How To: Become a Managing Partner at Disrupt

Find out about the role of Phil Kemish, CEO and Managing Partner at Disrupt.

Branding and marketing continues to play a big part in influencing the culture and promoting brands and artists to their audiences.

We spoke to Phil Kemish, managing partner and co-founder at Disrupt, a company that helps brands understand their position in culture and leverage entertainment, content and technology to engage young consumers. Phil told us what his role involves every day and his top tips for making it in media and marketing.


What does your role entail on a day to day?

Every single day is different at Disrupt, which is one of the things I love about my role. For as long as I can remember, I’ve worked for myself so I get to set the rules. Each week is exciting, from team meetings to catch up eith clients, one day i’m talking to someone about putting on the Rated Awards in 2017 and the next day doing the accounts. When you’re an entrepreneur or growing a business, you have to be pretty hands on and, let’s just say, I wear many hats.

How did you land your current role?

I landed my current role through using experience that I’ve learnt over the last 15 years. I’ve always worked in entertainment and music and I was really interested in media and marketing and the way that technology has changed the way we all communicate. I wanted to create a job for me, that can I do all the things that I love doing and try to make a living out of it. I’ve always wanted to make my passion my pay cheque.

At the very beginning, I was hooking up talent deals with people that I knew with bands and receiving a little cheque but I never thought 5 years ago that I would be doing this now, but I knew if I kept doing something that I loved and earned a living out of it that would be what makes me happy.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

Like any entrepreneur, you have to ride the rollercoaster. It’s never going to be easy, it’s up and down and some days or months can be great and others bleak, but it’s just the fact that you have to keep on hustling and understanding that this is what you do it for.

Keeping yourself motivated is important, that comes down to who you surround yourself with. I surround myself with people who inspire and push me and keep challenging myself as it can be easy to just be complacent but there’s always a younger person that will be hustling harder than you so I think for me it’s about trying to keep one step ahead.

What other job roles do you work closely with?

At Disrupt, the whole thing is about collaboration. We try to bring in people that understand the culture and what we are trying to achieve. We have a service side where we work as an agency and we also create brands such as The Rated Awards and work with amazing platforms such as GRM Daily. I love working with people who create, are unique and innovative and brands that change the way we consume content and view culture.

I work in the office in the morning with interns and the leadership teams and other times I work with other CEO’s of businesses like Posty of GRM Daily. Team work makes the dream work so it’s important you have the right people around you.

What are the three main skills needed to do your role?

Focus – It’s really important to be able to identify something that you love and keep the focus on it and to be able to ride those ups and downs.

Build your Network – Whoever is around you, whoever you meet, be nice and work hard because you never know when you will need to call in a favour so always maintain that network.

Belief – Belief in yourself will get you through the toughest times. I am very passionate about what I do and believe in it no matter if someone tells me it’s not going to happen or it won’t work. Most of the time I have to try until it works.

What is your career highlight so far?

Over the last few years, I’ve got myself to the point where I’ve been able to meet some of my idols and call people that I looked up to, mentors and friends. I think when I started in business, I wrote down a list of people I wanted to meet and having the chance to meet them and spend time with them and now call them acquaintances and friends is probably my highlight. Also, putting on The Rated Awards, I felt like it was something that defined a moment in youth culture that needed to happen. Those are two things I am really proud of.

What do you wish you knew about the industry before you secured your job?

I wish that I understood that it’s not going to be easy. I wish somebody explained to me the grind could take 15 years and it wasn’t just going to be overnight. When you pick something that you are going to do for the rest of your life, you need to make sure it’s something you really want to do as the only thing that will get you up in the morning is the fact that you love it.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone that wants to work in the creative industries?

I think the creative industries is a massive sector and people underestimate the amount of roles there are in the industry. I never went to University and wanted to be a musician and I didn’t know much about media and marketing but I did it naturally as part of being in a band. I did the marketing and managed a band. There are so many different paths and I think technology has opened up so many levels of jobs and opportunities for young people.

We are the generation that has grown up with video editing software on phones, snapchat and the older generations are out of touch with how the younger generation communicate and put content together. Going into the creative industries, you need to learn your craft and do your research. I’m always a massive believer in if an opportunity doesn’t knock then you can create your own door.

Learn more about working in A&R from Alex Boateng of Island Records or find out more about working in communications with Stephen of Break Communications.