Skip to main content
Become a member


Ges Ray, IoD member

Ges Ray

Founder, Speaking In Public

“Advance is a trusted peer group, willing to share expertise, experiences, and opportunities for business.”



What was the main challenge you experienced as a business leader before joining the IoD?

"Founding a business, particularly after decades of employed roles, is a challenging landscape. Actually, more of a seascape; pitching & rolling, ducking & diving, cast adrift from the restrictive ropes of employment yet seeking structure because that is what you are used to. Revelling in uncharted waters on the sea of entrepreneurial freedom, whilst looking for a map…"

What have you found as a result of being an IoD member?

"A trusted peer group, willing to share expertise, experiences, and opportunities for business. Having been a member of a number of networking organisations along the journey of building this business, Advance is proving to be the right people, at the right level."

How long have you been a member of the IoD?

"18 months. Having joined the IoD over two years ago, after previously attending the local Surrey Branch monthly breakfast meetings as a non-member, I read the write up on what was then the new IoD Advance Pilot. With experience under the belt by then of networking organisations, Advance ticked the boxes of what I was looking for, so joined as a Founder Member and haven’t looked back since."

What is your favourite thing about being part of the IoD Advance community?

"The opportunity to both participate in, and deliver, Insight Workshops and Webinars. As a Speaker, I’m stating the obvious that this is a fast-track route to being known for your expertise, and so build relationships with your peers based on example and delivery, not just words on a website. The caveat is the word relationships; this is about building trust over time, attending events regularly. To again state the obvious, you get out what you put in."


“By meeting the right people in the right places, whether physically (London, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds) or virtually both on the Advance App and LinkedIn. These connections have led, and will continue to lead, to business written and collaboration projects.”


What are three other benefits you’ve enjoyed as a result of being a member?

"1) Use of IoD venues and Regus BusinessWorld. I live a commuting distance outside of London, so travel has to be planned. Setting up meetings for clients and contacts on the day of an Advance event is an efficient use of time, and the venue is always appreciated by guests, a steady stream of whom have now joined the IoD!

Travel is an essential part of my business, which is building your confidence in Public Speaking. I do work internationally via FaceTime & Skype, but will always enjoy meeting people and delivering workshops in person. Having a network of Business Lounges available makes the experience far more comfortable, far more civilised."

2) Advance App for diary planning & booking workshops, with discounts on major events, such as the Annual Conference. This was not only an informative, worthwhile networking event but also led to an opportunity for interesting new business fructifying later this year.

3) IoD research and business support services, of which I have still only scratched the surface…"

How does being a member of the IoD help you succeed in your career?

"By meeting the right people in the right places, whether physically (London, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds) or virtually both on the Advance App and LinkedIn. These connections have led, and will continue to lead, to business written and collaboration projects."


“Having been a member of a number of networking organisations along the journey of building this business, Advance is proving to be the right people, at the right level.”


How has the IoD changed for the better?

"I recall visiting the IoD some years ago as a guest in a previous life, coming away with a feeling of a stuffy organisation of rules & suits. OK, so business dress is still appropriate, but the feeling now is of a vibrant organisation with people that want to share knowledge and do business –certainly in Advance! The facilities and benefits give other business networking organisations a good run for their money."

What does being a business leader mean to you?

"Having the confidence of knowing that you have a world class offering, that you are welcomed in the door of – and can make a difference to – the organisations you work with, and can communicate with people at every touchpoint in the business from C-Suite to Intern.

‘Social Proof’ is a key part of building the confidence to deliver at this level; for me, the rapport & feedback from the IoD Advance community sits alongside such elements as LinkedIn recommendations in building that confidence."

What would you say to anyone considering becoming a member and would you recommend it?

"Are you comfortable with putting in the effort to build relationships and trust with your Advance colleagues? Is this part of your philosophy and business model? If so, then IoD Advance is highly recommended; delighted to join you for a coffee to discuss…"

If you could give one piece of advice to fellow directors, what would it be and why?

“It’s not about me, it’s about you”. I’m sure we’ve all been to events where a card is thrust in your hands from someone who believes Pareto’s Law is them talking 80% of the time about their business, and 20% is you signing up. Or the Speakers that focus on themselves and their achievements & credentials rather than on the needs of their audience. Take the time to have a comfortable coffee conversation, build personal understanding, build trust, build a relationship – and use a CRM system to maintain it."