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Diane Ward was appointed to the role of Deputy CEO in November last year. She has been with the business for a little over thirteen years, and has been Operations Manager and, most recently, Chief Operating Officer. She was made partner in 2018. We caught up with Diane to chat about all things Carlton Forest and ask her a few questions.

It’s such a busy and varied role – how do you manage your work/life balance?

It’s really important to keep perspective and to make time for your family, keep in touch with friends that aren’t connected to the business, and just to get away from it. I think that taking a break makes you come back stronger, re-focused and ready to work hard, even if it's just after a day off at the weekend.

What do you enjoy most about the role?

Everyday really is different, and that’s why it’s such a good job to have! I can be dealing with sales, marketing, operations, finance etc. Whatever happens that day is what I deal with, in addition to keeping close contact with those that report directly to me, and steering our senior team to reach their full potential and keep delivering our success.

How does it differ from your role as Chief Operating Officer?

It’s more of an overview rather than a hands on role, and I like the strategic nature of it. It gives me time to reflect on not just what’s happening now, but what we want to achieve next month, next year etc.

How does your role fit into the senior leadership team?

Mark, as CEO, and I run the business together. Mark leads on the technical and strategic, I lead on the operational side and performance. We make a good team! And then we have our other board members – Chief Development Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer - who each have their own teams and areas of responsibility.

What’s your biggest achievement?

Building such a great team that is delivering amazing successes both for them personally and for the business. As you know, I’m a huge advocate for challenging perceptions in the workplace and ensuring everyone is afforded the opportunities to succeed. Over a third of our management team is female, and that is great news for us and for our industry. Together, we’ve grown the business at a phenomenal rate recently and I am very proud of that, and of our clearly defined plans for the next couple of years which will take Carlton Forest into the next part of its history.

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