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‘Nourish to Flourish’ Lord Mark Price – Businessman, Author and Life Peer

Lord Mark Price has had an incredible journey to becoming UK Minister for Trade and Industry, and then onto the House of Lords. This started with an initial 25-year career at the John Lewis Partnership, later becoming Deputy Chairman at Channel 4 and John Lewis Partnership, as well as Managing Director at Waitrose. Mark represents and champions the nourishment of employees and businesses focused on employee engagement and happiness. His love of writing has led him to author a number of books for business, food lovers and children. His passion for people as a focus for business success, as well as his diverse experience, interests and accomplishments, led me to ask for an interview.

Mark and I have been connected for a number of years, which I believe started through a readership of eachother’s newsletter articles (mine on digital business and strategy, and his from two successful online employee engagement ventures). This is how it went:

You have had an impressive career of 34-years at John Lewis Partnership as Managing Director Waitrose and Deputy Chairman, followed by a variety of Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and Non-Executive Director roles at organisations such as Channel 4, and The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Fairtrade and Coca-Cola. You have now founded WorkL and Engaging Business to help people have a better working life. What were the highlights of that vital segment of your career, and what are the key things you learned, contributed and achieved during that journey?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the John Lewis Partnership, it shaped not only my career but my mindset for how to run a company and how to create a happy and engaged workforce, which results in commercial success for a company. In short promoting happiness at work is good for individuals, organisations, society and the economy. That’s been the key lesson of my working life. Working now to deliver that around the world has become my focus. Launching Duchy Originals at Waitrose was a big commercial deal and also a highly beneficial partnership for the supermarket. I’ve always tried to make a wider contribution through my involvement with charities. It makes me feel good to be helping others. Socrates said altruism brought the highest form of happiness. I agree. I’ve therefore been thrilled to be the founding Chairman of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, as well as Chairman of Business in the Community, Fairtrade and the Chartered Management Institute.” Lord Mark Price

You joined the House of Lords as a Life Peer and became the UK’s Minister for Trade and Investment in 2016 – 2017, responsible for Free Trade Agreements.  According to interviews in a variety of sources, Brexit was a key driver for your departure. If there is anything you would like to say to the British public, to help settle any concerns no matter what the outcome, what would it be?

I didn’t leave the job because of Brexit. Although I campaigned to remain in the EU. I stayed in my post for more than a year after the referendum to set up future trade deals, start negotiations on our membership of the WTO and to write the Trade Bill. I only left once I had progressed all of that work. The arguments for staying or leaving the EU are finely balanced. There’s no reason why, with the right policies the UK can’t be successful outside”. Lord Mark Price

You have authored a number of books and are the founder of two online businesses ‘WorkL’ and ‘Engaging Business’ focused on employee engagement and tools to support a happy work life. How much of this was inspired by the culture and partnership structure (all employees as partner stakeholders), at John Lewis and Waitrose, and what top tip would you give to employers to maximise the potential of their workforce?

I kicked off my work life at John Lewis, on the Graduate scheme, so the company’s values really shaped my view of how businesses should be run, but more importantly, how its employees should be treated. An engaged workforce helps to improve a company’s commercial success by 20%, so it’s a no brainer to ensure that your team is happy and developed. My Six Steps to Workplace Happiness is a handy tool to help employers ensure that they are developing all areas of their employees. 1. How do you Reward and recognise your employees? 2. How do you share information with your employees, how much, how little? 3. How do you empower your employees? 4. How do you care for their wellbeing, do you evaluate your employees happiness often? 5. Does your company or organisation instil pride in your employees, do they feel pride working for the company? 6. How much job satisfaction does your team get from what they do?“, Lord Mark Price

You are also the author of ‘nourishing’ books for food lovers and children. Which of these books did you have the most fun developing, writing and promoting, and why?

I loved writing all of my books but I really enjoyed writing my children’s stories. I have published The Foolish King (a book to help children learnt the game of chess in a fun way) and have three book series underway”. Lord Mark Price

If there were one single thing you could do to help make the world a better place, what would it be?

