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Catching up with... David James

David James

Previously director of Talent / Learning & Development EMEA at The Walt Disney Company and now the CEO at WeCommend.

When were you at Kingston and what did you study?

I studied HR Management (Post-Grad Diploma) graduating in 2010.

Why did you choose Kingston?

I chose Kingston firstly because it was local to both my home and to work but then because I'd heard good things about Kingston from colleagues who'd also studied there.

What do you remember about your time at Kingston? In three words.  

Hardwork. Insight. Social.

Have you been back to Kingston since graduating? If so, what for?

Yes, my baby daughter, Lily, was born at Kingston hospital last December – just down the road from the Uni.

Are you still in touch with anyone from your Kingston days?

Yes. I made good friends with Sarah Lloyd and Jason Harris while we we're studying and we stayed in touch.

What did you expect to do after graduating? Are you still doing that now?

I wasn't sure whether I wanted to stay in learning and development or get some more generalist experience but I decided to stay specialist and since leaving Kingston, I'd been promoted twice at Disney and until very recently, I was director of Learning & Talent for the EMEA region. I enjoyed that role for a little over two years but recently left to start up my own web business.

We launched WeCommend in January and it's a peer-to-peer recommendation platform for the learning and development community to help inhouse learning and HR folks find recommended providers of learning services – and for those providers to benefit from amplified word-of-mouth.

What's your greatest achievement?

I achieved more than I ever thought I would at Disney. To have reached director-level at Disney in a profession that I love has been great achievement. I hope the next chapter with WeCommend will eclipse that.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Value relationships. Work, for me, was always about doing the best 'job' but as I've matured, as a person and a professional, I realise that it's all about the relationships – for growth, achievement, productivity and for enjoyment.

What last made you laugh?

I watched a re-run of Harry Hill's TV Burp recently and that has always made me laugh out loud.

What's your ideal weekend?

My ideal weekend would probably start with an evening out with my wife, perhaps at Indian Zilla in Barnes.  I'm an early riser, so I'll take Lily downstairs on a Saturday and we'll watch the warm up to the weekend's football matches on Sky.

Ideally, it would be a sunny weekend and so we'd go out for a walk in Richmond Park. And then spend some time with either my family or my wife's family and that would round it off very nicely.

You are to live out your final days on a desert island…

Who would you take with you and why? (one person only)

My wife, Rowena.

What book would you take and why?

On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I read this first as a teenager and it really captured my imagination and immediately made me feel as if the small town I lived in was no longer big enough. I found it inspiring.

What movie would you take and why?

Pulp Fiction. It's a movie I can watch over and over again.

What food item would you take and why?

I'm a big fan of Indian food so an everlasting pot of Chicken Tikka Biryani.

Tell us something would never guess about you.

I had long curly hair at the beginning of the 1990s. I think it was a good thing that nature intervened before I made any more disastrous hair decisions!

Contact us

Development, Alumni Relations and Events
Kingston University
53–57 High Street
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 1LQ

Alumni relations:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3178
Email us

Fundraising and Annual Fund:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3299
Email us

Any other queries:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3664

Contact us

Development, Alumni Relations and Events
Kingston University
53–57 High Street
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 1LQ

Alumni relations:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3178
Email us

Fundraising and Annual Fund:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3299
Email us

Any other queries:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3664

Share your news

We love hearing from all Kingston graduates – no piece of news is too big or small, so whatever you have done or are about to do, email us and let us know!

Contact us

Development, Alumni Relations and Events
Kingston University
53–57 High Street
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 1LQ

Alumni relations:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3178
Email us

Fundraising and Annual Fund:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3299
Email us

Any other queries:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3664

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