Rising to the challenge

Wild Scapes chief executive, Vicky Smith
Wild Scapes chief executive, Vicky Smith
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It’s a big leap from playing a key role in keeping an airport running smoothly to heading a small social enterprise, dedicated to improving the environment.

But, after working for BAA for 10 years – most recently on Heathrow’s Terminal 5 - Vicky Smith decided the time had come for a change.

“I got to the point where I thought what I was doing was not very meaningful as a career,” she recalls.

“If a passenger has a good experience in an airport, that is great, but I thought there was probably something more I could be giving to the world.”

The first step was to study for a Masters degree in management and sustainability and, after moving back north, the opportunity came up to use her corporate experience and newly acquired skills on a six month contract to look at what Wildscape needed to do to become a sustainable business.

Having come up with a corporate plan for Wildscapes, the Sheffield Wildlife Trust decided Vicky Smith was also the person to implement it.

“It’s been a real challenge, a steep learning curve and a culture shift. Having come from a massive corporate background it’s nice to have the flexibility.

“I’m a firm believer that people are what drives a business. If you have a good team, you can do anything, so it’s great to be here,” she says.