Julie Meyer is CEO of Ariadne Capital and an online Dragons' Den judge. She is also owner of Entrepreneur Country, which is a global discovery platform for digital entrepreneurs. This master entrepreneur accelerator system affords priceless learning and networking facilities and is open to any digital entrepreneur. It comprises a dynamic interactive website with a continually flourishing online community, excellent networking events and a magazine. And in my opinion, if there were more Julie Meyers across the world, then organisational and individual failures would become something of the past. In fact, I always look forward to her inspiring events - the next of which will be held on 3 February 2015 - tickets available at www.entrepreneurcountryforum.com. Jessica Hashemi and Imogen Bunyard always ensure maximum engagement in terms of how the event is styled and orchestrated, as well as the choice of speakers. And I am now deeply inspired by what I perceive as a similar-style discovery, L&D and networking support structure growing up around the FinTech industry.
I suppose you could say I have a nose for quality 'L&Ders' as my Father began his career as a lecturer/instructor in the REMEs, after which he became a member of the pioneering generation of steel process control systems designers in the 50s/60s. In fact, his lifelong passion for L&D and will to 'imagineer' led to membership of a group of men who advised the government on the future of technology in the 60s.
I began my career in 1987 and have worked for a multitude of large, blue chip organisations in a variety of functions and sectors. Three of my roles involved day-to-day exposure to blue chip international client L&D in a marketing capacity. And I can only recall one colleague outside these client L&D environments who was as proactive, innovative and strategic as Julie Meyer in terms of developing others. The 'L&Der' is Ben Paton who was a Fund Manager at one of the most successful international investment management firms. Ben was one of the few fund managers who tried to mentor junior staff and in my opinion he was directly responsible for the star portfolio management careers that many of his 'students' are now enjoying. In fact, Ben recently wrote an investment book called 'Valuing the Future'.
An example of great Westminster 'L&Ders' are Dr Phillip Lee MP and his ex-researcher and ex-Assistant, Eva Kagan and Colette Conway respectively. In 2011, Dr Lee, Eva and Colette researched and produced a strategic document outlining plans to redesign health services in the Bracknell area. They also coordinated a number of successful community 'L&D-style' meetings. But in my opinion, our Country's lack of any overarching strategic systems thinking, L&D and project marketing support structure for MPs impeded its progress. However, Julie and her now ex-editor Kelly Dolan were generous in publishing articles that helped the public grasp the potential of the plan. And since then Dr Lee's work, which has continued to be well supported by Jade Appleton and Lucy Hutton, was instrumental in the creation of the Brants Bridge Urgent Care Centre in Bracknell. And in my opinion, this is incremental innovation at its best. In fact, Jade Appleton has now fully leveraged her competencies to become a Political Advisor to London Councils.
Another Westminster L&D hero is James Arbuthnot whose cross-party mentoring of MPs is tireless and whom I also consider a brilliant campaign mentor. James is my ex-MP and when I first moved to his area I declared to him that I was 'project politics-oriented' ie I prefer to support individual MPs on the basis of their projects and attitude, rather than their party. But far from 'freaking out', James swiftly leveraged my 'politically asexual sentiments' by introducing me to a multi-disciplinary group that sought to improve healthcare across the region. As a carer this was a most fulfilling experience and was to shape my campaign activities in the years to come.
I am also a fan of another of my ex-MPs, Damian Hinds, who via his past leadership of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions and his quality communications has greatly contributed to a master solution to a fundamental society problem. Another great Westminster 'L&Der' is my new MP, Mark Field, who has produced most useful guides on the financial crisis and beyond.
The charity sector is blessed with Wendy Maxwell of Chill4Us Carers. Wendy is famous for providing computers and training to carers. In my opinion Wendy is a master digital connector and is strongly supported by Chloe Smith MP.
Finally, I firmly believe the Alzheimer's Society is a 'learning organisation' at its best. Their model fully integrates and supports its staff, volunteers, sufferers and their families. And the Press Office's skill, hard work and mentoring of volunteers has led to triumph after triumph in the improvement of the lives of sufferers and families.