Industry Leaders Interview

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TJ Duncan-Moir is the Director of Business Glu, a company specialising in creating positive change within businesses. She talks to The Industry Leaders about her time in construction, her journey from a family manufacturing business, and why she makes a point of wearing a pink hard hat when she's on-site!

 

How did you end up sitting where you are today?

Thirty years in the family business; I started at the bottom and worked my way through every department to become Director. During this time, I oversaw growth diversification, steered the company to become a multiple award-winning business, and substantiated it as the market leader in the industry. Having had regular magazine articles, BBC and ITV News involvement and BBC Breakfast TV, I needed a fresh challenge.

My passion is working with and understanding people to create success. I get great pleasure helping others, guiding them through the journey needed for positive change, with the determination and drive I feel.

Creating Business Glu was obvious; I could help others do all the things I have done over the years. I could fulfil my goals while helping others and enjoying what I do.

 

What kind of work does your role involve?

Launching Business Glu - an Improvement Consultancy which creates the bond between you and your business – during a global pandemic was risky. But the risk has paid off because it has highlighted just how much businesses need support with consolidation, pivoting and growth.

I did this at a time when businesses needed the key to unlock new ideas, strategies or innovations that drive positive change to sales performance, productivity, diversification and the company's culture. An external analysis of a business defines the gaps that need bridging.

 

What gets you excited about your industry?

The industry has many big players. Having contacts in this section of the business world, and working alongside them is an honour. Innovation within the industry is extremely rewarding, and it creates a whole feeling of "a kid in a sweetie shop" for me. I still get that feeling of 'wow' on so many occasions even after all these years.

The manufacturing and construction industry is evolving continually. So many iconic buildings are planned, and there's so 

much innovation required; manufacturing is shifting the future of construction. The industry opens so many exciting doors, and the biggest challenge is deciding which is best. The world is a career playground.

 

What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

The best advice received was from an employee I worked with throughout my career until he retired. It was later in my career, but I listened and acted upon his advice.

He told me to go out there and look after myself. He knew my skills, and also that my progression had barriers, and I wouldn't advance any further.

My success was down to me. You are whatever you want to be with effort, hard work and determination.

The contacts I've made during my career encouraged me to take the leap and share my skills with the industry; allowing others to benefit from a hands-on approach.

What, or who inspires you?

My children inspire me to be the best I can be. If I am not seen as a superhero to them, then I've failed.

The world is forever evolving and, if we have contributed to making that world a better place, then we've been paving the way for our children to adopt the same attitude.

Travelling the UK being able to tell stories of the many iconic buildings you have been involved with, the contribution to the industry you have been rewarded for, and the inspiration you get from the people you connect with is satisfying beyond recognition.

 

How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in the industry?

I'm afraid I am a bit of a nerd with the whole business news world. I sign up to all construction, manufacturing, fabrication, HR, law forums and newsfeeds. I get as excited about these mediums as other people do about social media!

Since going it alone, I have gained some fantastic connections and an exceptional support network. Networking is invaluable as things change constantly and knowledge shared by other people in the industry is much more informative than constantly researching individually.

It is so important to understand what is happening, particularly whilst we are experiencing this 'unknown

 world' right now.

What was the most challenging project or assignment you've worked on?

My most challenging assignment was juggling motherhood with a career AND in a male-dominated industry. I had two young children, constantly battling to be everything to everyone whilst trying to prove to that being a woman in a man's world, whilst having children, was possible.

 

I grew up in a man's world and never wanted to be cut any slack "just because I'm a woman". Going on site having assumed I was my male colleague's PA, being around a table with project managers and QS's challenged me at times. But it also made me all the more determined to show them I could do it, and do it well.

If you could start your life again, what would you do differently?

Having experienced the disappointment of not being able to fulfil my goals within the family business, if I could start my life again I would definitely have worked independently, taken maternity leave to spend time with my children, and furthered my education at a younger age and to a higher level.

Starting a business at my age has enabled me to realise my value, enjoy what I do and believe in myself. I now work with amazing clients, have a group of people who are my "work family" and just wish I had done this sooner!

You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?

I get so much enjoyment in my job now that money is not a priority. To win $10 million wouldn't stop that, I may only work a few weeks of the year, but no way would it stop me doing what I love.

I would look after those that have looked after me the last few years as, without them, I wouldn't be where I am and how I feel today. I've learned from others that money doesn't make you happy; what you do and feel

 

makes you happy.

A little luxury to myself with all that money would be to have my own groom for my horses so that I don't have to be up for 6 am feeds.

 

How do you switch off after a day at work?

My animals allow me to switch off. I am a little bit of a Dr Doolittle with my horses, sheep, duck and dog. Since moving to our house in the sticks, I enjoy being outside, appreciating the countryside and at last learning how to switch off.

 

If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?

Being a woman in what many believe to be a man's world, I would like to see more women in higher management positions. Women have proved they can undertake these roles yet, still, there is not enough recognition of equality. Time has not moved on unfortunately in this area.

 

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Women are strong, methodical, practical and disciplined. They are also open-minded, determined and tenacious when needed; a credit to the industry if they are allowed to be. I purposely choose to wear a pink safety helmet to have a laugh and keep it light-hearted but also to prove that I, and other women, can do this.