Raised in North London, Rum was orphaned at the age of six. He was sent to a children’s home in Surrey and put through the English education system, which he found to be highly repressive and stifling. So Rum the rebel left school with no formal qualifications, however he wasn’t going to let that stop him – after school he went on to become a qualified chef and then undertook further study in Drama, Dance, English Language and English Literature.
Once his studies were complete, he found himself penniless and homeless. Leaving the education system meant he no longer received government financial support, so he was forced to survive the brutal English winter on the cold London streets.
As luck would have it, the cooks at St Paul’s Cathedral (yes the St Paul’s Cathedral in London where Prince Charles and Lady Diana married) took him in and Rum soon made new friends and began to rebuild his life. With the persistence and drive that is synonymous with Rum, he soon found his first job in sales and has never looked back. He began his career in the mid 1980s selling office equipment, most notably the first fax machines and first primitive desktop top computers. As a result of his success selling modern new technologies Rum was invited to become a Commodities Trader. Rum was considered an exceptional trader and continued to be profitable for his clients even during the stock market crash in 1987, termed Black Friday.
Rum then sought out a new challenge, as a core part of the packaging explosion of the late 80’s and early 90’s in Britain, Rum was instrumental in moving the industry from polystyrene based packaging products to a more sustainable packaging solution. This required deft sales skills, negotiation skills, communication and presentation skills in order to not only physically move the market place but to mentally shift people’s perceptions and mindsets. Rum then took some time out to travel extensively – The Caribbean, France, Japan, Sweden, Thailand, New Zealand – eventually settling in the wide brown land of Australia, where he started work as a bus boy at the Esplanade Hotel, St.Kilda. That was in the early ‘90s, and since then, Rum has pursued his goals within a variety of activities, including working with some of the world’s best known rock acts (Madonna, Guns & Roses, Paul McCartney, Public Enemy and many more).
Rum also conceived of and staged the biggest video games event in Australian history which led to a position with Nintendo Australia as their Public Relations Manager. He established a boys magazine called “DIS”, which was in part created to help deal with the appalling suicide rate among young Australian males, a fact that shocked and upset Rum greatly. Oh – Did we mention that Rum is also a published author and, in 2010, received the highest accreditation, Certified Speaker Professional (CSP) for public speaking from the National Speakers Association Australia. Even with his work and life experience that has seen him move from the streets of London to being the owner of a well respected training company, if you ask Rum today what his greatest achievement is, he will say, without hesitation, “my two children”.
Rum’s approach to life is to dig deep for strength and never give up. These days, when not organising his busy training schedule, he is often giving motivational presentations to companies, government groups and individuals. His attitude and presentation style are described as engaging, entertaining and extremely energetic.
Rum speaks on a wide range of topics, both in his training and professional speaking including Customer Focus, Sales, Organisational Anthropology and Teamwork. His rich life experience forms the basis of his messages – many of which at their core encourage people to take control of their lives. When speaking to today’s youth, he cuts through negativity to instill the message that they achieve anything that they want to achieve in both their personal lives and their future careers.
He teaches leaders in the art of leadership – asking the question “you may have the title, but are you in charge?” He has assisted business owners with moving forward through planning the steps from where they are now, and where they want to be in the future. He has turned sour organisational cultures into positive, healthy and productive places to be.
From the cleaner to the CEO his message is that everyone is equally important and needs to take responsibility for the health of the organisation. From humble beginnings, Rum Charles has grown into a dynamic, caring positive person who continues to make a powerful impact on the lives of everyone he meets.