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Meet Lesley and Graham
LESLEY has worked for over three decades in the private and voluntary sectors, and has wide leadership experience. Coupled with her empathy, life experience, a decade of caring responsibilities, and growing up in a family business, Lesley brings a comprehensive understanding and range of solutions to the challenges business leaders face in their day-to-day operations.
GRAHAM has a strong track record of senior leadership experience, organisational change and growth, coupled with executive and non-executive board membership positions, relevant qualifications and a learning mindset. Graham's academic qualifications are complemented by his key attributes of wisdom and insight. This potent mix offers a real solution to you, the business leader, your staff and your board.
THE LEADER is an encore career for us. An encore career is work in the second half of life that combines continued income, greater personal meaning, and social impact. Find out more about Encore
Leadership, growth and development have been Graham’s key areas of focus over the past 25 years of his senior business leadership journey. During this time he led the transformation of a small traditional organisation into a thriving enterprise with a turnover of £28m, over 600 staff and a robust, sustainable business model.
In his role as company chief executive, Graham developed wide-ranging executive skills. Leadership - the ability to transform vision into reality - was demonstrated by the implementation of significant organisational change, and ongoing sustainable growth. This was achieved by developing strategic vision, turning this into a strategic plan, effective decision making and consistently and efficiently executing the plan to ensure success. Graham continuously developed his technical, technological and interpersonal skills and was strongly committed to developing others to ensure their personal and organisational growth was maintained.
He led multi-million pound capital development projects and navigated the complexities of investment and blended income streams. Personal growth enabled Graham to demonstrate attributes based on integrity and commitment, whilst incorporating realistic and relevant purpose and values for the enterprise.
Graham’s evaluated experience taught him that ‘comfort’ with change is essential as companies grow through individual and team development. Organisational renewal and adaptability is increasingly required to both survive and thrive, so he led this growth through regular and clear communication.
Graham also focused on acquiring a change and development mindset. Believing that people do what people see, he led staff by example to adapt to new business models and methods. Innovation was essential to this growth and he successfully adopted and embedded a social and business innovation culture. An expansive attitude and approach enabled him to visualise non-traditional approaches to business development, and successfully develop multiple and complementary income streams.
Successful business leaders need a high tolerance of ambiguity, and over many years Graham developed both the mental flexibility and resilience to manage this.
Qualifications and Awards
Building on formal qualifications including a BA and MBA, as well as professional qualifications in social work and social work education, continuous learning was maintained by short courses on strategy and entrepreneurship at the Graduate Business School at the University of Stanford, California and Warrington Business School at the University of Florida respectively.
He was part of the first INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship cohort on the Fontainebleau Campus in France. More recently Graham has qualified as an accredited John Maxwell Team Coach and Trainer. He has been a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellow and EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year. He was also the Scottish IOD West of Scotland Director of the Year as well as Third Sector Director of the Year.
In 2018, Graham was also awarded a Social Enterprise UK Honorary Fellowship, recognising the individuals who work at the very heart of social enterprise, taking their own organisations from strength to strength but also playing a large part in shaping, guiding and championing the social enterprise movement as a whole.
Graham was awarded an OBE in the New Year 2019 Honours List, in recognition of his leadership in developing, supporting and promoting social enterprise. Commenting on his honour Graham said, "I've been privileged to work with talented people in a wide variety of settings. This award highlights the power of good business and committed people working together to make their community and country a better place."
In addition to implementing company growth leadership, Graham gained a significant amount of international experience across North America and Europe as well as in Australasia, Africa and Asia over a time-span of 38 years. Understanding different cultures and business practices, as well as the practical challenges of language and travel is a key executive skill, and increasingly important in a global economy.
Having held non-executive director positions in 10 companies, including three current, Graham’s knowledge of the major governance issues facing companies today continues to grow. This track record of wide experience enables him to build on and develop ‘big picture thinking’. This is closely aligned to the independent mindset essential for non-executive directors. Alongside this he also has the critical ambassadorial traits essential to company representation, with the executive presence that is pivotal to such roles.
A Personal PS
While skills, qualifications and experience are essential, I also bring the right temperament, energy, passion and commitment to my work with other leaders. I am keen to put all these to good use in my encore career, helping the next generation of leaders to become better, stronger and more resilient.
If you would like more detailed information on my earlier career, I am happy to arrange a face-to-face meeting.
Lesley has worked for over three decades in the private and voluntary sectors. She has over two decades of experience supporting the creation, growth and operations of social enterprises and charitable business. She has a strong, demonstrable track record of leading and managing business-critical support functions including strategic marketing and communications, business planning, securing statutory and non-statutory funding, developing staff and working with a wide range of national and international partners and stakeholders.
Qualifications and Awards
In 2010 Lesley obtained her MBA from the University of the West of Scotland and was awarded the Court Medal. Her dissertation topic was Knowledge Management, and she undertook her research in Scotland, Chicago, Nebraska, New Orleans and Las Vegas. She has also studied short courses on strategy and entrepreneurship at the Graduate Business School at the University of Stanford and Warrington Business School at the University of Florida. In 2018 she completed the John Maxwell Team accredited Professional Coaching curriculum.
She has been involved in a number of transnational European partnerships in Finland, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Germany and Italy and has travelled extensively in North America. She has also co-presented and facilitated workshops and sessions on social enterprise and charitable business development in the UK, California, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Canada, Cape Town, Sydney and Auckland.
After a 10-year career break in the mid-eighties to devote time to bringing up her daughters and caring for her parents, Lesley returned to work, and from 1995 until her “retirement” in 2017 she rapidly took on new roles and greater responsibility, and continually invested in her personal and professional development.
Lesley has been shaped by growing up in a family business, by her career choices and her voracious appetite for personal growth. She therefore brings a comprehensive understanding and insight to the challenges and opportunities faced by today’s business leaders, irrespective of their age, stage or sector. Lesley's key passion is leadership development, and she is known and recognised for the strong emotional commitment she invests in everyone she leads.
In my own words
Establishing The Leader Scotland Ltd allows me to embark on an “encore career” and draw on my knowledge, experience, skills and learning to help leaders at all ages and stages. As a baby boomer, I have reaped the benefits of decades of social and economic change, and this encore career lets me give something back to the next generation of leaders.
My ongoing learning continues, as I re-skill and up-skill to establish the new company, develop our services, design our website and create our marketing materials. I have also retained my interest in Knowledge Management – or Knowledge Enrichment – and The Leader will provide a Knowledge Enrichment Node comprising a range of contemporary relevant tools and resources to help leaders improve their knowledge, skills and practice. Finally, I am looking forward to meeting and working with different individuals and their businesses and supporting them on their leadership journey.