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. If you would like us to spotlight you and your business please apply here, and we will invite you to contribute.
Finance Director at LifeBook Ltd
Founded in 2012, LifeBook is the world’s leading bespoke memoir and autobiography service. Based in Godalming, Surrey, LifeBook gives elder individuals the chance to tell and document their stories - offering them a stimulating project and a beautiful legacy for their families to cherish.
Like most companies, we have faced huge challenges over the last year, not least in the way stories from our authors are gathered. Pre-pandemic, interviews took place in the homes where the customers live. During COVID-19, we pivoted to virtual interviews via videoconferencing tools, training interviewers and customers, up to 95 years of age, so they could use the required technology. Internally, remote working was also adopted to ensure business flowed while staff followed governmental social-distancing advice.
A return to the pre-COVID world seems unlikely and a “new normal” will emerge as we adapt to operating and living with the virus ever present in the background. We are slowly returning to face to face interviews as that is definitely our customers preferred way of working, but companies should always look to anticipate change as it happens and pivot their business accordingly.
COVID has changed and continues to change consumer behaviour and businesses need to be adaptable, creative and agile in their response to this. The adoption of digital in media consumption and ecommerce has skyrocketed, so if you haven’t already, then migrating your business model to digital first if you can and building a strong online presence is key. With these new lifestyle and shopping realities, it’s wise to consistently analyse how decision making journeys have changed and where and how to engage your customers. Trust in your business is vital, particularly with the multitude of scams and scammers that have emerged online since the start of the pandemic so think about how you can stand out as trustworthy. We’ll see some return to the office, but remote and flexible working is here to stay, and your business should allow it where possible. Staff will be more motivated and it will give you a much wider recruitment pool too.
Sheila Stokes White
As a strategic consultant my main areas of focus currently are mentoring leaders and facilitating group discussions around ways to positively evolve. A leadership professional with over 30 years’ experience I founded an Organisation Development company which delivered transformation initiatives for organisations across the UK. In the process I mentored top leaders, chairs, and entrepreneurs and continue to do so. A strategic adviser to government my expertise includes facilitating the development of shared services across many professional disciplines.
I have been a non-executive director for 18 years including 10 years on the board of an NHS trust where I chaired the Corporate Governance Committee. and am currently on the board of a Hampshire charity. I led a national major project following the Care Act 2015 to develop workforce capacity in health and social care. My book “The Ethics of Work” was published in 2014.
I created and have run a network for members of the IOD for over 10 years and have provided over 200 women with a confidential, peer network to encourage their professional growth and development.
My tips for thriving in future include acknowledging that there is no normal about our world now. It is the constantly new every day. It feels volatile and disruptive, but the empirical evidence is overwhelming that the economy is opening in almost every sector and people are spending money. So do not wait - seize the day and surf this renaissance as those there first will win, even if their products, services, and relationships are not perfect or even excellent, because people want to spend money. Be audacious, innovative and creative.