The latest Your Voice feature, giving LBV members a platform for their views on the current business landscape in Leicester
Stewart Vandermark qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and joined Nelsons in 2001, where he worked as part of the firm’s dispute resolution team.
With a specialism in resolving intellectual property disputes, Stewart became head of Nelsons’ intellectual property practice group and joined Nelsons’ Strategic Board of Management in 2008.
Stewart became chief executive of Nelsons in June 2017, which marked the first leadership change since the company was set up in 1983.
How would you describe what your business does?
Nelsons provides support to businesses, individuals and families with their legal and investment needs and we opened our offices in Leicester in 2000. Although we are based regionally with offices in Nottingham and Derby, we have a national reach.
What are the biggest opportunities for your business?
It’s been a particularly exciting few months as we’ve acquired a specialist, boutique family law practice, Glynis Wright & Co., and recruited a number of key positions in the city too, meaning we’ll return to the office in an even better position when it comes to serving the Leicester business and private client market. Just weeks before the pandemic, we completed a major refurbishment in our New Walk premises, with a social space and bar area to allow our employees to work more agilely and relax with their colleagues, while also having a space to entertain clients. Our innovative approach means we’ve never been better placed to keep surpassing expectations in the services we deliver as we continue to empower clients and give them a voice as the country emerges from lockdown.
What are the biggest challenges for your business?
There’s no doubt that maintaining teamwork and our company culture after a year of remote working has been a challenge. However, having spent a lot of time defining our vision with clear values and behaviours for our team, we’ve come through this time with an even greater sense of togetherness than we could have hoped for. This year will be about re-integrating our teams and adapting to our employees’ requests for more flexible models of working while continuing to deliver excellence to our clients.
What would you identify as the key strengths of Leicester?
Leicester has enjoyed a considerable period where its reputation and profile has been enhanced, which created a real buzz. From the discovery of Richard III’s remains and the city’s history of sporting success, all the way through to the investments made in the city for various developments. Combine this with the vibrant arts scene and you have a number of elements that will draw people to the city. Leicester has much to be proud of and has given itself a fantastic platform to build on in the years to come.
What are the top three ways in which Leicester can develop to support the business community?
- The city: Leicester has a dynamic and diverse economy built on an entrepreneurial spirit and as with all cities, Leicester will need to examine and evolve the purpose of what a 21st century city is as we enter a post-Covid world. Developing a clear vision for the city will help to ensure a vibrant future that’s suitable for the next generation.
- Transport: As an East Midlands firm, travel between the three major cities we have offices in has been crucial. Therefore, an investment in the transport infrastructure to keep the city moving as we make the move back into the office will help make the city more accessible.
- Networks: The city has shown great resilience and adaptability in the last year with many of the business community networks moving online in response to the pandemic. But helping businesses to work better together and build connections as office working returns is going to be important, therefore it’s vital local businesses have a voice in how the future takes shape.