Spotted— Bernard Stewart

In his 30 years of broadcast entertainment, Stewart directed or consulted on negotiations for FIFA World Cup, the Olympics and the UEFA Champions League. Stewart penned the book, Fifty50: A Guide To A Successful Work Life Balance.

Stewart believes the Jamaica Film Festival demonstrates how “one little piece of the puzzle can get things started in a big way”.


CEO and Founder, Bart World Communications Former Vice-President, Programming and Development, ESPN International

The Jamaica Film Festival came a-calling and I responded because....

 

The JAMPRO Film Commissioner Carole Beckford asked me to participate, on behalf of her Chairman Milton Samuda and President Diane Edwards, as an advisor as part of the development of the festival. For me, it was a no-brainer to say yes; I want to be a part of it because I think the opportunity to showcase and expose the talent that exists here is amazing. Oftentimes, people need that one little spark or incentive and that one little piece of the puzzle can get things started in a big way.

The sport of life...

 

The most amazing thing about sports, which I think people forget oftentimes, is that sports is entertainment. Even though I have left ESPN, I am still attached as an early retiree. When you are part of an organisation that has that type of iconic impact on society, you are able to be the world's greatest babysitter at night, or the world's greatest friend for someone who doesn't have a friend, that you become the referee in arguments that people have about sports; you realise that you are part of an impact on someone's life and that makes you feel pretty good. That in and of itself is at the core of entertainment. The other part that I find most interesting about being part of ESPN, and being in a career where there are storytellers, is that I have been trained to become a great storyteller myself.

Moving on from ESPN...

 

I am that same storyteller. It's just a matter of having a bigger canvas. So not only do I get the chance to tell very specific stories about individuals who happen to be in sport, if you really think about it, what people find interesting about storytelling is that you want to know about the individual, you want to know about their trials and tribulations, the competition that they faced in life to be successful. And that is the definition of sports; oftentimes, it just happens to be in an arena. Life is that same arena and so the storytelling transitions just the same.

On defining his multi-platform entertainment company Bart World Communications...

 

It crosses a couple of different genres. One of the areas we are involved in is a marketing company in Miami that I am a principal investor in. It's an event management company that will be putting on The Taste of Miami next year. We think one way we can make this event a little more distinguishing is that it happens around the holiday time and we get a chance to approach food, fun and family as one package and if we can pull all of these things together that way, I think it's going to be a success. Part of my group has a relationship with a music company and we have four artistes, and my hope is that our artistes get a chance to be presented.

Lifestyle is a brand ...

 

People no longer pay for things; they pay for experiences. So if you realise that we have now become a lifestyle-oriented society, it means that people will pay for experiences and they will pay a premium if you give them an amazing experience that differentiates from what they get from daily life. That's what I wake up every day, trying how to make that happen and if I can do that, I know that my company and those associated with it are going to be a success.

Put what you learn to good use...

 

I always think that the first thing that people have when they walk away from events like this [film festival] is that they are energised, psyched and then all of a sudden it dissipates. I think the one thing that you have to find is what I think is kind of a touchstone. When that Pharrell Williams song Happy came out, every morning for a month I got up and played that song. I am a little weird at times, but you know what that did? That song resonated so much with me, it helped keep me in a place where I knew I could keep motivated. So by doing it that way -- and it was a particularly interesting time from a business point of view -- I started doing that. At one point my mom looked at me, when I was driving around in the car, and I was playing it again, and instead of asking me what I was doing, she actually joined me in the song! I think it's the biggest challenge people have in these workshops: What can you take away? What moment resonated with you the most? Hold on to that and find ways you can make it repetitious in your life for a while, and then you move on to something else. That's the biggest takeaway. You have to have that self-motivation and energy and that does not come naturally.

The seduction of Jamaica...

 

I have a really strong affinity for what happens here because of Jamaica's obvious top-level performance at the Olympics. Those are the things you know by being in sports and now that I get a chance to have a real reason to come, it makes it even more fun.

Advising the younger Bernard Stewart...

 

This is going to sound really conceited, but the one thing that makes it easier for me to do that flashback and feel comfortable with most of the decisions I made were my parents. My mother once said that she and my father were a little afraid of me because I was never a child, I was always an adult. Whenever I had a decision or wanted to do something they were very much supportive, and if they couldn't be supportive, they got out of the way and let me do what I wanted to do. I learnt a lot through trial and error so I would not necessarily be reflecting back that I did something wrong or needed to correct anything. I made great choices by default. I think the only advice I would give myself is in those quiet times when I wasn't listening; I have learnt to do a lot of listening now. I think the way things added up and were offered to me have been pretty good. There is nothing I would change about the way my life ended up or the words of wisdom I would offer myself.

The willow tree theory...

 

Patience and persistence. I wrote a book Fifty50: A Guide To A Successful Work Life Balance and there were a couple of things in it that I thought were important. Persistence is one, and not the kind where you are barrelling down and bolding your way through bull shops. I like to think of it as the willow tree persistence. If I want something from you, I am going to lean, and lean, and lean until you or I either walk away or I bend you to my will.

Source: 
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/Spotted---Bernard-Stewart-_19195299
Published Date: 
Sunday, July 12, 2015