Gerry Kassab

Since 2015 our Chairman, Gerry Kassab, has worked alongside Richard Collins and Nick White, managing Insight’s growth from an office with four desks to a team of fifteen, spread across the country.

Having travelled across the globe working as a management and change consultant, Gerry brings a wealth of business experience to Insight – drawing upon ten years’ private and eighteen years’ NHS experience.

Over the past few months, Gerry, has been undertaking a sabbatical. I spoke to him about his reasons for this and what he hopes it will achieve – as well as what he has been filling his time with.

 

Hi Gerry, tell me a little bit about why you decided to take a sabbatical.

The short answer is that I have been working since graduating from university forty years ago – so I feel I am more than due a rest. Over the past few years I began to feel slightly jaded and with my kids leaving home, I decided to take a break and refresh myself by pursuing personal goals and ambitions.

Crucially, however, I felt Insight were in a position where they could handle me taking a step back. I would not have taken this decision if I did not feel that Richard and Nick could continue running the company seamlessly. As a team, Richard, Nick and myself have ensured that the company is built on a strong structure and management team – allowing me to lessen my involvement.

 

And how have you been keeping busy?

This year I have taken a keen interest in cycling. I began building up my fitness by taking part in public races called ‘sportives’. After participating in a few of these events I booked a cycling trip in Spain. There I cycled the ‘Via de la Plata’, covering 1000km along a historic pilgrimage route. The route began in Seville and finishing in Santiago de Compostela via the city of Zamora (pictured above). It was a fantastic journey that lasted 22 days. I encountered a variety of temperatures and terrains, ranging from 28°c and flat plains in the South to 9°c, rain and steep climbs in the North – with one extreme climb of 1,200 meters in a day.

In part, my decision to take up cycling was a reaction to being diagnosed with diabetes. Thankfully, exercise and managing my diet has allowed me to keep the condition under control.

 

Any plans for the future?

Tiger’s Nest (Himalayan Buddhist temple), Bhutan

Lots! I want to continue cycling and increase my fitness even further. I have my sights set on completing the Euro Velo 6, which is a cycle route that stretches from the Atlantic coast of France to the Romanian city of Constanța on the Black Sea, covering 2,270 miles.

I am also planning to go trekking in Bhutan. This ties in with one of long held interests in Buddhism and meditation, something I have been practicing for over ten years. And finally I am aiming to take part in some VSO work abroad.

 

How has this change in lifestyle affected your role within Insight?

I still keep good contact with Richard and Nick. I attend board and key strategy meetings and my network is still used by the consultants, but my position is much more of a non-exec overview rather than a day-to-day role. This works well for myself but also for Insight. It allows me to take a step back and view the company more from a strategic perspective as well as helping Richard and Nick in a mentoring position.

This step back has meant that Richard and Nick have both developed quickly and made the business their own. They have moved increasingly from working in the company as recruiters to working on the company as board members, which has solidified the structure of Insight and allowed the business to grow.

From a personal aspect, my break has revitalised me and returned a degree of hunger to come back and engage with an increased level of clarity and an altered perspective. I’d highly recommend a sabbatical for anyone in a similar position.

 

 

 

 

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Alex Kassab

Alex has been with Insight since January 2016 - initially working as part of the back office team, he now helps manage Insight's website, blog and social media output.
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