Unlocked is a series of independent interviews conducted by Phil Cluff with his friends and family. All the interviewees are uniquely interesting. There’s a lot to share about how they’ve navigated the uncertainty and pressure of Covid-19 in a light hearted environment. Hope you enjoy!
31:31Smashing everything you thought you knew about entrepreneurship is the relentlessly hard working and optimistic Roxy Marrone, she really does think for her self and had a lot of interesting opinions about how to get the best out of situations where it’s tough to find motivation. Thanks Roxy !
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45:00G.A. was already the head of commercial at two of Africa’s leading investment firms in his mid 20’s. Having left the LSE with a Master’s Degree in African history. George’s polite, kind, and intelligent disposition has allowed him to work productively alongside world leaders (pictured alongside the President of Zimbabwe Emerson Mnangagwa), interview them, and help all kinds of investment vehicles to get off the ground in Africa. We spoke about the effect of the pandemic on one’s enthusiasm, some of the new implications of responsibility for wealthier countries working in the developing world, and how one’s definition of ‘success’ can be so important to actually obtaining it. Huge thanks to George for taking the time.
1:13:16A young fashion designer and aspiring filmmaker. We talked about facing the prospect of university during the pandemic, the perception pressures on teenagers from social media outlets, and how one’s sense of humour can fall into unexpected interests when a pandemic makes things more dull. We also name dropped a fashion brand that everyone should check out (it’s unisex) !
48:40Humble genius and candidate for nicest person on earth, so this was rare in being both laid back and highly informative. As she trains to become a lawyer, we discussed why she had taken that decision in the context of the virus, whether or not people put too much pressure on themselves (and each other) to be happy, and the inexplicable economics of the Super Bowl halftime show!
1:16:52The most educated and zen guest yet, we had the rare privilege of having this discussion in person. Over breakfast we talked about things like fear (of animals), why being a scientist is harder than ever with Covid, and how to build healthier habits. This was also the last recorded interview in the series and a really nice note to end on!
TK (Future of Africa)
1:06:36The hardships of growing up in the developing world are usually marked by discussions around disease or nutrition; malaria, locust induced famines, the Zika virus are all examples. Consequently, the degenerative effects on peoples mental healths in developing countries is sadly underreported. That is why it was such a privilege to discuss the effects of Covid with the President and Founder of the charity Future of Africa, Torwomenye Kwasi (TK) Mawuli Azaglo. TK and his team have worked tirelessly for over a decade, not just to get impoverished children off the streets of Accra, but also to make sure that they are not thrust back into society without their traumas and anxieties being treated. TK explained to me why the political situation in Africa is not sufficient to solve a mental health crisis, what young Africans with the benefit of foreign educations can do to help, and what the reality of charity work is like in the grip of a pandemic. Many thanks to TK for sharing ! Please follow FOA on Instagram.
1:03:272021 began with political drama, as Joe Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump despite having the largest vote share in US history. President Biden’s campaign focused on novelty and youth, so it’s great to get an insight into the rigours and pleasures of that successful Presidential bid with one of the Biden team’s younger administrators. Lauren Kerner graduated from Oxford University with a Master’s Degree in Middle Eastern Studies in 2019 and immediately set out to work for President Joe Biden’s campaign as his campaign's Regional Organising Director (she’s also been interviewed on Palestinian TV!) . Lauren shared her outlook on issues like recovering from loss, working in an eclectic field with little long term certainty, and even the unfortunate connection between mental health issues and gun crime. Many thanks Lauren!
1:01:15Painting, meditating, and ‘maximising’! I had a great discussion with Georgina Carson who told me all about her recent work around mental health charities, the virtues of prevantative measures in mental health crises, and some of the demands around helping more junior colleagues through lockdown stress. Georgina has a multi-faceted career with an educational background in Neuroscience at Imperial College London, and unsurprisingly had a lot of fascinating insights to share. Please enjoy !