Sally Guyer

CEO, World Commerce & Contracting

Seven years in boarding school gave me the courage and confidence to follow an unconventional path that has led me to being CEO of one of the world’s fastest growing non-profit associations.

From school, and following a year living and working in Paris, I embarked on a law degree in London. On graduating, I knew a traditional path was not for me; the prospect of law firms filled me with dread. I found myself drawn to the dynamic world of start-ups. It was the mid-90s and the dot.com era was disrupting traditional business. Commercial management was a field in desperate demand among London’s start-ups and I found myself in a series of fast-growth telecoms firms where I learnt by doing. Travelling the world, negotiating contracts and partnerships, working directly with and for top management – it was a time of excitement, innovation, heady risks and careful calculation.

I faced the dilemma of so many women when, in my late 20s, two children entered my world. It meant a 4 year break, during which time I was able to maintain my contacts and connection with the evolving commercial scene, as well as spend another period living in France. On returning to the UK, I decided I should ‘be responsible’ and join a large corporation for the stability it would offer me and my family. I loved the people but hated the structure. So after a couple of years, I struck out on my own, offering contract and commercial services to start-ups and small-medium businesses. My company flourished, in part through the strong link I had with World Commerce & Contracting (at that time known as IACCM).

In 2014, I faced another big decision, when I was invited by World Commerce & Contracting to join as a part-time contractor, leading business development in Western Europe. The work was varied, fascinating and addictive … a year later I found myself working full-time as Chief Operating Officer, charged with bringing structure and discipline to the fast-growing and entrepreneurial association.

The rest, they say, is history… 

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