Shaper: Carole Stone

My mother gave me some advice when I first started working at the BBC as what they called a copy taker, she said, “whatever you do, take an interest.”

Every Tuesday and every Thursday I had eight people at my table, with salad and cheese afterwards and inexpensive wine. I had John Bert, Tony Blair, my mother and my friends. I had people from business and from charities.

I loved it but of course I earned no money until one magical day Alistair Grant, the Chairman of a company called Argyll which owned Safeway Supermarkets, said, “can you do a lunch for my board?”

I knew I could do it because I liked people which was my starting point and I knew that I could be brave with my mix of people.

When the contract came in it was £8,000 for two lunches. I thought, hello, hello…

I started having a party for a thousand people every year and salons for a hundred people every week in my little flat. I could create an atmosphere that was an easy atmosphere.

Education is important but it’s no good knowing what you know unless you have the ability to communicate it to others. Otherwise it’s buried treasure.

I sold my shares in that company back to YouGov and at the end they said to me, “would you like to stay on, because we would like you to say on”.

It is often the things you don’t do in life that you regret more than the things that you do. If you can accept you may fail it gives you the freedom to have a go at things. 

It’s how people react to what life throws at them. Of course we’ve all got different backgrounds but you can still react in a way that will bring out the best in a situation. Learn from what you have lost, learn from what you are sad about and move on.

Carole Stone

Carole Stone has spent her life bringing people together, first as producer of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour programme and then as the producer of the BBC Radio 4’s flagship discussion programme Any Questions? where she brought together opinion formers from the words of business, politics, media, charities and NGOs.

Since leaving the BBC ,Carole has worked as a freelance journalist and broadcaster and as a media consultant. With more than 50,000 names in her electronic address book she’s been called London’s networking queen – she’s famous for putting people together to their mutual advantage, what Carole calls ‘good networking’.

Nowadays, Carole spends her time as Managing Director of YouGovStone Ltd, a joint venture with the online market research agency YouGov plc, where she established the YGS ThinkTank – a global panel of over 5,000 people.

Transcript of the show