Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, founder of The Black Farmer, is Director magazine’s May cover interview. Fresh off the press, editor Lysanne Currie previews what’s inside the new issue – out now in print and ready to download to our Android and iPad apps
As I wrote my editor’s letter, just as Director went to press, news had just broken that Prince had died. The tributes and obituaries are many and full of his incredible achievements: he was not only a musical genius, able to play guitar at seven and writing prolifically (more than 40 albums, many double or triple), he was also an industry disruptor before the term was coined. Prince broke the rules and created his own: he had full control of his music and catalogue, and his base was his Minneapolis studio Paisley Park, not New York or LA. And, as the tributes show, he was also a generous mentor – shaping careers by writing spine-tingling bestsellers (Chaka Khan’s “I Feel for You”, Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You”, The Bangles’ “Manic Monday”) and spotting talent and helping them navigate a cut-throat industry – Sheila E, the Emmy-winning Wendy and Lisa, Scotland’s Sheena Easton and, more recently, 3rdeyegirl.
Mentoring is still a key part of success and is front of mind this month. Cover star Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones (p32) talks about the importance of his mentor, Peter Bazalgette (now chair of ITV), and Virgin’s Voom competition (p11) makes it a main part of the prize. Today’s mentors, though, seem to take many forms. A month ago I met a FTSE board member who has a Gen Y tech mentor, and The Times ran a great piece recently on EY’s ‘reverse mentoring’ programme, in which junior female employees coach their male bosses about how to behave in the 21st century. The scheme has helped to change attitudes to recruitment and flexible working and has resulted in more women reaching leadership positions.
Our chairman Lady Barbara Judge believes young people need a combination of mentor and sponsor, whereas fashion industry luminary Kim Winser (p38) doesn’t believe in having one mentor, but prefers to get her advice from different experts.
It’s something we will be exploring further. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of being a mentor or mentee.
I hope you enjoy the issue.
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This month: Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, Kim Winser, Oasis Dental Care and more