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Steve RowbothamSteve Rowbotham is the Managing Director at Navigator Technology, an innovative solution that connects brands to the travel industry with first-party data. He is a former Olympic medalist whose current passion is building a global marketing technology business. Steve is also the Chief Commercial Officer at Ink, a travel media company.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Steve Rowbotham’s participation in the Olympics
  • The challenge with transitioning to a new career
  • How Ink was impacted by the pandemic
  • Steve explains what Navigator does, and shares his criteria for hiring culturally fit employees
  • Tips for starting a business

In this episode…

Learning how to overcome setbacks is a key skill every entrepreneur needs to develop. Every business faces challenges, and it is only by being innovative and staying agile that brands can adapt and become successful.

After being dropped from professional athletics, Steve Rowbotham struggled to find his identity. Transitioning to another career was a challenge, but he was able to overcome that and decided to use his skills to help leaders build more efficient businesses.

In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Bela Musits sits down with Steve Rowbotham, the Managing Director at Navigator Technology, to talk about Steve’s trajectory from the sports world to entrepreneurship. They also discuss the effects of the pandemic on the media industry, target marketing strategies, and how to hire culturally fit employees.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04 

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show, powered by Rise25 Media. We feature top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.

Bela Musits 0:20

Hello, listeners. I’m Bela Musits, the host for this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show podcast, where we feature CEOs, entrepreneurs, and top leaders in the business world. This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses cultivate and reach their dream relationships and connect with more clients, more referrals, and strategic partnerships to get your business return on investment through done for you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships, there is no better way than to profile the people and companies you admire on your podcast. To learn more, go to or email us at Today’s guest on the podcast is Steve Robotham. He is a former Olympic medalist, Steve’s current passion is as a managing director at Navigator Technology, where he is building a global marketing technology business. Welcome to the podcast.

Steve Rowbotham 1:23

Steve. Thank you for having me. Great. So

Bela Musits 1:27

I got to ask you about the Olympic thing. So elaborate. Tell us what that is.

Steve Rowbotham 1:33

Yeah, in my former life, I was an Olympic athlete, very fortunate to compete at two Olympic Games in Beijing 2008. And my home games in 2012, which is obviously a very special medal in Beijing got a got a bronze medal, so the least shiny one, but I’m probably would have preferred to have had it the other way around where that would happen in London, but as I say, very fortunate and got got spat out and retired at the age of the grand age of 30. And had to reinvent myself and recreate a completely new life for myself, as I say, a young age so yeah, it does seem some time ago actually got messaged by my rowing partner today. 15 years since the medal in Beijing. So yeah, nearly quite some time. So you were you were a rower? I was a row. Yeah. So for those in North America, it’s crew. Yeah. But a rower.

Bela Musits 2:27

And two person, one person four person. Beijing,

Steve Rowbotham 2:31

those two of us. Yeah. And then London four. So not quite enough to do it on my own. So I’ve relied on other people to help me go faster.

Bela Musits 2:40

Yeah, yeah. I’ve always wondered, you know, I’ve seen those on TV numerous times, watching the Olympics. How fast do you guys go?

Steve Rowbotham 2:50

relatively slow, and you actually use it in action live? Obviously, due to it being a water and a friction and stuff like that. I think it’s like four to five metres per second. So whatever that translates in miles per hour, but basically, if you watch the other coaches cycling on the bank beside us, yes, they’re barely pedalling. So it’s not that fast. But

Bela Musits 3:13

it always it always impressed me as being pretty fast, because I did see the coaches pedalling, and I’m going, okay, you know, they’re on a bike, they’re not running and jogging.

Steve Rowbotham 3:23

And obviously, it’s not through lack of effort from our standpoint, either. Like, we’re going to go as fast as we can.

Bela Musits 3:29

Yeah. So that’s impressive, right? I mean, you’re clearly driven and you’re motivated, you’re not apply yourself.

Steve Rowbotham 3:35

So you, you’re done. Right, your career

Bela Musits 3:40

is over. So talk a little bit about Okay, now what, how did you how did you sort of sort through that and think through that process?

Steve Rowbotham 3:48

Yes, it was, it was a crazy and a lot longer process than I had anticipated. You know, I remember we were walking out of the athlete’s village in London, London Games, and we were just gonna get the underground, the tube, the Metro back to where I lived in West London. And there was this big chauffeur driven car that was like, transported all the dignitaries around and they were like, Hey, do you want to lift home? And I was like, Yeah, cool. So we’re in the back drinking champagne. And I got dropped off at my house. And I was just standing there on the pavement and I hit me like a steam train. And it was like, That’s it. I’m done like that. I was just in a in the front room having a cup of tea with hopefully Touchwood and a lot of my life left in me. But what happened at the time was I thought all of my identity my purpose had been completely removed because it was linked with me being a rower me being an Olympic athlete. That’s where I was. I was Steve, the Olympic athlete. And I struggled, and I’m not afraid to say that it took me three to four years. I actually went through some therapy because of it because my wife had had enough with me and I’d had enough with me, and I really wasn’t the person that I wanted to be. And even today, there’s episodes where I get angry and resentful or reflective on what happened. And I didn’t quite obviously achieve what I set out to achieve with a gold medal. And yeah, you almost it’s like, when you come out of college or something like that, or, you know, when you’re 15, or someone goes, what do you what is it you want to do, and I just, I’ve just lived my dream, I’ve had 11 years and did it for 11 years full time, but 11 years of fulfilling my dream being exactly where I wanted to be. And it’s not like business where, you know, business, a lot requires your brain this is requires a huge amount of your body. So at 30 to 35, whatever it is around that age, you’re done, you can’t physically perform at those level those levels anymore. So you want to do it, you want to carry on, you want it to last for 3040 years, and it does and as I say, complete loss of identity, it took me some time to realise that you know, I you’re not you know, you know who you are is not dictated by your by your title or a label or what others think of you, who you are is how you turn up in the morning how you feel and how you make other people feel about you at the time. So I can see that now. But at the time, it was it was tough, real tough.

Bela Musits 6:21

Yeah, yeah. Well said, it sounds like it was a real struggle. And it’s one of the things that has always intrigued me about certain professions or certain sport. So if you sports sports as a profession,

Steve Rowbotham 6:35

that, that when you stop doing that, you’re it’s

Bela Musits 6:39

very challenging to transition transition to something else, because there isn’t anything really like it very much. Yeah, and other than knowing that the person is highly motivated, highly driven, right, they have to have wonderful characteristics. But they may not have the skills. Whereas if you’re in a, in some business profession, oftentimes, you know, the first five years of your career builds on the will helps you build the next five years, which can help you build the next five years. And it really doesn’t offer sometimes they spit you out at the end, too. But, you know, you you often come out of there with a set of skills that are sort of marketable in other avenues. But you know, going into the military, or, you know, I mean, there’s a lot of examples of sports, certainly. And in particularly in those types of professions, where you’re not gonna make a lot of money, right? You’re not, you’re not a footballer, or as you guys say football, as we say, soccer player, so you’re not making 10 million pounds a year. So you know, you got to, you got to figure out something. So yeah, that’s, that’s, it’s, I’m glad you sort of opened up about that, because I’ve often thought about how people make that transition. Very,

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