2017 is a very important year to me.
It marks 10 years of running my consultancy – a whole decade on my own! It may sound like a cliché, but it truly has been a journey for me, working with organizations of all shapes and sizes across the UK and beyond.
Back in 2007 when I first decided to offer private consultancy, I had no idea of the range of projects I would work on, the great people I would work with, and the places this job would take me.
I wanted to use the skills I’d honed from working within the public sector to create something of my own, to do work that I would enjoy and to create a real change in people’s working lives.
With these goals in mind, I took a leap of faith and left my job. The very next year we went into a global recession. The public sector – where I’d thought most my work would come from – was hit with severe spending cuts, so I had to branch out to new sectors. When a training provider offered me associate work within the private sector, I said yes, and the rest is history!
Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of working across a broad spectrum of clients from retail, banks, pharmaceuticals, housing associations, IT, transport, local authorities, charities, schools and universities.
One of the highlights has been running my Management Development Programme for the last two years for the national charity, Shaw Trust. They are a great organisation that provides invaluable training, support and resources to help get people into work. I’ve loved collaborating with two wonderful colleagues (an actor and a trainer) to create a really successful programme for the Trust, with heart-warming feedback from delegates.
Another highlight is my current work with the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service. I began coaching two senior managers, which led to coaching a few more and I’m now delighted to be designing a comprehensive leadership development programme for the Service.
One of the most unusual and interesting experiences was travelling to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to work with KAUST (King Abudullah University of Science & Technology) to deliver Personal Effectiveness training for University staff. The location was amazing, looking out over the Red Sea – certainly a very memorable experience. In fact, I’ve been lucky enough to deliver training in such picturesque settings as Dover Castle, Osborne House and Lambeth Palace!
As I look back, I feel proud of the way I have survived the economic challenges over the last decade by being adaptable and embracing opportunities within many different sectors. Above all, I’m still in business because I’ve stayed motivated by the same ambitions as when I started out; and that’s always been fundamental for me.
They say that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes – that challenges help you grow faster – and it’s certainly true. Back in 2007 I don’t think I realised quite how hard it would be to manage the peaks and troughs that come with unsalaried work.
It’s been tempting to take work just to secure dates in the diary and I’m still learning the importance of saying ‘no’ in order to prioritise the work that plays to my strengths and leads to my best work.
Thank you to all my wonderful clients, my fantastic associates and my incredibly supportive family. I’m delighted to have made it 10 years in business and hope to continue growing and learning for the next 10!
Image of Saudi Arabia courtesy of Charles Roffey