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My Mentor: Johnny Hornby on Charles Dunstone

'He motivates everyone without losing his calm. He can just cut to the chase'

We started to become friends and he asked us to look at his brand, but the first big thing he did was to give me the confidence to start my own business. He said that he thought myself and Simon Clemmow were a fantastic team, and if you're really good at something you should have a go at it yourself rather than just working for other people. Beyond that, he promised us his advertising account and some office space.

I thought I was running an advertising agency when I was running TBWA with Simon, but in a branch office of a global network you're not dealing with the cut and thrust of running your own business. Charles taught me to run it like a small shop and he's the first person I turn to for advice.

He's very measured and manages to really motivate everyone who comes into his path without losing his calm. He's very practical and really understands people and human nature. He can just cut to the chase.

During the dot-com-edy time Simon and I had an idea for an agency, which we were very excited about and took to Charles. He told us that we'd lost it and were completely stupid.

In the four years we've worked together his business has grown massively and we've grown with him. In terms of repaying Charles's loyalty, two years ago he launched the broadband service Talk Talk, which required us to part company with BT. That was a big decision because they were the UK's biggest advertiser

Our friends joke that we're inseparable. Someone said that we'd become the 'Ant and Dec' of business."

Johnny Hornby is a partner in the advertising agency Clemmow Hornby Inge