Scottish Business Network

Fraser Allen from Fraser Allen Communications

As a journalist and member of the Scottish Business Network, I was keen to start a fortnightly podcast interviewing the big personalities of the Scottish business world. Dip in - you'll hear from some amazing people! Available on Apple Music, Spotify and all the main podcast platforms. If you like what you hear, simply search for 'Scottish Business Network' on your preferred podcast provider and subscribe. Thank you.

All Episodes

When Todd Walker was appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of the Highlands and Islands in February 2021, he started the role in the strangest of circumstances. Based in Australia, lockdown prevented his relocation to Inverness, so he spent several months leading the university from a desk at his home on the other side of the world, having to cope with the huge time difference. But Todd is now in situ and very much enjoying the challenge of developing this young and ambitious university that has campuses scattered across an area the size of Belgium. I was delighted to interview Todd in front of a live audience on 2 November 2021 as part of Scottish International Week. Todd tells the story of his career with great thoughtfulness and humour, and it’s a really good listen. If you enjoyed this episode, why not subscribe to the series? Simply search for Scottish Business Network on Apple Music, Spotify or the podcast platform of your choice.

Nov 25

44 min 2 sec

Building on a highly successful business career, Aberdeenshire-born Jackie Waring founded Investing Women, a Scottish community of women angel investors, women entrepreneurs seeking growth, and those who want to help both. Scott Dalgleish takes over the reins from Fraser Allen in interviewing Jackie for this fascinating episode, exploring the unexpected growth in angel investment during the pandemic crisis and the powerful role that woman are playing in the growth of the Scottish economy.

Nov 10

52 min 47 sec

To mark the opening of Scottish International Week on 2 November 2021, Fraser Allen considers the global Scottish diaspora and interviews a fine example of this inquisitive and adventurous breed. When Argyll-bred Caroline Finkel first visited Turkey as a student in 1971, she fell in love with the country and has spent much of her life since then living in Istanbul, developing a career as a leading Ottoman historian. We discover how this happened, her horror at the environmental catastrophe unfolding in parts of Turkey and how her relationship with Scotland has changed and strengthened over the years. Recorded on 15 October 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Oct 27

23 min 51 sec

Aberdonian Iain Anderson began his career working as a journalist for the Courier and the Herald before becoming a founding shareholder of Incisive Media, a B2B publishing company that has evolved into digital media and events. It was a wise move as his shareholding grew considerably due to a subsequent sale and flotation. That enabled him to found Cicero Group, which rapidly established a reputation as the market leader in financial sector lobbying. As a result he and his team have helped numerous big blue chip clients navigate change – and major events such as the global banking crisis, the Scottish independence referendum, Brexit and, of course, the pandemic crisis. He has also been an advisor to Kenneth Clarke MP, is a non-executive director of St Andrews University and, shortly before our interview, was unveiled as the Government’s first ever LGBT Champion. As you’d expect from a masterful communicator, Iain is wonderful to listen to as he explores some of the milestones in his career and explains why he’s watched All The President’s Men 30 times. The interview was recorded on 21 September 2021, at the first ever Scottish Business Network hybrid event, comprising myself and Iain with an online audience, brought together with two physical audiences in Glasgow and London. www.allencomms.co.uk

Sep 29

31 min 46 sec

Honorary Scot Liz Barclay has a long history of campaigning for consumer justice and financial inclusion through her days at Citizens Advice, a distinguished career as a journalist and BBC Radio 4 presenter, and her seat on the Financial Inclusion Commission. Then in July 2021, Liz was revealed as the new UK Small Business Commissioner. The commission is an independent body set up by the UK Government to support SMEs by tackling the late payment practices of all too many big businesses. It's a huge problem for many smaller companies, with levels of late payment across the UK now totalling around £50bn. Liz Barclay is the perfect person to listen to on this topic, and a highly entertaining interviewee too. We also hear about her brushes with Duncan Bannatyne and Philip Green, her colourful Scottish connections and her truly extraordinary lockdown project. For the first time in 19 months, this Scottish Business Network podcast interview was recorded in front of an audience of real people in an actual room. It took place at London Scottish House on 7 September 2021, with Christine Esson expertly taking the interviewer's seat. www.allencomms.co.uk

