Carole Mills became the first female Chief Executive for Bondholder Derby City Council when she joined at the beginning of August.
Carole joined from Milton Keynes Council where she held the role of chief executive in 2014. Before that, over a 16-year period, she held senior strategic roles at metropolitan and unitary councils including Walsall and Nottingham City.
• What are your first impressions of Derby?
Derby is a great city. There are areas of historic charm, thriving businesses, beautiful green spaces, and some excellent bars and restaurants. The city also has a very passionate population; Derby people clearly love Derby. There are also some really exciting projects on our agenda as a place.
• What is your aspiration for Derby?
We have some fantastic people working at the Council who are committed both to public service and the city, and it’s a privilege to be here and working as part of Team Derby. I want to ensure that Derby City Council is focussed on doing all it can to optimise opportunities for Derby, its citizens, businesses, visitors and other stakeholders.
That said, there are challenges and issues to resolve, and I believe it’s important to tackle them head on, so that will be a priority for me.
• What is your impression of how Derby’s business community shapes the city?
I’m struck by the excellent partnerships we have between businesses here; the Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Visit Derby, the University of Derby, Derby Renaissance Board, Marketing Derby and its Bondholders, of course, and others - all working together with the Council and local businesses, uniting and acting as a force for positive change in the city – it’s very inspiring.
Of course we have the industrial giants who have roots in the city and its heritage, like Rolls-Royce, but there are also many small- and medium-sized enterprises that really make Derby and the communities they work in.
I’ve already been out and about – starting to meet with partners and business leaders, and there’s a clear sense of pride in everyone I’ve met; not only in their own businesses and Derby of course, but also within the communities they sit in and the people they work with. I’m looking forward to working with as many people and businesses as I can.
• What role do you see the Council playing in helping to shape the city?
Working effectively with partners is critically important as is making the right connections within the city and beyond – regionally, nationally and internationally. No local authority is an island and, in the best places, you have the public, private and voluntary sectors working together in partnership.
Our success will be maximised when people, businesses and communities are empowered and working together for the good of the city.
The council has a unique role in making and enhancing those connections and brokering the right kind of involvement at the right time.
• What has been the ethos underpinning your career?
I have very strong values – work hard, do the right thing, listen, communicate, make things happen and be kind. I’m very much a people person and enjoy building effective, multi-disciplinary teams. To make things happen, you need people working together; no one can go-it alone. I’ve never shied away from the difficult conversations, challenging others where that’s required or taking appropriate risks.
• What has been your proudest achievement of your career?
It would have to be establishing the concept of the MK Futures 2050 Commission which, following extensive engagement with city stakeholders, culminated in the creation of a long term vision for Milton Keynes to continue to grow and prosper. Their incredibly well-received report ‘Making a Great City Greater’ set out six big projects –growth and strategy; a new university; learning and skills; smart, sustainable mobility; renaissance CMK and the creative, cultured city and will take MK forward in a very positive way.
• Tell us one thing that not many people know about you.
I’m a very open person, so nothing much to tell on this one. I do love foreign travel and am a keen photographer, having visited around 50 countries so far.