“Being a success and achieving great things isn’t about being clever. You need conviction, drive, vision and an idea.”
Were you always top of the class at school?
I was never top of the class; I didn’t see the point in a lot of the subjects I had to do when I was at school. Being a success and achieving great things isn’t about being really clever.
You need conviction, drive, vision and, more than anything else, an idea – that’s what will get you out of bed in the morning and make you work long into the evening. I was always very driven to succeed, and I think a lot of that comes from being gay and wanting to prove that I could be just as successful, if not more successful, than my straight friends.
When I was younger, I thought that being gay would stop me from having this success so I hid my sexuality, but being gay doesn’t affect your career prospects. Your sexuality should never be a barrier; it should simply motivate you to achieve more, so that you can show the world what gay people can accomplish.
One way to do this is by running your own business. I set up my company in 2001. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears and a lot of late nights and early mornings, but we got there. The biggest challenges involved bringing in clients, and learning skills that I didn’t have.
You have to do so many different jobs; pay people, manage the post, order the stationery, do the marketing, hire people, answer the phones.
The list is endless, but it brings with it many rewards.
Australian-born Paul Tanner owns and runs 90TEN, a healthcare communications agency providing PR and medical education services to pharmaceutical companies and the NHS.
He has launched numerous award-winning health initiatives to encourage gay men to test for HIV and vaccinate themselves against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Tanner was voted Young Achiever of the Year at the 2007 Communiqué Awards and was ranked 52nd in The Independent on Sunday's Pink List of the 101 most influential gay men and women in Britain in 2008.