Dorian Michael Kronenwerth

  College: Van Mildert College
  Subject: Philosophy, Politics and Economics 
  Class of: 2014

Your Durham Inspiration

Choosing Durham was the result of various elements that made it the ideal place to study for me: its geographic location in the beautiful north of England, close to the Lake District and to Scotland, the College system and the rich history of the University together with the picturesque city of Durham, and of course its outstanding academic reputation and tradition of excellence.

Tell us about any sports, societies or clubs you were involved in at Durham

During my time in Durham I was active in societies that strongly impacted the way my professional career turns out so far. I joined Entrepreneurs Durham and there I got in touch with both the Anglo-Saxon way of doing business through competitions, ventures and conferences, but also with the importance of giving back to others through a holistic approach of business. Creating value by working across sectors and industries became clear to me as I joined the Durham University Electric Motorsports society business team and contributed to raising funds for the Solar Car.

What are your fondest memories from your time here?

Whilst at Durham, Brexit was a big topic, so with a few friends we got together and founded the European society, to share the continental view of Europe and to convince our fellow students of the benefits of being united in diversity. Apart from stimulating discussions it also brought me lifelong friendships. Also the time I spent on Moneythink Durham, the financial literacy programme for schools in County Durham, was truly enriching as it allowed me to connect to the local community and to (hopefully) have been able to make a change for the children we coached.

But besides those rather serious and pre-professional activities I greatly enjoyed the variety of things to do in Durham – be it the bar crawls and nightclubs, the Champagne society balls or the physical exercise from my time in the Van Mildert Boat Club. I couldn’t have gone to an English university without rowing!

How has Durham inspired you to get to where you are today?

The University’s way of dealing with each student individually and not being a number amongst so many others clearly was something that inspired me to reproduce that sort of relationship in all of my professional environments. Valuing the other person above all has been a major strength and I am grateful all the people in Durham that have this mindset and were an example I follow today.

What have you been up to since you left Durham?

Following Durham I studied some more, graduating from the College of Europe in Bruges with a Master’s degree in European Politics, then from the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management with another Master’s degree in Innovation and Strategic Management. I began my career in the telecoms industry and then became head of the Brussels office of the German telecoms association – essentially working with the European institutions on making fair and efficient laws for the telecommunication sector. In 2019 I decided to take a big step and launched my own company: Sphere Travel Club, a global exchange platform for owners of refined second homes. Quite a switch from EU affairs! Although I still keep up consulting activities in the field of EU affairs, it is the entrepreneurial seed that was sowed during my time at Entrepreneurs Durham, that had been growing on the inside and eventually pushed me to launch my company.

What are you doing that is most meaningful to you now?

Being able to choose my own chains by creating my work through my company in an area that I am passionate about is something that increased my quality of life and happiness exponentially. Although I feel the responsibility, it is one I thoroughly enjoy carrying because I fully believe in what I do and in the philosophical reasoning underpinning it: does one need to own everything or is it not more appealing to have access to everything? Can’t we build a system of trust with like-minded people who share their second homes so as to have access to all second homes, globally? The wave of the sharing economy is still spreading and I am happy to have found a niche sector in which an interpretation of it has so far found great interest and praise.

Tell us about your latest news or developments.

2020 began in a wonderful way for me, as my company made its way to the red carpets of Hollywood and subsequently to the headlines in different news outlets – one of the properties in the Sphere Travel Club collection was included in the gift bag for the Oscar nominees! This was a great seal of quality for us and of course exciting for film-fans among our members. But most of all it brought us a great increase in our membership base, making us a truly global community.
The next chapter in 2020 – COVID19 – has been less pleasant as travel bans put all holidays to a standstill. Nonetheless we keep our heads up and have received lots of support from our members and stakeholders who firmly believe in the project. So we’re preparing for the post-Corona time, when we all can think about making our travel dreams come true – Sphere Travel Club will be there to make them happen!

Pass It On

What the Chancellor told us in his speech during matriculation is something that really stuck with me and I already told it to younger friends of mine when they began their studies: don’t let your degree get in the way of your education. Brilliant and spot on. We learn for life, not for school.

Is there anything that you know now that you wish you’d known when graduating?

Making more use of the alumni network – thousands of people around the world share similar memories of their time at Durham. Getting in touch, reaching out, meeting and making new memories is a great way of keeping the Durham spirit alive and kicking… and who knows, friendships, business ideas and partnerships could arise from it!


Related links

Sphere Travel Club – the refined second home exchange community

Morning Show TV Interview

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