Sep 15

41 min 54 sec

In 2012, a 21-year-old Aberdeen University student called Blair Bowman created a global celebration called World Whisky Day. Hundreds of thousands of people got involved, and the initiative continues to flourish. Meanwhile Blair has gone on to establish himself as one of the UK’s leading writers, experts and consultants on whisky. As we begin an occasional series of episodes exploring key sectors of the Scottish economy, who better to give us a fascinating overview of the state of play of the Scotch whisky industry. Slàinte! Interview recorded on 24 August 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Aug 25

30 min 2 sec

It’s often been said that, here in Scotland, we underestimate just what a wonderful place this is to live and work in – particularly compared to many people looking on admiringly from overseas. Take the fintech entrepreneur Gopal Hariharan. He was so impressed by the Scottish business eco system that he moved his Black Arrow app start-up from Sydney to Glasgow. Furthermore, he and his wife have moved to Glasgow too, attracted by the culture, the scenery of the Highlands and – get this – the weather! Their only complaint so far has been the unusual warmth of this year's summer. A self-confessed maths geek as a child, Gopal was born to be a problem solver and has built a very successful career on understanding the full spectrum of money trails and fintech architecture. He’s a charming and thoughtful listen, and I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, which was recorded on 20 July 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Aug 4

22 min 29 sec

Growing up on a Californian farm, Eric McAfee’s horizons were broadened by global travel, including extensive tours playing trumpet in a band. Yet running parallel to this, he and his brothers started a business at an early age called McAfee Farms managing agricultural properties. And at the tender age of 23, while he was still at college, Eric was part of a trio that staged a leveraged buyout of a $20m business. He’s never looked back and Eric very quickly established himself as a highly successful venture capitalist. Yet money is not the main motivation. Eric is driven by a desire to create a legacy of businesses that deliver significant global benefits through renewable energy solutions. Hearing him talk openly about this motivation and his approach to venture capital is fascinating. Eric is a great example of the powerful contributions being made by the Scottish diaspora across the world – and he also discusses his family connections with auld country and the isle of Colonsay. Interview recorded on 15 July 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Jul 21

51 min 31 sec

We now hear the phrase ‘mental health’ in the media just about every day, but it wasn’t always that way. People – and businesses – have become far more comfortable discussing issues such as stress, anxiety and depression – even more so in the wake of the pandemic crisis. And while a lot of people are understandably keen to throw themselves back into a more normal way of life, others are feeling anxious about emerging from lockdown. Who better to speak to then than Fiona McKinnon, co-founder of The Moment Company? Fi built up a highly successful global career in digital media and marketing before the crazy hours and endless long-haul flights caught up with her and she decided to re-boot her life. This ultimately led her to get together with kindred spirits Alex Strang and Charlie Cadbury to launch The Moment Company and their 'mental fitness product' the Moment Pebble. I asked Fi to provide some advice for anyone who might be struggling with lockdown-related anxiety. She offered some great practical tips and tells the story of her life and career to date beautifully. Well worth a listen. Interview by Fraser Allen on 26 May 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Jun 3

39 min 30 sec

David Brown may well be Scotland's most successful fintech entrepreneur. However, in a Glasgow accent undimmed by many years of living in London and the Middle East, he self-deprecatingly describes himself as a 'lunatic'. Well, if that's the case, he’s the lunatic behind the hugely successful Oxygen Finance and now Hi55 Ventures, which is revolutionising payroll for the benefit of employees and employers. And all of his start-ups have a strong social enterprise element inspired by the sense of community he appreciates from his upbringing in Drumchapel. In this fascinating interview, David also tells us about his business adventures in Saudi Arabia, and his early days as a music and fashion promoter in Glasgow, hanging out with the likes of Spencer Railton, Craig Ferguson and his old schoolmates Wet Wet Wet. He also explains the importance in life of 'jumping on the bus'. This interview with Fraser Allen was recorded in front of a live Scottish Business Network audience on Zoom on 19 May 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

May 19

32 min 4 sec

Dr Marie Macklin is on a mission. As the driving force behind the ambitious regeneration of the old Johnnie Walker bottling plant in her home town of Kilmarnock, Marie has developed a new model for creating vibrant communities for the benefit of everyone – and it’s a model she’s set on taking well beyond Scotland. The founder of HALO Urban Regeneration is a hugely energetic and charismatic businesswoman, but success has not always come easily to her, having struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia and almost losing her life in her twenties through endometriosis. Yet, inspired by caravan holidays in Aberdeen, the music of the Simple Minds, and a pair of black killer heels that she spray-painted gold, Marie has a great story, and it's beautifully told. Interviewed by Fraser Allen in front of a live audience on Zoom on 27 April 2021. Subscribe to the series by searching for 'Scottish Business Network' on Apple Music, Spotify or the podcast platform of your choice. www.allencomms.co.uk

