Even leaders sometimes need a little extra help. That’s why we have put together a panel of seasoned experts, who each understand how lonely the top jobs in communications can be.
They are here to advise and help with developmental challenges, as well as how to increase your effectiveness and capabilities as a leader. Everyone on our panel has deep roots in the communications industry and is a qualified expert in their chosen area. To find out more contact Ben Atfield on firstname.lastname@example.org. Our expert advisor panel is part of a new initiative, which will be revealed in full on our new website, coming in September.
Michelle Bayley, Career & Leadership Coach, joint Head of Communications
Down to earth and approachable, I combine coaching with being joint head of communications for a government agency with a team of 15, so I know the issues that people face in busy comms roles.
I’ve been coaching for 14 years, working with clients at all stages of their career, including women in their first role and women who want to gain promotion into senior leadership roles. I help people to make progress with whatever matters to them, from increasing confidence and managing difficult relationships, to leadership style and work life balance.
I specialise in career transition coaching, helping people to define what they want from their life and work and then to identify the career that’s the best match for them.
Clients tell me I’m warm and quick to use humour – but only when it’s appropriate!
I’m accredited as a professional coach with the ICF, coaching’s professional body, and I train other coaches in career coaching.
Bob Beck, Executive Coach
Bob Beck is a qualified and experienced Executive Coach (ICF PCC for several years; currently credentialing at the MCC level) working globally with clients up to national board members in global brands, 1:1, with teams and systems. His practice is built upon trust, repeat business and long term client relationships. This has been achieved by consistent delivery of and a commitment to outstanding results.
Bob has over 20 years professional experience working in complex and difficult environments. Having started his career working in and around the business and institutions of government, developing an ability to persuade, manage professional relationships and conflict remain at the kernel of his work.
Nikki da Costa, Personal Performance & Public Affairs Coach
I’m Nikki da Costa and I specialise in working with Public Affairs practitioners.
It’s an industry I believe in, and – in addition to being a qualified coach – my clients appreciate that I know it and Westminster inside out; that I can draw on my experience as a former Special Adviser, that I’ve lead an in-house function for both a FTSE 100 corporate and major education charity, and helped build one of the fastest growing agencies in the UK.
My clients come from a diverse range of sectors and vary in seniority, from those just starting out to experienced senior practitioners. What unites them is a desire to excel and address those issues which may be holding them back.
Working together we can create space for you to think, to help you to articulate and work towards your goals, build on your strengths and overcome challenges.
Leigh Jackson, Career and Leadership Coach
Leigh is a Co-Active Professional Certified Coach (CPCC) specialising in leadership development and career coaching. She has 25+ years of corporate communications experience at senior and strategic levels, primarily in UK central government, in the BBC and in the global services sector. She has been a senior civil servant – and coached other senior civil servants.
She now coaches high potential leaders and aspiring middle to senior leaders in global corporate communications, working extensively with the high-tech creative and regulatory sectors. Deputy CEO of Women in Games, Leigh leads their mentoring programme for aspiring women leaders in the UK videogames industry.
She is a licensed Firework Career Coach, has an ILM Level 7 qualification in Executive Coaching and Leadership Mentoring and an MSc in Organisational Behaviour from Birkbeck, University of London. She is also an accredited practitioner of the Lumina Spark, Emotion and Leader/360 psychometric tools.
Fiona Maher, Executive Coach
I believe people are capable of amazing things – and sometimes, along the way, they can forget this.
I work alongside clients to help them achieve success and balance in their careers and life in general, as the two are intimately connected. My experience is it’s often a process of reconnection to the gifts and strengths that are already there.
By age 34, I was coaching one of the most influential boardrooms in the UK at BP. My last large in-house role was Director of Communications and Change for BP Wind and Solar. There, I was a member of the leadership team and worked as a coach inside and outside the boardroom. So, I know what it takes to succeed and I also understand the challenges.
