Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor is the head of regional affairs at Manchester Metropolitan University. He used to be mildly famous as the editorial director of a regional media business when he was always on stage and on the telly. He’s trying to be an over 50s male fashion and lifestyle influencer, but most of the followers of his @MarpleLeaf feeds on Twitter and Instagram are Canadian sports fans. He’s dabbled in politics and has written a few books, but he’s happiest in the bosom of his family, at Blackburn Rovers, or out in the hills with Freshwalks.

Get to know Michael a little better through his profile below or follow him on LinkedIn.

Tell us about your first Freshwalks.

I went on the very first Freshwalks, before it was even called Freshwalks. When he headed out from Glossop for a glorious day of netwalking, who knew where it would lead? An incredible, joyous journey.

How many have you attended up until now (November 2019)?

I’ve lost count. But last year I was 22nd on the leader board which, as a Blackburn Rovers supporter, I know to be a relegation place. This year I’m confident of a top 10 finish.

Why do you come back?

Each walk is different, even if we do a familiar route. The company, the open air, the challenge.

I spent twenty years thinking networking was about snatched conversations over cold bacon sandwiches, in noisy restaurants, at football or golf, or in noisy awards events at night. I’ve become intensely anti-social and antipathetic to those kinds of things now. Partly because I don’t drink, but I also because I really struggle hearing properly in parties and in bars… So, frankly, this is a great way to be with people.

What’s your favourite route?

Macc Forest to the Roaches through Lud’s Church was special.

The something you always bring?

My Granadaland t-shirt. It’s a totem of the North West. I’m from Lancaster, work in Manchester, live in the bit that calls itself Cheshire, watch my football in Blackburn and have a loving wife from Nelson.

Favourite Freshwalks memory?

The exhilaration of that first hike up Kinder will always be with me. But each walk brings something new, be it a really honest and provocative conversation, a natter about work, or just a breathtaking view.

How has Freshwalks helped your business?

It’s helped me get perspective on how I work, with some new depth to really good quality chats about ideas, all with amazing people. My job at Manchester Metropolitan University is to understand what’s going on in regional business and civic life. The insights on Freshwalks are remarkable.

Recommend three people you have met on Freshwalks.

Kathleen O’Connor, John Shinnick and Dan Moores.

How does Freshwalks challenge you?

Not trying to boast, but at 53 years of age I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. So, physically I think I’m doing OK on the pace and elevation. My packed lunches are a bit rubbish though… And, as I’d desperately like to be an over 50s male fashion and lifestyle influencer, I’ve probably got to get myself a smarter jacket. The lining on my current Patagonia one has leprosy.

Freshwalks is a combination of exercise, networking, sharing knowledge and thinking time. How do you balance those components?

Some walks have much more of one than the other, but all have a little bit of all four. Depends on
how you feel.

Suggest one new place for us to go.

The hometown of Lancaster has some good opportunities, but I’m up for Tuscany.

Sum up Freshwalks in three words.

No-one left behind.

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