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Scottish Business Network

Author: Fraser Allen from Fraser Allen Communications

Subscribed: 4Played: 43


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!
42 Episodes
Despite only turning 30 this year, Edinburgh-based Mollie Hughes has climbed to the summit of Mount Everest not one but twice. And in January this year, she became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, No wonder she's now making such a big impact as a motivational speaker. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 18 May 2020. [For enquiries to book Mollie as a speaker, visit]
Hailing from an Italian/Scottish family in Ayrshire, Michael Mancini could have got involved in the family ice cream business but, from an early age, he had a passion for woodworking and furniture design. His company, 1718, now creates outstanding furniture for clients across the world. Here he tells the story of his career to date. Recorded pre-lockdown, in Glasgow, February 2020.
Fraser Allen interviews Alasdair McKinnon (CEO of the Scottish Investment Trust), Ellen Wong (Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Edinburgh and Adam Hunter (Chief Commercial Officer of the online pharmaceutical delivery service PHLO). All three share their experiences of managing their way through the COVID-19 crisis and the lessons they have learned to date.
Kicking off a new format for the podcast series, Fraser Allen interviews three personalities from the Scottish business world about the way the coronavirus crisis is affecting them, how they are managing the situation and what they have learnt from the experience so far. It's a truly international episode. We speak to Tom Simpson from the China-British Business Council in Beijing; Becky Woodhouse, the CEO of Pure Spa and Beauty, who is battling to manage her business while stranded in Thailand; and Scottish singer Ainsley Hamill, who also brings some wonderful music to this episode.
As well as many other endurance feats, Mark Beaumont has cycled around the globe twice, breaking the world record both times – a record he still holds today. Yet few realise that Mark is as comfortable in a business suit as he is in cycling Lycra. His experience in defining a venture, developing the finance, building the team and then successfully marketing the concept has led to a portfolio of activity supporting Scotland’s start-up ecosystem. Interviewed by Fraser Allen.
There are two luxuries that John Newlands won't do without: dry cleaning and a good lunch. It therefore seemed only appropriate to convene over the latter to discuss his wonderfully colourful career in banking, commodities and investments. From an Edinburgh upbringing to a career in the City of London, via Brazil and Cuba (including a bold dinner-table challenge to the late Fidel Castro over the calibre of his locally distilled 'whisky'), John's story is a wonderful listen. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at Silk & Grain, City of London.
Brian Duffy describes his Glasgow childhood as a tour of the city’s housing schemes – which is quite a stretch from his current role as CEO of the luxury brand Watches of Switzerland. The story of how he got there, which includes launching the Playtex Wonderbra in the UK, working with Ralph Lauren and serving as a director with his beloved Celtic FC, is highly entertaining and full of unassuming but hard-earned wisdom. Podcast interview and and production by Fraser Allen of, in association with the Scottish Business Network. All rights reserved.
The tables are turned in this episode as podcast host Fraser Allen is himself interviewed – by Sue Stockdale, host of the Access To Inspiration podcast. Fraser discusses the sale of his agency, White Light Media, his career to date (via selling magazines in the playground and narrowly avoiding jail in Turkey), plus observations on the world of marketing.
Norman Jackson is a chartered accountant who travelled the world working in the oil industry, going on to help many SMEs with strategic planning and corporate finance, and holding several non-exec director roles – including one for the past 11 years with London Scottish rugby club. To mark the start of rugby's Six Nations Championship, Norman offers us valuable and entertaining parallels between the worlds of sport and business. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at Maggie’s Centre, St Bart’s Hospital, London.
Before we kick off our regular series of in-depth podcast interviews for 2020, we speak to Russell Dalgleish about the exciting plans he and Scottish Business Network co-founder Christine Esson have for the year ahead. Interviewed by Fraser Allen over a rather unpredictable Skype line.
Ross Mickel hails from one of the great Scottish housebuilding dynasties, McTaggart & Mickel, which has built thousands of homes in Scotland and beyond since 1925 – although its origins actually go back to Victorian times. The company has also made a significant mark on the architectural and cultural landscape of Glasgow having been responsible for building many of the much-loved tenements in the West End. What's it like being born into a big family business, while having to ensure it adapts to the times? Ross Mickel reveals all with great humour and insights. Interviewed by Fraser Allen in front of a live audience at the Maggie's Centre at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London.
Sue Stockdale left school at 16 to join British Gas, and quickly climbed her way upwards – whilst also representing Scotland in athletics. An expedition to Kenya with Operation Rayleigh then proved a tipping point which led to further adventures, such as skiing to the North Pole and competing in Channel 4's Superhuman contest. These rich experiences – as well as building and then selling her own business – enable her to help people achieve more than they think they are capable. So strap on your boots and eat your greens - we're going on an adventure. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at London Scottish House in Westminster.
