My Leadership Speech

Jane Fuller
Jane Fuller

'Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself'  -  Leo Tolstoy

This is part of the transcript speech I gave at a Leadership masterclass last week:

When John F Kennedy said in 1961 at his presidential inaugural address - "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." Those words are as relevant now as they were then. They sum up my leadership speech tonight, because if each and every one of us can lead our lives in a productive, healthy, whole, cohesive way - miracles can happen - this will help the world become a better place for us all to live. I believe this is where true leadership begins with ourselves and how we live our lives.

When Merry asked me to talk to you today - it got me thinking about what got me here speaking on this subject. I believe that one of life's risks is never daring to risk, which is why I'm standing in front of you now.

I am a TV Producer by craft and have worked in the marketing/advertising industry for 30 years running my own business for 17 of those years. I began to realise gradually I wanted to listen to that inner voice of mine and not roughshod over who I was and my values. I began to realize I wasn't aligned to my spiritual purpose and I didn't want to bury that inner voice that told me 'time to change course....' Have you ever felt that the voice on the inside was not aligned to the words on the outside?! I believe if you listen to your inner voice it will guide you. Don't get me wrong - I loved producing - but it was time for change.

A life review led me to finding my spiritual path. I believe when the student is ready - the teacher appears and thus I met Merry Graham. She listened to me, she heard me. Thank you Merry for the quality of your compassion and your non-judgement in helping me to seek out my spiritual journey. Spending time becoming more aware of my values and how to honour them was key to my whole person nourishment. This created a paradigm shift in my life. There is no going back once you get this. Looking after myself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally and understanding that these are all integrated was key. We are all born with this knowledge but this gets dusted over in our current education system and way of living and much has to be 'unlearnt' at some point. If only this could be taught in more schools. Anthony Seldon, enlightened headmaster of Wellington College introduced 'happiness and well being' classes for pupils and parents in 2006 and now more schools are following this example by also introducing mindfulness classes too. So change is afoot.

I'd always looked after myself physically and mentally - exercise, good diet and nutrition, rest and good sleep, setting boundaries - listening to what my body was telling me and being self aware. However the emotional and spiritual - could do better - so I began to fill myself up with understanding and nourishment. We need to give time to being human. We need to understand how our thoughts can affect our behaviour and ultimately our health. We need to understand how our emotions work and how repressed emotions can create serious illness in our bodies. We need to appreciate how our values and beliefs can directly affect our everyday health.

Understanding how the world works helps. We live in a world with a thought system based on fear not love. So judgement is the cornerstone of the thought system of the world. Love and forgiveness are not. We still put competition above collaboration although this is beginning to change. One in 4 people suffer from mental illness. So being self aware, is key to becoming the master and not the slave of your mind. This fast moving over technicalized world we live in marginalizes the soul, it marginalizes the spirit - so don't allow yourself to be run by technology and only use it to your advantage. Also stop the toxic TV and toxic newspapers! If I pick up some newspapers now I find they crackle in my hands from the sheer toxicity! Everything in the external world is basically a reflection of the internal world. So we're in a mess. Many people are so disconnected and numbed by the routine of life that they don't even have an opportunity to stop and know what they're feeling. They don't seek out deeper meaning in their lives because they're not aware they need to. If they lived healthier, whole person lives they would be more self aware and become seekers. It's being open and centred to the universe and saying 'I am open and ready to receive.' When you say this to the universe - it will rise up to meet you. All you need to do is ask and all sorts of spiritual guidance will appear; from books to people to life lessons etc.

I find giving time to all the things that are important to me and nourish me are key. Starting the day early and enjoying the silence that brings, to plan the day ahead. Honouring small rituals like making some lovely tea in a bone china cup. Connecting with nature and nurturing the earth matter to me. I exercise for 30 minutes in the park daily - not only for my physical body but my mental equanimity too. Being with people I love, pets/animals and the arts are all nourishing. Letting go of pettiness, negative thoughts and selfishness; doing everything with love - with everyone and everything, not only with those you like. Realizing that your thoughts create your life - so practising mindfulness on a daily basis. Having a purpose greater than yourself - and serving others and the earth - is an act of love. Finding a larger context in your life with a connectedness to family, community and environment - to bring meaning, purpose and ultimately happiness and health to our lives is key. Understanding that what happens to one directly - affects us all indirectly.

Everything that has ever happened to you in your life can be used as spiritual nourishment. So recognise the possibility of every moment because being in the moment is where joy resides. The task in life is to face sacred moments. You're going to miss this moment some day - so be here - it's all about the journey - not the destination. Once you are on that spiritual path you know what you have to do. There is no choice. Everyone of us is a teacher, a minister or a leader. So let's all lead by example.

Self responsibility and accountability are key to future happiness. Have a vision and communicate that vision. I wanted my work to have meaning. I wanted to inspire others to heal and align themselves to their spiritual path and to help them dig deep into their authentic selves and activate their true drivers and passions. And remember a life lived without spirituality needs more and more of the material life to keep the sense of emptiness at bay!!

So let's not lose this moment in history when people are open to change. We can all be teachers and leaders to inspire other people, other generations, to achieve greater focused leadership in their own lives. We can exemplify, empower and transform stuck places and change our world for the better! This new era needs to be about co-opetition not competition. The common purpose is to lead healthier lives and look after ourselves. As Maya Angelou says, "When you learn - teach. When you get - give." You don't need a title to be a leader.

