Olivia McLeod.

Scottish Government

Olivia McLeod

Prior to re-joining Scottish Government, Olivia worked at the Department for Education in Whitehall as Director for Early Years.

Olivia has worked in a variety of roles including as Director for Children and Families, Deputy Director Care and Justice in the Scottish Government, as a policy adviser in the No 10 Policy Unit, as the Home Office representative to the British Embassy in Washington, as Head of Crime Reduction for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and working in the voluntary sector establishing the Private Equity Foundation.

Olivia has managed her Directorship role on a job-share basis to balance work with her other more hands-on role as the mother of two small girls.

How did you become interested in family friendly working?

I started thinking about this for the first time when an excellent member of my team told me she wasn't seeking promotion because she didn't think she could do the job at the same time as being a mum. I wasn't a parent then but I realised that her perception, whatever the reality, meant that we were missing out on her great potential, that she was missing out on opportunities to realise her potential, and that I wasn't willing to accept for anyone, parent or not, that a professional role should come at the cost of a family life. Since then I've been determined to try and model, enable and champion family friendly working, ever more so since I had two children of my own!

How does family friendly working and flexibility benefit employers?

It supports you to get the best from the people that work for you by enabling them to work when they are most productive, to be happy and fulfilled in the knowledge they’re meeting work and family aspirations, and to seek progression and development to fulfil their potential. It also helps you to attract and retain a diverse workforce.

What does good work-life balance look like?

I think it’s more about how it feels – and that will be different for every person but for me it’s when I feel I’m willing and able to give 100% wherever I am, whether that’s at work or at home.

What three words best describe you?

Tenacious, open, demanding!

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