Margot Slattery is Country President of Sodexo Ireland.
What is the best business decision you ever made?
Taking on the opportunity to become the managing director of Sodexo Ireland in 2012 and then the role of country president in 2015. As country president, I have corporate governance and directorial responsibility for growing the various business segments - corporate, government, education, healthcare and homecare that operate in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
What is the most valuable professional lesson you have learnt so far?
There have been many but the key one for me is that our business is all about people. All our employees represent Sodexo and are brand ambassadors, so each can positively influence the perception of our brand. Most of our people are based on geographically widespread client sites; many were unaware of the wider business and often identified more strongly with the client organisation than Sodexo. Our Brand Ambassador programme was created to address this issue. It’s been an incredible success and resulted in our winning the NSAI’s Overall Excellence in People Award in 2015.
What, in your view, is the biggest challenge facing directors in Ireland today?
Keeping up to date and compliant with corporate governance, business and employment legislation while trying to grow their business.
In five words describe your work style.
Results driven, people-oriented, proactive, time aware and customer always top of mind
What do you particularly value from your IoD membership?
I value the peer to peer network of people that keeps me up to date, provides inspiration and its excellent professional development courses.
How do you think business leaders can best prepare for the future?
Be careful not to fly ‘too low to the ground’- It’s very important to take time away from the day to day activities to look ahead and be aware of what’s coming down the line. Be prepared to take risks and fail and then do it all again
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring directors in Ireland?
My advice would be to do your research first before accepting a director or non-executive director role with any organisation. It’s important to look beyond the obvious. If something is too good to be true, it usually is so find out what the catch is. After that, enjoy it all, even the challenges!