Testimonials

Robert Woolley

CEO , NHS Trust Bristol

Karen has provided coaching and facilitation to the Executive Director team of this large teaching hospital Foundation Trust for a number of years.

She approaches the task with a clarity and professionalism that sets her apart from others, with an incisive interrogation of the objectives for our sessions combined with flexibility in approach to suit the needs of the team at the time. I have valued the way in which our focus on the business agenda means that our work is always practical but, through her expert intervention and wry sense of humour, it brings into the open the dynamics in the team that both help and hinder our success. We always come away refreshed and re-energised for the not inconsiderable challenges we face. Personally, I have found her supportive advice and challenge really helpful at critical points of my leadership journey

 

 

Julia Warren

HRD, Serco

Very selfishly my first thought in writing this is, comes from the fact that Karen is my coach.

I have worked with Karen as my career has transitioned. She is insightful professional, always challenging but empathetic and caring. I have without reservation recommended her to others and I know they have benefitted as I have. From a business perspective most recently I worked with Karen to deliver executive team building with some tough senior teams in some very contrasting businesses. She is outstanding at getting to understand what is needed and how best to deliver. She is very well researched and current, this alongside her professional competency means she immediately makes a strong, meaningful, and positive contribution.

 

 

Archie Lightfoot

Senior VP, Amarada Hess Ltd until 2010

Worked with Archie on an innovative piece of organisation design and development

Those that choose to work with Karen Walls had better be ready for the question she usually asks when first starting with an organisation... “How does this organisation make money?” Notwithstanding the many qualities, skills and experiences she brings to business consulting, her commercial astuteness is not to be overlooked. An economist at heart, Karen’s ability to ask the “So what?” question at the most crucial juncture indicates just how commercially sharp she is and how much value she generates for organisations that call for her help. I would have no hesitation in recommending her for the value she brings to consulting engagements and, quite frankly, because it’s great fun to work with her.

 

 

Blake Bartlett

IHS

Karen has been working with me in the capacity of Executive Coach since 2009 and her advice, guidance and counsel over the last 3 years has played a critical role in both my career progression at IHS, and my development as a Leader. Almost from the start, Karen helped me to recognise that I was in a comfort-zone and pushed me to try new ways of managing people, lead new initiatives and add value to the organisation in ways that I had never previously considered, all of which helped me to gain experience and a level of visibility within the organisation that I might otherwise have missed. Karen’s sessions are interesting and thought-provoking – providing the ideal mix of strategic and tactical input which has helped me to both elevate my leadership profile within IHS, and to tackle challenging management issues. I particularly appreciate Karen’s straight-talking style, her ability to get to the root-cause of issues which helps create longer-term solutions, and the fact that I am constantly challenged to think in new and different ways.

 

 

Stuart Mitchell

MD at J Sainsbury plc and now CEO at Wilkinsons

Worked at J Sainsbury plc – 2002 and Wilko 2007-9. Worked with Stuart as part of aligning Executive behind new CEO at Sainsburys, as a business coach and mentor and to support culture change at Wilkinson.

I first worked with Karen 15 years ago at Sainsburys where she was involved in designing and delivering an assessment and development process for our Trading Division. A process that resulted in us identifying and developing talent. She was always professional, challenging and insightful. I saw another side of her when she worked with the Executive team at a time we had a new CEO and all had to pull together - she did this with the right combination of challenge and sensitivity - and helped us quickly become cohesive and pulling in the right direction. Karen has also worked with the Exec team at Wilkinson where as CEO I valued her input, truthfulness and lack of fear to tell it as it is - with charm and a sense of humour!"

 

 

Paul McAvoy

VP EMEA and APAC
IHS

Worked with Paul post acquisition to assess and develop top talent as well as provide coaching to key individuals.

Karen and her team were appointed to manage the assessment, integration and development of the top team in a strategically important acquisition.

This involved the design of a bespoke assessment & development process based on core competencies for the top team, support throughout that process and the sensitive handling of the feedback to both those who were successful and unsuccessful and the subsequent coaching of the most senior executives.

This exercise was delivered within a very tight time frame with both professionalism and integrity - some great business and people decisions were made from the data gathered which help us drive and shape a highly successful integration - where aggressive commercial stretch targets were all achieved.

During this project Karen and her team partnered closely with our busy senior executive management team to deliver a practical solution that the business fully bought into. Ultimately Karen and her team gained the respect of everyone involved by delivering a very worthwhile and extremely pragmatic business solution - personally I most respected the manner in which Karen and her team were able to blend commercial realities with the need for sensitivity during a period of transformational change - at all times they managed to align this with our core values framework delivering significant and ongoing value to our aggressively growing business.

 

 

Alex Merrylees

Head of Resourcing at Virgin Atlantic Airways

Airways Worked with Alex to define and deliver the next generation of service for VAA.

Karen and her team supported us on a radical programme to define what the next generation service proposition is for VAA. This was a demanding and innovative piece of work. Karen and her team completely immersed themselves in our business, really getting to grips with what makes it special. I was especially impressed by her passion and commercial nous. She has a deep theoretical understanding of her subject but more importantly applies that in a way that inspires, excites and engages those that work with her. She is very unlike many consultants we work with - thats a compliment!

 

 

David Royce

CEO, Crime Reduction Initiative

Worked with David to conduct a Board Effectiveness Review and to then review talent and develop leadership capability.

