The Hay file Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2008

Born: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Education: Bachelor of arts, human geography, University of Reading, United Kingdom

First job: Washing dishes in a pub

What is the most important business lesson you have learned?

Recruit fantastic talent

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

There’s a quote from Mark Twain, ‘It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you; it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.’ People are often prepared to acknowledge that they don’t know stuff, but the dangerous stuff is what they’re absolutely convinced is true that isn’t so. It’s interesting, when someone says something is fact, challenge them to try to actually find the data to support that. It can become frightening pretty quickly, and there can be a lot of myths that exist in an organization that are not based on data at all. That’s the stuff that Mark Twain said hurts you.

What is your definition of success?

Success for me is if you’ve got a talented team pointing in the same direction with clear accountabilities working a culture that supports innovation, creativity and collaboration.

What do you like best about being a leader?

It’s being able to influence the culture. I have a passion for helping people be the best they can be, and if you can help set the culture environment, then obviously you can help make that come true.

Fast facts about dunnhumby Ltd.:

  • Founded in London, England in 1989 by Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby.

  • U.S. headquarters opened in Cincinnati in 2003 as a joint venture between dunnhumby and The Kroger Co.

  • U.S. clients include Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Kraft Foods Inc.