The Importance of Mentors: Dawn Laidlaw

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Dawn Laidlaw | Goffs

Who has been the biggest inspiration in your career and why?

DL: I find this question very difficult to answer. Like most in the industry, I have been lucky enough to work with a wide range of people over the years. I like to think I have picked up things from many of them.

Coming from a non-horsey but sporty family background, it was my parents who encouraged me to ‘beg, borrow and steal’ ponies to ride and fostered the belief that if you want something enough, you will work for it.

My interest in racing came via the Walton family. I rode out for them from the age of 13 and for whom I had my first ill-fated ride in a point-to-point.

Many years later, I found myself at Coolmore, working for Wendy Normile. She taught me a lot about what hard work goes on behind the scenes to keep such a large organisation functioning efficiently. It was also there that I was able to watch Christy Grassick’s interactions with people. What struck me most, was that Christy gave everybody the same consideration and time, regardless of your level within the company.

In more recent times, there has been the dynamism of John Ferguson and his belief that anything is possible and Sam Bullard, whose management style allows me to think I am in charge.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given and why did it stick with you? 

 DL: Again, there is no one piece of advice, but just the general belief that fairness and honesty are the most important traits you can have. All the members of a team are needed to score goals.

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