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Michael Leeland

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Michael is our Director and Co-Founder.

Can you tell everyone a bit about yourself?
I am a law graduate with a Diploma in Legal Practice and a working background in finance and varying levels of property work, through management to development. Although I loved my degree and the foundation it provided me, ultimately, I never really felt law was where my future lay.

I have a young family which has given me a drive to help promote a more sustainable and inclusive society. This has helped shape my experiences and played a strong part in creating OOVIRT and promoting the work we are trying to achieve.

What is your current role?
I am the co-founder of OOVIRT and this, with the business still being in early stages of development, requires me to be involved all areas of the business. Fundamentally, the aim is to help promote venues/businesses/locations through accessible customer journey mapping and by enabling users to plan and understand their whole visit to the venue in a virtual environment before they arrive.

We are continually looking at ways to improve our products and services and developing a long-term strategic plan is currently central to our work.

Additionally, I try and spend as much time speaking to businesses, charities and customers to engage with new clients and partners across the globe. It is really an exciting sector to be involved with at the moment with all the great work being advocated by other businesses within the sector.

What are your ambitions and passions?
It has taken me a lot of time to get here, but my greatest ambition and passion is to develop and grow OOVIRT from that initial idea, to a business that can really benefit people on a mass scale. I love coming to work and figuring out new challenges and ideas as to how our business can complement and improve what is already out there.

When I speak to people and listen to what problems and challenges they are currently facing, I feel that we already have the technology to improve many of them. One of my biggest drivers from the outset was that this was such a simple and beneficial concept. I feel we have developed a product that helps to solve a real and current problem.

What are your interests?
My lifelong passion has always been to travel and explore, although with a young family this is slightly limited at the moment.

I love to salsa dance and I am looking at getting back to doing more dancing after having a little break due to other commitments. Historically, I was always a terrible dancer, however, salsa dancing is a great activity with a great social scene and I thoroughly enjoyed learning to dance. You travel around the world and dancing is such a huge part in many peoples lives, definitely something I wish I could have learned at a younger age.

Now that the better weather has returned, I enjoy going out on my bike with my wife and son, he’s just young enough to fit on his bike seat, so it means we can cover decent ground.

What is a random fact about you?
10 years ago I was in South America for 8 months mixing volunteer work and travelling (seems like a lifetime ago). On this exact day 10 years ago, I reached the summit of Mount Pisco (see Facebook post picture), a 5,760m mountain located in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
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I graduated from the University of Dundee in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Applied Computing. During my studies the field that I had a great interest in was web development however since graduating I have also become very interested in accessibility. I was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and since the age of 3 I have used a wheelchair 24/7. Due to my disability I have always come across problems regarding accessibility, which is why it’s such a passion for me.

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