One word that best describes how you work: Entrepreneurially
Current mobile device: iPhone 8
Favourite website: Amazon
First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
As a professional flautist with a wide network of distinguished friends and colleagues in the worlds of music and theatre, I started producing anthology performances during the 1990s. They featured well-known actors like Derek Jacobi, Wendy Craig, Hannah Gordon and Robert Powell and leading writers including the late John Mortimer.
The success of these shows, which brought top quality performances to regional theatres, inspired me to develop the “An Audience with…” idea. Starting with Tony Benn in 2002, it proved an immediate critical and box office success, filling theatres across the country, particularly in the provinces. The formula blazed a trail that has since been followed with big names including David Frost, Alastair Campbell, Jonathan Miller, Michael Portillo, John Sergeant, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a hundred others.
I now concentrate my energy on leading the Tutu Foundation UK into new, much bigger projects that attract greater public awareness and I was fortunate enough to win the Third Sector Awards Charity Chair of the Year in October 2016
Take us through a recent workday.
Meditate for twenty minutes, one hour’s flute practice and one hour’s admin at home A two -hour Tutu Trustees minute in the city. El Vino’s in Fleet Street with one of our Trustees for a catch-up and inspiring idea-generating session. More admin. Attending a fascinating whisky tasting event.
How do you discover new ways to innovate in your working day?
By constantly meeting new people and sitting down with them and listening to them. Also meditating and playing the flute generates ideas.
What is the next big thing in the charity sector?
Collaboration between two or more charities on a project. The Tutu Foundation collaborates with the Prem Rawat Foundation, Regent’s University London, Youth Futures, Love Life Generation, Voyage, Brand South Africa, the South African High Commission, the South African Chamber of Commerce, MOPAC, the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, City of London Police and others. This enables us all to punch above our weight.
How do you measure success?
Our recent third annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Summit at Regent’s University, London started with Gina Miller, the activist and finished with FW de Klerk the President of South Africa who ended apartheid. In between were speakers of equal knowledge, conviction and profile. You could feel success in the atmosphere and see it in the intent looks on the audience’s faces. It lasted from 9 am until 6 pm and most people were there throughout.
How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
Ideally, sit and drink with friends. Alternatively, watch box sets on television and always the news.
What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend?
The Gilbert Legacy. It is a marvellous flute tutor book.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Give to the world the best you’ve got and the best will come back to you. My mother told me this when I was very young.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?
The Tutu Foundation UK was founded in 2007 by the Very Reverend Colin Slee, the late Dean of Southwark Cathedral, and Edith Slee, with the support of their close friends Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mrs Leah Tutu.
The organisation is founded on the principles of Ubuntu, an African philosophy that emphasises our common humanity – our connectedness and interdependence as fellow human beings. We work with everyone recognising the value in each person.
As Desmond Tutu puts it: ‘My humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. We belong in a bundle of life. We say a person is a person through other persons.’
The Tutu Foundation UK and Youth Futures have created a partnership to enable young people, particularly disaffected young people, and the police in boroughs across London to engage in constructive conversations. The conversations are led and facilitated by trained young people. Their purpose is to enable the police and young people recognise the individual humanity in each other, build understanding and respect for each other and so improve community policing.
Ultimately the Ubuntu Round Tables and the philosophy of Ubuntu are tools to re-invent community policing, so that we can all live in more peaceful and collaborative communities.
Building and maintaining peaceful communities involves a good understanding of conflict, as well as the knowledge and skills for effective conflict management. The Tutu Foundation UK has set up the Tutu Foundation UK Mediation Service (TFMS) as well as the Tutu Foundation UK Training Academy (TFTA).
The TFMS panel consists of professionally accredited mediators, comprising leading medical practitioners, senior barristers and practising psychotherapists. This blend of legal, medical and psychological backgrounds offers specialist expertise and the skill to intervene wherever required, for peace-building and resolving conflicts.
Similarly, the TFTA delivers educational seminars, lectures, talks, conferences and training, to equip professionals in all sectors – health, industry, education or commerce – with insights into effective conflict-management skills.
The programmes are designed to provide an additional understanding of the psychology behind the skills, resulting in improved relationships, better communications and understanding of equality and diversity issues, greater efficiency and productivity – and, of course, fewer conflicts.
The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their ambitions, routines and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Paul