Why did I choose to give the UK’s over 40s career clarity when I could have carried on working for impressive sounding brands? After graduating in Marketing in 1994, I started marketing household brands such as Panasonic, Hewlett-Packard, Alcatel-Lucent and Orange. Updating their branding, writing copy, researching competitors and market trends, dealing with media enquiries. However, quite quickly, whilst I was busy communicating externally, attempting to appeal to potential clients, I came to the conclusion that my clever Sales colleagues wanted to minimise what the Marketing team was doing in order to take all the credit and get their sales commission. Around the same time, I noticed that some managers as well as employees were confused in their roles, had no idea what new plans the company had, what was changing what was staying the same, and in fact needed a reliable consistent source of truthful information.
In 1997, whilst I was working for Hewlett-Packard, I saw this need for clarity of employee information and took it upon myself to set up a weekly management conference call and email group (yes, back in 1997!) so that managers could regularly share information with each other and cascade to their teams. Later, I discovered that what I was doing was called internal communications. I hadn’t known that was a thing.
After a short time, I realised that I preferred working where I could see it made a difference to people and where I could ask for feedback without others preventing that. I could see for myself the difference it was making to reducing managers’ and peers’ stress levels. I used to ask my colleagues what they wanted to know about company plans in order to feel clear about their roles. They told me and I went out of my way to get answers for them, from the most appropriate senior people.
Creating cultures of trust
This all started years ago as something I did alongside my day job in corporates. For companies, I created anonymous intranet micro-sites, employee surveys and wrote all the CEOs emails and Chairman’s speeches. I gained the wonderful reputation as being ethical, transparent and reliable. If it was communicated to employees, Suzanne Bourner had written it, therefore it was true. If the question was answered, it was with the truth. I stood my ground and questioned the CEOs when they told me what they wanted me to write. I refused to play politics. Truth – not lying – is extremely important to me.
This is another reason my clients say they like working with me so much. I spot insights to the real truth of the matter as to why people are lost or struggling and speak the truth, even if it’s not easy for me to say or for them to hear.
As I became the “one source” of Internal Communications, progressively, my colleagues shared with me their more intimate, professional interests and concerns. I gave them information and did what I now see as coaching. I validated them. I motivated them. I inspired them. I gave them clarity. I helped them in practical ways too – writing difficult emails, presentations, helping them with CVs and cover letters, understanding their unique skill offerings in the world of work. Understanding them as individuals.
Everyone has a path
And then in I was employed as Employee Engagement Manager and then People Coach. Having got to the place in my working life where I was privileged to be paid to look out for and coach people, I learned even more about the uniqueness of people, business and cultures. It was the last small stepping stone I needed to tread on.
My background has been invaluable. My environment may have changed, in that I am no longer employed by companies to coach, inspire, motivate and care for people but:
My mission has been unchanged for decades: I want everyone to be proud of what they do to earn their living. My Career Coaching is pure, undiluted support of the individual to find what is right for them, in their current landscape. I am most alive when I have helped one more person dust off their wings.
Finding your path
It is my privilege to find out what makes each person tick, reveal their most suitable professional choices and accompany their journey at each crossroads. We can’t know if you are best suited for employment, self-employement or something else until we work together.
I have now written hundreds and hundreds of CVs, LinkedIn profiles and cover letters. These important door-opening documents need to be accurate as well as appealing. There are many ways to write, to prepare someone for interview or to evaluate potential possible roles or new business ideas, but the best, most ethical way is to learn about and care about my clients.
I love getting the right person’s foot through the right door. When my clients get offered roles – or start their own business – the only credit I can genuinely take is whatever the client chooses to give me. But I do allow myself to get rather excited for them.
Who I work with
I work with experienced, proactive people over 40 in the UK who are committed to making positive changes in their professional lives. People choose career coaching services to suit their timeframe and needs and I offer a money back guarantee. I really like working with clients who take fast action because they are more satisfying to work with as they get better, bigger and very often, faster results.
If people are managing their career choices well enough at the moment, they can bookmark this page for future reference, just in case.
Read some client stories here.
However, if you are ready to re-shape your future, why not Schedule Appointment for a complimentary conversation and tell me about your situation? We all need guidance and genuine support at some time or another.