Since retiring from competitive sport in 2000, I’ve worked as a keynote speaker and performance consultant here at Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? Our clients have included many of the FTSE 100 companies and the exciting growth area of businesses run by entrepreneurial leaders. I still help to run international rowing events and I’ve been involved with five Olympic Games in various roles.
When Ben’s rowing Eight won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, it was the first time that Great Britain had done this since 1912! Ben is currently juggling his Italian lessons with learning to kayak.
Having worked with established leadership businesses in various roles since 1988, I jumped at the chance to start something new with Ben. We met just before the 2012 Olympics and stuck to our vision through that hectic summer: to become the Number One choice of entrepreneurial business leaders, who are serious about achieving their Crazy Goals. In my previous role as Managing Director of consultancy BlessingWhite, I led the team to create a hugely successful executive Leadership Programme – and I’m building on that experience to develop a world class Performance Programme here at Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?
Tom was part of the Oxford Blue boat that won in 1980. He was chairman of the Appeal, which raised over £4 million to build the wonderful Oxford University Boathouse at Wallingford. He is also in his fifth year as a bee-keeper and, as he is the first to admit, has had mixed success!
I co-wrote the book ‘Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?’ with Ben. I’m a TED.com speaker, BBC Radio 4 contributor and stand-up comic (e.g. an Edinburgh Fringe regular and festival MC). I aim to mix twenty years of coaching expertise and business acumen with the warmth and energy of comedy, in order to provide refreshingly impactful keynotes and coaching.
I like the challenge of engaging even the most jaded or cynical of conference audiences! I work hard in the design of every speech to make it hugely relevant and digestible: I want to leave audiences buzzing with energy – but also equipped with practical strategies to up their game.
When I’m coaching individuals or teams, my aim is to provide high support and high challenge. I want to make it safe for clients to explore what is working for them and what isn’t. I know how busy life is, so I help them identify changes that will make huge improvements – and then hold them to account to take action.
I started my career at Ernst and Young as a management consultant. I quickly realised that people are the key to business success, became a performance coach and have been helping individuals and organisations to unlock their potential ever since. Ben and I met back in 2001 when we joined the same performance coaching company. I was not at all sporty and was highly sceptical of the relevance of one crew’s experience to the corporate world, but I was quickly converted! It’s so powerful to have an inspiring story combined with tangible, applicable strategies which anyone can apply.
Clients have ranged from Jo Malone to HSBC, from Linklaters and UBS to Glaxo and McKinsey; from SMEs to well known brands like The Royal Mail, Lloyds Banking Group and Screwfix.
Harriet’s talk on ‘Taking Humour Seriously’ was BBC Radio 4’s ‘Pick of the Week’. She’s written and performed three different stand up shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was Funny Women Award UK semi-finalist. Harriet has donated over 25 pints of blood (not simultaneously…) and volunteered as a Samaritan befriender. She lives in Bath with her husband and two boys.
I spent the first 16 years of my career in the world of Financial Services with MBNA, Citigroup, GE and Santander. In the latter years, as Commercial Director, I ran some of the large retail P&L’s for GE and Santander.
It has taken 20 years but I have finally landed a role which combines my twin passions of sport and personal development! So today I look after our brand, marketing campaigns, research, P&L and the day to day running of Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? The ethos of our business I find inspiring and getting inside the mind of Olympians is a real privilege.
In 1982, aged 11, Chris achieved his ultimate ‘Crazy’ goal when as captain of the school team he got to play football against (and drive in the car of!) the legendary Kenny Dalglish.
I work as a leadership speaker drawing on my practical experience from two high pressure careers as an Olympic rower and a senior diplomat specialising in conflict stabilisation.
In my rowing career, I competed at three Olympic Games, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens, with highlights including winning the World Championships in 2003 and an Olympic silver medal in 2004. As a diplomat specialising in conflict issues, I was posted to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Basra, Iraq, as well as leading in Whitehall on the UK civilian contribution to conflicts around the world.
I have been working in the world of Leadership Development for fifteen years having completed a masters degree in Sport Psychology. In this time, I have worked for Lane4 and Blue Sky People development consultancies before joining Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? Before that, I had worked in the cut and thrust of the cycle retail industry coming into that industry having raced as an elite level racing cyclist in Britanny, France.
