Hilary Devey

Businesswoman and Entrepreneur (Dragons' Den)

Hilary Devey photo

Hilary Devey gained her wealth of experience in the distribution sector, having worked at Littlewood's, followed by Tibbett and Britten, and Scorpio (part of the United Carrier network). She then spent seven years in the retail distribution sector at TNT before leaving to set up her own business.

Prior to the formation of Pall-Ex it was difficult to transport small consignments of palletised freight quickly and cost-effectively. Hilary Devey knew that this situation needed addressing urgently and she is responsible for revolutionising distribution in this country by developing a business model that would overcome this.

During this time she had to tackle incredible odds and face untold hardships. Bankers refused to back her proposed venture and she was forced to sell her house, and downgrade her car to fund its start up.

She faced these difficult decisions with true entrepreneurial spirit. A very difficult decision for anyone let alone a single mother, she tackled them head on. Many would have given up but Hilary persisted, knowing that her idea simply had to work. For instance in the first year of trading, employees wages came before her own and that Christmas couldn't even cover a cost of a Christmas dinner for her and her son.

Massive obstacles lay ahead but Hilary managed to overcome every one of them. After months of abortive attempts, Hilary managed to source her first premises and eventually, on 29 November 1996, Pall-Ex was born. On the first night of operation just 117 pallets were distributed through the fledgling network - a stark contrast to the 10,000 pallets that are now regularly distributed by Pall-Ex nightly.

Today, as Chief Executive of the UK's No. 1 palletised freight distribution network, Hilary Devey is an inspirational role model for both male and female entrepreneurs. Having started from nothing, she now leads a network which boasts a combined turnover approaching £100m and serves numerous blue chip customers. Pall-Ex makes daily deliveries to every UK postcode as well as operating a scheduled daily service to 38 European countries.

Both Hilary Devey and her company can boast an impressive array of firsts within the logistics sector - they are innovators, not followers as evidenced by innumerable award accolades. Hilary campaigns tirelessly for various charities including The Princess Royal Trust for Carers for whom she became a patron in 2007 and she became a patron of The Stroke Association in 2010.

Hilary has also been recognised for her contribution to business in Leicestershire with an honorary degree from the University of Leicester.

Speech Topics

Hilary Devey is a hugely inspiring and motivating speaker. Hilary's speeches demonstrate that skills learned as daughter, wife and mother can indeed be seamlessly transferred to the Boardroom. She is an ardent supporter of women climbing the corporate ladder and passionate about enterprise. She shares her experiences and encouraging tips on running a business and combines it with straight talking advice and lots of humour.

Her clients include Credit Suisse, T-Mobile, Entrepreneurs Forum, Prowess, The We Mean Business Conference, The Live Group and Brands2Life.


Click below to watch video footage of Hilary Devey. To enquire further about Hilary Devey for corporate and private bookings, please click here or call us on +44 (0)1372 361 004.


Considering booking Hilary Devey for your event? You may find the following client testimonials and comments helpful. To enquire further about Hilary Devey for corporate and private bookings, click here or call us on +44 (0)1372 361 004.

Hilary Devey recently spoke for us at a conference for 120 owner/managers of small and medium sized B2B supplies companies. The audience were enthralled by her presentation in which she highlighted her personal journey from childhood, through the trials and tribulations of starting and building a business, to her position today as a highly successful entrepreneur and TV personality. The audience felt Hilary was one of their own, and were inspired to believe that they too had the opportunity to achieve what she has. It was a tribute to her empathy and natural, witty approach.

David, The Sporting Dining Club

David, The Sporting Dining Club.

Lorraine Miller, Institute of anti ageing

If you want a business speaker who can really move an audience, speak from experience and leave the conference delegates motivated and inspired, Hilary Devey is your speaker; she captivated our audience of 300 and had a standing ovation - a rare sight. Unreservedly recommended.

Jonathan Jay - Chairman, The Nationwide Alliance of Business Owners

I am writing to thank you so much for being the key note speaker at our 25th Big Birthday Message conference. The talk was simply inspirational and magnificent; you connected with every person in the room. I am so grateful to you for giving up your time for Llamau and please accept my sincere thanks for making our 25th Birthday Message the resounding success it was.

Chief Executive - Llamau

I found it particularly inspirational to listen to guest speaker, Hilary Devey. The passion and desire that Hilary had for business clearly shone through and I, for one, was overwhelmed with what she had achieved in her career. The audience was captured from the moment she took the stage.

Sam Whitear - Director, Business Lancashire

Books and DVDs

Below you'll find products by Hilary Devey which may be available for purchase. Click the image to view on Amazon’s website. Clients often like to purchase books and other merchandise as autographed give-aways at events where Hilary Devey is appearing. For bulk purchases, please speak with the Booking Agent handling your event.

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Hilary Devey

Businesswoman and Entrepreneur (Dragons' Den)

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