True grit is a characteristic of Yorkshire folk and Jeanette Forbes, chief executive of the PCL Group on Aberdeen’s Regent Quay, has got it in spades. Her company has been a total IT service provider to the oil and gas industry worldwide for 17 years and leading that has been no 9-5 sinecure. ‘It’s my company, so my responsibility,’ says Jeanette, ‘I am on call 24/7 so that if a call comes in from abroad in the middle of the night, I deal with it on the spot. Looking after the customer is the absolute key to success for me.’
Equally, Jeanette gets a buzz out of seeing her staff, including son Chris, grow the business with her. She is much in demand for mentoring young women interested in a career in oil and gas and firmly believes that although challenging, it will continue to provide excellent career prospects for many years to come.
However, nothing stands still in the helter-skelter world of this dynamic lady. For example, when Jeanette became frustrated with office-cleaning arrangements, what did she do? ‘I just decided to launch my own cleaning company so that I had control of a necessary aspect of business,’ she says.
And there’s more excitement on the horizon. Jeanette has embarked on a venture to open an upmarket wine bar called Grape & Grain on Aberdeen’s Thistle Street in what was a tearoom. ‘Business trips take me to London frequently,’ she adds, ‘and I feel there is room in Aberdeen for a stylish establishment with a difference.
‘There will be no TVs anywhere in the wine bar as I want people to enjoy the art of conversation again. We are installing a baby grand piano for music nights, including jazz sessions. Scotland also has a great larder and we hope to demonstrate that we understand what food and drink is about. Cheese and wine evenings are on the menu for the wine bar which is due to open in the coming months.’
It’s all a far cry from Jeanette’s early days from helping out in her grandparents’ wholesale fish business in Halifax, to studying at night for a BSc in computing, on top of being a mum-of-two and rising through the ranks to her present eminence.
The new venture is another step along the way with Jeanette bucking the trend of a deflated bar and restaurant trade in the North-east. Ever positive, she hopes Grape & Grain will be more gain than pain.