May 5

33 min 9 sec

In this special episode, entrepreneur and Scottish Business Network co-founder Russell Dalgleish quizzes podcast host Fraser Allen about seven key leadership insights that he's gathered from interviewing 60+ Scottish business leaders in the series to date. Recorded in front of a live audience as part of the Scottish Business Network's celebration of Tartan Day.

Apr 21

38 min 26 sec

For rugby fans of a certain age, the abiding memory of David Sole is of the Scottish captain leading the team out for the 1990 Grand Slam triumph against England. Yet as well as an outstanding rugby career, that also encompassed a World Cup semi-final and a victorious Lions tour of Australia, David has built a highly successful business career. He is now Managing Partner of The School For CEOs, a senior coaching business that he set up with Patrick Macdonald, recently appointed Chair of the Institute of Directors. In this extended episode, David shares insights into his rugby and business experiences, including the importance of humility and emotional intelligence in our leaders. We also hear about his recent adventure in the world of rearing chickens, why his Grand Slam celebrations were cut short and how, for a period at Diageo, he was the biggest buyer of alcohol in the world. David was interviewed by Fraser Allen on 30 March 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Apr 7

55 min 3 sec

At the age of just 23, Louise Worrall was a navigator in the Royal Navy, guiding a minehunter around the globe. It was her dream job. But just a year so later, her naval career was cut short by Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Previously undiagnosed in Louise, the effects of this disability rapidly escalated before she knew what was happening to her. Louise’s story about the impact this had on her, and how she now approaches life in a new role as a financial advisor is – and for once the word is justified – inspirational. Louise was interviewed by Fraser Allen in front of a live Scottish Business Network audience on Zoom on March 16 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Mar 24

35 min 22 sec

When Clare Wareing was growing up in Yorkshire, one of her friends lost her father to cancer at a very early age. The experience had a big impact on Clare and, when her grandfather was later diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, she promised him that she would devote her life to cancer research. And that is exactly what she has done – while also proving to be an astute entrepreneur. Having founded and developed the research business Nexus Oncology, and steering it through two acquisitions, Clare dabbled with early retirement. But it didn’t suit her and, in 2017 she launched Cumulus Oncology – a ‘hub and spoke’ business with a plan to launch a minimum of five spin-out companies within the next three years, all with the continued theme of fighting cancer. Clare, who made Scotland her home after studying for her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, also reveals the influence of Jacques Cousteau, a rare talent for extreme flat-pack furniture assembly and her love for the music of Two Tone Records. Recorded on 26 February 2021.

Mar 10

34 min 39 sec

When British long-distance runner Mo Farah won his four Olympic gold medals, a key part of the team driving him forward was a Scotsman. Barry Fudge grew up in Fort William, obsessed with sport and with an increasing interest in the science behind it. This would ultimately lead him to the role of Head of Endurance at British Athletics, and those celebrated years with Mo. Barry is now applying his knowledge of performance to business, and he's a fascinating man to listen to. This interview was recorded live at a Scottish Business Network event via Zoom on 16 February 2021. Mo Farah pictured in Edinburgh (Image by Terry Murden/Daily Business) www.allencomms.co.uk

Feb 24

22 min 15 sec

Martin Perry was born with one leg and both of his hands missing. He’s now a world-class table tennis player who says his disability is one of the best things that have ever happened to him. Yet despite these extraordinary facts and his hugely charismatic personality, Martin has always seen himself simply as a normal guy – one of four competitive brothers who loved the rough and tumble of sports from an early age. Martin’s story is funny, heart-warming and astonishing in terms of his sporting achievements to date. And it’s a story that will run and run, as he trains for the Tokyo Paralympic Games and beyond. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 9 February 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Feb 10

37 min 55 sec

When Dame Laura Lee left the Peterhead area at the age of 16 to begin her career as a nurse in Edinburgh, she could never have imagined that she would one day be the CEO of a major charity operating around the world, and having a hugely positive impact on the experiences of cancer patients and those close to them. Yet, after nursing Maggie Jencks, a writer, gardener and designer who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, Laura was inspired by Maggie’s vision of creating beautifully designed spaces close to hospitals for cancer patients and their family and friends to take time out to chat, relax and seek advice. Sadly Maggie died, but not before installing Laura to take Maggie’s Centres forward – a challenge that she has met, and continues to meet in the COVID-19 era, with wisdom and determination. This interview was recorded in front of a live Scottish Business Network audience on Zoom on 19 January 2020.

