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Ian Mean: stories of passion and aspiration


By Ian Mean

Business West Gloucestershire director and vice-chair GFirstLEP

Two stories of passion and aspiration—qualities vital for any business.

First passion.

That was exhibited well by  Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities when I met him at No 10 Downing Street.

The invitation to this Levelling Up Champions reception had come from Stroud’s MP, Siobhan Baillie, to myself and Tony Davey, chairman of Stroud & District Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

I was really impressed by Michael Gove’s passion. He is something of a Marmite politician but you cannot fault him for his passion for the Levelling Up policy.

And I got the opportunity of telling him that I thought his planning reforms as part of Levelling Up were very important for businesses to grow.


Tony Davey , a local retailer in Stroud, is passionate too about supporting business in the community and is a Stroud town councillor.

I am passionate about the government’s Levelling Up. It is not about politics, and should not be, but about creating equal opportunities in our Gloucestershire communities for every facet of our lives-particularly health, education and housing.

And full marks to Siobhan Baillie for getting the busy ear of Michael Gove on what I believe is such an innovative initiative-politics aside.

David Thomas is a real story of passion and aspiration.

He started life as an apprentice plumber at Gloucestershire College where I am privileged to be an honorary vice president.

And last Friday he was guest of honour at the college’s Higher awards ceremony at Gloucester Cathedral.

He flew in specially from Los Angeles where he lives and works-styling and designing clothes for celebrities on the stage, red carpet and tv shows like American Idol and The Voice.

And his list of clients include John Legend, Lionel Richie and Josh Groban.

He told the students he was grateful to share his story with them and said he was “eager to remind you that every single one of us has a gift, something that makes us special and unique, different even and if we so choose we can make that difference our Super Power”.

True passion and inspiration.


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