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7 Questions on Leadership with Russell Dalgleish

Name: Russell Dalgleish

Title: Serial Entrepreneur

Organisation: Exolta Capital Partners

Biography: Russell Dalgleish

Serial Scottish Entrepreneur and Investor

Russell is founding Managing Partner of the advisory group, Exolta Capital Partners, and Founding Chair of Scottish Business Network, the global network supporting Scottish business leaders and entrepreneurs achieve international success.

He has enjoyed the benefits of a highly successful international career in the technology sector and now focuses his efforts on supporting owners and boards of companies to devise and implement international growth strategies. In his earlier career he has held board leadership positions with international companies achieving turnover in excess off £200m.

Core areas of focus are Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship working primarily with Scaleups. He is a regular speaker and conference host and has spoken at conferences from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi.

In December 2022 Russell was named as one of Scotland’s “Unsung Heroes” for his work with entrepreneurs and founders in Scotland

Roles and accolades,

• Holds multiple non-exec and board advisory roles with fast growing, innovative businesses, and organisations including Glasgow’s MBN Solutions and Dublin based Pulse Market.

• Member of Board of Trade for Scotland chaired by Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment & Innovation

• Advisory board member for Civtech, the global leading Govtech innovation hub which sits as part of the Scottish governments Digital Directorate.

• Regularly named in the list off “100 most influential British Entrepreneurs” and one of the most influential figures in technology today.

• Appointed to represent the UK Government’s Department of International Trade Global Entrepreneur Programme where he is responsible for attracting international entrepreneurs to Scotland.

• Founding Director of the Net Zero Nation focused on reducing SME’s carbon footprint.

• Addressing the gender imbalance in business through his support of the Association of Scottish Business Women and Changing the Chemistry organisations.

• Advisor to a range of disruptive led companies in UK and US.

• Investor/Advisor Par Equity, Scotland’s leading angel investor fund.

• Award winning film producer, with independent feature Cold Kill due for release in 2022.

• Regular press contributor in print, radio and TV speaking about accelerating business growth.

Not all work – he has developed a passion for endurance events and can often be found at weekends mud splattered clambering over obstacles and "trying to keep up".

LinkedIn: | Twitter: @russellexolta | Email: [email protected]

𝐔𝐬𝐞𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐬


Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Russell's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

With leadership comes huge responsibility. By definition by assuming the role of leader we are taking responsibility for those we lead. This is perhaps the greatest challenge of leadership.

However, this is also the greatest joy as you get to witness individuals achieve their full potential with your support.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

Most interestingly I believe is my role as leader of Scottish Business Network. An organisation formed 7 years ago when 12 Scots got together in London and decided to help Scottish StartUps secure commercial success in London.

As the initial founder of this organisation, I am viewed as the "leader" but I believe I am more the custodian of the brand. We have no staff but many thousand are involved with our diaspora organisation around the world supported by some 60 Ambassadors.

I suppose I became leader of the organisation as I, along with my co-founder visualised a mission where we could bring together the Scottish diaspora to support Scotland.

My role today is more the public face of the organisation. But my real task is to find and support the leaders who will follow me and take the organisation forward.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Great question.

I have spent time trying to understand my body's natural rhythm so that I can optimise how I spend my time. Hence I rise early to process all incoming messages then spend the day working with the various companies and organisations in my portfolio.

Much of my life is spent travelling, which I love. I find this provides me with the time to consider problems, develop strategies and move projects forward. I am certainly happyest and most productive when in motion.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Let people fail, it's the only way they can learn and remember it's the way you learned.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is without doubt the business book which has had the greatest effect on my career.

His advice, documented and refined in 1936 is supremely profound. Follow these six simple steps and you will become a better leader and human being. But even better, read the book

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

2. Smile.

3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

4. Be a good listener. ...

5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.

6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Trust your instincts but read everything you can find on the subject at hand.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Too many to share here but if you follow me on Linkedin you will hear plenty from me

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