Jan 27

29 min

Any Scottish football fan of a certain age will remember the thrill of seeing Scotland line up against Brazil for the opening match of the World Cup Finals in Paris almost 23 years ago. Craig Brown was a key figure in a golden period for Scottish football, and a coach who was in many ways ahead of his time in the thoughtful way that he approached the game and led the players. And despite the steely resilience required of a manager steering a national team through ups and downs, Craig also has a well-deserved reputation for being one of Scottish sport’s stand-out good guys. He also has a fund of great anecdotes! In this special extra episode of the podcast, Craig is interviewed by Russell Dalgleish, Chairman of the Scottish Business Network

Jan 20

44 min 32 sec

Alison Walker was the first woman to report live on a football match for the BBC. That’s a significant moment looking back but it didn’t feel like it at the time for Alison – she was too busy focusing on doing a good job while navigating the hostilities of the male-dominated media pack. However, this achievement heralded an outstanding career in sports broadcasting that has included covering seven Olympic Games and compering the Commonwealth Games athletics events at Hampden Park in 2014. A self-confessed Hamilton Accies fan, Alison tells the story of her career with great humour and some wonderful anecdotes. But she also discusses why she is campaigning for close relatives to be able to visit their family members in care homes – her parents suffer from dementia and she hasn’t been able to give them a hug for 10 months. We also close with a song that Alison has co-written as part of the campaign. Recorded on 11 January 2021. www.allencomms.co.uk

Jan 13

45 min 4 sec

Claire Alexander swam for Scotland as a teenager before a life-threatening car crash wrecked her hopes of competing at the Commonwealth Games and London Olympics. After recovering, and playing football to a decent level, she travelled to South Africa and decided to make her life there. Her first job was washing dishes in a kitchen but she went on to establish Firecracker, one of South Africa’s leading events and marketing businesses, and has since created the Africa Scotland Business Network, forging links between the African continent and her homeland. Claire is a sparky, charismatic woman, brimming with energy, which really comes through in a fascinating interview. And that's not all in this episode, our last of the year. We also hear from Scottish Business Network ambassadors around the world reflecting on 2020, and finish off with a lovely performance of In The Bleak Midwinter by Chris Tolley.

Dec 2020

42 min 28 sec

Peter Proud fizzes with energy and passion for his business and his people. It’s not hard to imagine the young boy growing up on a council scheme in Dunfermline who would set off on a four-hour milk round every morning before school. Peter won an apprenticeship with Marconi and then a scholarship to Sandhurst. Then, after leaving the army, he embarked on a career with IBM, Microsoft and Accenture before launching his own business, Forrit, to launch a content management system that he was convinced had a big future. Seven years on, the business is thriving, with clients includingTesco Bank and Lloyds of London. Hear Peter's story in this interview recorded on Zoom on 17 November in front of a live international audience of business people brought together by the Scottish Business Network. www.allencomms.co.uk

Dec 2020

36 min 3 sec

This time last year, Ruby Sweeney was busy running a successful events business called The Events Hub. Then COVID-19 arrived and the events industry was thrown into disarray. After taking stock, Ruby challenged herself to lead the way in online events management. She believes that, post-pandemic crisis, the future will lie in hybrid events and, despite the difficulties of the last eight months, she is more positive than ever about her business. Ruby tells us about her career to date and offers advice for getting the best out of your digital events. www.allencomms.co.uk

Nov 2020

25 min 57 sec

As a boy growing up in Edinburgh, Chris Tolley liked nothing more than a quiet evening in reading Mozart sheet music. Music was his destiny and, after university, he landed a job with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, rapidly progressing from photocopying sheet music to taking the lead on extraordinary events such as the Concert for Diana. Then, after a spell at Radio Two running am ambitious opera competition with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, he moved into writing music for TV and film. You may not know his name, but you will almost certainly have heard his music. A thoughtful, articulate and funny man, Chris discusses his family, life during lockdown and the power of audio branding – as well as a giving us a sneak preview of a track from his forthcoming album.

