Business confidential: Lesley Moody MBE

Lesley Moody MBE is managing director of Billingham-based AES Digital Solutions Limited. She has been a member of the North East England Chamber of Commerce Council for three years and, earlier this month, she was named as the new president of the Chamber. Lesley was awarded an MBE in June 2015 for services to education, international trade and business

If you could invite four people (living or dead) to dinner – who would they be and why?
Sir Tim Berners-Lee – inventor of the internet. Without his invention, our company might not exist in its current guise.

Thomas Cromwell – people from history fascinate me. I’d love to hear his stories of the Tudor court and of the trials of European travel in Tudor times.

My grandmother – she was the ‘curator’ of our family history and archive of documents and photos going back to the early 1900s. I took possession of them when my mum died four years ago… there are things I’ve come across that I’d love to find out more about from her.

Capability Brown – he was a landscape gardener extraordinaire born Northumberland. I love gardening and it would be fascinating to talk with him about his work and life at Wallington and beyond.

What’s the best business decision you ever made?

Deciding to set up AES Digital Solutions in 1992. It was a big step but with Marlow Foods (now Quorn Foods) and the British Steel Corporation as our first customers, we started to gain a solid reputation.

We have seen the growth of the internet and technology help us expand our offering and our geographical spread. Being awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to business, education and international trade was recognition for our team’s hard work and commitment.

Which five words might your friends/colleagues use to describe you?

We’ve just had a quick straw poll in the office… focused, self- deprecating, loyal, supportive, hard-working.

What’s your best piece of business advice?

Treat staff and customers as you would want to be treated yourself. Prize loyalty and commitment and over, rather than under-deliver, for customers.

Name your fantasy board of directors, and why you have chosen them.

My fantasy board is very much a local board made up of people who I feel I would be lucky to work with in my ‘fantasy company’.

Steph McGovern – BBC Breakfast. Steph and I were governors together at Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough. She’s so knowledgeable, great at getting things done and has such energy!

Joe Telford – my business partner who has worked with me for over 30 years. Having someone who you know well and trust on the team is always helpful.

Lucy Winskill OBE – Pro-Vice Chancellor at Northumbria University. She’s a great role model for women in business, has a brilliant mind and is such a lovely person with a great sense of humour.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would be your dream job, and why?

If I had to choose to do something else it would likely be food- related (my degree is in Food Science and Nutrition). I love cooking and baking, so possibly I’d look to start a cookery school.

What are your musical tastes and what was the last album you bought?

My all-time favourite has to be Elton John. I also enjoy Diana Ross, Sam Smith, Adele and Ed Sheeran and have a soft spot for Lindisfarne. Last album I bought was Elton John’s Diamonds.

Which type of books do you like to read and what was the last book you read?

The last book I read was ‘Angelina Ballerina’… a bedtime story for Isabella, my 3-year-old granddaughter. If I’m reading for me I enjoy biographies and historical novels.

If you could choose somebody to play you in a biopic, who would it be, and why?

I’ve been told I look like Joanna Lumley on numerous occasions. I suppose I would have to say her.

What’s your favourite food and tipple?

I love fish and shellfish and also enjoy a good steak. I’m lucky enough to have weekly deliveries of local organic vegetables and Tamworth rare breed pork and bacon. Having travelled for my company, I’ve been lucky enough to experience many fantastic meals all over the world. For a tipple: Morpeth Abbey Well sparkling water.

“We have seen the growth of the internet and technology help us expand our offering and our geographical spread. Being awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to business, education and international trade was recognition for our team’s hard work and commitment..”