Over the Christmas and New Year period, Director is profiling the winners of the IoD Director of The Year Awards. Today we meet Lee Schopp, finance director, British Friendly Society, who won the New Chartered Director award…
Lee Schopp, British Friendly Society
This category recognises the best new Chartered Director elected in the past 12 months, based purely on the marks and grades achieved through the examination process. This year, the accolade went to Lee Schopp of British Friendly Society – a mutual providing income protection insurance. Here, he discusses work-life balance and diversity…
Who has inspired you? I grew up in the 1980s when free-market thinking was just evolving. I remember seeing [Sir] Richard Branson on TV a lot, a guy who from modest beginnings was creating an empire, and this inspired me as I have also come from humble beginnings.
What’s the best business advice you’ve had? It was from my wife early in our relationship. She would tell me not to work long hours as I could only do my best. I would always work hard and leave relatively early while colleagues would work late into the evening. I have kept this working discipline throughout my career. Describe your leadership style Collegiate, I will make the tough decisions but ensure I get input from all sides and ideally get broad approval first.
The best talk you have seen? Sir Ranulph Fiennes at this year’s IoD Annual Convention – very inspiring and shows what can be achieved in life but also incredibly funny with the driest, wittiest delivery I’ve ever heard.
What’s the key to building a great team? Don’t always look for like-minded people but build a diverse team. This may prove challenging early on as they won’t always get on, but if you make it work the differing views you get will make you more robust and successful.