Oct 2020

46 min 4 sec

Nadeem Sarwar, the founder of Scotland-based digital pharmacy Phlo, explains the extraordinary growth of his business, accelerated further by the impact of the pandemic crisis. Nadeem explains why this will continue to be a significant growth area, and how Phlo is seeking to build on it with a crowdfunding campaign launched on 12 October 2020 (lasting for 30 days). This is is the first episode in a new mini-series, in which we take ten minutes out to look at a business with a great future – the ones to watch.

Oct 2020

10 min 41 sec

Growing up in the Peak District and then the Sidlaw Hills, Simon Milne developed a passion for nature, conservation and the great outdoors at an early age. Discouraged from a career in conservation by his school, he embraced a long and rewarding career in the Royal Marines. However, after being invalided out, he returned to his first love and is now Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. This fascinating interview with Fraser Allen was recorded on Zoom in front a large global audience at one of the Scottish Business Network’s autumn series events.

Oct 2020

23 min 18 sec

Is there still a place for clans in modern Scotland? Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston certainly believes so. She is Chief of Clan Hunter, and argues that clans have a key role to play in drawing the Scottish diaspora back to the old country, and helping to create business opportunities. And for her part, she’s highly active in pulling together Hunter clan members from all over the world to celebrate their shared culture – and historic home of Hunterston Castle. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 17 September 2020.

Sep 2020

26 min 15 sec

In 1999, Poonam Malik arrived in Scotland from India with two suitcases, £35 and a British Council scholarship to Glasgow University. 21 years on, she is an extraordinarily well connected scientist, academic, businesswoman, investor, consultant and mentor – and a passionate advocate for social enterprise and encouraging diversity everywhere from business start-ups to the boardroom. And all this carried with a grounded sense of humility – and a great sense of humour. The word ‘inspirational’ is over-used, but it truly applies to Poonam. Enjoy hearing her story in this special 50th episode of the series. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 8 September 2020. www.allencomms.co.uk

Sep 2020

45 min 1 sec

Ian M Houston is a dual US/UK citizen, with a strong Scottish heritage, who knows the political world of Washington DC inside out. He has wandered the corridors of power, advising and lobbying, with a mission to create opportunities for the disadvantaged. In this extended episode, Ian talks us through his journey from academia to enterprise, the challenges for diplomats under current US foreign policy, and why he’s a big fan of Scotland’s women’s football team. A published poet, he also reads from his new collection. Earlier this year, Ian was appointed as Scottish Business Network Ambassador to Washington DC. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 5 August 2020.

Aug 2020

1 hr

A long career in corporate banking gave Graham McWilliam a taste for branching out on his own. And after a couple of successful entrepreneurial adventures, followed by further spells at RBS and Clydesdale, he took over the reins of a very unusual business. Glencraft is an Aberdeen-based social enterprise founded in 1843 to provide dignity to the disadvantaged through work. The company had specialised in making mattresses for the oil industry but when Graham took over, the price of oil had plummeted, orders had dried up and the business was in trouble. Graham, however, saw an opportunity. Glencraft had a Royal Warrant and a wealth of expertise – and Graham has since transformed the business into a serious player in the international luxury mattress market. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 3 August 2020. www.allencomms.co.uk

Aug 2020

36 min 3 sec

When the pandemic crisis arrived, lots of people talked about 'pivoting' or starting a new business but Hassan Peymani went further, springing into action with a new venture. Concerned at the problems he encountered getting hold of face masks for his at-risk father and pregnant wife, Edinburgh-based Hass launched his own business to supply high-quality masks at a fair price without disrupting PPE supplies to the health service and with a percentage of sales going to NHS-related charities. It’s great story – as is his background as a self-confessed obsessive who previously immersed himself in the worlds of poker and TV before becoming established as a successful tech entrepreneur. In recent years, Hass and his wife have also had to overcome massive personal challenges which makes it all the more pleasing to see him embrace this new venture with his typical enthusiasm, single-mindedness and good humour. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 22 July 2020. www.allencomms.co.uk

