As a journalist and member of the Scottish Business Network, I was keen to start a fortnightly podcast interviewing the big personalities of the Scottish business world. Dip in - you'll hear from some amazing people!
David Sole: Outstanding leadership in rugby and business
For rugby fans of a certain age, the abiding memory of David Sole is of the Scottish captain leading the team out for the 1990 Grand Slam triumph against England. Yet as well as an outstanding rugby career, that also encompassed a World Cup semi-final and a victorious Lions tour of Australia, David has built a highly successful business career. He is now Managing Partner of The School For CEOs, a senior coaching business that he set up with Patrick Macdonald, recently appointed Chair of the Institute of Directors. In this extended episode, David shares insights into his rugby and business experiences, including the importance of humility and emotional intelligence in our leaders. We also hear about his recent adventure in the world of rearing chickens, why his Grand Slam celebrations were cut short and how, for a period at Diageo, he was the biggest buyer of alcohol in the world.
David was interviewed by Fraser Allen on 30 March 2021.
Louise Worrall: The Royal Navy Navigator
At the age of just 23, Louise Worrall was a navigator in the Royal Navy, guiding a minehunter around the globe. It was her dream job. But just a year so later, her naval career was cut short by Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Previously undiagnosed in Louise, the effects of this disability rapidly escalated before she knew what was happening to her. Louise’s story about the impact this had on her, and how she now approaches life in a new role as a financial advisor is – and for once the word is justified – inspirational.
Louise was interviewed by Fraser Allen in front of a live Scottish Business Network audience on Zoom on March 16 2021.
Clare Wareing: The entrepreneur who promised her grandfather that she would tackle cancer
When Clare Wareing was growing up in Yorkshire, one of her friends lost her father to cancer at a very early age. The experience had a big impact on Clare and, when her grandfather was later diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, she promised him that she would devote her life to cancer research.
And that is exactly what she has done – while also proving to be an astute entrepreneur. Having founded and developed the research business Nexus Oncology, and steering it through two acquisitions, Clare dabbled with early retirement. But it didn’t suit her and, in 2017 she launched Cumulus Oncology – a ‘hub and spoke’ business with a plan to launch a minimum of five spin-out companies within the next three years, all with the continued theme of fighting cancer.
Clare, who made Scotland her home after studying for her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, also reveals the influence of Jacques Cousteau, a rare talent for extreme flat-pack furniture assembly and her love for the music of Two Tone Records.
Recorded on 26 February 2021.
Barry Fudge: Mo Farah's endurance coach
When British long-distance runner Mo Farah won his four Olympic gold medals, a key part of the team driving him forward was a Scotsman. Barry Fudge grew up in Fort William, obsessed with sport and with an increasing interest in the science behind it. This would ultimately lead him to the role of Head of Endurance at British Athletics, and those celebrated years with Mo. Barry is now applying his knowledge of performance to business, and he's a fascinating man to listen to.
This interview was recorded live at a Scottish Business Network event via Zoom on 16 February 2021.
Mo Farah pictured in Edinburgh (Image by Terry Murden/Daily Business)
Martin Perry: Scottish table tennis star
Martin Perry was born with one leg and both of his hands missing. He’s now a world-class table tennis player who says his disability is one of the best things that have ever happened to him. Yet despite these extraordinary facts and his hugely charismatic personality, Martin has always seen himself simply as a normal guy – one of four competitive brothers who loved the rough and tumble of sports from an early age.
Martin’s story is funny, heart-warming and astonishing in terms of his sporting achievements to date. And it’s a story that will run and run, as he trains for the Tokyo Paralympic Games and beyond.
Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 9 February 2021.
Dame Laura Lee: The cancer care champion leading Maggie's
When Dame Laura Lee left the Peterhead area at the age of 16 to begin her career as a nurse in Edinburgh, she could never have imagined that she would one day be the CEO of a major charity operating around the world, and having a hugely positive impact on the experiences of cancer patients and those close to them.
Yet, after nursing Maggie Jencks, a writer, gardener and designer who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, Laura was inspired by Maggie’s vision of creating beautifully designed spaces close to hospitals for cancer patients and their family and friends to take time out to chat, relax and seek advice.
Sadly Maggie died, but not before installing Laura to take Maggie’s Centres forward – a challenge that she has met, and continues to meet in the COVID-19 era, with wisdom and determination.
This interview was recorded in front of a live Scottish Business Network audience on Zoom on 19 January 2020.