In this episode, we’re talking with Cara Mackay—a 31-year-old dynamo who has taken her family’s shed construction business in Scotland to new heights. Cara is part of the second generation of Gillies & Mackay, the company started by her father, John and uncle Grant in 1989. Cara currently serves as Managing Director of Gillies & Mackay.
We discuss the journey that led her to this leadership role and how she’s found success navigating tough conversations with her father, uncle, and siblings in the business. Cara describes the focus for her work now, which is to ensure the business thrives for generations to come. She also shares a little about an exciting new venture she’s launching on her own called Natty Shed Life.
Warning: This episode includes adult language.
You can find Cara at nattyshedlife.com.
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- Episode 033: Trapped in the Family Business with Dr. Michael Klein
- Episode 028: Stories from The Family Business Podcast with Russ Haworth
- Episode 025: Power20—10 Ways to Set Your NextGen Up for Success in the Family Enterprise
- Episode 021: Taking Over the Family Business with Mitchell Kaneff
- Episode 018: The Welch Allyn Family Business Story with Eric Allyn
Cara Mackay began her career in construction on the tools from the age of 14 representing just the 1% of construction workers as a woman.
Cara’s fascinating journey through life as a ‘Farm Girl’ and young mother to her bereaved adopted daughter Sophie and own son Patrick met its fateful turn in to the boardroom when she completed her Honours Degree in Business Management in 2015, whilst still running the family firm and raising her children.
Cara is now on the cusp of launching her new 50% female led construction company, NattyShedLife whilst having just given birth to her daughter Luna-Rose this March 2018.
Cara is a founding member of the Content Marketing Academy and continues to grow her businesses through the principles of content marketing.
Cara is a force to be reckoned with. An exemplary business woman, mother and leader.
In this episode:
- Meet Cara (2:12)
- Cara’s path to Managing Director (8:56)
- Getting deeper in the family business (16:51)
- “The chat” (19:55)
- Advice for making your mark on the family business (24:50)
- Future-proofing (40:38)
- Cara’s new venture (51:07)
- Permission is possible (58:15)
- Bonus questions (1:04:12)
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Notable & Quotable:
I was at the bottom of the list when I started making plans in my mind [to lead the family business]. I didn’t have any authority to be thinking any of this. There was a lot of me that I still had to prove. —Cara Mackay
If you want to prove yourself, pick something that no one else is doing and make something of it. Find a job no one else wants, do the best you can with it, and they will notice. —Cara Mackay
Leaders do things no one else wants to do. —Ellie Frey Zagel
No one wants to talk about succession and exit strategy because they are so closely linked to death. Talking about these things regularly helps to remove the taboo. —Cara Mackay
People need permission. I know they care about that. I’m not the one to give them permission, but I am the one that can show them that it is possible. —Cara Mackay
If it’s not going to break you or absolutely ruin you, then just do it. —Cara Mackay
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If you are the next generation of family business, philanthropy and wealth, and have a topic you think we should discuss, let us know at Ellie@successfulgenerations.com.