The Institute of Directors, IoD, is the UK’s longest-running membership organisation for professional leaders. Here, as one of a series of articles focusing on the IoD and their members, we interview IoD North West’s Regional Director, Claire Ebrey.
How often do you open your newspaper or turn on the TV to hear about fat cat businessmen, underpaid workers or tax avoiding billionaires?
There seems to be a common myth that business, and more importantly business leaders, don’t have an obligation to wider society, don’t take their responsibilities seriously.
This is something Claire Ebrey, IoD North West Regional Director, is keen to counter.
What is the Role of Business in Society?
“I meet business leaders all the time – from organisations of different sizes, sectors and from right across the North West region. The impression that the press creates, of businesses run by cigar-smoking bosses, greedily sucking up resources, is simply wrong.”
“Much more often I see leaders who are passionate about making their business sustainable in the long-term, supporting a place that’s important to them, providing jobs to local people, and playing an active part in their communities”
“You have to make a profit to be a sustainable business, but often their purpose goes beyond profit.”
“I speak to leaders all of the time about collaborative working, helping young people get quality jobs, and how business can help tackle some of the big issues facing our region – things like poverty and homelessness, and the brain drain out of the North West as we lose our talented young people to the South.”
Purpose Beyond Profit
“Real leaders don’t just clock off at the end of the working day. They spread their skills and energy across multiple roles, working, often for free, in non-executive or advisory roles for the public sector, start-ups, charities and non-profits.”
“Real leaders use their black books to connect people, and their experience and insight to break down barriers and to help tackle key issues. Their impact is much greater than just the scale of their business”
“Now, as Chair of IoD North West’s Skills Group, she helps other business leaders know what to do and who to partner with, as they work to tackle these skills issues.”
“Sandy also set up the Juice Academy, a not for profit organisation, providing apprenticeships in social media and has since created more than 250 jobs for young people.”
How Does IoD Contribute?
“Business plays a huge role in society. The IoD is the organisation for leaders, and we strive to support our members as they develop their businesses and themselves as leaders.”
“These leaders are the people we’ll all be relying on to drive forwards a better economy, which is one of the overarching visions of the IoD.”