And remember the more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate!

As Bill Gates said: "As we look ahead into the 21st century - leaders will be those who empower others." 


(PS - As the Bafta voting season is well underway I went to see the film 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' last Friday evening. To be released 3rd January 2014. It is a wonderful movie with Idris Elba and Naomie Harris and does great justice to the great man. Please see it!)

The Brand Personified

Donna Karan & Jane Fuller
Donna Karan & Jane Fuller

Being a marketing girl I understood early on that your image is a tool. From the top of your head to the tips of your toes, whether you like it or not, you are revealing who you are – your brand – with your hair, teeth, complexion, hands, nails, feet, fitness, body shape, clothes. I also believe there is far too much emphasis on looks today – but what are you going to do – fight it?! I happen to enjoy the process. So I try not to step out of the door without looking my best – because if you look good, you feel good and that affects your confidence and point of attraction. Having worked in the glamorous and creative world of film and music video and working with many first class directors, music artists and actors, wardrobe, hair and make-up talent, has taught me many valuable lessons. My father had also been one of the original 'Mad Men' in marketing – in fact he was Peter Mead of ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers/BBDO’s first client – and my mother had modeled in Lucozade ads etc., in her day.  So I had naturally understood that image was important and that pride in yourself and the way you look does not convey or cover-up any deficiency. It’s smart to care and clothes are part of the deal.  Clothes reflect how you feel about yourself.  So much is communicated by what we wear.  I also think you learn about fashion, design, quality and style from great designers.

I was invited by Harvey Nichols to ‘An Evening with Donna Karan’ and met the fabulous designer in person. She was interviewed by the stylish and influential Paula Reed who has just been appointed group fashion director at Harvey Nichols from Grazia magazine. The fashion show was great and proved Donna Karan’s clothes are timeless, sexy and elegant - I have been a fan for many years and will continue to be – she just gets how women want to look and feel.

Donna Karan
Donna Karan
Donna Karan
Donna Karan
Jane Fuller
Jane Fuller

I was also invited to the Valentino fashion evening SS/2013 at Harrods penthouse with my friend Olivia. We had such fun and the clothes as always were superb. Clothes are part of the deal when looking good – have fun with them!

Talking of superb brands I had a business meeting at Little House in Mayfair last week with the savvy Lesley Everett. Little House is one of the latest sibling clubs in the Soho House group – Nick Jones seems to be on brand with every new opening – its well worth a visit.

Jeremy King and Chris Corbin seem to get it right with each new opening too. Their latest restaurant Colbert in Sloane Square is now my new local – I love it!

Have you noticed with all these successful brands that we know the face behind the name? They have a personality. Even with the big corporates now - it's the one's who have got the personality that are going to succeed. It's not good enough to have that great brand with the chief exec. sitting in his glass office all day - they have to get out and show their personality. People feel they need to know the face behind the corporate name or designer. People buy people.

I think this is why Sir Stuart Rose and Sir Terry Leahy are greatly missed don't you?

‘Give the girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world’  -  Bette Midler

We Are What We Eat

This week my blog is about the food we eat and being aware of how that food is produced and where it comes from. A healthy body is part of making life grand and what we feed our bodies is of prime importance. We think with our bodies so what goes on in the inside shows on the outside. So feed your body the best primal foods you can and being aware of how that food is produced is part of the process. I met Tracy Worcester at a Christies event last year and we've been friends ever since. She single handedly started 'Pig Business' which investigates the rise of factory pig farming, a system which abuses animals, pollutes the environment, threatens human health through dangerous overuse of antibiotics and wrecks rural communities. Her film now in 21 languages, has had a huge impact across the world by highlighting the utter horrors associated with the modern industrial-scale pig production.

Zac and Ben Goldsmith co-hosted a dinner at Sake no Hana restaurant with Tracy this week on the subject of the film 'Pig Business' to help raise funds so Tracy and her team can go out and make more country-specific versions of the film and distribute. The event was not only successful but fun too with many of Tracy's fans and supporters - from Dominic West to Evgeny Lebedev to the rest of the Goldsmith family, Brian May, etc etc.  We are what we eat so it makes sense to feed your body the best and question where that food comes from.


Talking of good food I was invited to LA Suite West in Inverness Terrace, W2, for lunch on one of those now rare sunny September days. We sat outside on the terrace and the food was fresh, seasonal, simple and delicious - well worth a visit.

I also went to Angharad McAlpine (nee Rees) the actress of Poldark fame, memorial service at St. Pauls Church in Knightsbridge yesterday. The church was packed - I'm not sure how we squeezed in. A wonderful event in celebration of Angharad's life. Her son Rhys had worked for me in his school holidays many years earlier and I'd worked with his late father Christopher Cazenove on the Scottish Widows commercials that I'd produced in the 90's. There were wonderful addresses by Rhys and Julian Fellowes, readings by Edward Fox and family members and Lulu sang the best rendition of 'Smile' I have ever heard!  If we weren't all emotional by that time - we soon were. However the sun shone through the church windows which I'd like to think meant Angharad approved of it all. Amen.