LDC Top 50 2022
“We’ve got a serious issue with youth unemployment in this country,” says Geoff Smith, CEO of Manchester-based consultancy Grayce. Smith left his corporate career in 2020 to take over the helm of Grayce. “I knew the business had huge potential. There are so many more talented young people we could help,” he says.
Grayce aims to be the best fast-track developer of top graduates, and works with clients including AstraZeneca, Royal Mail and M&G. Under Smith’s leadership, turnover has leapt from £10million and will be more than £40million this year. “We genuinely want to empower – and learn from – the next generation,” he adds.
There are so many more talented young people we could help, and that really spurs me on to grow faster.”
What gets you up in the morning?
We’ve got a serious issue with youth unemployment and under-employment in this country. Grayce receives more than 1,200 applications from new graduates every month and, of those, we hire 40-50. There are so many more talented young people we could help, if only we had the resources and the capacity. That really spurs us to grow faster and ultimately, it’s what gets me up in the morning.
How do you create an inclusive culture?
Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do. Of our 700+ staff, 42pc are from ethnic minority backgrounds, 41pc identity as women and 8pc identify as LGBT+. We’re non-hierarchical, collaborative and authentic. We genuinely want to empower – and learn from – the next generation. Our award-winning reverse mentoring initiative, ‘Walk A Mile’, is a great example of that.
Who do you turn to for advice?
For the past year, I’ve been working with a leadership coach. We meet up every six weeks to discuss priorities and challenges. He’s taught me about the importance of delegation and thinking time. As a CEO, you have to be ‘on’ all the time. I’m a naturally positive and energetic person but it’s really important to occasionally unplug.