- Worked and lived in Africa, Germany and the UK.
- > 24 000 hours experience – presentation/narrative/story-telling
- Clients include 14 PLCs, professional services firms and a number of political clients including a Prime Minister, large numbers of the 2010 Conservative intake and the NO2AV campaign
Coaching and Story-Telling Experience
I was born and raised in Africa to middle-aged parents who had lived and fought through WW2 – my Dad was airforce, my Mum was a nurse. My childhood and my mind were defined and filled by stereo-vivid, head-grabbing, cinema-strong stories about distant, unseen people, places and events. Zomba Mountain, Monkey Bay, Sussex, London, Cork, Kildare, “The Fire” (which was the story of how all the family possessions went up in flames when the removals truck burnt out on the way from Blantyre to Bulawayo) – and of course, “The War”. My parent’s tales of Africa in the 50’s were my night-time stories. Reading, or rather gobbling down, books soon became my daily tardis – my unconscious downtime from the heroic and/or ugly stories of the Rhodesian war. Stories have always been a part of my life. I have heard thousands – and I know what makes a good story. But becoming a story or narrative “coach” was never part of the plan – I studied commerce and law at university. Fast forward over 20 years and I have now been a freelance Communications Coach since training as a trainer in Germany in 1992. Since then I have collected over 24 000 hours experience – coaching literally hundreds and hundreds of business executives and politicians. Helping them tell their stories. This doesn’t just mean putting someone in front of a camera. Anyone can do that.
The MessageCraft® process addresses:
- the content of the message
- the vocabulary used (I hate jargon & business speak)
- the delivery
- the technical side (I am super-sceptical of powerpoint – how many powerpoint presentations can you remember? Key points even? Seriously?)
- the audience
- the ‘desired outcomes’
- stage craft
- and more…
Clients include: Mercedes Benz, SAP, Bilfinger & Berger, ThyssenKrupp, The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Rheinhold & Mahler, SGL Carbon, Boehringer Mannheim, Deutsche Bank, the Human Trafficking Foundation, the Conservative Party and many individual political candidates – including 34 of the 2010 intake of Conservative Members of Parliament. Over 100 current Conservative MPs have been through my MessageCraft® process. [separator line=”yes”]
Real World Business & Management Experience
I was Group Managing Director of the eastern division of a German industrial group for 3 years, with full P & L responsibility for 3 manufacturing companies on 2 sites with over 130 staff. This group included 2 former DDR cooperative companies, and was bleeding money yet contractually could not be closed. My job was to limit the losses while the parent group tried to survive the post-reunification recession. After studying and learning about the companies, their processes, capabilities, markets and potential markets, I sketched out a strategy for the group and each company in the group – and then did it. We stopped doing stuff that had low margins, upped our margins elsewhere, blackmailed suppliers for better prices and terms, fired lousy customers, found a few good ones and started believing in, and producing quality. In 18 months, this group of ex-Treuhand companies went from a £8M T/O with a loss of over £1M to breakeven and then to a small profit – without making anyone redundant – this was disallowed by the Treuhand who had sold the companies in the first place. In the manufacturing company I ran myself, we cut our LOSSES by 90% despite a 25% reduction in T/O – decreasing our cost of sales from 56% to 47%. Getting suppliers to drop their prices, extend payment terms from 60 days to 90-95 – and keep supplying – and sticking with us when things were sticky at best – that took some seriously focused story-telling!
Turn Around Management (TAM) / Communications / Crisis Management role for an award winning Sussex manufacturing company. This part-time advisory role developed literally overnight into a full-time turnaround and crisis management role following a fire that destroyed the entire UK production facility.
- Winner: Queens Award for Export
- Winner: British Chamber of Commerce
- National Exporter of the Year 2004
- Runner up: National Export Communicator of the Year
- Co-handled a successful 7 figure claim vs Lloyds following the extensive fire that destroyed the factory
Managed extensive and very complex relationships with key customers in 20 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.