C&C Search January Event - Getting to Know Me

I had the pleasure last week of being the host and guest speaker at C&C Search in London. Their first C&C Event of the year, inviting and bringing together clients - creating curiosity and adding value to their many recruitment clients. Great to be part of such energy and buzz in the room.

My focus as ever was exploring the personal side of leadership, the emotional interplay we experience which influences how we influence and impact others and their reactions towards us; helping to find our own unique Leadership Blueprint.

Before the event day arrived , C&C put me through my paces to get to know me better, and this is what I shared with them and I’m happy to share with you…

Because Leadership,  It’s Personal

Because Leadership, It’s Personal

We need to take time to invest in our own leadership

People fascinate and inspire me and, in a world where pressure and change is so fast and everything so immediate, I’m convinced that if we make time and invest in our own leadership, as much as every other aspect of our work and lives, the possibilities are exciting!

 It’s worth taking risks

The common thread in my career is a simple desire to work with people. I left a senior role in the NHS as Deputy Director of HR to create my own business.  That was 10 years ago now. I still support and work with many amazing leaders and teams, on projects within healthcare, industry and elite sport.

Leadership is personal

In my talk I share how an event, seven years ago, opened up a new world for me; a different perspective on leadership.  I truly believe not only that leadership is personal; leadership is who you are!

If we are to have true impact and influence that gets results, qualities such authenticity, vulnerability, resilience and emotional intelligence require us to invest in our self-awareness and self-leadership.

Together we will find out how exploring your own unique patterns, those that work for you and those that hold you back, can take your leadership to a whole new level.

Keep things simple

I honestly think keeping things simple is the secret to success. It helps me tune into what’s going on for me and at the same time, what’s going on for others around me.  It’s not money that makes the world go round, it’s relationships and our ability to interact well with others.

 Surround yourself with great people

As women in business, we need to explore and find good people to have around us, who you can talk with and build different relationships with.  Stay open to any conversation, any feedback or opportunity that will help, challenge and inspire you just when you need it or even when you don’t know you need it.

 Work-life balance is about collaboration

For me, work-life balance is about openness and collaboration. My passion for work and developing others going hand in hand with my passion for my family. The teamwork we have making sure I don’t try and do everything myself, because I simply couldn’t do what I do without their blessing and support.

 I recommend Brené Brown’s Dare To Lead…

One of my latest finds is Brené Brown’s latest Dare To Lead, taking you into “Brave work; Tough Conversations and Whole Hearts.

 2019 is an exciting year for me

I’m taking my new branding and personal approach to developing leaders out into the world, opening up the possibilities of new conversations and adventures. Closer to home, my two teenagers keep mine and my husband’s feet firmly on the ground, observing and supporting them as they negotiate and find their own way in the world

Speaking at Kent CIPD Conference 2018

What an honour to be one of the speakers at this gathering of forward thinking CIPD HR colleagues and professionals. So much learning packed into the day, alongside the all important networking with colleagues you’ve not seen in so long alongside some wonderful new contacts.

I had the pleasure of taking an interactive taster workshop - exploring that leaders with impact, influence and authenticity are more than self-aware; they know and can tune into what drives them and what triggers them, especially under pressure when it counts the most.

We explored how powerful such patterns of behaviour can be. With such a buzz in the room and the feedback afterwards, I know that’s a group of colleagues who are going to be noticing their interactions and reactions in new ways.

Plus, I even broke my no cameras rule and created my first promotional video after 25 years of speaking and facilitating. So thank you to my Kent CIPD colleagues for such a wonderful event and I look forward to seeing many of you soon.



The Evolution of HR November 2018

Project Me LIVE! First Event 6th October 2018

Wow Kelly Pietrangeli what an amazing first Project Me Live event!

I was so proud to be entrusted as your MC for the day and to enjoy supporting some fantastic ladies, speakers, your wonderful volunteers and Project Me tribe.


Project Me Live 2018

With the amazing Kelly P of Project Me

It’s not often enough any of us dedicate a whole day to our Health and Wellbeing, and I know for sure I have taken some amazing practical steps since. Whether I am making sure I take micro-moments of self-care that makes all the difference when juggling everything (thank you @Suzy Reading); paying more attention to my posture I promise Charlene (@positivelyslim) or being more connected with my breath Dominique (@BeSphro) I am building my health toolkit and feeling much better for it.

