We launched a new feature last year so that you can get to know our team a little better! We’re asking members of staff from across VisitScotland to tell us a bit about themselves and their roles, as well as some of their favourite places to visit in our beautiful country. In the next of the series hear from Lesley Macleod, Assistant iCentre Manager.
Tell us a bit about yourself...
“Well, I started working for VisitScotland in March 2017 as a Seasonal Visitor Advisor at Edinburgh iCentre and haven’t looked back since. I became a permanent member of staff, was seconded to work as an Expo Assistant and now I am one the Assistant iCentre Managers at Edinburgh iCentre. Before VisitScotland, I worked at Edinburgh Castle for a number of years and have a Masters in Hispanic Studies from University of Aberdeen and a Masters in Tourism Marketing from Edinburgh Napier University. Normal things I like to do such as travelling and meeting friends hasn’t been possible this year, so I’ve rediscovered my love of painting. I’m no Picasso or Monet but I enjoy it nonetheless!”
What is your role at VisitScotland and what are your main responsibilities?
“I’m the Assistant iCentre Manager at Edinburgh iCentre and it’s safe to say that no two days are the same! Day to day I make sure that the iCentre is run smoothly and that Visitor Service Advisors have all the knowledge, skills and tools they need to deliver world class customer service to our visitors. Back of house, I make sure all financial and company policies are adhered to and look at ways we can improve what we’re doing in the iCentre. The iCentre network supports local and national businesses and services by selling tickets on their behalf. We also help to promote local artisans through our Shop Local scheme.
“I’m also lucky to be part of the Future Leaders Group (FLG), which I was nominated for by my Regional Manager. The FLG gives those below a certain level in the organisation a chance to get involved with and learn about big organisation-wide decisions from the VisitScotland Leadership Group. We attend Leadership Group meetings and I had an opportunity to present a FLG review along with my fellow FLG member Katie Bell (a bit nerve-racking but overall good experience!).
“During lockdown we had a series of inductions from Heads of Departments about their role, career and what they think it takes to be a great leader. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to gain a better understanding of how the organisation works. Another positive of being on the FLG has been the chance to collaborate with other FLG members. In my day to day role I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work with them all, so it’s been great to meet them and learn from each other.”
It’s not been business as usual at VisitScotland over the last year. How has your role changed during these unprecedented times?
“For iCentre staff, the way we work has changed dramatically. From dealing with most visitors face to face we’ve taken things online. We’re still available to help visitors over the phone, email and we now have a Facebook messenger service which has helped us reach a large number of prospective visitors. Staff have also been helping with the numerous funding streams VisitScotland has been involved in, which has been a brilliant and rewarding opportunity for all involved.
“Internally, a number of Visitor Service Advisors also completed a series of Teams Talks on everything from the history of Highland dancing to wild camping in the Trossachs. It was great to see how knowledgeable our staff are and for them to share that knowledge with others around the iCentre network.
“My team in Edinburgh have been brilliant and we’ve really pulled together to get each other through a tough year. Working from home has been great but I’m ready to get back into the iCentre and see everyone face to face!”
All of our VisitScotland iCentres across the country are now open! What steps have been taken to keep both our staff and visitors safe?
“As a network we’re so excited to have our doors open and start welcoming visitors again. We’ve made a number of adjustments to the iCentres to make sure our staff and visitors feel safe. For example, we’ve erected plastic screens, introduced one-way systems and have hand sanitising stations in place for both visitors and staff.
“Due to restrictions it may be a while before we can welcome international visitors, so at the moment we’re really looking forward to helping locals discover hidden gems and we hope we inspire them to get to know their own country better. VisitScotland is really focused on responsible tourism so we’ll be reminding visitors to respect and protect the environment but also enjoy everything that Scotland has to offer. When you live in the most beautiful country on Earth (I know I’m biased) why would you want to go anywhere else?!”
Now that travel restrictions across Scotland have been lifted, do you have a favourite place that you can’t wait to visit again?
“I know it might be a bit of a cliché, but I cannot wait to go back to Glencoe. Whenever I visit the area, it takes my breath away. I just seem to relax when I’m there and forget the world exists for a moment. I also love the Borders and have very fond memories of summer holidays there when I was little, so I’m looking forward to getting out and about and visiting places such as Abbotsford House again.”