Spotlight on: Martin Allen Morales

I’m the co-founder of a new organisation which aims to bring funding, skills, expertise, community and network to sustainability start-ups, impact investors and purpose-led professionals.

I’ve had a fun career so far having worked for the last 20 years in both private and non-profit sectors at an operational and leadership level. I’ve launched and run businesses for Apple, Disney and EMI and ran my own sustainability focused food business called Ceviche which introduced Britain to Peruvian food for the first time. I’ve won GQ’s Innovator of the Year Award, the UK Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Best New Sustainable Restaurant Of The Year Award and recently became a bestselling author. I still can’t believe the latter btw. I hold Board roles at Recovery Focus, Big Issue Invest and Future Fit Foundation and I once managed The Muppets. Long story.

Juliet Taylor and her team at Starfish Search approached me for the NED role at Recovery Focus (aka Richmond Fellowship) as they were keen to find someone with a blended commercial, charity and social enterprise background and who had been successful in tech, entrepreneurship, team and brand building. I was drawn to Recovery Focus’ 60 year heritage and their national scope of truly life transforming mental health, domestic violence, substance and gambling abuse services. Juliet guided the selection with precision, transparency and gave me full confidence and trust in the process throughout. I was lucky to get the role and feel privileged to serve Derek Caren and Helen Edwards, CEO and Chair respectively. Making people happy, particularly vulnerable people, is my life mission so RF aligns perfectly with that.


If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? I would build a tax system that rewarded business leaders who channel some of their companies’ profits and personal financial rewards towards eradicating childhood poverty, climate change, environmental damage and unjust working conditions. This tax system would give them the opportunity to receive high praise and feel great pride in their selfless, collaborative, transparent and empathic approach towards the way they run their lives and their companies.


What is the question people ask you most often? How come you’ve achieved so much in such a short space of time? Answer: I work fast, with my heart full of joy, my mind full of wisdom, my team full of passion, and I make some mistakes along the way. I learn to be better from these, refine my work, develop and share the learnings.


Who has inspired you the most on your own career journey? There is no such thing as a career; there is just a life journey where we have balance or not, work or not, passion or not, purpose or not. My life companion is my amazing wife Lucy who inspires me every day and I’ve also had the good fortune of working with Steve Jobs whilst at Apple and Bob Iger whilst at Disney. Steve taught me how to truly understand the customer journey by crafting it meticulously with no switch offs. Bob taught me how to create a brand and maximise its potential through a broad variety of avenues, revenues, businesses and experiences. But on this journey at the moment those who live and inspire me are Dame Ellen MacArthur and her Foundation, Tom Szaky at TerraCycle, The Drake-Knight Brothers at TeeMill, Thick Nhat Hahn and Greta Thunberg.

And every few days I also remember the many others who have inspired me such as Maya Angelou, Miriam Makeba, Ruth Buendia, Fela Kuti, Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Muhammad Ali, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Neruda, Julia Butterfly Hill, St Francis Of Asisi, Peter Tatchell, Martin Luther King, Manu Chao, Pele and Eckhart Tolle among others.


What words of wisdom have resonated with you that you now find yourself passing on to others? “One should never be nervous about being asked to tackle anything. One has all the power necessary to achieve everything within oneself. It is only necessary to remember the power. If people are nervous it is because they forget their potentialities and remember only their limitations.”  HH Shantanand Saraswati

Starfish Search. Leadership journeys, expertly navigated.