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Meet the Board: Nigel Wilkinson and Mary Robinson

Over the coming months we’ll be sharing a Q&A with each of our Board members, to help you get to know them better and to learn what makes them ‘tick’. This month we’re introducing you to Nigel Wilkinson, Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, as well as Mary Robinson, Deputy Leader of Eden District Council.

Who was the biggest influence on your career?
Nigel: My parents, who brought me to the Lake District as a child on numerous occasions, which resulted in me wanting to spend my time working here.

Mary: My father.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Nigel: To be a Civil Engineer.

Mary: Join the Police.

What was your first starting salary?
Nigel: £95 per week.

Mary: £5 a week.

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?
Nigel: The perception held by some that the visitor economy isn’t a rewarding and worthwhile career choice. We’re working hard to try to change that.

Mary: Take out the politics.

Which achievement are you most proud of in relation to your career/working life?
Nigel: Encouraging colleagues, at all levels, to make the most of their potential and seeing them develop and succeed.

Mary: My working life would be the heights we took our services to with Leisure Centre of the UK and winning Museum of the Year, Team work at its best.

Which single piece of career advice would you give your teenage self?
Nigel: Try to do something you enjoy. The key to success is to working hard, but that’s much easier if you enjoy what you’re doing.

Mary: Patience and listening skills.

Which four people, from any era, would you invite to a dinner party?
Nigel: My wife and three adult children. Quality family time is incredibly precious.

Mary: HRH The Queen, Archbishop John Sentumu, my late husband, Fiona Armstrong.

Which historical figure do you find most impressive and why?
Nigel: Nelson Mandela – a truly inspirational leader.

Mary: Churchill, he managed to give hope at the most desperate of times when there was little hope, my father was away in Europe and the Middle East and my mother was at home with 2 children under 5.

What was the first piece of music you remember buying?
Nigel: The first album that I bought was probably Parallel Lines, by Blondie.

Mary: You didn’t really buy music it was free on the radio, who could afford such luxury. Radio Caroline with the floating radio stations off the Isle of Man.

What is your favourite book and why?
Nigel: The last biography or modern history book that I’ve read. I’m not a big fan of fiction.

Mary: Enid Blyton’s Famous 5, it was based in the Lakes.

What was the first car that you owned?
Nigel: A Mini Clubman estate, with moss growing in the sliding windows.

Mary: MINI.

Favourite holiday destination?
Nigel: Easiest question of them all – The Lake District.

Mary: Corfu.

Favourite holiday memory?
Nigel: Climbing Mount Olympus and getting engaged on the trek back down.

What’s top of your bucket list?
Nigel: I don’t really have a bucket list. Nothing can beat going to High Dam with my wife and Roly, our Cocker Spaniel, so I’ve done what would have been at the top of my bucket list.

Mary: Going back to Corfu, New Zealand and USA where I have made many friends.

Which single piece of advice for a happy life would you give your teenage self?
Nigel: Make the most of every healthy hour you’re given.

Mary: Travel, enjoy life whilst you are able and very much do what you did. It is not a rehearsal for next time around.

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