We really can take this aspect of our life wheel www.myprojectme.com and give ourselves some much needed TLC ladies.

Looking forward to 2019 and all your exciting new plans to spread balance and positive action around the world @KellyProjectMe

For more on the 6th October 2018 Live Event - Project Me Live Event in Words and Pictures, visit Kelly’s Blog https://myprojectme.com/project-me-live-event-highlights/

I share my 10th business birthday with James Bond…and Spotify

Where were you in 2008? Do you remember what you were doing?

On October 1st 2008, I launched my business – in the same year Quantum of Solace was released and Spotify launched.

The old adage of ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ certainly could not be truer.

I started out with an idea, a dream of being a freelance consultant, working with companies to improve their leadership, empower both their young or new leaders and refresh the experienced ones.
I wanted to make a difference, to see less conflict, more ability to cope when the pressure’s on, to help people do a good job and avoid HR issues caused by poor communication, lack of awareness amongst leadership teams and company hierarchy.

It’s what I’d done for many years but 10 years ago I stepped back into consultancy and into a world of freedom and variety – working in any industry, employers large or small, leaders and/or their teams – and it’s been amazing!

Cheryl Brooker 10 Years v2.jpg

I’ve supported and worked with:
Probation services
Financial services
Elite sport
Aviation and aerospace
Legal and manufacturing
NHS and Healthcare

It’s the people within the organisations who inspire me. I meet them, get to understand them and either for individuals or teams, get to explore possibilities, look for opportunity and discover their strengths to nurture, develop and build.

When I’m inspired I know that’s when I’m at my best. Bringing strength, challenge and intuition alongside care, kindness and fun, because no-one wants a boring classroom! Through interaction, involvement, feedback and reflection – so people don’t just learn the theory, they do it.
My support allows others to know when they’re at their best and base their leadership around that.

At home, my children were five and three when I launched the business and my husband 100% behind my endeavours.
Here’s to another 10 when the teenage years will seem a distant memory and maybe they’ll be flying the nest, first homes, travelling or even creating families of their own.

I’m looking for new people to work with over the next 10 years – people who want their teams to develop, individuals who want to work on their own leadership and discover their own strengths to take their businesses forward with confidence and structure.
One-day events, coaching and ongoing development – I offer bespoke services to match what you need and what will make a difference to you.
It’s so important to get leadership right and we often don’t pay it as much attention as our professional or technical skills – it’s like the foundations of a building…things will crumble if the core isn’t solid.

Get in touch and have a conversation with me – just over coffee and we’ll talk about what a fresh loo at leadership development can bring to your company or personal ambition.
Take a look at my testimonials to see where I’ve taken others in their leadership journey too.

The creation of a new brand - It's Personal too

I never knew that developing my new brand, website and crafting something after 10 years in business could be so inspiring and energising. Colours remind us all of different brands and navigating through the differing views and perceptions made choosing mine tricky at times.

I did what I've always done - asked those whose opinions count among colleagues, clients and friends, and then of course the family too! Then to complete the ensemble, I added in a splash of professional design and marketing input that I am so lucky to have found in the last few months.

But..with every opinion willingly shared comes association with every colour or shape because it brings to mind a big-named brand; sometimes in a good way and often also not.

Then there is being torn between a favourite colour, in my case red, and what that could convey to potential clients. The Color Psychology of Red is bright and warm, evoking strong emotions. Associated with love, warmth, and comfort, red is also considered an intense, or even angry, color that creates feelings of excitement or intensity. Hmmmmmm that's a little bit of a double-edged sword for me.

Then a question I kept being asked was: '...is there a specific colour on your new website, or a colour that makes people think of you?' to which I found myself realising the only constant colour associated with me is my ginger hair.  It's captured in all the colour photos on my new website and I thought it has to be my accent colour going forward.  So the 'hot' orange logo was born.

Yes orange is the striking colour for Easyjet and B&Q, both of which I purchase from, but it's also the tick in Nike and what makes GlaxoSmithKline stand out.


Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance. And that quite simply is a list I can hold true to my principles, how I operate and support my clients in any aspect of their development as leaders.

Let's take my ginger logo out to the world and see the splash it makes.


