William Ayot has worked in personal, leadership and men’s development for three decades. An award-winning poet, author, coach, teacher and ritualist, he was a founding director of Olivier Mythodrama, which pioneered new forms of experiential learning in organisations, and travelled the world, teaching leadership through story, poetry and theatre-practice. He now works internationally with individuals and groups, in business schools and boardrooms, to explore leadership through poetry, presence and ritual. He teaches on the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD (Fontainebleau & Singapore) and occasionally serves as Poet-in-Residence at Saïd Business School, Oxford University.
Having undergone a personal transformation in the 1990s, William studied under poets, psychologists and tribal medicine teachers, while leading rites of passage programmes and seeking ways to re-ignite the ancient ways of ritual & healing in his own culture. Today he teaches ritual and offers bespoke rituals to individuals and groups in his purpose-built ritual garden in Monmouthshire, South East Wales. . William is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts & Manufactures (FRSA). He lives with his wife, Juliet Grayson Ayot, in a restored Monmouthshire gentry house in the UK.
Writing includes: Poetry: ‘Small Things that Matter’, 2003; ‘The Inheritance’, 2012; ‘E-Mail from the Soul: New & Selected Leadership Poems’. (Winner People’s Book Prize), 2013. Prose: Re-Enchanting the Forest: Meaningful Ritual in a Secular World. 2015. Theatre includes: Bengal Lancer. Leicester and London. William is currently writing a book for and about men entitled “The Second Question: The Art of Being a Man’.
What inspires you?
Eggardon Hill with a hawk on the wind,
the tiny nails of a new-born child,
the bloom on a damson fallen in the grass,
a vixen yelling in the woods at night;
the persistence of finches,
the wide Suffolk sky,
a door kept open by a lump of flint;
the drowse of a bumble bee,
the colour of tea,
the echo and wash of shingle on a beach.
What relationship has been most influential in your life?
The relationship I had with the old men and women of the village where I lived as a young boy. Their kindness has stayed with me for over sixty years.
What’s on your bookshelf?
The Collected Poems of Alden Nowlan
The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram
A Blue Fire by James Hillman
The Precipice by Toby Ord
The Master and his Emissary by Iain Mcgilchrist