Each month Reena Dayal, acting Chair Central London will feature members in her monthly email to circa 3000 members. A random selection will be invited to showcase their business/ role and share views on a topical theme. It is our initiative to spotlight the diverse talent and experience of Central London. This month, we are delighted to showcase those enlisted below and their reflections on 2021. If you would like us to spotlight you and your business please apply here, and we will invite you to contribute.
Christopher Babayode of NoJetStress.com, with 20 years of experience working for an airline, I am a travel wellness specialist, author, and nutritional therapist. I help business travellers optimise trip success and productivity, without getting jet-lagged and sleep-deprived. The business travel downturn due to COVID has meant finding new ways to serve the on-hold travel industry, remote workers, and those working from home. I now focus on social jet lag and sleep deprivation.
I have shifted to more remote working practices (Telemedicine), and I travel less myself ditching all unnecessary travel. Workplace wellness is not just for travellers, so I use Heart Rate Variability (HRV) testing, as a tool for travellers and non- travellers alike, as it's a good key performance health indicator.
In light of the pandemic, smart thinking says we are all wellness companies now! Wellness as a contribution to sustainability makes for a better society. This means looking after our collective health, especially as we shift to more remote and home-working practices going forward. I’m your health partner for individuals and groups.
My name is Jessica Franses and I am an art broker and consultant from a three generation art dealing family. I am also a specialist transactional art lawyer.
My company, Vitruvian Arts Ltd evolved to meet the demands of new art consumers, who require a discreet, confidential, professional, personal but also transparent and legally compliant service to buy and sell high value artworks as safely as possible.
We advise on price, quality, collection building and the due diligence process and we work very closely with our clients to eliminate as much risk and anxiety as possible in a high value transaction.
We also help corporate clients acquire and display corporate art collections that reflect their company’s values and transform their client facing and work areas.
We are very optimistic about the future. The art market remains a preferred choice for many HNWs who want a safe and reliable asset class, likely to hold its value and at the same time adds beauty and significance to their work and living spaces.
The art market has adapted extremely well to the Coronavirus pandemic, with a seamless shift to online sales, viewings and transactions and we have no reason to believe this onward trend will not continue. With a re-opening of physical art fairs, we predict a bumper 2021-2022 for the art market for those who buy wisely and safely. The art market has inherent risk but with the right advice that can be significantly mitigated.
Founder of ILEX Scientific Ltd and NED for the British Karate Federation Ltd (BKF)
A portfolio career teaches us that good governance applies to all successful businesses.
ILEX Scientific advises the NHS and biotech companies on strategy, risk and regulation and the BKF is responsible for the Olympic selection and performance of the British Karate squads for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games. Two very different organisations but both have learnt during the Covid-19 pandemic that change and sustainability can benefit not only society and the environment but the business as well.
We have found that reducing waste, travel and energy consumption increases profitability and creates a culture of thinking about what we really need to do rather than “it has always been done this way”. At home we are also doing our best to repair, reuse and reclaim and have reduced our energy consumption significantly using sustainable loft insulation. The difficulties of lock down have not all been joyless and hopefully our new found outdoor exercise regime has led to an appreciation for our environment and climate!
Non Executive Director, TBC Bank Group PLC and Shell International Trading and Supply Audit Manager
I am currently responsible for internal audit of Shell’s global Trading and Supply business, also serve as a Non Executive Director of a leading systemic bank in Georgia, TBC Group Bank PLC and am a Company Nominated Trustee of a British Gas Pensions Services Trust.
It’s been a year since the first hard lockdown in the UK, following earlier lockdown in Europe. Businesses found it difficult initially to adjust to “all virtual way of working” however throughout a year, human resilience has demonstrated ability to adjust and become more agile, move to greater digitalisation and become far more customer oriented to ensure business continues to innovate and generates value.
My tip for fruitful recovery is focusing on personal resilience and agility, staying positive as the world eagerly looks to open its boarders and economy. This requires our innovative thinking, to maximize efficiencies we gained over the year. It’s critical we reconnect with our business communities to get re-energised and build partnerships. Our customers have evolved and we need to focus on brining solutions which cater to their needs whilst making positive impact to environment and our society as a whole.
