The objective of enriching society through ideas and action faintly echoes in its own way across my career trajectory through a background in regeneration particularly business development and employment. That journey encompasses, Economic Development but also includes Human Resources, Recruitment, Management Consultancy, Security and Construction as well as over 25 years of Third sector experience. Past Companies include: Wandsworth Borough Council, Tesco, British Airways- Peach Personnel, Paragon Training-United Nations and The Women’s’ Design Service. Past Countries include: Greece, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Italy and Kosovo as the project management of a series of transnational programmes.My current focus is
©Peach Mango Maverick (PMM) a “Creative Brokerage,” which partners in the strategic development of innovative creative industry business projects. PMM has a think tank comprised of an eclectic mix of multi-industry experience and expertise; as principal artist I am also contributing to a groundswell of a developing body of work on the genesis of de-colonial pedagogy led by Queen Mary London University and I am a Fellow of the RSA. My current project ©African Violet…Hybrid of Circumstance – (a painting in a book) is developing an ‘©Artistic dialogue of Colonial Experience.’
DL: My biggest aspect of self-preservation is to remember that I am not in total control, that I am a part of something which is so much bigger than me so I will be accountable and this affects my decisions; my mother always told us to ‘ Put God in everything !’ I cook 90% of what I eat so I know what I am eating and I love to experiment, I also have a reasonable knowledge of herbs, essential oils which I use on a daily basis. I am quite physically active and intend to return to martial arts after an absence of a couple of decades.
DL: I would say the biggest change in my business is my level of self-knowledge, I believe that particularly for women (based on my experience) that you are your business and your business is you’, I also believe that people do business with people, not business and therefore the strength of the individual mirrors that of the business in many ways because it inspires a level of confidence. I am comfortable being put on the spot in many situations now because I can handle myself in a very different way to the way in which I did so, when I started out. In my former sector of regeneration there were often many direct consultancy opportunities which facilitated building long term relationships, now all of that work is handled by agencies who recruit short fixed term contracts. None of my contemporaries who I have kept in touch with have been able to successfully sustain or negotiate survival via the agency route and have thus evolved in different ways.
Over two decades I have seen many different labels for the same management processes and strategies, nevertheless people in their diversity of characteristic, remain a constant and an ability to deal with people will never change. The contemporary focus on technology often negates that factor in its race towards total automation and I think it is important to balance technology with humanity.
RB: What are some of the challenges you are facing or have faced this year?
DL: One of the major challenges for me this year has been transcending different industry sectors, more specifically the academic sector. This was a sector which I had until now; I had previously only dealt with in terms of procurement and contract management in the early stages of such development. I have had the opportunity through one of my projects to engage with academia and contribute to the academic dialogue in at least 3 disciplines and it has been an extremely useful insight.
Equally consolidation has been a challenge as a consequence of other very pressing priorities, however I believe that have been afforded an opportunity to turn that ‘corner’. That ‘corner’ facilitates a regional engagement across the Caribbean and a series of initiatives at varying levels and I very much look forward to the potential of those regional partnerships, particularly in the current challenging global context.
RB: Describe what innovation means in your business and how do you go about it.
DL: To me, innovation is necessity and necessity is the mother of invention…innovation is a very natural part of my being as a direct consequence of my Caribbean heritage. As a child in the UK, as part of the Caribbean community, innovation was absolutely everywhere. It was just so natural to see people respond to difficulties, especially lack of resources with resilience and innovation as a consequence of not being allowed access to what was considered ‘the norm’, something which in reality, both describes and remains a privileged position. That necessity has remained as a contemporary challenge and my current project ‘ African Violet ‘ exists because nothing else existed for me which could speak her language, so I created one and has thus been the recipient of three awards for innovation.
RB: How do you balance being a” big dreamer” vs setting realistic goals for your business?
DL: My blend of business and art facilitate the balance between being a “big dreamer” vs setting realistic goals for business, and I am able to move seamlessly from one to the other constantly.
RB: Who or what motivates you to keep going with your business? And Why?
DL: Two sets of people motivate me, my parents and my children. My parents, because my success in any way, is a tribute to the sacrifices that they made for which they deserve to be honoured. My children, because of the continued need to build a platform which will give them a fighting chance, in a very unequal world.
RB: Has your definition of success changed since you have started your business? If so, how?
DL: No it has remained the same; process and methodology are what have changed for me.
RB: What would you say is the most important skill required to run a business?
DL: Self-knowledge; as it allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses which are critical for anything you need to achieve, importantly self-knowledge allows you to seek external help with the confidence that you don’t have to know everything.
RB: There are a lot of myths about entrepreneurs. Now that you have started and are successfully running your own business what would you say is the biggest myth? What have you learned most from it.
DL: There is a myth that passion and enthusiasm are the most important to enterprise, whilst they are important I believe that there is a layer anchored beneath those, which is ‘necessity’. This is something you must do because ‘not’ to do so, will have a consequence of some sort which is personal to you, this will drive you through the valley when you believe that you have no fuel left in the tank!
2014 Public exhibition and Award –BFIIN British female Innovation and Inventors Network
2014 Public exhibition and Award – BIS British Innovation Society2015 Presentation, exhibition, workshop -Queen Mary University London
2015 Presentation, exhibition – Edinburgh University
2015 Public exhibition and Award – EUWIIN European Women’s Innovation and Inventors Network
2015 Solo Exhibition – Being Human – festival of the humanities, ecology pavilion Mile End Park2016 Presentation – British Scholar Society annual conference – Kings College
2016 Presentation, exhibition – London Literary Society annual conference – University of London