My background is as a professional actor for film, theatre and TV. My acting training, and the experience I gained while working in the theatre gave me a solid foundation in the basics of presentation – body language, voice, presence & impact, all the tricks that actors use to tell a story in an engaging and memorable way. TV was different – it required flexibility, and a committed work ethic.
While studying, I was part of an Improv group that performed regularly in a small local venue. I loved improv – it was live, it was exciting, and it required an ability to be reactive, to problem-solve, and a willingness to be honest and open. The best thing about it though, was the interaction with audiences. I learned the importance of building audience rapport and creating a relaxed, comfortable and supportive environment, where people feel able to contribute and engage fully.
Professional theatre work with ensemble companies like Oddsocks, The Common Players and The Solent People’s Theatre provided further opportunity to develop my audience engagement and improvisation skills, as well as my ability to work well as part of a team!
Alongside professional theatre, I worked in schools Theatre-in-Education, through touring shows, schools’ workshops and running Drama clubs and Youth Theatres. In this way I developed my skills at managing a group and began to discover the motivation I felt in supporting others’ development – possibly inherited from my teacher parents!
This developed further when I established a theatre company to deliver a Health Education TIE project into secondary schools. This was my first experience of running a business. I created the project to a brief (a play and workshop), managed the client, recruited and managed the cast and crew, and project-managed the tour. The project ran successfully for seven years, reaching over 100,000 young people.
I came to business training nearly twenty years ago, through the recommendation of a colleague and friend. Initially working as an actor and role player for employee-engagement events, I soon developed into participating in training seminars on customer satisfaction, and sales technique.
As my confidence grew, I began to take on more small-group facilitation, in sessions for International Meeting Skills, Handling Difficult Conversations, Performance Management and Influencing. Increasingly, I found myself running plenary sessions delivering interactive workshops using other business actors.
As I worked more and more in Business Training, my network grew, and I was able to establish and maintain ongoing partnerships with a large number of the UK’s leading training providers. My location in the North East helped me connect with companies who specialise in Behavioural Safety for North Sea Oil & Gas, and work with those companies in other heavy industries, such as Energy, Construction, Civil Engineering and Transport.
At the same time, I increasingly began to find myself up on my feet as Lead Trainer/Facilitator for seminars and events. I started to see how I could build on the skills and experience gained so far andt worked to develop further my ability to be flexible, to listen actively, to pace and structure a presentation, and to be innovative in finding memorable ways of delivering material and content. I also learnt the importance of reflection and evaluation to continually improve how well outcomes are met.
In order to develop my coaching skills, I qualified as a Coach-Practitioner of NLP, fully certified by ITANLP. I am regularly involved in coaching sessions (both group and 1-2-1), and also use coaching methods in much of the training I deliver.
I also hold a certificate in Basic Offshore Survival. (OPITO Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) with HUET and CA-EBS). This enables me to deliver training on offshore installations, both in the UK and overseas.
I now work all over the UK and abroad delivering Drama-based business training. It’s taken me to some pretty interesting places, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with some fabulous people. I love what I do, and I love doing it. I believe strongly in the power of Drama-based learning to enact change, build confidence, develop skills and create happier and healthier working environments.
I’m excited every day when I go to work, and I look forward to meeting the next challenge, whatever it may be.