I am the director of CyberI, a cyber security company headquartered in London. We support businesses and individuals by providing solutions to prevent future security breaches, as well as methods to deter potential attacks.
Working with a range of different clients no task is too big or too small, it all comes down to personal requirements, which is why we tailor all of our services per our client’s requests.
There are certain industries that have been positively impacted by the pandemic and we are lucky to be one of them. As the pandemic has forced organisations and individuals to embrace new practices such as remote working, the more prevalent the need is for internet security.
We have been receiving increasing requests to provide safer cyber environment in light of the large-scale transition to digital working and the spike in more sophisticated cyber-attacks, often using COVID-19 as a bait to impersonate brands thereby mislead employees and customers.
Our target for the second half of 2021 is to increase our technical team to accommodate the incoming workflow for a cyber-safe remote working environment.
A tip to be applicable to almost every business is marketing. As more people are present online than ever before, I believe a well-developed marketing strategy will play a crucial role in recovery.
Many of us have taken opportunities in this pandemic, whether by accident or design, to reinvent our businesses and careers for changed times. I’m both a technology marketer and the director of a luxury hair salon, The Drawing Room, in Spitalfields. Tech has flourished in spite or even because of Covid-19, while physical businesses with high street premises have been decimated. I’m fortunate that while my salon business has suffered, my experience in fintech, artificial intelligence, and robotics has been in demand. It’s enabled me to step back from a corporate role in tech and work as a marketing consultant, affording me time and flexibility to develop a new ecommerce business targeting hair industry professionals. The pandemic has been a stark reminder that the future is always uncertain and adaptability is the key to survival. Actions that I might normally have taken to stabilise my distressed business have been impossible, so I’ve been forced to take an entirely new approach. The positive outcomes are a business model that should be resilient and scalable, and a work/life balance that I’ll find more sustainable.
I am Georgia Quenby, a non-executive director at an AIM listed mining company, a partner in a law firm, and a qualified insolvency practitioner. I have a particular interest in corporate governance and the impact of ESG on businesses. I do a lot of work with lenders to financially challenged companies, including in the retail sector.
Learn from the past and build on new found strengths. I think the second half of 2021 will still require repairing a lot of damage from 2020, both economic and emotional. I do believe the fundamental reinvention needed to survive will create opportunities for businesses who take time to recognise the shifts in consumer behaviour. Sustainability, compassion and diversity will be pillars of businesses and communities who can thrive in the new era. Consumers will vote with their feet and enhanced disclosure will mean that investors will do so too.
Collaborative software and technologies will be at the forefront of shifting working patterns between home and office work, but I think it will be more important than ever to allow everyone to have a voice in each team, recognise contributions and to have opportunities for advancement.
Successful directors will navigate frequent changes to help their companies build sustainably for the future.
I spent most of my career working as a Finance Director for Siemens, the German Engineering company, in their Logistics, Healthcare and Energy businesses, across the regions of NW Europe, USA and Latin America.
Following 18 years at Siemens, most recently as Finance Director with Siemens Energy UK and NW Europe, I left the company to concentrate on a portfolio career as a non-executive board director and consultant.
I am passionate about renewable and sustainable energy technology, and contributing to economic development in poorer countries in Africa. The companies I work for as a NED focus on further growth in renewable energy and wider sustainable infrastructure in the UK (Thrive Renewables, Guernsey Electricity, London Energy), and in poorer countries in Africa and Asia (The Private Infrastructure Development Group/Infraco Africa and Oxford Policy Management).
I serve as Chair of the Audit Committee and am also a member of Remuneration, Risk and Nomination Committees.
I look forward to the world slowly coming out of the COVID tunnel over the coming year and seeing economies gradually recover from a very difficult year. I am convinced that the energy transition and the push towards net zero will be one of the key drivers of sustainable economic growth in the UK and globally as we look ahead. The UK Government’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution is a good start. I look forward to working with partners to convert this opportunity into a business reality.