A Message from Alex Cheatle

Jim has been a vital force in my life and a great friend for the last fifteen years. I first met Jim after he had written the Support Economy with Shoshana.  I was in my early thirties and was running Ten, a lifestyle management business that aims to be the most trusted support service and Jim and I had a lot to talk about.  I had big ideas and ambition but was close to failure as an early stage business.  Jim volunteered to mentor me and has had a profound impact on the success of the business and my own life since then. We spoke and met regularly and there were critical moments where Jim showed great friendship and support that were pivotal.  For example, Jim spoke brilliantly at a crucial AGM, helping give me vital credibility with shareholders at a time when we could have lost everything.  More than anything, Jim’s regular mentoring by phone and on his trips to London helped sustain and grow my intellectual confidence as a leader.  I relied on Jim more than I have ever relied on any mentor and he gave me time, support, helped me make tough decisions and encouraged me to think things through from every angle.  He always did this with a big heart and a focus on what was right – ethically and for me personally – rather than on what might be the most obvious commercial course of action – and I always shared his moral ethic.  Every time we spoke or met, he would always start by asking about my well being – and we would discuss my family and his.  He was always so proud and joyous when talking about all his family and I enjoyed hearing his news so much.  Jim also gave us a vote of confidence by encouraging Ben to join us – and I loved working with Ben during his time at Ten.  More recently, I was thrilled when my whole family visited Jim and Shoshana in Maine in late summer 2013.  Jim was so generous as a host.  He took me, my wife Natalie and our young ‘urban London’ kids to feed deer and chickens, go fishing and enjoy tubing behind the boat on the lake.  We all loved our stay and the kids talk about it still.

Jim was an inspiration to me personally and a trusted advisor throughout some of the biggest decisions in my life, the first person I would call when I needed to think something through with someone ‘on my side’. He has been a great, fun and generous spirited friend to me and I will miss him hugely.