The leadership of a national gymnastic coach

All eyes will be on Glasgow from tomorrow and hopes for our Men's GB Gymnastics Squad. Like many others I will of course be willing each gymnast on, and with club loyalty to Pegasus Gymnastics in Maidstone, my heart especially goes out to their gymnasts James Hall and Courtney Tulloch.

Ionut & James.jpg

But, my attention and focus will equally be on their coaching team, alongside them in the arena by each apparatus providing the leadership and support in the wings.  As coaches and leaders they are feeling it as much as their athletes, but when it comes to those high pressure moments, all they can do is stand by while needing to be aware of every glance and every gesture - their own as vital as their gymnasts'!

It takes self-leadership of the highest order to manage your emotions in elite sport at such events with all eyes also on you as coach!  This translates into any boardroom challenge, quality inspection visit or critical incident. So praise indeed to those leaders who prioritise leadership development that's personal alongside their professional and technical skills. I'll be watching Pegasus' coach Ionut Trandaburu, whatever the next few days brings!

Seeing yourself through the eyes of others

I was introduced to a really lovely, yet simple activity the other day. The question posed to the group when someone was asked to stand up towards the end of a training programme was:
'What word describes how you experience me?'
Each of us in turn helped to create a unique list for the individual in question.


Mine were:
Powerful                        Wise
Trustworthy                   Professional
Honest                          Appreciative
Confident                     Entertaining
Masterful                      High Standards

The art of this exercise is to help the individual actually take the feedback on-board, given that most of us have a very different personal opinion of ourselves.

I'm loving my list and don’t mind sharing it with you.
Why not try it within your team or with colleagues?

Because Leadership - it's Personal!

The small things you hear that show progress...

When you are in leadership development as I am, you don't always get to see learning put into action first-hand.

Let me paint you a picture. I was at a group review session earlier this week with a great bunch of people. One person in the room has also been receiving individual coaching. It's not so much the detailed conversation he was having with a colleague, but his remarks that shall we say, didn't exactly put them him in the best light as a leader.

I clocked this as I walked past, although didn't even look in his direction. I knew that several months ago he would have been completely unaware of this and carried on behaving in exactly the same way.

The magic for me, was in hearing him say to me as I moved by: "I can hear your eyes rolling you know!" which apart from being a wonderful phrase in itself, made me smile because I'd just witnessed how his awareness has shifted.

Small steps are often just as important.

What changes or shifts in behaviour have you experienced lately?


Discovering Your Leadership Blueprint: Your Reaction and Responses

As hard-wired as our principles and triggers may seem from the experiences that shape us, so too are our reactions and responses. Built over years from significant or repeat situations throughout our life, they show up day-to-day, in how others experience us at work and at home.


Knowing how we often react and respond to specific triggers, especially when we are under pressure or experiencing stress gives us a chance to catch this reflexive cycle, because such awareness gives us choice in the moment of how we respond.

If I'm on the receiving end of someone being ill-tempered, inflexible or maybe even both, I would typically expect to feel judged and may pull back from the situation and/or the person. You could say this is a self-preservation instinct kicking in, but you can imagine it’s far from helpful in a leadership setting when challenge and behaviours can get very personal and certainly heated at a moment's notice.  

Imagine if I metaphorically, or literally withdrew each time...

How could you identify your triggered responses in challenging situations when all eyes are on you as a leader?
What would you do?


Discovering Your Leadership Blueprint: Your Triggers


Alongside our life experiences, unique patterns and principles, we also each have triggers.

Our triggers are incidents or behaviours that provoke a reaction in us - and that reaction is quick and often feels instant. 
In being provoked, our reaction (the next part of our pattern) is not always helpful personally and certainly not as a leader. 
Hands up if you've ever thought: 'I wish I'd handled that differently'?

You may already know some of your triggers, while you may not be aware of others. Knowing them and working with them can be so powerful.

For me, 'choosing direction' or 'appraisal' can be a challenge, depending on the context.
If you take the latter in terms of feeling judged, as an example with social media and these blogs. What I post is all part of my brand and I think:  'What if no one reads or views what I put out there?'

On a good day, it's not a problem, I'm enjoying what I do. But if I was having a tough time, that could spark a feeling and response in me that is not helpful in my business or how I operate. Don't worry though, things are great and I'm simply sharing.

Do you know any of your triggers?