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Meet the MD: Polly Purvis, ScotlandIS

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I’m chief executive of ScotlandIS – which sounds very grand but as we’re a small business it involves a mix of operational and strategic responsibilities. I’m also Chair of CodeClan, the new skills academy for the digital technologies industry.

What is it the company does?

We’re the trade body for the digital technologies industry, we network and represent software, telecoms, and IT services businesses and digital agencies. Our members range from large multinational companies like Oracle, BT, Cisco and Microsoft to locally based companies such as Skyscanner, Axios, KAL & Craneware, and a wealth of smaller businesses and start-ups.  

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Having a clear vision, supporting and developing your team, resilience, and attention to detail. 

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position? 

Building a partnership to tackle the skills challenges our industry faces. It has taken time, persuasion and diplomacy but we are now seeing the positive benefits from that as delivery is now underway for Scotland’s ICT & Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Depending on the time of year I de-stress through gardening, cooking and a bit of cycling. Oh, and an addiction to Candy Crush!

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

It changed by the year but for a long time I wanted to be a farmer. 

Any pet hates in the workplace?

I really dislike lengthy meetings

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

We’re going through a period of growth at the moment – we plan to represent even more of the industry, provide greater value to our members and have built a stronger profile.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Build a great team around you, fight for the things you believe in and find a good mentor who can challenge you, provide advice and give you support when times are tough.

Where did you start your career?

My first job was with Williams & Glyn’s bank in the City of London. It was a great time to be in banking, when it was first and foremost a customer service industry.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far

I started my career working in banking, and then moved into economic development working at Scottish Enterprise on small company development. After a spell in management consultancy I then joined what is now ScotlandIS and worked in a number of roles before becoming CEO. 

Source: BQ Live

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