Julian John of Delsion Ltd
Julian John, founder and managing director of Delsion Ltd, suffered brain damage and was made homeless before launching the business 12 years ago. He tells BQ how he made it happen...
What is it the company does?
We are a people and development consultancy that covers three areas:
- Learning & Development
- Diversity & Inclusion
What does your role involve?
Delsion is all about challenging the norm and putting potential at the heart of everything we do. My main focus is driving that agenda and ensuring we continually provide creative, innovative and leading-edge solutions.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started in retail at 14 as a Saturday boy in a local jewellers. Joined Iceland Frozen Foods as a graduate trainee after university. Left Iceland as an area human resources manager to join an international DIY retailer and held store-based, regional and national roles with them.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Empathy and focus.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
That’s an easy one: getting Delsion up and running has been an extraordinary story. 12 years ago I became disabled through brain damage. I started the business with absolutely nothing from a position of being long-term unemployed and even homeless for a time.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
My wife and I were fortunate to adopt our son and daughter following her recovery from cancer. Time with family is the ultimate stress buster.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A car salesman like my Dad.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Conventional thinking – I’ve banned it!
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We’ve got three very clear goals:
- Make Cardiff a capital city of L&D
- Inspire Wales to be a leader in disabled employability
- Revolutionise how HR is perceived by business
- Oh, and I want an office up and running in the US by then
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Trust your instincts
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Avoid people that talk in millions, think in hundreds and pay out in tens