Research and Enterprise

Driving growth with local business partners - Life as a KTP Associate

In 2020, Claire Thornton took the opportunity to change direction in her career by joining a new Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) project here at Leeds Beckett. Claire is our mKTP Associate on our partnership between Wakefield SME, Global Doors, and our team of academics at Leeds Business School. In this blog post, Claire shares her experience of tackling the project so far – setting in place the new management structures and culture changes needed to allow Global Doors to grow and innovate into the future.

Claire Thornton presenting in front of a screen

Last year I found myself thinking more about my career development. Up until this point I had been mainly involved in business and functional level strategy at large businesses - primarily in marketing and product management. I had limited experience of corporate level strategy.

However - having worked at two different companies on the integration of product portfolios during business acquisitions - I knew that corporate level strategy was something I wanted to be more involved with in the future. I also realised that - in order for me to achieve my longer-term career goals - I needed more experience of strategic decision making at a higher level and to develop my skills in this area.

COVID gave me the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy and focus on how I was going to develop in order to reach my career goals. I quickly discovered the exciting world of mKTPs and realised that this type of project would give me the corporate strategy learning I was looking for. Within a few months I was starting an exciting new role as Strategic Development Manager at Global Doors Ltd.

Claire Thornton

Claire Thornton

The journey so far

I bring skills, experience and ideas gained from over 17 years working at large manufacturing companies to Global Doors Ltd. However, I am only one of the partners on the mKTP project. The other partners are: Global Doors - a local SME with an entrepreneurial leader, experienced senior leadership team and committed workforce; and, the whole project is underpinned by a fantastic academic team at Leeds Beckett University who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, solving the business’s scaleup challenges.

At Global Doors the mKTP team are working hard to embed a portfolio approach to the strategic decision-making process, with the aim of driving sustainable growth. So far, I have worked on formalising vision, mission and values, embedding strategic development tools, developing a bespoke model for cultural change and implementing project management tools.

I have learnt about corporate strategy, am currently learning a lot about digital transformation, and also recently completed the Level 5 Award, in Leadership and Management from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

What's next?

Who knows what my next role will be? But for now, I am contributing to the growth of a local SME and building on my 17 years’ experience in an exciting role, with a brilliant team of people.

Are you interested in joining a Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) project?

We have three new projects and are currently recruiting a Business Optimisation Manager for Bensons Control Panels; a Strategic Development Manager for iKoustic; and a Business Optimisation Manager for Tomrods.

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