Spotlight on Annette Shipley, Entrepreneur in Residence

I have 38 years experience running businesses in a wide range of sectors including public, private, employee ownership and social enterprise sectors. For the last nine years I have run my own consultancy business and worked with over 70 SME’s and large corporates to provide business support and executive and business coaching. With four others I established a company back in 1990 growing it from four to 5,000 employees over 20 years with a turnover of £350m. In response to competition from big utility companies took the employee ownership route in 2000. Later the business was sold to a FTSE 100 company. Through my guidance the company was voted as a Times 100 Best Companies to Work and won many national awards for employer of the year, business of the year and customer excellence.

As an organisation development and employee engagement specialist I have a clear vision of how people can be the key differentiator in any business. I am fortunate enough to be able to combine this with having run successful businesses and have a deep understanding of strategy, people and processes enabling innovation and growth. I’m a problem solver and pragmatist by nature, and I’m fortunate enough to have a high level of resilience, tenacity, energy and commitment to making a real difference At Keele I am able to apply my knowledge and skills with the SME leaders who attend the Keele Business School (KBS) programmes.

I have a successful track record of growing companies from small to big through both organic and inorganic growth and serve as a non-executive on a number of boards including Wrekin Housing Trust. In the past I have services on the boards of Cooperatives UK, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and the Eaga Charitable Trust. I have also previously worked with a number of universities, such as Durham Business School, Newcastle University Business School and Henley Management School working with them to bridge the important role academia plays in innovation and supporting real and meaningful business growth. As Entrepreneur in Residence with KBS I work with academics to design and deliver high quality programme content for the MCIL Innovation Leaders Programme aimed at SME’s.

The value I add to KBS is by integrating the breadth of my real business experience with practical insights to ensure the content of the programme is suitable for practical implementation. I also coach business leaders on the programme to help them grow and strengthen their businesses.

If I was asked ‘what gets you up out of bed each morning to come to work’ I would say it’s that I get a real thrill out of working with the best people and playing my part in helping businesses to solve their real problems to drive innovation and growth - being part of their survive and thrive. I can help businesses achieve their aspiration for growth more effectively than they may otherwise have without intervention. After two years it’s clear that all the business leaders on the programme have benefited not only personally but their businesses are in a better place too. This makes me proud to be part of KBS and the delivery of their leadership programmes.