Joining the family business

11/12/17

I’ve always been part of our family business from a young age. My father, Frederick Shaylor, founded Shaylor Group 50 years ago and would take me into work with him to help out on site or in the office. I’ve never felt pressure to join the business and after graduating I went to work for fashion recruitment company, Denza International, where I learned an enormous amount about business.

I was approached by my brother Stephen who is our CEO, to join the business and build the London office. I had been working incredibly hard at Denza and was beginning to reap the rewards of my efforts, however I still wasn’t entirely sure what career path I wanted to follow. After much deliberation I decided to challenge myself and accept Stephen’s offer, which has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

Having the company name brings an expectation that you know everything about the company, both from business and industry perspectives. I knew the basics, but had to work hard and fast to learn the rest. I remember in my first week in role, I attended a framework meeting and had to stand up in front of 40 senior executives which was really daunting. This experience helped me to encourage others to step out of their comfort zones, because I know how it feels and ultimately it will be fine and it’s a great learning experience.

I joined the board of directors earlier this year becoming one of only seven women working as an executive director in the top tier UK construction firms. I am passionate about encouraging more females into the construction industry and as a result, we have now launched the Shaylor Group Academy which is designed to assist our apprentices, trainees and assistants to advance their construction knowledge and skills.

Joining a family business can have its challenges, but it can also be one of the most rewarding careers ever. I feel an exceptional amount of pride at what we have achieved not just with growth but the ethics and values that run through the core of our company. We nurture and encourage our staff through their careers and our retention rates are very high. 

If I had to give advice to a next generation business leader it would definitely be to believe in yourself and just get on and do it, have the confidence to give it a go. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes and learning from them, ask questions and do not be scared of not knowing all the answers and ask for some help. It is okay to try new things and find what you want to do and be yourself. Finally having respect for everyone – if you earn the respect of your peers you shouldn’t have a problem getting your voice heard.

In the coming year one of my professional challenges will be to ensure Shaylor Group is able to maintain our unique One Team culture and collaborative approach as we continue to grow. Personally my main challenge will be to continue finding opportunities to speak to and encourage schoolgirls to pursue business careers whilst also seeking a mentor to help continue my own professional development. I’d also love the chance to travel and experience as many cultures and destinations as possible.

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Lana Shaylor, Business Development Director at Shaylor Group

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