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GlobalScot is 20 - a view from inside the network

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of GlobalScot, network member Graeme Cook, Chief HR Officer at Keller Group PLC outlines his role and explains what being a GlobalScot means to him

GlobalScots around the world are recognising the significant milestone of our network celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.

This provides a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on what being a GlobalScot means personally.  It also serves as a reminder about the energy that can be created when people with a common bond work collaboratively towards a shared purpose.

Although I’ve only been a GlobalScot for a little over four years, the world has changed remarkably during this period.  Despite this, I can remember the day I was appointed as if it was yesterday.

It was 23 May, 2017.  At the time, I was unaware that I was being considered to join the network.  I had been working with Scottish Enterprise on an international scaling event at Scotland House in London, where I spent an hour or so sharing my own experience with ambitious Scottish companies on how they could evolve their organisations to serve international markets.

After the event, Scottish Enterprise representatives presented me with a letter from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon formally asking me to be a member of Team Scotland.  I’m still grinning writing this now, and I think I must have beamed a smile from Blackfriars that day all the way back to Banchory (where I went to school and spent my childhood).

Since then, I’ve tried my best to be enthusiastic about the aims of Scotland, its economy and our society.  The opportunities to learn and contribute to these are plentiful as a GlobalScot.

One of the key enablers to being effective in the network is to go out and take responsibility for making things happen.  Government and its agencies are full of outstanding, committed and welcoming people, but they are not abundant with endless resources to spoon-feed the network.  Forming authentic relationships with Scottish Enterprise/ Scottish Development International/ Scottish Government contacts, and being proactive in these, is ultimately what makes the difference.

In approaching the role in this way, I’m aware and informed of opportunities, can make myself available and have relevant experience and skills to contribute towards events that support Scotland’s broad aims.  In doing so, I’ve been able to engage with other committed GlobalScots, including Paul Gallagher, Andrew Lloyd, Poonam Malik, Gary Steel and Gary Kildare who have inspired me on my journey so far.

This pro-active approach is key to making the difference and I cannot thank the Scottish Enterprise team enough for being the ideal partners for enthusiastic and committed GlobalScots.  It would also be remiss of me not to recognise those work at Scotland House in London, who also do an excellent job.

Reflecting over the past four years, it’s impossible to know what difference my contribution has made.  Balance sheets and valuations are made up of both tangible and intangible assets and we all too readily default to only measuring success of the former.  The approach I have chosen to take as a GlobalScot is more of the latter.

I’ve tried to bring my 30 years of global experience in the ‘business of people’, combined with my passion, belief, and ambition for modern Scotland, to everything I do.  The aggregation of this over time builds confidence and belief as we move the nation progressively forward.

In another parallel to a balance sheet, the contribution can be mutual and not just one way.  The experience I have gained as a GlobalScot is also adding to who I am as a person, too.

For example, a programme that I am privileged to be involved with is Unlocking Ambition.  This is designed to support entrepreneurs who have founded businesses that are contributing to Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19 in sectors that are moving us towards a net zero economy. 

The energy associated with the programme is exhilarating.  This more than counterbalances my commitments; however, the knowledge I am also starting to absorb on the net zero economy from the entrepreneurs within these cohorts is invaluable.

The GlobalScot network is clearly going from strength-to-strength and I would like to congratulate those that created it twenty years ago for their foresight. I would also recognise the wonderful team who lead the GlobalScot network today for making it such a pleasure for us to support.  It is a source of real pride for me to be involved.