Karen initially worked with us at Board level and immediately gained credibility with the Trustees and Executives for quickly developing an understanding our environment, financial and social challenges and providing insightful and pragmatic recommendations for how we might work together more effectively.
We subsequently invited Karen to work with us over an 18 month period during which we needed to change our approach to succession planning, leadership capability and talent management. Karen's high level of personal integrity ensured that we completed the demanding journey from £32m turnover to £55m turnover and also prepared us for the coming five years. She did this with a measured sense of professionalism, integrity and focus, delivering a development programme for the Executive team and separately for subordinate management levels that ensured stability and sustainability and helped increase our profile as employer of choice in the sector

 

 

Simon Galkoff

Head of Buying, Whitbread Group plc

Worked with Simon as a coach, to help develop key talent in his team and to facilitate a number of workshops.

I first worked with Karen over 10 years ago when I was a candidate on a Sainsbury's senior management development centre. I was impressed by the depth of the assessment and the feedback of the outcomes that allowed me to create my development plan. I was fortunate that Karen became my personal mentor and I couldn't have wished for a better coach. Karen's brings a unique understanding of people and business and the mix of the two that she creates, has been dynamic in my personal and career development.

Karen supported me at BP, facilitating a two day international food strategy workshop. Karen's style of pushing the group to drive business performance and joint team working, coupled with her awareness of cultural differences, ensured that we developed a plan that was supported across the Global markets.

Karen's results speak for themselves and that is why I have worked with Karen for so many years and will continue to do so.

 

 

Tony Mooney

Managing Director Experian Integrated Marketing – formerly Marketing Director Orange

Worked with Tony to review organisation options within the function as well as individual and team building.

Karen is one of that rare group of individuals who combines sharp, practical but innovative thinking and ideas with exceptionally astute inter-personal abilities, enabling her to deliver effectively at senior levels of an organisation. Working with Karen was always very stimulating; she really helps you think outside of your normal perceptual frameworks to improve performance.

 

 

David Smith

Group HR Director Liverpool Victoria

Worked with David across 3 organisations in talent management, assessment, development, competency development, change management and communications

Karen has worked with me on a variety of assignments at Sainsburys, Virgin Atlantic Airways and LV=. she has been involved in design and implementation of a number of assessment, development and talent management projects. These have all been delivered with customer focus, passion and expertise. Karen is always keen to deliver value to the bottom line and in Sainburys her work resulted in us being able to develop 60% of talent in house - resulting in significant savings and increased internal HR and line capability. She is committed to building capability of client teams and is very generous in sharing
skills and expertise. She is an experienced Executive coach and has worked with a number of very senior executives with clear results. Her integrity and discretion is unquestionable. She can be challenging but will do so constructively. I have always found her to be supportive and responsive - often delivering to tight deadlines.

 

 

Sean Cooper

Customer Services Director, Gatwick Airport, Senior Director, Connaught, Partner Bettacapital

Worked with Sean in 3 organisations in a coaching capacity as well as in high level restructure, change management, leadership development and team effectiveness initiatives.

I have worked with Karen for the past 7 years at BAA, Connaught and as a joint NED at Anabas. Karen has been involved in a number of complex and sensitive assignments working with senior teams and boards at BAA. I have seen Karen work through the most complex issues with perception and empathy whilst always bringing a great clarity of thinking. Additionally Karen has been a business coach to me when I was new to the Gatwick Board and was instrumental in enabling me to realise my own potential as well as helping me build the leadership capability of my senior team. This coaching support continued with my move to Group Business Transformation Director. During my time as a group management board member at Connaught plc I re engaged with Karen to assist me in developing early options papers for the board consideration. Her quick intelligence and broad commercial understanding coupled with deep OD expertise supported me in creating a compelling case for change and restructure under the remit of "tell us how to double in size in the next 3 years".
As an NED Karen and I joined forces at Anabas at a critical time in it's growth journey. Karen has added significant value in creating the platform for the business to grow further and sustain success.

Karen is focused, and very bright and this coupled with her great insight and knowledge of human behaviors ensures very joined up thinking from shop floor to boardroom. Karen's demeanor is always personable and supportive but above all else she is great fun. This tends to be important when looking for your strategic partner to tackle the most challenging tasks in a business environment

 

 

Stuart Affleck

Group Head of Talent at LV

Worked with Stuart to design and deliver innovative people strategy.

Karen has supported me on developing and delivering a far reaching people strategy for a new and strategically important part of our business. She has brought expertise, clarity and insight. She has developed a range of innovative approaches including an engaging and exciting approach to embedding the principles of viral change.

 

 

Mark Cooper

MD Anabas

Work as an NED in Mark’s business

Karen's skills and approach are a great fit for Anabas and she has been one of the key parts to helping us build the right management team to take us forward. Since joining last year as a non-executive director the advice and guidance have been invaluable in driving performance and setting a clearly defined strategic direction.

 

 

Melanie Whitfield

HRD at BAA, Prudential and Cabinet Office

Worked with Melanie in 3 organisations as a coach and in HR BP development, restructuring, change management and workforce planning as well as in team effectiveness projects.

I have worked with Karen in a number of different organisations including, BAA, Prudential and the Cabinet Office on a variety of issues including organisational change, HR capability, and strategic workforce planning. Karen has consistently demonstrated an aptitude to understanding the requirements of the business, building immediate credibility and rapport with senior stakeholders.

She is one of only a few consultants I have worked with who can demonstrate breadth and expertise across a number of aspects of a change agenda. Karen has enabled me to bring work together in a coherent and effective manner and supported senior teams in turning their ideas and strategies into successful organisation designs and plans.

Karen works with clear positive intent using a supportive and constructive style which builds confidence from her clients in her work. She has supported me through a number of busy and challenging assignments and I trust her implicitly, considering her to be a great colleague

 

 


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