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A Conversation with Rolls-Royce’s Thomas Jefferson

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An interview with Thomas Jefferson, Manager, Bespoke Sales and Communications, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars., Rolls-Royce Phantom

Thomas G. Jefferson
Manager, Bespoke Sales and Communications
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Goodwood, UK

An interview with Thomas Jefferson, Manager, Bespoke Sales and Communications, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars., thomas G. Jefferson

Describe what your company does TJ.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bespoke designs and engineers personalized super-luxury cars into hand-built commissioned masterpieces which are as unique as the client’s themselves.

How did you break into this business?

My previous experience with BMW of North America as 6 Series, 7 Series and Z8 Manager led to an opportunity to join Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 2007.

What’s a day in the office like for you?

My primary role is to drive sales of Bespoke business through all available sales and communication channels and represent Bespoke to media and ultra-high net worth individuals.  In the past two years, I have travelled extensively on business working closely with dealers and clients throughout the United States, Middle East, China, Japan, Singapore and India.  My office day will typically consist of meetings with designers, engineers and manufacturing colleagues to discuss client commissioned Bespoke projects.

What would you say is your claim to fame?

Over the past couple of years, I have been extensively involved in the development of Michael Fux’s commissioned projects.  He is one of our most enthusiastic and loyal R-R Bespoke clients and is featured in one of the R-R “21st Century Legend” films.  This year, I am most proud of a Bespoke concept that I have created and launched:  Year of the Dragon Collection.  This Phantom Extended Wheelbase Limited Edition model celebrates the Chinese Year of the Dragon, which commences on January 23, 2012.  Inspired by the legendary creature that is revered in Chinese civilization, the Year of the Dragon Collection has been created to celebrate the ultimate symbol of power, prosperity and good fortune.

Words to live by/your mantra?

Lee Iacocca once said “Never complain.  Never explain.”  I try to live that way.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished reading two books:  The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.  Both books depict the simple truths of following your dreams and taking the path less travelled.

What are you planning to read next?

I just started reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  The central theme of the book illustrates man’s obsession with the past and the future and how it prevents us from giving our full attention to the present moment:  Enjoying life now!

What was the last fun purchase you made and from where did you get it?

Although millions of people have it the world over, the iPhone 4 that I bought last year ranks up there as a fun purchase that has become an integral part of my life.  In fact, most things that I have purchased from the Apple Store over the years have brought me immense joy e.g. MacBook, iPod Touch, Apple TV and iPad etc.

Any recent discoveries this past week that you can share?

Mews of Mayfair in London.  My new favorite lounge/restaurant chill spot.

Favorite hotel?

My most recent favorite hotel is The Commune by the Great Wall, an hour outside of Beijing, China.  It is a very stylish, minimalist resort featuring luxury villas situated at the foot of The Great Wall.  One morning, my girlfriend and I walked 45 minutes together along a trail that lead to the Great Wall.  An ancient Chinese proverb states, “You are not a Great Man, until you have been to the Great Wall.”

Favorite getaway?

I am an avid snowboarder and Switzerland is my favorite getaway.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a snowy winter day than snowboarding in the Swiss mountains.

Favorite car model?

I have spent my entire working career in the automotive industry and have driven most cars worth driving.  It is difficult for me to name my all-time favorite car, so I will have to list five of them. I have a similar mindset like many of our Rolls-Royce clients that different cars serve different purposes. My ultimate 5-car dream garage would be the following: Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase (Bespoke of course!), Range Rover Vogue, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Lamborghini Miura SV and the new BMW M5.

Hometown?

Southfield, Michigan

Age?

46

First real job since formal schooling?

Marketing Research Analyst, BMW of North America

What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?

Be more entrepreneurial.  Take more risks.

What keeps you up at night?

Absolutely nothing keeps me up at night.  A comfortable good night’s sleep is one of life’s simple luxuries.

Three people, living or dead, you’d have over to dinner?

Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Jay-Z.  If Jay-Z brought his wife Beyoncé along, we would make room for her!

Pass the torch: Whom should we interview next?

Edward T. Hightower


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