My clients work with me in different ways. Sometimes I’m helping a person shine in their current role. At other times, I am sitting behind the scenes helping someone fly in a new, stretch role. One particular area of specialism is helping people identify and land jobs or careers that allow them to thrive at all levels – personally, professionally and physically.
I have worked as a coach for 18 years and my clients range from CEOs and senior leaders of global organisations to entrepreneurs of start-up ventures, from busy working mums to graduates. I find it a privilege to work with them all.
Catherine May, Leadership Coach
Catherine May has been working with and advising the boards and leadership teams of leading multinational businesses for more than 25 years. She is an expert in executive leadership coaching, corporate governance, reputation management, building winning corporate culture and stakeholder communications.
Catherine has served as Corporate Affairs Director on the Executive Committees of RELX plc, Centrica plc and SABMiller plc, and is an expert on building engaging corporate culture, talent development, team structure and succession planning.
In her role as a coach or mentor she works with individual leaders, helping them address developmental challenges and specific goals to increase their effectiveness, and capabilities as a leader.
Professor Irina Michalowitz, Executive Coach & Trainer
Irina Michalowitz, a German national, is a systemic coach and founder of IMConsult, a consultancy focused on training, coaching and consulting in the area of Public Affairs. Irina holds a certificate “Systemic Business Coach“ since 2013 and specialised on “Stress and Resilience” in 2016 (both Kickoff Management GmbH, Vienna).
Her coaching concentrates on career development and leadership skills. She has over 18 years of experience in leading Public Affairs positions. After obtaining her Ph.D. on EU lobbying strategies, she first worked as Assistant Professor for the Viennese Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), then helped build the European Platform of Women in Science (EPWS) in Brussels. She was Head of the EU representation of Telekom Austria Group and led the International & EU Affairs team for Austrian Federal Railways.
Since 2015, she is independent, sharing her time between coaching and training and serving as Managing Partner to the consultancy pantarhei corporate advisors europe.
Catherine Piana, Personal Development Coach
What I do: as a Coach, I specialise in personal and interpersonal skills, both in a business or personal environment. Recurring themes include: (self-) confidence / self-esteem, identifying and pursuing goals, mobilizing resources, leadership soft skills in general, including presence & charisma, influence and negotiation skills, team leadership, work delegation, work-life balance.
How I work: I see a Coaching journey as a Treasure hunt. My role is to help the Coachee find the Treasure based on incomplete information: he/she doesn’t know where it is hidden, and how to dig it out. But the journey is based on the Coachee’s choice: a Coach doesn’t give advice but rather helps the Client find in him/herself what he/she really wants and then go get it.
My background: after 20+ years in the EU public affairs environment, I have discovered NLP, which is a key tool of influence, communication and personal development. This has proven particularly useful in my work as a lobbyist, and has made me think about the process of influencing self and others. I have completed the NLP Master Practitioner Certification with a number of additional certificates, including Life Coaching, Trainer, Hypnotherapist, Fundamentals of Therapy, and NLP for businesses. I have developed my coaching / training / consultancy activity and became free-lance in 2014 under the corporate name of Gecko Strategies.
Who I am: the red thread in what I do, how I do it and who I am, is a drive and strong energy to help individuals and organisations use complex or uncomfortable issues to move to the next level.
Stewart Prosser, Corporate Affairs & Corporate Communications Mentor
Stewart Prosser has over 30 years of Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communications experience: 20 leading functions for blue chip, global brands including Lehman Brothers, JPMorgan Chase, AXA and Royal Bank of Scotland. 11 years as director of Prosser Associates, where he offers advisory, strategic and practical support to executive teams and communications heads, in a variety of sectors.
He provides personal mentoring to both established and newly-appointed functional leads in Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs.
Stewart’s wide range of practical experience in-house helps to quickly identify and then support the right mix of leadership and behavioural skills. This incorporates practical and effective ways of engaging with other critical partner functions and integrating activities across geographical borders and corporate silos.
He is very happy to discuss his approach with new directors or heads of Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs or those who are looking to grow their personal and functional impact.