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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Chief encounters: Michelle Ferguson on shopping and saving lives

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St Andrews First Aid Training and Supplies boss Michelle Ferguson is leading one of Scotland's most profitable social businesses and loving it

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at work?
Say good morning or have a chat with our team then have my first coffee of the day. It is then straight on to my emails. I try to only look at them four times a day so I can get on with my real job.

What makes a good day at work?
Our team is one of the best I have ever worked with. The days I value most are when we have added pressure and I see everyone coming together to help find a solution.

How often do you socialise with colleagues outside the Christmas party?
Not often, one of our colleagues plays in a band called The Puzzlers so a few of us have gone along to a couple of his gigs.

Michelle Ferguson

I have a career I love which trains people to have the confidence to save lives

Michelle Ferguson

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?
When I hear people talking about how things were done twenty years ago. The people who are so entrenched in how processes were done in the past that they can’t embrace change, especially when they know it will benefit our staff and customer experience. Thankfully our team is really excited by our vision for our future so I don’t have to say "I don’t believe it" very often.

What was the last thing you did that scared you?
I took a plane to London to watch Scotland play rugby. I have a fear of flying which I am now facing up to.

What’s your favourite book?
Any Shopaholic book, they make me laugh out loud as I see myself in them. I am reading Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet for the second time after being on Scotland Can Do SCALE in the summer with him

Would your 16-year-old self be impressed with where you are now?
My initial thought was no as I live in a bungalow; a loft style apartment in New York would have been my ambition back then. But seriously I think I would approve. I have a career I love which trains people to have the confidence to save lives, I can ensure that the people I work with feel valued and most importantly I have two amazing children and I am surrounded by people who I admire and love. Life really couldn’t be much better… well apart from the bungalow.

If you were your boss would you like you?
I really hope so, I try to be open and honest and to communicate clearly; traits which I really value in others.

Is Facebook your friend or your enemy?
My friend, I have friends and family scattered throughout the world and I love reading their posts and keeping up to date with their news.

What’s your perfect weekend?
Watching some live sport, meeting friends for cocktails and shopping then going somewhere nice for dinner. Add in some time with my family then I couldn’t be any happier.

Are animals as important as people?
Ahhh.. I love animals but I think I would have to say no.

Is the third sector a calling or an accident?
A calling. I had worked in the media for a long time and made a conscious decision that I wanted to work in a sector which valued people more and made a positive impact on communities.

Is this a rung on the ladder to success or your final destination?
Life is a journey and every time I have thought that I have arrived something comes along to change it. I can’t imagine working with a better team or chief executive though.

Is world peace possible?
Yes; there are so many people trying to make an impact one day people will start listening and accepting each other’s differences.

Which Brian Cox?
Ah really difficult but I think I will go with physicist; he explains his subject in such and insightful and engaging way you can’t help but wanting to hear more. (But Brian Cox the actor is incredible)