Armed with a rich career history in roles spanning design associate and freelance consultant, through to her current position as managing director at The Engine Room, Lesley Gulliver is perfectly placed to provide some key insight into what best practice looks like in the real world – and, crucially, how this has changed over the course of her 30 years in industry. Because while each role has naturally been different, growth and brand unequivocally lay at the heart of each.
There’s no surprise then, that Lesley was recently asked to feature in an episode of ‘On Brand With…’ – hosted by fellow industry specialist, Deborah Ogden – to discuss everything from authenticity and wellbeing, to agency culture and great customer service.
If you haven’t had chance to listen to the episode, you can catch the key highlights to help you shape and propel your personal brand, below…
Don’t neglect culture
As an agency co-owner, culture is incredibly important for Lesley. From exploring The Engine Room HQ’s rich heritage – including ties to renowned novelist Emily Brontë and a portfolio of previously-housed businesses – to developing a host of collaborative spaces to bring innovative ideas into fruition, prioritising company culture works in congruence with building personal brand.
And, if your personal brand and company culture perfectly align, it’s a power like no other.
Leverage your passions
Post-university, upon completing a business degree, Lesley wasn’t entirely confident in her career path. But, with a keen interest in language and communication, she decided to let her passions lead this journey and applied for a role as a copywriter at a design agency. This was her first taste of the industry and soon propelled her into key senior roles.
A passion is not always synonymous with what’s popular, but usually fuels the best of what we do. Not only does it make building your brand more enjoyable – as it is intrinsically connected to you as an individual – it also makes you more authentic to the people you’re trying to reach.
However, as Lesley advises, it’s important to pull on the reins sometimes and strike a suitable work-life balance – especially in the early stages of your career, where there’s a mounting pressure to prove your worth both personally and publicly.
As Lesley has learnt throughout her career, building and developing genuine relationships is a great way to bolster personal brand. As well as presenting you with fresh knowledge and insight from more established and influential connections, it allows your own profile to gain traction and credibility.
But valuable connections should combine professional motivations with personal values and inspiration, to ensure they evolve productivity.
After all, you are who you connect with, and Lesley’s current position as a design associate for the Design Council – alongside her commitment to the Engine Room – pays great testament to this notion. Having been introduced to the organisation at an earlier stage in her career, Lesley has nurtured this relationship for many years and is now renowned for her support in design procurement and expertise across the UK.
If you want to catch more from Lesley – from a closer look into her career trajectory, to The Engine Room’s own transformation – listen the podcast episode in full.