Olive Strachan MBE, is the founder of Olive Strachan Resources Ltd, global business woman and diversity and inclusion specialist.
From working with individuals, SME’s, Manufacturing Firms, Blue Chip Companies, Housing Associations, to Colleges & Universities, Olive has a varied portfolio of public and private sector clients all over the world.
Olive was voted for 3 consecutive years as one of the top most influential women in the North West by Business Insider UK Magazine and she has been recognised as one of the top 100 most influential women in business in the Northwest in 2014, 2015 & 2016.
Prior to being The Chair of the Manchester CIPD, Olive, was Vice Chair for 2 years. Her current role is to act as a CIPD representative/HR Leader locally and nationally.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I started my career in the recruitment field working for Reed and Blue Arrow, I then worked for Video Arts, an organisation established by John Cleese, they produce and sell training videos and other training resources. In 1998 after being made redundant by Video Arts I decided to go it alone and established Olive Strachan Resources Limited. I am the ex-chair of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Manchester. I initially provided training resources and training consultancy, but I have expanded as below:
COACHING: 1:1 executive and management coaching for business and personal growth, helping others gain motivation, confidence, perspective and work life balance.
CONSULTING: Design and deliver bespoke programmes on Leadership Development, Performance Appraisal and Change Management.
TRAINING: Expert Leadership & Management trainer delivering innovative training to develop effective business leaders.
SPECIALITIES: Learning & Development | Leadership Development | SME Growth | Managing Performance | Performance Appraisal | Women in Business | Diversity & Inclusion
SPEAKING: Guest Speaker | Conference Presenter | Diversity & Inclusion Speaker
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Not really, before starting to work for myself in 1998 I tended to be led by circumstances. I visited an employment agency in 1982 looking for work and was offered a job in recruitment which changed my career. But once I established my own business, I worked with a business mentor to help grow my business and expand into new markets. This took a great deal of planning.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Establishing, growing and sustaining my own training consultancy for over 20 years has been very challenging. From childcare in the early days, to recruiting the right staff but the main one has been looking for new markets during the recession. This prompted me to look for international contracts which help to grow my business internationally.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Being awarded the MBE in February 2019 for my contribution to export and business
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
It is a combination of things:
- Drive and determination to succeed
- Learning from my mistakes and working strategically
- Being well networked, not frightened to take risks
- Volunteering and working with NatWest, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Department for International trade
- Being credible in my profession, loving what I do and doing it well
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I volunteer my time as a mentor to NatWest Business Accelerator, the DIT as an export champion mentoring other business. I mentor other women entrepreneurs. I also have good mentors who are there for me when I need them.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
Access to finance for women.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Accept yourself for who you are, have confidence in yourself and self-belief. Celebrate your difference and stop trying to fit in.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I have worked in 25 countries around the world including, Bangkok, Yemen, the Middle East and Europe. But so far, I have not expanded my Caribbean market, I am looking to open a Branch of Olive Strachan Resources in the Caribbean offering leadership retreats for senior management. I have written my first book ‘The Power of you’ covering my 21 years in business, the challenges I faced and how I overcame them, which is now on Amazon, so looking to expand my reach as an author.
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