‘I am Edinburgh born and bred,’ says Derek. ‘It seemed growing up that my whole family was in business in and around the city. Every family gathering would involve great conversations and debate around business. Why a business worked, why it didn’t, what made business great or leaders successful. That’s what we used to argue and debate about. I didn’t know at the time of course, but it was a phenomenal grounding.’
And what a phenomenal breadth, depth and commitment there is around Derek. He starts making his list of the family-owned businesses. ‘There was the flooring business, estate agency, property development and financial investment to name but a few. My uncle, Mike Rutterford, set up Archangels Scotland, recognised as one of the most successful and oldest Angel Investment Network organisations in the world. If I learnt one thing whilst all this was going on it was that there are two key drivers behind any successful business: a great idea or product and great people.
‘I think it was rugby as well,’ he says. ‘I am certain the game shaped much of my approach to business and life. Hard work, honesty, fairness, playing the right people in the right positions, commitment.’
Derek carries the granite and grit of Scottish inheritance and business acumen, perfectly complementing Paweł with his European roots and adventurer’s boots. Put Derek’s determination, Paweł’s search for Treasure Island and Angela’s creative instincts together and we cement a team of designers, adaptors and finishers equal to any challenge.
Derek, a natural enthusiast, warms to his subject. ‘My career started in insurance and estate agency with General Accident Property Services, initially in Aberdeen and then the Borders. I enjoyed the challenge of “business”, particularly as I developed with some great mentors and leaders.
‘For the next half dozen years, I enjoyed working in several sectors in leadership and management positions before I joined a small workplace solutions business, setting up the Scottish central belt operation. ‘Before long, together with my business partners, we undertook a Management Buy Out, just in time for a global recession in 2008, but it was a tremendous learning curve and even through this the business went from strength to strength.
‘I cashed out a couple of years ago, planning a working semi-retirement, with family businesses and my own property portfolio. Then I started to receive calls from other business owners about the hopes, aspirations and challenges they were facing, so as well as being a sounding board I found I was able to assist on several levels. On the back of the support that I was able to provide I now have several interests in a variety of businesses.
‘I then had conversations with Angela and Pawel. I had worked very closely with them for over ten years in workplace consultancy sector and they are both passionate about the relationship between people, the workplace and performance. Like me they both believe the collective ‘we’ can deliver so much more for clients if allowed to do so and so the &More design consultancy was born… and what’s wrong with being ambitious to provide more for our clients?’
Still in Edinburgh, living in Colinton, embraced by The Water of Leith, Derek feels fortunate to remain surrounded by a big family of aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces as well as an extended family of way too many cats and dogs. Derek and his wife Gill have two daughters Megan and Sarah.
‘I have definitely changed over the years,’ he says. ‘I have worked with some inspiring people. I listen more than I ever did and if I can afford too then I will not jump to conclusions too quickly. That said, sometimes I need to be decisive as a leader and be prepared to make that right decision because it simply must be made.’ Derek is rightly a proud man.
Derek the enthusiast is a force to be reckoned with. His dream? ‘To continue to feel a sense of achievement. I am grateful to have worked with some fantastic people in the past and now again in the present,’ he concludes. ‘It is one of my key points in any decision to work with a company – the people must be “good people” they must inspire me as much as I hope I can inspire them.’