C-suite career advice: Gavin Wheeldon, Purple
Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Gavin Wheeldon, Purple



Name: Gavin Wheeldon

Company: Purple

Job Title: CEO

Location: Manchester, UK


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
“Aim for the stars and, at worst, you'll hit the moon” – someone in my first real job said that and it struck a chord with me. It is a philosophy I’ve stuck to at every stage of my career.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
I've received plenty of bad advice over the years, but I haven’t acted on it. Several people told me not to start up my own business, for instance, but thankfully they didn’t dissuade me. Rather than being swayed by individual bits of advice, my decision-making process tends to involve soaking up data from lots of different sources before making an informed choice on my own.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
Embrace it and develop a passion for technology. Be an avid consumer of books, podcasts and TED talks, absorbing information from wherever you can get it. You'll always be more successful at something that you are driven to explore in minute detail, so make sure you are fanatical about tech. 

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a C-level position?
To be an instant CEO, go and start a business. If that’s not your ambition, then I would suggest following your passion, being a lifelong learner, and working harder and smarter than everyone around you. You also need to be a leader that’s prepared to take risks, because steering a middle-path is unlikely to achieve the impressive results that will earn you a senior executive role.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
I've always been a big advocate of giving people a chance, and of promoting people from within the company even if they need to stretch themselves to meet the challenges of a new role. The vast majority of the people who have been given opportunities like this at Purple have grown and achieved great success in their careers, either staying with us, or moving on. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to play an important role in helping staff to reach their potential.


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