04 Aug Interview – Jo Macsween
This interview first appeared in a blog series I wrote entitled ‘The Women In My Life’ in June 2013.
Jo Macsween is now in a new chapter of her career supporting, guiding and inspiring leaders to shine at Vistage. My favourite thing about Jo is that she never fails to surprise and impress me, be it writing a book, competing in a triathlon or dancing the foxtrot. Let me introduce you….
My first job was teaching English as a second language in Budapest. It was 1991, the Russian tanks had not long departed and the outside of my flat was riddled with the scars of bullet holes…..an exciting time for a young green graduate!
The best advice I ever got was ‘sleep is under rated, make sure you get plenty’. Most of us live under the illusion that one day our work will be done, but the truth is it won’t, so it’s a good idea to go home and catch up on some of that precious sleep.
My favourite saying is …well…. I have a few! ‘You can’t make diamonds without pressure’ ‘Nothing succeeds like success’ and ‘Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, you are right!’ All three make valid points.
I’d be lost without a Moleskin notebook and my favourite pen. By writing notes I connect and make sense of my thoughts and ideas. I have the equivalent of a ‘giant Moleskin’ on my office wall in the form of a whiteboard about 3m x 2m. It’s great for team meetings to progress projects and ideas.
In the last year I have learned how valuable instincts are. Trust intuitions and listen, even if the hard data seems to point in a different direction.
My biggest challenge is growing our business, Macsween Haggis, during the recession. Increasingly this growth will be delivered by managing a team I never had before so I need to learn to be a coach and mentor and deliver the vision with them. You need a brilliant team to achieve success.
The achievement I am most proud of is the relationship I have with my husband, Roger.
If I could be someone else for the day I would be Baroness Jane Campbell (Baroness Campbell of Surbiton) a cross-bench party peer and campaigner for equality for disabled people. She herself was told that she would never reach adulthood. She gets up every day with fire in her belly to make life better for so many other people and rejoices that she is alive to do so. I think it would be an honour to be in her shoes for a day.
In the public eye I believe that Dame Joan Bakewell is a great role model for women because she is vibrant, intelligent and sassy. Let’s have more wise and mature woman visible in the media please!