Lucien swapped the warm beaches of the Ivory Coast for the cold coastline of the North East but hasn't looked back since. He tells BQ about his varied career and the challenges he faced when setting up his own company.
What is it the company does?
United Recruitment and Employment
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
My role is to set the vision, strategize and set goals of our company, as well as to lead the team and support them to complete the aims in order to achieve our goals. However, business growth is my primary role. Last but not least, I particularly make sure that our current clients enjoy a positive and trustworthy experience whilst working with United Recruitment.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
After graduating from Northumbria University with a business degree, I started United Communication systems, a company making phone cards (to enable phoning abroad at an affordable price) and money transfer. Following the birth of my first child, who needed 24-hour care, I sold the business after 3 years. Then I went to work for Newcastle City Council for seven years as community development officer and community employment officer. As my daughter's health improved, I went back into the private sector with United Recruitment.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I believe that a leader should exude positive energy, determination, have the ability to listen to the team and motivate them and have the capacity to anticipate opportunities.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
My biggest challenge has been to establish United Recruitment & Employment in the top five recruitment agencies within the North East. In this sector, the competition is very high and as most entrepreneurs would probably relate, it takes many sleepless nights and tremendous hard work. However, knowing the potential and opportunities that may result from it, is fuelling my ambition and passion of never giving up and always keep going
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Honestly, recruiting can be stressful. However, the name of the company has been specifically selected. Because the word “united”, means a lot to me. I believe in a united workplace, team building, and working as one. So, having a team that has always given their best, I can honestly say the environment at the workplace most of the times can alleviate my stress. Also, seeing everyone working and enjoying everyone’s presence, coming up with new ideas to makes us unique
I truly enjoy my work.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a business university lecturer. Inspiring the future generations and give them the right tools to follow their path in their career.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Underestimate your own talents. I encourage and empower staff to believe in themselves.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We are looking to build on the success of these last three years. We are striving to be the most recognised recruitment agency in the North East. We aim to continuously improve our clients’ experience.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
My advice will be to always believe in yourself. To pursue your dreams. But arm yourself with the right skills and surround yourself with the right people.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Having the right team can make all the difference, as they would be dedicated and work alongside you to succeed.