Meet Natalie Gasson, IoD East Midlands Ambassador for Policy Voice
Q: How long have you been involved with the IoD?
Since 2010, so a decade! I was introduced to the IoD when I first met Ron Lynch at a business meeting. I was there representing another business organisation. Over the years I have worked with Ron and others to represent the voice of business.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career to date?
As Head of Operations, I am responsible for coordinating all aspects of governance and compliance at the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, which supports and encourages economic growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. In November 2019, I was appointed to Nottingham Playhouse’s Board of Trustees. I’ve been described as ‘a well-known face on the local business scene’, having spent more than eight years as Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. I began my career in local business support in 2008, as Corporate Marketing Officer for the East Midlands Development Agency and have served as the Midlands Engine Business Forum Chair and the Midlands Engine Strategic Lead for Government’s Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Q: What do you hope to achieve as an IoD Ambassador?
I want to develop an effective platform to give as many local business leaders as possible a voice. Cultivating voices from a wide and diverse pool is critically important if the IoD is to be authentic, constructive and effective. As business leaders we have a responsibility to give direction, make decisions and share information. As such, it is important to consider that we don’t necessarily have all of the answers, by working collaboratively and sharing ideas we can often come up with better solutions. I’d like East Midlands business leaders to feel that any contribution to our local policy voice is better than none.
Q: If you could give your 21 year old self some advice what would it be?
At 21 I often felt as though I should get everything right first time, so I’d tell myself ‘You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.’ Whilst I wish they were my words they are Maya Angelou’s. I firmly believe we should invest more time in building resilience in people and businesses.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
Keeping my nine-year old daughter Evie entertained and home-schooled mostly. I’m also planning my wedding to my fiancé Matthew for the second time. Due to the current lockdown measures we’ve had to postpone our May wedding to October, so I’m busy liaising with suppliers and crossing my fingers that it will take place. I’m also a keen wine enthusiast, so I’m spending time brushing up on my wine knowledge with Notts and Derbys Wine School before I start my Level 3 Qualification later in the year.
Q: Are there any business related or policy issues that keep you awake at night?
Apart from the obvious coronavirus and Brexit issues, I do worry that boardrooms still aren’t diverse enough. There are exceptionally talented people from all walks of life and I’d like to see boardrooms reflect this more.
Q: Why do you think business leaders should join the IoD?
Shaping the environment in which your business operates is incredibly important, by joining the IoD, business leaders have a route to shape and influence local and national policy.
Natalie is holding monthly Policy Voice round tables. To find out more and book on click Here