“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
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
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.”