IoD Branch Ambassador Introduction
IoD East of England are pleased to be represented across our vibrant and successful region by IoD Ambassadors who are specialists in their fields. Our IoD Ambassadors are charged with leading in a chosen topic area/function that is their expertise or focus, whilst also promoting the benefits of IoD membership and the CPD route to Chartered Director.
Below you will find an introduction to one of our highly valued Ambassadors who would be pleased to connect with you via Twitter or LinkedIn. Please contact the IoD East of England regional office for more information regarding becoming an IoD Ambassador.
Your name: John Cockburn-Evans
Your title/role and company name: Managing Director (Aspire2BLean Ltd & Team Coaching Boutique Ltd)
Your IoD branch: Suffolk
Your IoD Branch Ambassador roles: Manufacturing, Energy, Transport, Freight, Logistics (and Energy Coast)
Your social media handles: Twitter is at @aspire2blean or LinkedIn here.
Q: How long have you been involved with the IoD?
Two years - one year as a member from my previous corporate life as UK leader for DuPont Sustainable Solutions and one year in the capacity of MD of my own business. I have done thought leadership talks at IoD Cambs, and another for the IoD Advance group in Pall Mall.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career to date?
My career profile is on LinkedIn. In summary I am a process engineer with 30 years’ operational experience in Petrochemicals, Automotive and allied industries, working on process design, operations management, construction, process safety and latterly Lean & Operational Excellence. I have worked for large corporates, on large and small sites. I worked in corporate consultancy for five years in the areas of Operational and Capital Excellence mainly in Eastern Europe. I have combined my operational and consultancy skills /experience to develop my own consulting business, which has been running now for 10 months. As a certified professional coach, I can help organisations with individual and team change combining my coaching skills and consulting knowledge to help others.
I have recently completed some part-time lecturing work on the topic of “Change Management” for eMBA students at the University of Suffolk In Ipswich, which was my opportunity to give something back and thoroughly rewarding.
Q: What do you hope to achieve as an IoD Branch Ambassador?
I would like to raise the profile of the IoD and engage with more businesses, who may so far have not considered the IoD. I would like to get people thinking in the region about how important our infrastructure is to regional business success. I would like to raise the awareness and importance of productivity data such as GVA/FTE, and advise on practical tools to help, as this area has been flat for several years.
Q: If you could give your 21-year-old self some advice what would it be?
Get as much deep and broad business experience as you can, while you have the drive and energy. Intellectual and experiential diversity is critical to personal success. Do not be afraid to ask!
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
I took a two-year sabbatical from motor racing as I was initiating my business. Now the business is doing well, I am now racing again with the iconic Mini 7 Club. Motor racing keeps me agile, focused, and competitive but more important it is a lot of fun, and there is great friendship in the Paddock.
Q: Are there any business related or policy issues that keep you awake at night?
As far as I am concerned having the appropriate road and rail infrastructure is critical to success for the region. I have long held the opinion that central government, should be investing more money in this area to keep us competitive both regionally and as UK plc. I have noted that Liverpool has just invested heavily in a new container port, with the view to enticing traffic away from Felixstowe, knowing that the local infrastructure from our ports to hubs is under capacity.
We need to ignite the passion in our youngsters for interest in science, engineering, business and commerce. This is not just about preaching and providing more money, but it is about extolling the virtues of performance, meritocracy, and rewards for success.
Q: Why do you think business leaders should join the IoD?
The existing breadth and depth of talent in the IoD is tremendous. Every time I read papers, go to meetings, or visit Pall Mall, I get energised by the levels of thought leadership and experience which we need to share more widely. The level of high-end services (marketing, legal, certifications, library) that are provided are not always utilised or communicated directly, which will be a challenge for the leadership and ambassadors. We must get existing members to utilise these more, so they are in a better position to get others to join, and actively increase new members, through events and networking. I believe there are a lot of people who do not understand what the IoD can provide and have a perception that it is all about senior executives and oak-panelled rooms. The networking potential is also large. I have already met three or four potential business partners /collaborators through the IoD.