In the last fifteen years I have consulted, coached and facilitated with over eighty different clients including Coca Cola, Microsoft, Royal Bank of Scotland, Argos, Commerzbank, Nationwide, VINCI construction and the England Rugby Football Union.
I have also worked abroad living in New Jersey for two and a half years where my clients included National Grid, Roche Pharmaceuticals, State Farm Insurance and the US women’s Olympic Rowing Squad so I understand the cultural differences between Leadership/People Development in the US and Europe.
I am interested in the relationship between behaviors that we demonstrate and how that effects the perception of Leadership with others ultimately affecting the performance levels that we see around us.
Five years ago Jamie completed a “Crazy” goal of riding solo on his bicycle across Canada traveling from Quebec to Vancouver in 47 days. Although seeing bears and being out in the great beyond, he lived to tell the tale and uses some of his learnings in his work with leaders.
I have been lucky enough to work full-time as an applied sports physiologist since 1996 and have provided support to over 1000 athletes. Of whom over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. I gained huge insight from working at the British Olympic Association and the English Institute of Sport, where up until Rio 2016 I was the Director of Science and Technical Development. In that role I led a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB.
He is also an author of the best-selling book, ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve’ is deeply passionate about: Determinants of performance, application of science, people development and innovation and the parallels between sport and business.
For me, it’s all about spotting and developing the potential of individuals and teams. My buzz comes from seeing them achieve things they never thought they could, and seeing the business perform better as a result. I’ve been doing this for more than 25 years and have worked in multinationals, PLCs, partnerships, private equity backed businesses and public-sector organisations.
I particularly enjoy working with companies that are restructuring, undergoing turnarounds, merging or ‘changing their brand’. Whether working with boards, executive teams, operational managers or emerging leaders – my focus is always on helping them deliver, develop and succeed. I’m a qualified coach and a chartered occupational psychologist.
Gwyn has four teenage sons, rather too many bikes, even more guitars and a fascination with anything that flies.
I am a Chartered Psychologist and I have worked as a peak performance coach since 2006, helping thousands of people to make more out of their work and lives. I’m the author of four internationally published books in the Practical Guides series (by Icon Books) 1. The Psychology of Success, 2. Leadership, 3. Management and 4. Entrepreneurship and In 2009, I was a semi-finalist in the competition ‘Britain’s Next Top Coach’.
I was privileged to be part of the Workforce Training Team of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) where I designed a major training programme on Event Leadership to prepare all managers to lead at the London 2012 Games and where I did 1:1 coaching of senior leaders. It was during this time that I first came across ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’ as this was a mantra that we used within LOCOG.
Working for over ten years in the world of peak performance has led Alison to become fascinated about the question: how can you experience well-being whilst pushing yourself hard to achieve? She has seen firsthand that people struggle to have enough hours in the day to progress exciting goals, make time for the people who matter and enough ‘you time’, whilst fitting in all those daily chores. Alison is currently doing a PhD to discover a practical solution to this widespread problem and she is already achieving some great results.
Since my undergraduate degree in the subject 20 odd years ago, I’ve built my career around an interest in Performance Psychology, applying it to my work with leaders, managers and teams, both in-house at the Guardian and Observer Newspaper Group where I was Head of Learning & Development and since 2007 with my own clients particularly in the technology, creative and media sectors.
Along the way I’ve picked up a variety of relevant qualifications including an MSc in Occupational Psychology alongside accreditation’s in MBTI, Co-Active Coaching, NLP and The Leadership Circle. Not content with my current clutch of certifications, I’m about to start another MSc, this time in Sport & Exercise Psychology. Why?
Over the last few years, I’ve seen how organisations are becoming more aware of the parallels between sport and organisational success and how one field can inform another. Reacting to this enlightenment with my own passion for Psychology and of course sport (alas no gold medal as yet but a keen tennis and golf player nonetheless) my own Crazy goal is to work with anyone who is both willing and able to get off their backside, push themselves forward and achieve what they don’t quite believe they are capable of. After all, striving towards our own version of Olympic glory is surely what life’s all about.
