Alan Kingston is owner and manager of Glenilen Farm, producers of authentic farmhouse dairy products, yogurts, cheesecakes, butter, cream & desserts, all made on the farm from the milk of their own dairy herd and neighbouring farms. Alan’s Kingston family has been tending the same small dairy farm for generations. Resting on the banks of the River Ilen (from which they have taken their name), Glenilen Farm is an idyllic location for dairy farming. The lush hills of Drimoleague, County Cork offer cows a rich and plentiful supply of nutritious grass and they in turn supply Glenilen with the rich tasty milk, which has become the core ingredient in all their delicious products. In 1997 Alan’s wife Valerie began using this milk to make homemade cheesecakes for the local country market. Her cheesecakes, made with fresh, simple ingredients, quickly gained popularity. From that small beginning Glenilen Farm began.
Glenilen supply all major retailers and independent stores in Ireland and also supply Selfridges, Wholefoods, Waitrose and Ocado in UK.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
Not everyone is a leader. It has to be developed but you need to have the potential to begin with.
When you are filling a leadership role in your organisation what qualities do you look for from candidates?
Positive, can-do attitude. The ability to place yourself in other peoples’ shoes, the ability to earn respect and not demand it.
If you had to leave your organisation for 1 year what would you ask of your team and what advice would you give them?
Treat it like your own business, make sure to have a good work life balance. Lead and don’t drive. It’s good to try something new.
What are you doing today to make sure your organisation will be relevant in 10 years time?
Keep it on the upward curve, it is very difficult to keep a business fresh without challenge and growth. Listen to your gut instinct and of course your customers. Be patient and look at the big picture. Only choose options which are sustainable. It’s not about the quick buck.
What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?
Darina Allen-energy, passion, totally convinced about her mission. I like Angela Merkel- no nonsense, compassion for refugees, patience, honesty and realism.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
I like the book of Proverbs in the bible, written 5000 years ago and still makes sense! We had the pleasure of meeting Sir Ranulph Fiennes, explorer. A true example of shear dedication despite many hurdles.