Jul 2020

36 min 39 sec

What a transformation we've seen in 2020 as organisations embrace the benefits of remote working. And as business leaders recalibrate to seek new opportunities post COVID-19, the broader issue of flexible working is likely to be high on many people's agenda. Step forward then Lisa Gallagher and Nikki Slowey, founders of Flexibility Works, which is part-funded by the Scottish Government and the Tom Hunter Foundation. Nikki and Lisa are helping organisations in Scotland to identify the benefits of flexible working and how to maximise value for both employers and employees. Interviewed recorded by Fraser Allen on Friday 10 July 2020. www.allencomms.co.uk

Jul 2020

34 min 19 sec

After growing up in Glasgow, Mark Bamforth spent spells working in the oil and whisky industries before embarking on an outstanding career as a biotech entrepreneur in the United States, where he has been based for many years. Mark talks through his career, and also shares his thoughts on Scottish innovation, the impact of COVID-19 and the way business needs to respond to the BlackLivesMatter protests. This interview by Fraser Allen was recorded on Zoom for a global audience of 90 business people at the online Scottish Business Network gathering on the 23rd June 2020. If you enjoy this episode, why not explore the archive? We have a wealth of fascinating interviews with big personalities from the world of Scottish business – you can subscribe to the Scottish Business Network podcast on iTunes, Spotify and numerous other providers.

Jul 2020

34 min 27 sec

After an idyllic early childhood in New Zealand, Sara Roberts endured severe bullying when she returned to the UK, leading her to leave school at the age of just 14. That experience inspired her to succeed on her own terms, launch several businesses and thrive on her own self-reliance and resilience. Sara is now the entrepreneur behind Healthy Nibbles, providing healthy vending machines and snack boxes for the workplace and public spaces. I interviewed her on 16 June 2020.

Jun 2020

24 min 13 sec

Mel Young is one of Scotland’s greatest social entrepreneurs, responsible for establishing the Big Issue and founding the Homeless World Cup. And as well has having a hugely positive impact on the lives of the disadvantaged in Scotland, he has demonstrated considerable business acumen and leadership skills. Mel talks us through his career, the ways in which he would like to see charities and businesses learning from each other, and his new venture to discover a better way forward for society. This interview was recorded on Zoom in front of a global audience of Scottish business people as part of the online Scottish Business Network gathering in May 2020. www.allencomms.co.uk

Jun 2020

34 min 7 sec

Despite only turning 30 this year, Edinburgh-based Mollie Hughes has climbed to the summit of Mount Everest not one but twice. And in January this year, she became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, No wonder she's now making such a big impact as a motivational speaker. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 18 May 2020. [For enquiries to book Mollie as a speaker, visit www.speakerbuzz.co.uk]

May 2020

31 min 12 sec

Hailing from an Italian/Scottish family in Ayrshire, Michael Mancini could have got involved in the family ice cream business but, from an early age, he had a passion for woodworking and furniture design. His company, 1718, now creates outstanding furniture for clients across the world. Here he tells the story of his career to date. Recorded pre-lockdown, in Glasgow, February 2020.

May 2020

17 min 24 sec

Fraser Allen interviews Alasdair McKinnon (CEO of the Scottish Investment Trust), Ellen Wong (Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Edinburgh and Adam Hunter (Chief Commercial Officer of the online pharmaceutical delivery service PHLO). All three share their experiences of managing their way through the COVID-19 crisis and the lessons they have learned to date.

Apr 2020

33 min 55 sec

Kicking off a new format for the podcast series, Fraser Allen interviews three personalities from the Scottish business world about the way the coronavirus crisis is affecting them, how they are managing the situation and what they have learnt from the experience so far. It's a truly international episode. We speak to Tom Simpson from the China-British Business Council in Beijing; Becky Woodhouse, the CEO of Pure Spa and Beauty, who is battling to manage her business while stranded in Thailand; and Scottish singer Ainsley Hamill, who also brings some wonderful music to this episode.

Apr 2020

49 min 38 sec

As well as many other endurance feats, Mark Beaumont has cycled around the globe twice, breaking the world record both times – a record he still holds today. Yet few realise that Mark is as comfortable in a business suit as he is in cycling Lycra. His experience in defining a venture, developing the finance, building the team and then successfully marketing the concept has led to a portfolio of activity supporting Scotland’s start-up ecosystem. Interviewed by Fraser Allen. www.allencomms.co.uk

Mar 2020

40 min 37 sec

There are two luxuries that John Newlands won't do without: dry cleaning and a good lunch. It therefore seemed only appropriate to convene over the latter to discuss his wonderfully colourful career in banking, commodities and investments. From an Edinburgh upbringing to a career in the City of London, via Brazil and Cuba (including a bold dinner-table challenge to the late Fidel Castro over the calibre of his locally distilled 'whisky'), John's story is a wonderful listen. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at Silk & Grain, City of London.

