External relations director, Helen Robertson tells BQ about creating a healthy working environment, developing corporate eLearning platforms and how Scotland House has supported her company's continued growth.
What is it your company does, and what makes it special?
We pride ourselves on being a dynamic additional resource in our clients’ learning and development teams. Our caring, nurturing and supportive culture creates a very healthy working environment and this is the springboard for us developing innovative digital learning solutions. We do this for organisations across the public, private and third sectors and have more than 20 years’ experience using our specialist knowledge to advise clients on the right learning approach for them.
How do you feel your business is ‘representative’ of Scotland?
We’re doing our bit by making Scotland the place for innovation. We’ve developed eLearning content for 8 of the top 10 Scottish businesses, who rely on us to help them remain competitive and fuel their growth, as do the many other organisations throughout Scotland, who really appreciate the local support we’re able to give them. And as well as this, the team are kept busy developing bespoke learning solutions for domestic, national and international clients.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I often say that I talk for a living, but it’s really so much more than that. I’m eCom’s External Relations Director, so I’m out and about, meeting new people, making contacts and building the relationships that are the key to developing the business. I really enjoy my job and the role I play in helping the business to grow.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you progress?
I started working on a shop floor as a sales person which was a catalyst for developing key networking skills. Each one of the roles I’ve had since, has intertwined seizing opportunities and making things happen.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We have a clear long-term vision for the company. As you would expect, this includes ambitions growth plans for both the domestic and international markets and we have recently strengthened our board in support of this.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Well, there are many different styles of leadership. I think someone who is just themselves and is authentic in the way they engage with their team is very likely to be a good leader.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Not speaking to enough people.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I’ve already spoken about the health working environment we have which really helps. Daily walking is encouraged, as are walking meetings. And we have an oasis of fresh fruit in each of our business areas. All of which supports a healthy mind and body. And when I’m not at work, long-distance walking with my best buddy helps support life, both personally and professionally.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
I think building relationships is the key to success in life, as well as being able to motivate and inspire other people.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Actually, I would say the best piece of advice that I was given several careers ago was to ‘never slam a door shut as you never know when you need to open it again’.
How and why did you become involved in Scotland House?
We’re a Scottish Enterprise high-growth account-managed company and we have a wonderful working relationship with our account manager who has supported ideas for our domestic growth. He suggested being involved with Scotland House would help support our national and international growth and that we could enjoy all of the fantastic benefits that Scotland House affords.
How has your Scotland House membership enhanced your business?
It’s great to have a base in London, through our membership with Scotland House. It’s given us somewhere we can meet potential new customers, right in the heart of London. And we’re looking forward to using some of the larger meeting spaces to hold our own roundtable discussions, focussed on how our innovative learning technologies help organisations improve productivity.
Describe the three biggest benefits of being a member.
I think the three main things for us would be that we’re now part of the community of Scotland’s finest organisations all with ambitions growth plans, we have access to central London from the doorstep of the Scotland House and the market insight reports available have really helped us too.
What would you say to a Scottish business considering membership?
Whenever you’re in London, it’s great to have somewhere you can work, that also has high-quality meeting space. And it’s great to be somewhere that is specifically designed to help Scottish businesses flourish.
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