Meet the MD: Gary Lumby MBE of Focus on Success Ltd

Meet the MD: Gary Lumby MBE of Focus on Success Ltd

Gary Lumby MBE is the MD of Focus on Success Ltd, he caught up with BQ to talk about life as an MD and his career so far.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

Having started the Company in 2012 and grown it consistently up to date, my role is to continue to work with my six Associate Directors to promote the Company’s services of providing NEDs to SMEs across the North East and Yorkshire. Part of this role is ensuring our services are understood not only by the SME community, but also by professional advisory firms and those in the public sector supporting business growth across the region.


What is it the company does?

Focus on Success Ltd provides Non Executive Directors to SMEs across the North East and Yorkshire, to enable those businesses to accelerate their growth in sales and profitability, improve their operations and marketing and increase their valuation. This includes Business Strategy Planning and implementation, as well as providing hands on support, coaching and mentoring to the management team.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started work in Barclays Bank in 1976 and worked with them until 1998 by which time I had progressed to Regional Head of SME Banking across the North East and Cumbria. I then moved to Yorkshire Bank as Head of UK Business Banking and transitioned to Head of UK Retail Banking in 2006. I then ended my banking career as UK Director of SME Banking for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks in 2011. Having formed Focus on Success Ltd in 2012, I quickly found myself acting as NED and Chairman for 13 companies in the SME Sector and decided to expand my company late last year to include six Associate Directors, who also now work as NEDs in businesses on behalf of Focus on Success.

I was awarded a MBE in 2008 for Services to the Financial Services Sector and currently sit on the Let’s Grow Investment Panel for the North East. I also mentor on the Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Business Programme out of Leeds University Business School.  I was previously President of Leeds & York Chamber of Commerce and a Board Member of Leeds City Region LEP. Along with my wife, Hayley, we own and run SE Decorators Ltd, a commercial painting and decorating company, Omkara Beauty, a beauty salon in Thornaby and G&H Property.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

I’m not sure I would describe myself as a great leader, but hopefully my ability to communicate from the shop floor to the boardroom and being an active listener, presenter, innovator and motivator, enables me to bring management and employees together in businesses to achieve a common goal.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Deciding how to grow Focus on Success across the UK, as we already have a new Associate Director in London. I am certain our services would be popular with SMEs across the country once they understand the benefits and actual activities we undertake on their behalf and the low costs involved.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I think stress is part of life and I accept that, but I also like to get away on holidays with my wife and we are lucky enough to have a house in Spain where we can chill out and relax (but work is never far away via emails and iPhone of course)


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Like most boys I wanted to be a professional footballer and had trials for Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough, but sadly I was never good enough.


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

I don’t like people who are mood hoovers and who drain the place of energy, as I prefer people who are passionate, energetic and positive – my glass is always half full.


Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

Supporting SMEs across the UK via a network of NEDs and with Focus on Success being ran by my Associate Directors or sold to another consultancy business, with me relaxing on the beach in Spain, but there is a lot to do before that happens.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Have a clear plan although be prepared to change it often. Be positive, passionate, energetic, take risks, have confidence in yourself and seek help as it’s not a weakness, it’s a strength.  But try and have some fun along the way and don’t wish your life away praying for the weekend or your holidays – enjoy what you do everyday – or do something else.