Jacqui Taylor

CEO Lifelink
MBA 2002

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What did you enjoy most about life at the university? 

Undertaking a Masters in Business Administration at GCU was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. I had left school at 16 so this was my first taste of University life and I was apprehensive, to say the least, but I needn’t have been! I met an incredible number of inspirational people, whose support and words of encouragement over those 3 years were invaluable. We were nicknamed the TSB Four and I’m still in touch with many of them now, over 16 years later. I embarked on 3 year part-time study course while working full time across the UK and raising a 2 year old as a single parent so the course structure was a perfect fit for what was an incredibly hectic life! My employer at the time fully funded the qualification and supported me through the trials and tribulations (all well worth it) of the dissertation year. My dissertation topic was The Glass Ceiling, perhaps a little controversial as I worked in a male-dominated boiler manufacturing environment! The course offered the opportunity to focus on marketing, HR and finance, all areas of interest and areas that I knew I could thrive and develop. I loved the case studies, getting out and about learning about business challenges and finding solutions was fascinating. I remember the Barlinnie case study in particular and now, some 16 or so years on, I find myself managing services that are delivered in Barlinnie, who would have thought it! Very fond memories.

How has your degree helped you? 

My MBA has given me a strong foundation in business and allowed me to achieve my goals and aspirations of becoming a senior leader and move into roles that allowed me to utilise my interest in Business, HR, Marketing and Finance and make a real difference. In 2013 I secured my first Chief Executive role with Lifelink, a social enterprise and charity based in Glasgow providing much needed mental health and wellbeing services to adult and young people. Over the last few years, I’ve successfully transformed the business into a thriving social enterprise, changed the culture, embraced innovation and we’re now winning contracts and tenders previously held by competitors. I was humbled and incredibly honoured to be nominated by the team, and shortlisted to the final 3, for the Herald Society Worker of the Year in 2016. Since then, despite being a digital dinosaur a few years ago, I’ve led the company through digital transformation resulting in being shortlisted in the Demonstrating Digital category with the Scottish Charity Awards 2018; shortlisted as a finalist in the Fair Work category with Glasgow Business awards; and, we won and brought home Business of the Year 2018 with the Association of Scottish Businesswomen. What a year!

What advice do you have for people considering applying to university? 

Don't be afraid to take the leap of faith and embark on your degree of choice. Yes, it can seem scary, daunting and you may even have convinced yourself that everyone will be smarter than you. They're not! We only know, what we know and learning is about sharing experiences with others, we all have something to give. Do it, go for it, you won't regret it.

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