Rosemary McGinness is Chief People Officer at the Weir Group in Glasgow, overseeing 15,000 employees across 50 countries. Recently named by the Financial Times as one of the 100 most influential women in Engineering sector, she has built a highly impressive career around the world, making her way to the Weir Group via the likes of Rocco Forte and William Grant, Rosemary was interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Weir Group's headquarters in Glasgow.
Ivan McKee describes his ministerial role as that of 'Sales Director for Scotland' and combines his passion for Scotland's potential with the acumen of a highly successful businessman who knows a good MBO opportunity when he sees it. In this interview, he gives a rare insight into his business career, his adventures around the world and why he believes Scotland can thrive as an independent nation. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Scottish Parliament. . was interested in politics from an early age and, following a highly successful career in turning around ailing manufacturing businesses, he threw his support behind Scottish independence. This led him to stand as an MSP for the Scottish National Party and then become Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation. Ivan admits that the transition from running his own business to being a government minister wasn’t an easy one but is now relishing being what he describes as sales director for Scotland. We met at the Scottish Parliament on the 31st October – the day Brexit was due to happen – and talked about everything from volunteering in Bangladesh and aid comvoys to Bosnia, to making a living out of transforming badly managed factoriies and the business case for independence for Scotland.
Maggie Morrison, currently Vice President and Client Partner at NTT Data UK, has a wealth of experience in IT and sales – and a thirst for travel. In the latest Scottish Business Network podcast, she shares some of the lessons from her career to date, including enjoyable diversions into the culture of the Isle of Lewis, American poetry, Eastern philosophy and Across The Universe by The Beatles. Interviewed by Fraser Allen from White Light Media in the Balmoral Hotel.
Magnus Wake is one of Scotland’s finest film-makers, and has recently released his first full-length movie, Dark Sense. A tense thriller shot in Edinburgh, it’s the ambitious creation of a man who has had to spend as much time managing finance and stakeholders as he has behind the camera. His story is a fascinating glimpse of a demanding career – and the great news is that he has three more films in the pipeline. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at Magnus’s home in Edinburgh.
The career of Anna MacDonald, a London-based musician and doctor, changed when she visited an orphanage in Iraq in 2014. The experience compelled her and colleague Alyson Frazier to establish a charity called Play for Progress, which helps children and young people who have made it to the UK as a single refugees, without family or support. Play for Progress gives them the opportunity to immerse themselves in music, play instruments and learn to compose. It’s a wonderful outlet for children who, in many cases, have been through highly traumatic experiences and can sometimes struggle to express themselves. Anna tells the story behind Play for Progress as well as her other organisation, the Association for Exiled Scots. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media in the Caledonian Club, London.
Some successful people have one career - Michelle Thomson has had at least five, and we're still counting. Originally a professional musician, she's best known from her brief but high-profile spell as an MP. Yet she has also made her mark as a senior IT executive at Standard Life and Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as proving something of a property entrepreneur. And now together with former SNP colleague, Roger Mullin, she’s leading a consultancy called Momentous Change which, among other things, has been working on the establishment of the new Scottish Stock Exchange. Michelle discusses some of the major challenges she has overcome in a colourful career – and entertains us with a mini piano recital. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at her home in Edinburgh.
After brief spells in a library and a bank, Dundonian Maggie Berry moved to London to work for a recruitment agency. It led to a high-profile career promoting diversity and the role of women in business – not only in Scotland and the UK but across the world. The founder of the Women in Technology Network, she is now Executive Director for Europe for WeConnect International, which helps women business owners to succeed in global markets. She’s also a former Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and, as you’ll hear, has an exciting guest list for her fantasy dinner party. Fraser Allen interviewed Maggie at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.
An early adopter with a love for technology and an eye for an opportunity, Matt Alder is one of the world's leading talent acquisition experts. From his base in North Berwick, on the East Lothian Riviera, his updates on trends and innovations in TA are awaited with bated breath by professionals across the globe – particularly in the US. And key to his success has been a podcast series that has so far racked up three quarters of a million listens. Tune in to find out how he did it. Matt Alder was interviewed in his office by Fraser Allen of White Light Media.
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