Meg Lustman

Independent Non-Executive Director, N Brown Plc

Meg has led and worked with many well-known British fashion brands for over 35 years. Her
experience spans businesses across the size and growth spectrum and she has helped create
sustainable growth, online and offline in the UK and internationally. She believes that great
businesses rely on great teams that love their work and have clear pride and purpose which,
in turn, create confidence for customers.

Since stepping away from executive life, Meg’s purpose is to support great leaders and
teams to develop winning strategies and ways of working. As well as her advisory work, she
is Chair of St Luke’s Hospice (Harrow and Brent), Vice Chair at Glasgow Caledonian
University and an independent Non Executive Director at N Brown plc.

1. What values are most important to you as a leader? 

In my experience, the best leaders inspire and motivate so that people are able to flourish, enjoy and be successful in their work. They do this by laying out the purpose of the organisation with pride and optimism and create a collaborative environment underpinned by trust, transparency and candour. They ensure that the “what’ and the “how” align to ensure that there is consistency in actions, endeavour and reward. 

2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

The older I get, the more I appreciate how much of an influence and inspiration my mother was. She was a woman who worked all her life, including starting and running a very successful business. She was independent, brave, charming, generous and charismatic. From her I learned that women truly are peers to men and that their skills and talents – whilst different – are vital to get things done well.  She always stayed true to her beliefs and modelled a feminine strength whilst taking no prisoners. She taught me the power of language, including the ability to swear well!

3. Best piece of advice you have been given?

Actually, there are two that I find invaluable both in business and in my personal life.

“What’s for you won’t go past you.”

This speaks to the false narrative that everything can be controlled or willed, simply because we want it to be so. In accepting the wisdom of this old proverb, our sense of entitlement is put in its rightful place and we are able to trust and let go of the stress of forcing issues.  When I pay attention to the spirit of this saying, I am able to relax and know that I will cope, whatever the outcome.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

This speaks to my profound and utter belief in the power of great teams. 

4. What would you tell your younger self?

Own your own power and success. Too often we think that we owe that promotion or that achievement to the organisation or your boss. But the reality is that it is down to you: your hard work, your commitment, your experience, your character. This shouldn’t be confused with arrogance: by “owning” our own power, we are able to be fair, strong and generous in a much more authentic way.

5. What has been your most important or profound lesson as a leader?

Always treat people with humanity and compassion especially when you have to give them bad news. Emotions pass and, to paraphrase Maya Angelou, people will remember how you made them feel.