How She Did It: Top Leadership Tips From Louise Doyle

Hear from our Regional Finalist Louise Doyle, Director & Co-founder of mesma Ltd, long-standing Chair for a number of schools, Governor at Northumberland College and Education Partnership North East.

Louise is driven by improving education standards for children and adults, both in her day job working with schools, colleges and universities and the voluntary work she makes time for.

1. How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? 
‘Pursue’ implies setting up the businesses was more of a conscious effort than the reality! What I absolutely have pursued is 1) working in and around education 2) working for myself. The first, because high-quality education matters throughout the world, for all ages and I want to be a part in making the ‘high quality’ happen. The second, because I was a bit of a pain as an employee. I like to shake things up, step outside the rules on occasion and push for change. My good bosses encouraged this, the not so good ones didn’t. I found it better to remove the risk I’d have to work for the latter.
2. What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader in your organisation? 
The decisions we make in our business on a day to day basis can have significant ramifications for our clients, all of whom are either schools, colleges, training providers, universities or government departments. We treat decisions with the care and attention they deserve as a result of this; upgrades to the software platform, the way we construct consultancy assignments, how to deliver difficult messages to senior leaders about the quality of the education they provide.
3. What is most important to you and your organisation – mission, vision, or core values? Why? 
Without doubt, it is our core values that matter most: integrity, well informed, connected, innovative, teamwork. It comes back to my earlier point about the reason why I do what I do; it isn’t about making the most money, employing the most people or grabbing the most headlines. It’s about supporting education experts to keep getting better and better at what they do. To do that successfully our clients must trust that we always have their back; even when the mirror we hold up to what they do can be difficult to look in to.
4. What advice would you give a new employee going into a leadership position for the first time? 
If you think you’re the person who needs to know the most, do the most and be the loudest voice you will fail. To be successful, spend most of your time listening, encourage your team to have a voice, recognise their expertise and understand very quickly who needs support to develop or move into a more suitable role.
5. What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continues as a leader? 
I read a lot to achieve the ‘well informed’ value we hold. I’m expected to be at least one step ahead of our clients in understanding the complex education landscape. I actively use social media as a tool to develop my knowledge in our sector and as a leader; an hour invested in the right way on LinkedIn or Twitter can be the best CPD you’ll ever have.
I’m also chair of two primary schools and a governor with a large college group. These positions are rewarding, challenging and help me to engage with other leaders from who I learn a great deal about how they approach their daily challenges.
6. On average, how much sleep do you get each night? Is it enough?
About 7 hours. I’m not into this nonsense of getting hardly any sleep to prove yourself as an entrepreneur. I’ve also been reading Matthew Walker’s book ‘Why we sleep’. I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t think a decent amount of sleep is needed to function effectively.
7. What was the last business or personal development book you read (or are reading at the moment)? 
I’ve recently listened to The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries. I’ve read it on numerous occasions but find I hear different things when I listen to the author’s voice. It’s a useful book, whatever stage your business is at.

This is a very exciting time of the year here at FL as we celebrate the UK’s most phenomenal female leaders and male agents of change! Find out who made the FL National Awards & Summit shortlist this year and join us for the biggest, brightest and most diverse celebration your region has ever seen. BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE 

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