Leaders give business advice to their 18-year-old self

A group of young people representing the 18 year old selves receiving business advice

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so we asked recent contributors to Director what business advice they would give to their 18 year old self

Thomas Dubaere gives his business advice to his 18 year old self

Thomas Dubaere, managing director, AccorHotels UK & Ireland

I’ve never had a job I didn’t like, so I’d say – be selective and pick a job you really like, because you’ll have to do this from morning to evening, and be passionate about it. Secondly, allow yourself to be coached by people around you – with their experience they can look at your potential and guide you on a path that you had perhaps not considered.


To read Director‘s interview with Thomas Dubaere on embracing disruption – click here

Anna Mackenzie gives her business advice to her 18 year old selfAnna Mackenzie, c
o-founder, Cuckoo Foods

I would tell her to be more confident as everything will work out better than you can imagine and you’ll surprise yourself along the way. Things you think matter are insignificant in the wider world, so be yourself, work hard and have fun because in the future you’ll be doing what you want to be doing and with the people you want to be with.


To read Director’s interview with Anna Mackenzie and Lucy Wright, founders of Cuckoo Foods – click here

Robert Wilcocks gives his business advice to his 18 year old selfRobert Wilcocks , f
ounder and director, Wilcocks & Wilcocks

When you leave school or university, whatever your qualifications, you are a ‘Z-grade’ in work life. Therefore, find the most talented, successful people you can as early as possible in your industry who have ‘been there, done that’ in what you want to do. Should you win their trust and respect, advice and knowledge will come in return.


To read Director’s interview with Robert Wilcocks – click here 

George Panayiotou gives his business advice to his 18 year old selfGeorge Panayiotou, a
dviser and non-executive director

First of all, learn to ‘read between the lines’ because some people aren’t always direct when communicating. This isn’t always easy if you tend to speak candidly by instinct! Secondly, seek and build experiences during each step in life. The essence of life is ‘the journey’
and you are the sum of your past. I would save a lot on stress if I knew that back then.

 To read Director’s ‘Doing business in Greece’, featuring George Panayiotou – click here

Paul Lancaster gives his business advice to his 18 year old self

Paul Lancaster , founder, Plan Digital UK

Don’t be afraid to put yourself forward for opportunities. Remember the Geordie phrase “Shy bairns get nowt!” and pick yourself. Your networks are everything so be good, kind and supportive of others and you’ll reap the rewards further down the line. Most people will help if you’re keen, proactive and willing to work hard for mutual benefit.


To read Director’s ‘Nothern Powerhouse: Seizing the opportunity’ article, featuring Paul Lancaster – click here

Bronwyn Williamson gives her business advice to her 18 year old selfBronwyn Williamson, m
anaging director, Adams

Don’t be afraid to say what you think. Be comfortable being your authentic self because your ideas are valid and you are entitled to your own opinion. Have confidence in your abilities and don’t compare yourself to others because everyone has individual skills. Don’t worry too much about making mistakes, as this can be the best way to grow and learn.


To read Director’s article ‘Increasing your bottom line through SEO’ featuring expert Bronwyn Williamson – click here

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Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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