Sommelier, author, and founder of The Drinks List, Matt Skinner was only a few weeks into his first full-time job when he met wine consultant and writer, Philip Rich. ‘I definitely wasn’t looking for a mentor back then, but luckily for me, that’s what he became,’ says Matt, who set up Prince Wine Store with Phillip one year after they met, in 1996. ‘Besides having taught me a huge amount about wine, Philip has given me countless opportunities to build on my knowledge and experience.’
Over the decades, Matt notes that their relationship has moved from one of mentoring to one of great friendship. ‘Phillip is still my first port of call whenever I need a sounding board for anything work-related,’ he adds.
To Matt, a mentor is an older, wiser and constant voice helping you to make informed decisions about your career path. He recommends a good place to start looking for one is in your industry – scout out someone that you aspire to be like. ‘If those people aren’t obvious, then you might need to put yourself ‘out there’ in a bid to find out who and where those people are,’ emboldens Matt. ‘Get to know as many industry professionals as you can.’