Over a career spanning almost two decades, I’ve been a chartered surveyor, a Deloitte strategy consultant and a civil servant at Her Majesty’s Treasury. Since 2013, I’ve been an executive coach working with progressive leaders and teams, including founders, investors and corporate executives.
I work one-on-one with clients, coach leadership teams, run coaching programmes, and consult on leadership development, organisational design, culture and change. Arrange a call or email me if you’re interested in working together.
I write a monthly newsletter called The Future Of Leadership which is read by 1,147 readers. You can also find me LinkedIn and Twitter. I occasionally update Instagram with personal stories that usually involve me climbing up, or skiing back down mountains.
The Early Years
I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2001 with a degree in Geography & Politics. I began my career in economic development, focusing on real estate and infrastructure. Based in Leeds, I studied part-time at Sheffield Hallam University for an MSc in Urban Regeneration, going on to become a Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS).
I joined the Strategy team at Deloitte Consulting in 2006 and moved to London. My work broadened to include regional and central government policy. I was also involved in M&A and Commercial Due Diligence work for major private sector clients.
From 2008 to 2012 I was seconded from Deloitte to HM Treasury as the formative member of the Equitable Life Payments Scheme Team. Founded in 1762, Equitable Life was once one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious life assurance companies in the world. In the 1990s it over-promised returns to investors without making provision for adverse market changes. After a House of Lords ruling, it closed for new business in 2000. The scheme was a £1.5 billion government programme to compensate 1 million policy holders who lost sizeable portions of their pension as a result of the Society’s collapse.
I helped design, build, fund and deliver the scheme. Initially Head of Policy, I moved to a Head of Operations role at the delivery stage. I formed and was a member of the Senior Management Team and early Board. I oversaw the procurement of a £20m annual service delivery contract with National Savings & Investments and Siemens. I briefed Ministers and senior officials regularly, within Treasury and in Parliamentary debates in the House of Commons.
After my HM Treasury Secondment, I took a five month sabbatical from Deloitte. I embraced my dream of leaving it all behind to go and live in my trusty Volkswagen campervan in the French Alps for the winter. There’s more about my skiing and climbing adventures on my no longer updated personal blog onefootinlagrave.
I returned to Deloitte in 2012 as the Business Account Manager for a £70 million annual revenue account. Coordinating the account and Partner Executive Group crystalised my understanding of leadership at a senior corporate level. But, craving change, and believing my skills could be more useful elsewhere, I left Deloitte in September 2013 to set up my own venture as a coach and consultant.
Interlude, and finding my calling
Eighteen months into my entrepreneurial journey, I found myself facing an altogether different challenge. Diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer my plans had to go on hold as I journeyed for 2 years through several operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Now in full remission, I bring that experience to my coaching, helping clients deal with uncertainty and build resilience with empathy and compassion. I am fortunate to do a job I love and work with people who inspire me every day. I’m humbled by the extent to which people let me into their lives, share their experiences with me, and allow me to support them on their personal and professional journeys. For me, coaching is more than a vocation; it’s an ongoing journey of learning and self-discovery, in service to others and myself.
My Oncologist and I talk to strategy trainer and author Fred Pelard about what cancer has taught us both about life, leadership and decision making under uncertainty. Listen now…
I talk to Executive Coach and ‘CEO whisperer’ Jerry Colonna about my early experience as an entrepreneur and executive coach with cancer. Listen now…
For early-stage founders and entrepreneurs, I join Stefan Manku on the Founder Hotseat podcast to discuss how to find and get the most out of a business coach. Listen now…