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Worker Bee: meet Sandy Lindsay MBE, the entrepreneur, businesswoman and charity champion

The founder of Tangerine, Sandy also launched The Juice Academy in 2012 which has since created almost 400 jobs for young people

Sandy Lindsay was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to business and young people and, in the same year, named Institute of Director’s Director of the Year.

She founded Tangerine in 2002, grew it to 80+ consultants, promoting some of the world’s largest brands, and then fulfilled a 15-year-old promise in 2017 by placing it into Employee Ownership.

In 2012, Sandy launched The Juice Academy. This multi-award-winning digital marketing apprenticeship has since created almost 500 jobs for young people.

In addition, she is a non-exec director of the Rugby Football League, Northcoders and Flock, Vice-Chair of Forever Manchester, and on the board of several other charities.

What got you started in your field of work?

Boredom. Or my propensity to get bored, anyway! I didn’t have a life/career plan, but I’ve always given things a go, and I’ve been fortunate to have ‘found’ the career of marketing and then ‘happened upon’ the idea of starting my own business – both of which I have absolutely loved.

Who have been the biggest influences on your work?

To be honest, that’s a tough one as I’m a total sponge, and I learn from anyone I’m around. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have surrounded myself with brilliant people throughout my working and business career, so I’d say I’m probably a by-product of that? 

What is your proudest achievement so far?

It has to be The Juice Academy – from a standing start, with no clue what we were doing, we were the first creative agency to set up an apprenticeship, and it’s since created coming up to 500 jobs for young people in our sector. It’s a not-for-profit organisation that was created to fill a digital skills gap (digital marketing/content creation), and it’s still going strong more than seven years later.

What does your typical day involve?

Ha! That’s what I love about what I do – there is no such thing (dare I reference the ‘I get bored’ thing again). Some days I can wear up to ten hats all in one day, from discussing how to celebrate Tangerine’s 20th birthday (next March), to reading Juice apprentice applications, chairing Northcoder Board meetings, agreeing on grant and investment directions for Forever Manchester and even making decisions about Rugby League national coaches! What’s not to love?

And how do you relax on your days off?

Days off….? Hmm, that’s something I’m not great at. This, by the way, is me being semi-retired! (#fail). My idea of relaxing is busy – theatre, concert, weekend away, dinner with friends, and I LOVE parties, especially ones that we throw! I don’t find relaxing (sitting in front of a TV or sleeping late etc) relaxing – I never have, and I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but I am now at an age when I don’t feel the need to explain that away. We’re all different, and that’s fine, too.

What is the best advice you have been given or can give?

In business? Always surround yourself with the best people. Very simple. If you work with the best, you’ll be the best (as long as you let them do their jobs!). And actually, that works in my personal life, too – I don’t think you’d need to be told, having read the above, that I’m a huge extrovert and so people are my absolute favourite thing, and I’ve had the privilege of knowing, working with and enjoying the company of as friends, some of the best.

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

Not a clue. I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do anyway.

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear…

As a child/early teen, I was a world champion dancer.

Red or Blue?

What else? Red.

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

I don’t understand the question…

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

To continue the theme… it has to be the people. They’re the best people in the world – they adopted me back in the early ’90s when I moved here, and from day one, I was besotted.

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