Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'The Right People in the Right Place at the Right Time'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'The Right People in the Right Place at the Right Time'

Article excerpt

SHARON Mavin, 52, is director of Newcastle University Business School, the first woman to hold the role. She had previously run the business school at Roehampton University in London and has also been associate dean of the business school at Northumbria University. She grew up in Amble, Northumberland, and is an expert in gender and leadership studies.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? I wanted secretly to be a lawyer. At that time I was surrounded by people who were becoming lawyers or were lawyers. I didn't really know what they did but they seemed to have a really interesting life.

What is the secret of your success? It depends on what you define as success! Work ethic is a key part of it, so is drive and the ability you can develop to see a bigger picture. And being passionate as an academic about the research you're doing is really important.

What was your first job (and how much did it pay)? I had a few 'first jobs' all at the same time. Probably the very first one was working as a pot washer and waiting on tables at the pubs in Warkworth. How much did it pay? I can't remember!

Who has been the biggest influence on your career? My friend's mum, who was head of education at Castington and Acklington prison. She saw something in me and really gave me confidence to succeed. The other person is Janet Bridges, who is head of the Castle View Academy in Sunderland, and she was my geography teacher. Around the same time she gave me huge confidence and belief in myself academically.

How important is it for business to play a role in society? It's of huge importance for business to play a role in society and it's a key focus of Newcastle University Business School that we develop graduates who understand responsible management. We want them to be citizens and to understand the positive and negative roles that business can have in society. That's a real value of the business school and it's something I care about myself.

How would you sum up your work philosophy? I'm an academic and I could talk about that in an 80,000-word thesis! …

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