Interview with CXINLAW Director and key-author of ‘First Impressions Convert’, Carl White (Part 1/3).
Carl White was born in Bath, England, before the city was listed as a World Heritage Site. He lived there with his mother for only a short time before they moved to Wales. It was during his education in Wales that he met a drama teacher that would change his life. “There’s always that one teacher”, says Carl. This teacher encouraged Carl to see the world as a play and Carl fell in love with the creative process of the theatre. However, it was stage management that attracted Carl’s attention, “staging the play gets bums on seats and the theatre is a business that makes something through art”.
With a desire to see the world, and prompted by friends doing the same, Carl applied on a whim to study and work at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Whilst many people would brag about this experience, Carl is anything but arrogant. With alumni like Liev Schreiber, Clive Owen, Roger Moore, Anthony Hopkins and Maggie Gyllenhaal, RADA has certainly produced many of the world’s greats when it comes to dramatic art. However, it’s not the celebrities that Carl talks about when he shares his experiences at RADA.
“Getting to make something, to literally weld with my two hands, manage the shows, ensure that the audience were getting the best possible experience each time those curtains went up, that was the true highlight of RADA for me.”
It also opened literal doors for Carl to explore the world on an international stage. Moving to Singapore, Carl was given the opportunity to apply his stage management skills to the retail sector. First working in the furniture industry, next for an international Japanese chain. It was during this period in Carl’s life that he realised that stage management (and requisite skills) shouldn’t be limited to the theatre. “Each day, before we opened our doors to customers, before the curtain went up in the store, we had to ready the stage. Stage setting is about preparing the physical environment around the client, but it’s also about ensuring that the performers – our client-facing staff – were ready to be really present for the client, to hear what they needed, to pick up on the social cues to provide help, to convert that discussion into sales.”
It was this prescience that rocketed Carl to head of training for all staff across Europe and then into the folds of international law firm Ashurst. Back in London, but this time focussing on the legal profession, Carl combined his stage management expertise with his retail sector nounce, to develop his theory and methodology that now sets the fundamentals for CXINLAW.
In part two of this series, we are going to look at how Carl took the very retail-based practice of mystery shopping and applied it in the legal sector. To make sure that you don’t miss the next instalment, subscribe to receive our newsletters and updates below:
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Contact Carl on 0423 254 484