Leading from the front the John Terry way. Football, Freshworks, and everything in between at Refresh 19!

Hours after Freshworks founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham kicked off our latest user conference Refresh 19, at Tobacco Dock, London, football legend, former Chelsea and England national team captain John Terry joined the power-packed conference as a special guest.   


Since he started his footballing career at the age of 17, to holding captaincy for over a decade until he retired as a player, Terry, who is now the assistant coach of Aston Villa, has constantly broken records and has been a winner all the way. 

Here are highlights from his conversation with our founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham:

On the importance of leadership:

As a young boy, it was my dream to be a professional footballer and I set myself targets and goals from ages 6,7,8. I wanted to captain England. Winning the premier league for Chelsea for the first time in 50 years was what set me on my way and I realized what winning was all about.

I had the best leaders. Watching and learning from the best was instrumental and was shaping my life.

On being a team leader:

In my early days I was ruthless. I was a perfectionist. If people didn’t do their job.. well, I’d be the first to tell them. But over time (with) the new generation of players, if I was the way I was 15 years ago, I’m not sure it would work today. You have to always adapt to try and find the best way to bring the best out from individuals. You can’t be one way.   john-terr-at-refresh-19

On what it is like to be a learner for life:

My target was to learn from the very best. I had offers from other clubs and it was a huge financial offer for me. Money comes with football but that never drove me forward. Chelsea fans gave me time and believed I was good enough for the club and that still lives with me today. What they had done for me on and off the pitch will live with me. I wanted to give back to Chelsea. I wanted to be a one-club man.

For both business and football you have your ups and downs and you have to take them and go with it.


There was no way we were going to let Terry leave us with only these tips on leadership and winning. We absolutely had to get him to autograph jerseys and footballs for us!


And given that the hall was packed with Terry fans, we decided to give a few autographed footballs and jerseys away to lucky members of the audience. “I’ve lost practice,” Terry quipped, as he kicked the autographed footballs into the crowd for people to catch.

Well it certainly didn’t seem that way as he deftly sent a few balls soaring into the crowd, and our spirits soared higher than before, inspired, and eager for more to come.