I started my first business straight out of college. I was 17. The rest, as they say, is history! I have a couple of exits under my belt - one successful and by choice, the other not by choice but successful in the end. I’ve certainly experienced the highs and lows of running a business first hand. Taking that experience, I set up my own consultancy and have been a critical friend, mentor and advisor helping other business owners go further, faster since 2006. I’ve worked across a broad range of sectors and with start-up companies, those looking to grow and some looking to exit.
What are some of your driving values?
Problem solving: I thrive on solving problems, finding a way and making stuff happen.
Connection: I love helping people and bringing people together...that could come in very handy wearing my CEO Sleepout Ambassador hat!
Integrity: Doing the right thing / doing business ‘properly’.
You’ve always been great at giving back, why is it important to you?
I’ve had to work hard to achieve what I have and be in the position I am today.
It’s certainly had its highs and lows for various reasons, but all in all I feel very privileged for the life I’ve had and have.
There’s unfairness in the world and I can’t change that, but I can make a concerted effort and do something to make a difference in the small part of the world I live and work in.
Which causes are closest to your heart / one thing about society in the UK that you wish you could change?
Last year along with my partner we launched a campaign to raise £8,888.88 for the Stroke Association in memory of both our mums.
With the fantastic support of a team, friends and family and with some very generous donations we were able to present the Stroke Association with a cheque for an amazing £10,888.35!
I wish there was more funding to work on prevention not just of stroke, but of many diseases and for other good causes (like this one) – if everyone did their bit maybe we would all be better off, and the world would be a nicer place to live.
How did you get involved in the CEO Sleepout?
Have you met the persuasive Bianca Robinson, CEO of the CEO Sleepout!
Seriously though, I had worked with Emmanuel House (one of the beneficiary charities) in the past and also knew of The Friary and the Notts County Foundation so I thought what a great way to support all three.
This will be my 3rd CEO Sleepout in Nottingham.
What other ways do you "give back" or work to strengthen communities you work within?
Over the years I’ve volunteered for many organisations and sat on boards where I’ve been able to share expertise, raise awareness and fundraise.
From a community perspective I’ve recently been elected President of Nottingham City Business Club which was founded in 1924. I’ve been a member and ambassador since 2007 helping to create better commerce across the city and connect businesses and the wider community.
Name one thing you'd like people to know about your life and work:
One thing? That’s a tough one.
Let me share some words of wisdom I’ve had shared with me.
Seeking out sound advice is a good thing to do, essential even. But remember you don’t have to take it.
Nobody knows you and business like you do!
Something I learnt the long way around - resilience is like a muscle; you need to exercise it.
And, in the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.
As they say death and taxes are sure things – I reckon change is ‘up there’ with those!
I’m still in the game and have no immediate plans to stop – here’s another from George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”.
How might you see business playing a part in creating a fairer society here in the UK?
Wow – there’s so much to be done.
More partnership working – teamwork, in the fullest sense of the word, makes the dream work. We can do so much more together.
Moving the levelling up agenda on by investing in skills, infrastructure and our communities.
Getting to the root cause of lots of things and fixing those – not keeping on keeping on and relying on applying a sticking plaster.
That’s false economy in the long run.
Why is it important that those in business lead with purpose?
This is so important as it helps you inspire, influence and guide people in a way that is aligned with the organisation’s goals underpinned by core values.
Purpose clearly articulated with everyone in the business having buy-in and those same people being aligned with the values will equal motivated, enthusiastic, and productive teams all pulling in the same direction. Create this productive atmosphere and collaboration and innovation will follow and you will more easily overcome silos, obstacles, and resistance to change.
Defining mission, vision and values shouldn’t be a box ticking done once exercise with the results stuck on a wall or website. Rather they play key roles in shaping of businesses strategy and the culture of the organisation. Leaders living those values being the guiding principles governing all actions and decisions and seeping through everything (walking the talk if you will) will ensure you can lead with purpose and they will follow.
By participating in a CEO Sleepout event, you’ll gain insight into the big issues surrounding homelessness and what – as business leader – you have the power to change. We hope you’ll be moved to create a positive social impact in your business, adding value that strengthens communities and society as a whole.