Michael Pitfield is a business mentor and executive coach. After a successful and varied career he enjoys ‘giving something back’ to help younger people realise their dreams and grow their businesses (more details on LinkedIn). His current major projects are to support two businesses, Synergy Global – change leadership and effectiveness (www.synergy-global.com) and Eisenburg – international risk and crisis management (www.eisenburg-solutions.co.uk).
1. What was your biggest career break?
Joining the management team of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (then IPM), this raised me from obscurity to a high profile role at national level. After that my career took off!
2. Have you had a notable mentor – and if so, what was it about them that was so inspiring?
Yes, my teacher at Junior School – Miss Dowdall (I never knew her first name) she was so positive, full of life and vigour. She encouraged me to have confidence, believe in myself and be ambitious.
3. What one piece of advice would you give to the 20-year-old you?
Believe that there is nothing you can’t achieve if you want it so much.
4. What qualities to do you look for in new recruits?
Enthusiasm, interpersonal skills and self-confidence
5. Whom do you admire and why?
Margaret Thatcher – against all the odds she had a clear vision of where she wanted to take the Britain, rallied people behind that and achieved what was promised thus saving our country.
6. What does the future of your industry look like?
Vibrant, versatile, exciting, successful with huge opportunities for young people – and older ones too!
7. If you hadn’t chosen your current career, what would you have done instead?
International relations; I was attracted to the diplomatic service.
8. What is your biggest extravagance?
9. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and why? (you can invite three people – they must be alive)
David Starkey (I’m interested in history), Nigel Farage (I like his down-to-earth approach) and Polly Toynbee (I like her thoughtful analyses). These three would make for a lively conversation.
10. What do you do to relax away from work?
Read (history, biographies) and do crosswords, preferably while sitting in the sun.
11. If you could change one thing about Britain today, what would it be?
Change a general ‘can’t be done/moaning’ attitude into a positive ‘can do/enthusiastic’ one
12. What would your last meal be? (please choose a starter, a main course and a pudding)
Oysters (I refused to try them until my daughter made me do so in Australia – now I love them!), Macaroni cheese, chips and peas (a childhood favourite) and Cheese and biscuits (I don’t like sweet things).