Away from the books, sports arena and training room, Paul is a keen dabbler in the (amateur) arts and can at various moments been found singing jazz, directing shows and playing his cello with differing levels of success.
Prior to joining Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? my career was spent working in the corporate event industry as a Project Manager, including a year and a half living and working in New York. A week-long event for 1000 employees for a leading Pharmaceutical at the Palazzo in Las Vegas was a personal highlight! At the end of 2017 I decided it was time for a change, and I came across the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? website. Being a sports fan, the link between business and the sporting world was a massive appeal to me.
I’m part of our Leadership Team and look after our clients here at Will It? to ensure our projects are running smoothly and successfully. I’m really passionate about service and finding creative solutions to clients’ needs, and so the role at Will It? is a perfect fit for me.
Leanne is a really keen runner and completed her sixth marathon last year, achieving her personal Crazy goal of running a marathon in under 3:30.
As Head of Making It Happen, I work closely to support everyone in our creative and hardworking team. It’s up to me to ensure the smooth running of all aspects throughout the business. I’m usually the first person you’ll speak to when you phone our office and I’ll do my best to make sure you get the help and assistance you need from the right person in the team.
Prior to joining Will It? I spent six years in the transport industry, organising conferences and award ceremonies throughout the sector. My role straddled both office and event management for the business.
What you might not know about Kirsty
Kirsty is on a mission to visit all 30 MLB Ballparks in the US/Canada. She’s ticked off 9 so far, so still has a bit of a way to go!
After earning my Masters in Global Media Communication, from University of Melbourne, Australia, I entered the consulting world to explore my passion for the application of Sports Psychology to business (and beyond!).
I began working at Will It? as a PRINCE2 certified Project Manager for 1.5 years, until I recently changed roles to take over duties in the Marketing department. I look after our social media, campaigns, website and many other things! I know the work we do makes a difference for our clients – so want to tell the world about it. I also love writing in any form – so you’ll probably see a few performance insights articles written by me if you look around!
Prior to joining Will It, I’ve enjoyed a variety of roles ranging from fundraising and project management for UNHCR and Open Doors UK to Operations support roles at British Gas, as well as an undergraduate degree in Geography from The University of Portsmouth.
Josh is big on travelling and has been to 38/51 countries in Europe, and travelled extensively in Asia and Australasia (a Geography graduate at heart!). His long-term aim is to travel every country in the world. He is also a keen footballer, avid music fan and gig-goer.
As Account Director, I lead the relationship with a number of Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?’s clients, helping organisations to get clarity of direction and accelerate business growth – through making the very best of their people in teams and as leaders.
I have a genuine passion about the link between effective talent management and business growth. For 15 years, I’ve worked across a wide range of industries addressing a variety of talent and leadership initiatives. Ranging from individual coaching, team programmes through to large scale global implementations.
I love being part of our team who have an absolute wealth of knowledge and thrive on really making a difference to clients.
Having graduated from the University of Sussex with a History Degree in 2016, I have since gained professional experience in a variety of sectors including property, technology & start-ups. I also have a strong interest in personal development, reading numerous well-known books including Simon Sineks ‘Start with Why’ and ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck. This, combined with my keen interest in sport, led me to jump at the opportunity to work for a company that looks to apply the principles of both to those who are looking for guidance.
My role at Will It Make The Boat Go Faster is to be the first point of contact for clients and make sure that relationships between them and the business is strong and all plans for collaboration in the future are delivered effectively and on time.
Outside of his professional role, Michael is a keen musician with a grade 8 certificate in both electric and acoustic guitar. Michael also enjoys writing, and has independently published articles through his Linkedin on a variety of topics including personal development, literature and finance.
I arrived at Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? after graduating from Central Saint Martins with a degree in Textile Design. After a couple of years working as a Production Assistant for a textile company and Hotel Receptionist, I joined the Will It? team as a Business Development Executive.
Now, as Head of Sales Effectiveness, I work closely with the sales team to ensure they can work as effectively and efficiently as possible. I also manage our database of clients and work with the marketing team to ensure alignment. My role is very varied which floats my boat!
Alice loves running and swimming and has done the Great North Run twice. She also loves interior design … and spending lots of money in Liberty!