudley is a four time Olympian. He went from what may regarded as an impostor to contender in six years.
Furthermore he an a respected orator on the subjects of Diversity and Inclusion, and is a successful and serial entrepreneur.
So whatever topic he is asked to speak about, he shares his wealth of knowledge and experience in a direct, entertaining and easily understood way.
“Dudley was so personable and humble; he spoke with a real charm that resonated with a number of colleagues. He had some great nuggets of information and some great mantras that struck a chord (such as live a life that matters). He handled the Q&A very well as there were lots of questions asked of him (a sign of how engaging he was that people wanted to know more).”
Sioux Watchorn - Catalyst
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Read more about Dudley ‘Tal’ Stokes
One billion people on TV saw Dudley and his team crash out of the Olympic Games in 1988 in Calgary. They had crashed at 80 mph with their crash helmets dragging along the wall of the run for 2000ft. Many will remember them walking alongside their sled with the onlookers applause turning their disaster into triumph.
For a person who had been a high flyer all his life the outcome was devastating. A graduate of the RMA Sandhurst and a Pilot in the elite Jamaica Defense Force Air Wing, Dudley was a serial winner. He had taken on the challenge of building the first Winter Sport Team from Jamaica and didn’t expect to fail. This hit him badly.
He didn't see the failure in the same way the rest of the world did. The team had aroused such interest and excitement. Their story went global. Furthermore it was no surprise that their story was turned into the massive blockbuster Disney feature length movie, ‘Cool Runnings’.
Coping with personal failure
Dudley took the failure very personally and chose to dismiss the many mitigating circumstances. Spiraling into a period of depression and reflection, he deciding there was only one way to go. And that was to become a competitive Bobsleigh athlete.
He undertook a deep analysis of where the team was and where they wanted to be. Firstly he considered what elements were required for success. Secondly he looked at what advantages they had. The main obstacle was they were from a poor Caribbean nation. And to many they really had no business in Bobsleigh, the Olympics second most expensive sport. But they were there and they were there to stay.
So he focused on each individual, and how to maximise each members performance mentally and physically. Similarly, he applied the same determined focus on the acquisition of resources to limit the capital required to finance the team’s training etc.
After six years and two more Olympic Games, The Jamaica Boobsleigh Team were 14th sled (the top seed is 15 sleds) overall in Lillehammer Norway, 1994. They were the 7th nation, and ahead of all American Sleds.
Their budget that year was USD60,000 whilst the USA's was USD 6 million.
Dudley’s Business Achievements
Dudley has also been hugely successful in business. His first company was Helitours Jamaica was Jamaica’s first helicopter tour company. He built it to 20 employees in 12 years. They operated four helicopters flying from three bases offering tours, charters, medevac, traffic control, and search and rescue.
Subsequently he founded AmLoG which became Jamaica’s first third party logistics company. Hugely successful it grew into the largest logistics business in Jamaica. Supporting manufacturing, construction and tourism sectors, the business employed 200 employees.
He has extensive knowledge of all aspects of logistics, small project management and team building. His speeches are heard by audiences all around the world.
Dudley's knowledge of logistics will be most helpful to small and medium sized companies in the run up and after BREXIT.