David is a lifelong performer (he sang with Placido Domingo on the stage of Covent Garden when only nine years old) who uses everything he has learned in the arts, be it opera, theatre, film or TV to help organisations around the world really perform. “To me great business is pure “performance”. It means giving ‘form’ to your most creative ideas, broadening your repertoire personally and professionally, getting beyond mere teamwork and collaborating as ensembles, creating a compelling future script for your business and life and really engaging your audience of stakeholders. We are all performers.”
David favours an ‘A and B’ rather than ‘A or B’ approach to life. He studied at Music College and Cambridge University. He was simultaneously a student and a film writer, when the great filmmaker Stanley Kubrick took him under his wing. In his twenties he was an advertising writer by day and opera singer by night. His first company was both an opera and circus ensemble that could sing and move and act – unheard of at the time when ‘opera singers as beached whales’ was the norm. You’ll find working with David isn’t serious or fun – it’s both. His eclectic approach to work and life means being entrepreneurial and embracing the unexpected. So when a stint as a BBC presenter led to an out-of-the-blue request from one of the world’s most distinguished professional service companies he jumped at the chance and has been working with businesses ever since.
He co-founded the pioneering arts-in-business agency Lively Arts and developed a set of skills as an “Experience Engineer” which allowed him to design and stage over 800 mould-breaking events and programs in business. He founded Pearl Group in 2002 and has worked with leading organisations around the world including GSK, Barclays, BP, ING, Oxfam to tackle what he calls the “hard-soft” issues; there are the ones that require advanced understanding of people and which are really tough to crack; topics like culture change, business turnaround, company wide renewal, dealing with uncertainty…
Today David continues to stay one step ahead of the Definition Police. While counselling some of the world’s leading organisations he has kept his performing skills sharp via his edgy improvising opera company Impropera.
He has distilled many of his insights in his new book “Will There Be Donuts?” (Harper Collins) on how you can revolutionise business one meeting at a time.
He is a mentor at the world’s leading Advertising School (SCA2), is a visiting teacher with IE (ranked Europe’s No1 business school by the Financial Times) and is on the European faculty of the US based graduate school, Wisdom University.
He’s hugely popular as a keynote speaker and facilitator. He is inspiring, challenging and very engaging, unravelling tricky questions with a trademark lightness and humour. He’s been speaker and moderator of events at the Albert Hall to the Taj Mahal. His sessions are less ‘talk’ and much more ‘experiences’, that really engage even hard-bitten audiences.
Favourite speaking topics include
- How to really perform in work (and life)
- How to think more creatively about the future
- How to communicate more vibrantly
- How to engage your colleagues, customers and communities
- How to hold more effective meetings and save millions in wasted energy
- How to navigate change
- How to work in ways that really work