A Fond Farewell to Michelle Wright
Today, our Operations Director, Michelle Wright, retires from her position as Operations Director at The Futures Group after almost 40 years with the company.
Her career began as a Careers Adviser in Chippenham, Wiltshire, in 1980 and moving to Netherfield, Nottingham in 1981. In 1983, Michelle became an Unemployment Specialist Careers Adviser in Mansfield, covering Retford and Worksop.
In 1985, Michelle became a Senior Careers Adviser in Newark, where she became Team Leader in 1997
Former colleagues have fond memories from Michelle’s time in Newark:
“On your first day you were wearing trousers. In that office, trousers had never been worn to work by a woman before. Such was the shock, that we had to fetch the smelling salts to bring some staff members round!
“You soon established yourself as a Manager who would and could walk the walk before you talked the talk. You would never ask staff to do anything that you wouldn't do yourself. And when new initiatives came down from on high, that you knew were patently impossible, you would always help us see the sense of what was being asked, and then find an ingenious way round doing it.
“Your unique management style endeared you to all the members of your team. It took you time to win us all round, but you did it. You were an invaluable source of support to us all, never failing to make us (and yourself) laugh out loud; you never held back if you'd made a mistake and you were always fiercely protective of us if we had problems, again finding a way through for us.
“This openness and honesty created an atmosphere of hard work, professionalism and dedication and you recognised this in the team you had inherited, but your leadership took us to a whole new level. Your compassion and care for our young clients was exemplary. Anyone could learn lessons from you about relating to young people, and the same sense of humour but underlying empathy endeared you to your clients as well.
“As a manager, you never needed a formal ' review ' session to know all there was to know about the wellbeing of your staff. “If there was anything going on at work or in our lives at home, good or bad, you made it your business to know, and to offer help if you were at all able. You know more about 'wellbeing' of staff than any process or procedure could tell you.“
“Michelle, you are a one in a million. We know that you will look back on your days in Newark with affection and we feel privileged to have shared all those years with you. The best.”
In 2001, Michelle became Caretaker Manager for Guideline Careers Services in Nottingham and subsequently, Operations Manager. More recently, her title changed to Operations Director in 2011.
Michelle has continued to make an impression on colleagues across the company, with an adviser from Maid Marian Way saying:
“I just want to take the opportunity to thank you for everything you have done for us all over the years, it really has been so appreciated, you are truly an amazing person and you are absolutely going to be missed.
“I’ll never forget the early days of the adult contract, working with you on that Saturday morning at Carlton Street and us sticking all those balloons on that tatty old A board to attract customers in – it flipping well worked!, and of course, celebrating with you at various ‘do’s and when we got our outstanding grade from Ofsted. The work you’ve put into this company has been incredible, you’ve helped and supported us through so many highs and lows. You’ve always been very approachable, honest, understanding and never afraid to get stuck in, and I for one have really appreciated that.
“I wish you all the very best and hope you have a fabulous and fun filled retirement.”
Throughout her career with the company, both her job title and the name of the business have seen a few changes, but one thing has remained consistent – the positive light in which Michelle is seen by all of her colleagues, past and present.
A Lincolnshire Team Manager adds:
“I just want to say a big Thank You! You have been an amazing leader and also quite a bit of fun :) which is two things that don’t always go together.
"Thanks Michelle, you’ve always been a big advocate for me and I appreciate everything you have done for me in the past and what you’re doing for me now.”
Tom Hay, head of Operation for the East of England says:
“Michelle, you were on the interview panel when I applied for the position of a Personal Adviser for Connexions Nottinghamshire, in October 2003.
“You drove a Porsche, which was enough to impress me, but I soon got to know the energetic, devoted and dedicated Operations Manager – the role you had at the time. You have been very influential in my career and development; always encouraging me (and others) to take on new opportunities and to stretch myself – the most significant of moves being my cross over from young people’s services to adult services and the National Careers Service.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 6 years working on the National Careers Service with you as my Director. You’re an inspirational leader, driven and tenacious; the bravest of women during difficult times and great fun to be around, especially when a glass of wine is involved…there have had some legendary nights out!
“Wishing you a long, happy and healthy retirement. Thanks for everything, Michelle.”
Looking back over her time with the company and the impact she has had on both clients and colleagues, interim CEO, Sandra Cowley, says
“Michelle has been such a huge asset to the organisation and to the leadership team over many years. She leaves a legacy of being a great leader whose expert knowledge and experience was always at the forefront of her decision making enabling Futures to grow and deliver a careers advice service that continues to make a positive impact of the lives of our customers. Her abundant and infectious energy will be greatly missed by everyone.“
All the staff at Futures wish Michelle luck for the future and know that she will enter retirement with as much gusto and energy as she has poured into all other aspects of her life and career.