Planning for the New World: A Q&A with Mark Atkinson
14th August 2019 2 minutes read
Less than a month away, on 11th September, Green Park will be revealing the identities of the 100 most successful and influential black, Asian and minority tthnic leaders in 2019. As always, the list will feature some of the country’s brightest BAME talent, such as award-winning designer and businessman, Daniel Taylor MBE. As final preparations for the 2019 report continue, we caught up with the 2018 BAME 100 figure to learn about his life and his thoughts on diversity. Many thanks to Daniel for an enlightening afternoon.
The path to success
Like many of his peers in the BAME 100 list, Daniel’s exceptional work ethic was apparent from an early age. Part of the Windrush generation who arrived in the 1950s, Daniel was highly driven to do well at school:
“In those days, you had to be successful education-wise, or as a black guy, a Caribbean guy, you could end up on the wrong side of the law.”
Daniel thrived academically, gaining A-levels and a Masters degree, which helped to earn him his first job as a Designer at Westinghouse. Even as a newly qualified graduate, he was determined to excel. “People within the business could see that I was very ambitious and wanted to succeed,” says Daniel. It wasn’t long before he’d moved to a new a company where he rose to European CEO. With success as his goal, Daniel says race never came into the equation:
“As a black guy, colour didn’t mean anything to me. Being smart and tenacious was where I was coming from.”
Fast forward to 1998 and Daniel had launched Metro, his own multi-award winning Design & Build company. Twenty years later and it’s a thriving family business, with Daniel’s daughter, niece and goddaughter occupying key, senior roles.
Why diversity matters
Daniel sees diversity as essential to UK business today. He believes that as the country’s manufacturing industry has declined, a new culture of thought leadership has emerged to take its place. And it’s here that diversity can really make an impact, driving innovation and collaboration:
“We’re a country full of ideas – inspirational ideas. BAME gives a really different perspective because BAME tends to be international. And when you put that into the mix, that’s when you really collaborate.”
With this in mind, Daniel is keen to champion difference and inclusion at the highest level:
“Why not have a Board which reflects my customers? That’s where we’ve got to keep fighting and push people up.”
An award-winning interior design specialist, Daniel Taylor MBE is the founder and CEO of Metro Design. Established in 1998, the company has won a steady stream of prestigious projects and built up an impressive global clientele. Daniel is also a founding trustee of the Creative & Cultural Skills Council and founder of the Creative Apprenticeships Task Force. A long-time supporter of the Aleto Foundation, Daniel has served on every leadership programme since 2013 and joined the Board of Trustees too.
Watch the video to hear more from an exceptional 2018 BAME 100 leader.