Catching up with 2016 ‘People of the Moment’ award winner, James Dove


Alice here, with an insight into the impact of the MIA Gala Dinner Awards on a past winner…

With only 5 days left to vote for your best people and products at The MIA Gala Dinner 2017, I catch up with James Dove to see what he’s been up to since being named one of the MIA’s ‘People of the Moment’ at last year’s awards

The People of the Moment Awards are designed to recognise individuals in our industry who have made a significant impact on the company they work for and the customers that the company serve.

The judge’s said that “James consistently goes above and beyond his role, has invested in his own development and implemented this in the business.” They praised his loyalty to the company during tough and testing times.

So here he is!

AM: Hi James! Can you tell me about your position at The Music Store?

JD: My job title has actually changed very recently, it was Operations and Marketing Manager but I’ve recently been asked to become a Director! It’s still being made official, but I’m proud to say that’ll be my new title.

AM: Congratulations! It’s great to hear that you’ve continued to progress! Can you tell me about what your job role entails?

JD: To give you a bit of background, I started working for a company which was called Ashton Music at the time. We were a distributor of that particular brand in the UK and it then developed to Europe too. We took on a few more brands and decided to rename that company Music Force Distribution. That then developed as the industry changed. As I’m sure you are aware, it could be quite difficult at times and has been a difficult few years in this industry (and most industries really).

So, we had the opportunity to open an outlet in Manchester and we were tossing around a few ideas on what to call it and how to approach it and we ended up with a short term proposal if you like – 3 months over the Christmas period to test the waters and see how it went. We found it transcended into another business for us. We then opened it as ‘The Music Store’ which went remarkably well – it ended up being much more successful than we ever could have imagined!

As a result of that, I ended up moving to Manchester. Marketing was my initial role, but that role soon developed because of how quickly the business expanded, I took more control over the operations which entailed running the stores and making sure they had what they needed. The more the business grew the more I grew! Because it was a small company, it was natural for me to get involved in all aspects of it which was great for my personal development and growing my experience.

We now run four stores and have an online venture – I look after all aspects of that. It’s not a small role but luckily I have a few people to help me these days! I enjoy it because it’s varied and there’s always lots going on.

AM: Brilliant! I’d really like to know what sort of thing you get up to on a day-to-day basis that lead the judges to remark that you ‘consistently go above and beyond your role’…

JD: To answer that I would like to quote something that I’ve learnt from – I’m sure he’ll love to hear this! – my mentor; Jon Gold. He’s my boss and has been my boss all along. He never asks anyone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself.

So in a sense, I always get involved with everything from the start of a project and I see it through to the end. So if that’s a product launch, for example, I’ll be sourcing that product, having conversations with different suppliers and implementing it into our stores through different types of promotion, getting involved in how and where it’s displayed, how much we’re going to charge for it and how many we need. I then organise the marketing of it through online promotions and through social media. It’s something that I really enjoy and I think that’s reflected in my work.

AM: What a great ethos to have! So, have you done anything new and exciting in your role since winning the award last year?

JD: Well I finished my university course which I was doing part time and I got a first! It was in ‘Performance industries’ which is designed for people in our industry who maybe didn’t get round to finishing education at the time. There’s different modules involved such as business management and event management but also performance and production too. It was really useful.

But obviously the main thing has been being asked to become a director which is a big step for me! Lots of responsibility. It’s been a very productive year all in all.

AM: Very much deserved. What did winning the ‘People of the Moment’ award mean to you?

JD: Well I had no idea that I was even nominated for the award until about a week before the event – I thought I was coming along to have a good night and a nice dinner! Jon did it all in secret, it was quite a shock. I certainly did not expect to win.

It was quite a lot to take in at the time. I didn’t fully realise what it meant until after the event and when I found out I felt very honoured.

It’s nice to get recognition, however the work ethos that’s been drummed into me means that in my mind, everyone that works with me should take credit for it too. I wouldn’t have been able to win it without my team members and those that have helped me along the way.

AM: Was it important that the awards weren’t just aimed towards the more senior people (ie. The MD’s) in the industry?

JD: Definitely. There’s a lot of people that go unrecognised – everyone has people that work for them in their companies that are almost taken for granted. The award enables credit to go to the people that wouldn’t usually be seen as directly responsible for a company’s success. The Gala Dinner gives the everyday person the chance to see the work of the whole industry and get a taste of what big awards ceremonies are like. I think it’s a fantastic thing!

AM: Absolutely! That’s the aim. Would you encourage others to enter?

JD: Absolutely, yes, definitely, 100%. Do it for those people who wouldn’t ordinarily be nominated to receive an award on behalf of a company – the unsung heroes. It’s a real opportunity for those at the heart of the company that do a lot and don‘t get enough praise day-to-day. There’s someone like that at every company as far as I’m concerned.

Nominations close this Friday, the 22nd of September. Please don’t let your best people and products miss out!