“I’m on a mission to make everyone at work happier! We spend so much of our time at work, it’s not right that it’s the ‘norm’ to hate work. Who wants to hate where they are or what they do for eight plus hours a day? The term ‘work-life balance’ shouldn’t really exist, it’s all about enjoying your work and enjoying your home life. I created WorkL to lead the way in transforming work into a happy place.” Lord Mark Price

Note from the Editor
Interviews are included here for the enjoyment of readers, and the public figures interviewed. Unless otherwise specified interviews are independent of any clients or partners, who are clearly indicated in that capacity, where appropriate.

Arts & Entertainment Musicians & Bands

Grammy Award Winning Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel

“One of the greatest guitar players on the planet”, “the greatest finger-picker in the world”, Chet Atkins“The greatest guitar player I’ve ever seen” – Eric Clapton

“An innovator of the guitar” – Todd Rundgren

Award winning guitar legendTommy Emmanuel is a man who oozes musicality!  He is known for his unique style of playing and his sensational stage performance. The only non-American inducted to the “Thumb Pickers Hall of Fame”, Tommy plays his guitar like a pianist, with all ten fingers. He even uses his guitar as a multi-percussion instrument.

In 2005 during his European tour, Deborah Collier interviewed Tommy under the animated persona ‘Madam Music’ for a music portal / record & fashion label she ran. At that time, he was playing around 300 concerts a year and had performed in front of millions at the 2000 Sydney Olympics closing ceremony. This is how the interview went:
1. Musical Style:

Is it possible that an accomplished musician with an established style like yourself could still be learning and developing?

“Oh absolutely, I’m more hungry for it than ever!! I always carry a guitar with me, and play at every opportunity, particularly at the airport. On my Australian tour I was playing more than eating or sleeping”, Tommy Emmanuel

What advice would you give to musicians’s about learning and developing their own style? 

Get songs to learn with a great melody, that inspire you. Seek out a good melody, such as Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears in Heaven’. You will accomplish more and more over time”

You are a master of both electric and acoustic guitars, but you started out on the electric. What made you decide to focus more on the acoustic guitar?

“Its economic, its challenging and the acoustic is my signature. It shows my own style.  I still do play the electric guitar…just like last night…I was jamming with an African troop until 4am, right after my gig in Düsseldorf, Tommy Emmanuel

2. Songwriting

What inspires your songwriting and does it happen quickly for you?

“Songwriting skills take years to develop. I’ve been developing my ear as well. The way I hear things has changed and the dynamic has changed. I never write cold ..Its usually an experience or an idea that I play around with over and over”.

Tommy explains how his song ‘ Endless Road’ was created. He came up with the theme many years ago and it wasn’t until later, with new events in his life, that he wrote some one and half minute pieces. “I later realised with the theme that all the pieces belonged together, and so was born Endless Road”

Tell us about your new album ‘The Mystery’ – what was the inspiration behind that?
Tommy explains that he wrote it whilst teaching at the Lewis & Clarke college
“The album was inspired mostly about Lewis and Clarke – who opened up the
American West and made friends with the Indians”
, “The song, Mystery was my way of expressing my wonder at the love of god, message of god and how love works in this world”.

Tommy shared his personal experience of his fiancee “how you can look at someone you love and wonder how this is possible, how you can be this happy”.

3. On Tour and Work with Upcoming Musicians

What is your favorite tour destination?

“I have many. The gig I played last night in Düsseldorf- I’d give the crowd a ten out of ten, and myself a two” , “I improvise a lot and I never play to a set list. I just feel what I feel and then just go with what I want to play”

Tommy has worked with young talented artists from around the globe. He has produced with Australian band Bluehouse and had taken young Welsh starlet Gareth Pearson, under his wing.

It must be very satisfying working with younger musicians?
“Yes, I love giving and helping other people’s careers. I’m so grateful for what others have done for for me. It inspires me to help to fulfill their dreams, using the facilities I’ve got to help young musicians around the world”, Tommy Emmanuel

Note from the Editor
Interviews are included here for the enjoyment of readers, and the public figures interviewed. Unless otherwise specified interviews are independent of any clients or partners, who are clearly indicated in that capacity, where appropriate.
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