Whitecap Director Lal Tawney recently did a Q&A with MK Business Leaders Partnership (MKBLP), the not-for-profit membership organisation which aims to identify and develop the interests and needs of business in Milton Keynes.

1. Why being a member is important?   

For me, it’s about opportunity. I want to be part of the business community, learn from the people within it, and contribute to the development of Milton Keynes.

2. What do you bring to MK Business Leaders?  

Most importantly, I am passionate about Milton Keynes. I came to the City in 1991 expecting to be here for 2 years but I never left!

I have had a reasonably varied career over the years and have learnt a lot from different experiences. However, at heart, I’m a problem solver. So, helping a client navigate through an issue or a challenge is what makes me tick. There’s nothing better than helping a client move forward, from not knowing how to tackle an issue, to understanding the challenge in more detail, through to evaluating options and making it happen.

3. What challenges face the Milton Keynes business community?  

In the short term, I feel the Milton Keynes business community needs a stronger and broader voice to develop, influence and shape the future of Milton Keynes.

In the long term, the infrastructure needs to be in place to support Milton Keynes’ growth ambitions. Low congestion and fast commuting times have always been key attractions for both residents and businesses so, in order to be attractive to both new and existing businesses. Milton Keynes needs to ensure that this continues, and that good public transport exists.

Central Milton Keynes also needs to be an attractive place to live, particularly as there has been a rise in the numbers of “younger” workers wanting to live in city centres. I’ve walked through Birmingham and Manchester recently – you can’t miss the smart new high-rise apartments, new office blocks and cranes.

4. What makes Milton Keynes special for you?  

I’ve been in Milton Keynes since 1991 so it’s definitely home! I’ve seen it continue to grow from strength to strength – it’s always rated as one of the UK’s fastest-growing cities and this is an indicator of its future potential. We’re at a critical point to help shape the future of MK – roll on the next 50 years!

The culture and arts ambition of the city is also coming to life, which is very exciting to see, and I’ve started to play a very small part in this in my role as a Trustee of the Wavendon All Music Plan (or The Stables).

From a personal perspective, MK and the immediate surrounding areas, have so many green spaces to enjoy. I’m part of the Broughton Cycling Group and through this, I have discovered amazing surrounding countryside – and great places to have coffee and cake!

5. Your tip for success in business and/or life?  

Both at personal and business level, know your strengths and play to them.

Read more about MKBLP at here.