Mark Charnock: Gone For Good 60 Second Interview

Welcome to 60 Second Interviews – here you can find lots and lots of interesting and fun facts about some of the industry’s most successful agents, suppliers and property professionals. We’ve added a little twist with this one though, each interviewee must nominate another person in their industry (or related industry) to answer the same questions.

Today we have Mark Charnock, creator of the very popular and award winning social enterprise that is Gone For Good.

What does it say on your business card?

Managing Director, Gone for Good

What was your first job?

First “proper job” was as an Articled Clerk at London law firm, Nabarro Nathanson (now just Nabarros), where I went on to qualify as a Solicitor. But I had loads of jobs as a youngster delivering newspapers, and as a student in bakeries, doing the Christmas post, and making disposable bed-pans and urine bottles!

What is your greatest personal achievement?

Probably being awarded the RTZ Studentship back in the 80s, which was the most valuable business education sponsorship in the UK at the time. It was awarded to one person each year and involved six months’ study at Cambridge University and 18 months on tailored work placements.

What is your greatest business achievement?

Being ranked the top small cap equity investment analyst in the City in the annual Reuters survey in the early noughties. Effectively your clients vote for who they think is good, so it’s great recognition.

If you weren’t in your current role what would you be doing?

Spending more time managing my stock market investments, more time in the garden, and more time helping the local comprehensive school where I’m currently Deputy Chair of Governors.

Any advice for your previous boss?

It’s probably not printable!

How many hours do you work per week?

As I work mainly from home, it’s hard to say. Will vary between 40 and 60 depending on the week and whether I’m travelling with work

Which business person do you admire most?

You’ve got to admire game changers like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, but often times what they achieve is also down to the people around them. Of the people I actually know reasonably well, one person I admire a lot is Simon Wolfson, CEO of Next since he was just 34, for his common-sense and focussed approach to his business and disciplined approach to how they invest cash in the business.

Which of your competitors do you admire most?

We don’t have competitors as such. Of the charities we work with, though, I admire British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK, in part for how they do business but also for the difference they make to their causes.

What skill do you value most?

“People skills” – the ability to inspire and get the most out of people around you and build a real team. I’m probably more of a “task person”.

What are you passionate about?

Kids and education. I fear that we are not doing a great job for our kids today. Weak parenting, social media, and pressure to achieve at school are contributing to a generation where mental health issues are growing. It worries me. And then we saddle them with massive fees to go to university, little hope of getting on the property ladder and the prospect of a minuscule pension. To cap it all, we’ve dumped on them £2 trillion of debt to pay off. No wonder they’re anxious.

What’s your favourite gadget?

Got to be the iPhone.

What’s on your desk?

The iPhone, an iPad, a Keyboard for the desktop, a redundant Filofax, a note book and two To-Do lists. I can’t quite shake off my old habits and embrace modern technology completely!

What car do you drive?

An old Porsche 911 – I’ve had it since new about 14 years ago, and it’s still only done 50,000 miles.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

My days of eating in fancy, expensive restaurants are probably behind me now. One I eat at frequently nowadays is Try Thai in Manchester’s China Town. The food is brilliant, prices are reasonable and it’s always busy.

Please nominate one person you would like to answer these questions.

Theresa May. See if her Director of Communications, Katie Perrior, can fix it up.

Carol Lewis

Carol Lewis is a respected property journalist with an enthusiasm for anything to do with property. She is the senior member of the Estate Agents London News journalist team but also writes for other respected magazines and newspapers. Her background is in property, investments and video production. Carol has worked on publicity campaigns for a large number of organisations but now runs this not-for-profit blog. Her main aims are to educate the public and drive up standards in estate agency.

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