CATALYST Issue 1 - Page 50

Future Proof “I’ve always been entrepreneurial; I’ve actually matured into a CEO and corporate leader” new things? The two things I think are really important in a company are, where appropriate, global mobility, but absolutely internal mobility. And people always think of mobility going up; you can enrich your career by taking a sideways move.” Alexander Mann Solutions is a meritocracy, Blair stresses –“irrespective of your circumstances, we’ve created an environment for talent to rise to the top”. She believes in developing role models to demonstrate this. Supporting women entrepreneurs “I really believe that ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it,’” argues Blair. “It’s about creating role models that inspire people from different social economic backgrounds, different genders, creating opportunities to be inclusive. “People who come from certain social backgrounds don’t necessarily have the same opportunities because they don’t have the connections to be entrepreneurs. I’m very interested in ensuring people from every background have the same opportunities. “I also come across incredibly talented female entrepreneurs, and often they have a phenomenal business, product or service, but are not as brave as the male entrepreneurs in terms of actually looking for funding. They limit their own and their companies’ ambition. That’s an area I’ve got more and more involved with, in terms of 50 encouraging more bravery and trying to support women to think differently in terms of funding their businesses.” ‘Giving something back’ is important to Blair: “If I can ever give anyone a leg up or help in any way, I’m desperate to do it,” she agrees. She works with a range of charitable organisations, including the Prince’s Trust, and drives focus on global citizenship. She also maintains clear links with her homeland; as a prominent member of the Irish diaspora, she has helped to share knowledge and ideas and to generate business and opportunities for the Republic of Ireland. “I think anyone who has been successful in life, or has been blessed the way I have, has a responsibility to find a way to share that ‘luck’ and ensure that other people can benefit from it. It’s hugely important.” Spurring her own motivation have been the many awards she has won in the course of her career, providing invaluable two-way insight and support. “One that made a big difference to me was ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ with EY, because it gave me access to other entrepreneurs,” she says. “It was the first time I identified with a tribe – and I’ve stayed closely involved. “I learn a huge amount by interacting with other entrepreneurs and find it’s like plugging myself back into the mains. My guys think ‘oh no!’ when I come back, because it’s like I’m all charged up again.”