Mar 2020

32 min 38 sec

Brian Duffy describes his Glasgow childhood as a tour of the city’s housing schemes – which is quite a stretch from his current role as CEO of the luxury brand Watches of Switzerland. The story of how he got there, which includes launching the Playtex Wonderbra in the UK, working with Ralph Lauren and serving as a director with his beloved Celtic FC, is highly entertaining and full of unassuming but hard-earned wisdom. Podcast interview and and production by Fraser Allen of www.allencomms.co.uk, in association with the Scottish Business Network. All rights reserved.

Feb 2020

46 min 21 sec

The tables are turned in this episode as podcast host Fraser Allen is himself interviewed – by Sue Stockdale, host of the Access To Inspiration podcast. Fraser discusses the sale of his agency, White Light Media, his career to date (via selling magazines in the playground and narrowly avoiding jail in Turkey), plus observations on the world of marketing.

Feb 2020

27 min 27 sec

Norman Jackson is a chartered accountant who travelled the world working in the oil industry, going on to help many SMEs with strategic planning and corporate finance, and holding several non-exec director roles – including one for the past 11 years with London Scottish rugby club. To mark the start of rugby's Six Nations Championship, Norman offers us valuable and entertaining parallels between the worlds of sport and business. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at Maggie’s Centre, St Bart’s Hospital, London.

Jan 2020

28 min 5 sec

Before we kick off our regular series of in-depth podcast interviews for 2020, we speak to Russell Dalgleish about the exciting plans he and Scottish Business Network co-founder Christine Esson have for the year ahead. Interviewed by Fraser Allen over a rather unpredictable Skype line.

Jan 2020

11 min 8 sec

Ross Mickel hails from one of the great Scottish housebuilding dynasties, McTaggart & Mickel, which has built thousands of homes in Scotland and beyond since 1925 – although its origins actually go back to Victorian times. The company has also made a significant mark on the architectural and cultural landscape of Glasgow having been responsible for building many of the much-loved tenements in the West End. What's it like being born into a big family business, while having to ensure it adapts to the times? Ross Mickel reveals all with great humour and insights. Interviewed by Fraser Allen in front of a live audience at the Maggie's Centre at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. www.allencomms.co.uk

Dec 2019

33 min 24 sec

Sue Stockdale left school at 16 to join British Gas, and quickly climbed her way upwards – whilst also representing Scotland in athletics. An expedition to Kenya with Operation Rayleigh then proved a tipping point which led to further adventures, such as skiing to the North Pole and competing in Channel 4's Superhuman contest. These rich experiences – as well as building and then selling her own business – enable her to help people achieve more than they think they are capable. So strap on your boots and eat your greens - we're going on an adventure. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at London Scottish House in Westminster. www.allencomms.co.uk

Dec 2019

33 min 5 sec

Rosemary McGinness is Chief People Officer at the Weir Group in Glasgow, overseeing 15,000 employees across 50 countries. Recently named by the Financial Times as one of the 100 most influential women in Engineering sector, she has built a highly impressive career around the world, making her way to the Weir Group via the likes of Rocco Forte and William Grant, Rosemary was interviewed by Fraser Allen at the Weir Group's headquarters in Glasgow. www.allencomms.co.uk

Nov 2019

32 min 34 sec

Ivan McKee describes his ministerial role as that of 'Sales Director for Scotland' and combines his passion for Scotland's potential with the acumen of a highly successful businessman who knows a good MBO opportunity when he sees it. In this interview, he gives a rare insight into his business career, his adventures around the world and why he believes Scotland can thrive as an independent nation. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at the Scottish Parliament. www.allencomms.co.uk

Nov 2019

37 min 29 sec

Maggie Morrison, currently Vice President and Client Partner at NTT Data UK, has a wealth of experience in IT and sales – and a thirst for travel. In the latest Scottish Business Network podcast, she shares some of the lessons from her career to date, including enjoyable diversions into the culture of the Isle of Lewis, American poetry, Eastern philosophy and Across The Universe by The Beatles. Interviewed by Fraser Allen in the Balmoral Hotel. www.allencomms.co.uk

Oct 2019

21 min 16 sec