Today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of my business partner, best friend and co-founder of 300, the inimitable Phil Jenkins.
I wanted to take a moment to remember him, the joy he brought to my working life, what I learnt from him and encourage you to take a moment of gratitude for a colleague who’s shaped your journey.
If you knew Phil, I know you’ll have great stories of your own, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org !
For those of you who didn’t have the privilege of meeting Phil, he was warm, funny and could say the most inappropriately hilarious things and joyously could just get away with it.
“A true gent”, “young at heart”, “a whirlwind of utter joy"- just some of the ways Phil’s friends and colleagues describe him. After a chat with Phil you instantly felt happier, more hopeful and believed anything was possible.
He gave people opportunities and they never forgot: like Naomi: “Phil remains to this day one of the most welcoming, funny and kind bosses!”
He even cheered people up on the way to work, like Dominic: “I had the tremendous privilege of travelling into London with Phil for several years. Whatever the weather or time of day, he never failed to bring joy and compassion into every journey.”
Phil reinvented himself several times through life, from art school rebel, professional sailor, recruitment consultant, Masters student, photographer, digital marketing director, 300 business founder, and who knows what reincarnations were to come next.
Phil died at 56 years of age. Far too young.
But he left a lasting legacy.
When I was battling in the corporate world of communications he recognised something in me. He believed in me and my skills in a way that no one had done before. He was the best boss I ever had and the best human being. He brought out the best in me and I did the same for him.
Leaders need epic followers, we often forget that.
But the real magic at work happens when the follower becomes a partner.
And then you’re an unbeatable team.
Our Big Boss at the time described us as “a many headed hydra” which we took to mean Big Boss was mildly frustrated they couldn’t “divide and conquer”
(Ooh, and if said Boss in this newsletter list? We respected it 😉 )
Like many, we got frustrated with the corporate world, plotted our escape and 300 Communications was born. Fed up with working with big creative and comms agencies who just didn’t get the realities of corporate organisations we thought we could do better!
Over the last five years we’ve launched new communications platforms for clients, turned around dire communications and poor employee engagement, coached senior leaders to be epic communicators, launched amazing Bots to increase productivity and engagement, launched podcasts and much much more.
Learning to go it alone over the last year has been hard.
But I’m still standing.
And 300 is thriving.
That’s what Phil wanted.
Starting the company meant something to both of us and I’m proud to continue Phil’s legacy.
It’s been the toughest year of my life, personally and professionally.
I’ve had battles I didn’t expect to face.
And it’s hard having board meetings on your jack jones without your epic business partner!
Some amazing people have stepped up during that time who are definitely approaching Phil’s legendary status! My business coach and epic human being Jessica Lorimer. The clever Faye Levi who’s got a bit of the Phil strategy magic! And the dependable tech brain of Ricky Kalsi.
Change at work is hard. It’s not always welcome. I’ve had to pivot, evolve, adapt and change.
Phil’s unshakeable confidence and faith in me is part of me now and that’s his legacy living on.
If you’ve never had a Phil in your career, then hopefully you’ve been a Phil to yourself and been your own cheerleader! Or maybe it’s time to step up and be a Phil to someone else. People remember that support and appreciation. They don’t remember so much of what you did at work but they DO remember how you did it.
And that’s what I learned from Phil I guess. Be a decent person. I try every day and fail a bit better each day. Because you know, we all have to phone mobile phone and utilities companies from time to time.
If you’ve got a colleague who makes your life infinitely easier and more fun at work, please drop them a thank you today.
So here's to you Phil. Your legacy lives on in the wit you bestowed on us all, the projects you started and 300 has completed in your absence and the leaders that we're teaching how to communicate authentically and distinctively like you always did.
From 300 in remembrance,
Contact Caroline Watkin at email@example.com to share your Phil stories!