Madeleine Milne was recently co-opted to the board, thanks in part to her experience in enhancing membership experiences and fostering growth at organisations as diverse as The Telegraph, the professional network Women on Boards, and a music industry collaboration with Classic FM, the BBC, London Symphony Orchestra and EMI which reached 80 million people globally. She has recently launched her company Customer-ization, which helps businesses engage more directly and effectively with their customers. Here she tells us a little more about herself.
Why were you happy to become a trustee of the ESU?
I attended a number of the highly interesting ESU events and swiftly signed up for membership. Unfortunately for me I didn’t get the opportunity to take part in the competitions or schemes when I was young, but having seen first-hand the impact the charity has on people’s outcomes and ambitions, I knew I wanted to support such an initiative in any way I could, particularly as the charity, like so many other organisations around the world, had been detrimentally impacted by the Covid pandemic.
What do you hope to contribute?
It may sound simplistic, but the most important lesson I have learned over the years is to listen. If you genuinely take account of people’s opinions and respect them by reflecting those opinions in your policies and offerings, you can convert your members into your strongest advocates and innovators, as well as your most lively critics. I hope I can bring something of that spirit to our membership, both in the UK and internationally.
Tell us about a podcast that you’re loving.
Give me a podcast and I’m a happy woman! I now have some whizzy earphones, so I usually have something on the go while I cook dinner or am on my way to meetings. The podcasts are often work-related, but otherwise, Stories of our Times, Today in Focus and The Slow Newscast do it for me.
Whom do you admire and why?
Not very original, but I can’t see a way past choosing our former patron, HM The Queen. Although her circumstances could not have been more different from mine – no palaces featured in my Edinburgh upbringing – she’s the nearest I’ll ever have to a role model. Famously dutiful and steadfast, she clearly surprised many people with her adaptability and sense of humour and ended up beyond reasonable doubt the most respected person on the planet.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Scented candles. A ridiculous cliché, I know, but as Marlene Dietrich once said, I just can’t help it. An extravagantly long bath and an Aperol Spritz are optional extras.
Tell us something surprising about you.
I recently trained to sommelier level in the wine industry, just for fun.