Sue's personal bio

my Journey

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my grounding ...

I was born to a farming family in Devon, UK.

The third of five children, all of us carrying various artistic talents, I developed a spirit for adventure, probably fostered by the great outdoors in my childhood and a curiosity for life. At fifteen I quietly rebelled against education and the grammar school that I attended, leaving school without any qualifications. Following a 2 year job in a bank as a junior clerk, at eighteen I left the country for some adventure in Canada.

By the time I reached 30 I was back into conventional living in Devon with a husbanding 2 gorgeous children, Vicki & James. Sadly I was also carrying a diminished sense of self and an unlived life yearning to find its entrance into the world. I re-connected with a love of psychology that had quietly fascinated me in my teens, and returned to education as a mature student; gaining a Certificate in Counselling, Degree in Psychology, Diploma in Organisational Consultancy (Gestalt) and Chartered Status as a practitioner with the BPS. This was really pulling myself up by my bootlaces, the more I did the more determined I was to grow and develop – and the more my confidence flourished. I developed as an independent, initially in training and developing people skills, followed by consultancy and eventually executive development. Now, with a PhD. sitting on the leading edge of leadership thinking and learning.

I continue to adventure, to value and live my artistic and creative capabilities, to make the most of my pioneering spirit in my work and life.

My partner, Simon, is a constant source of inspiration, and a loving companion.

My children, their partners and my grandchildren are at the heart of my life and the heart in my life. They carry on the adventurous spirit.

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my learning ...

My path of learning since I was 30 looks like this -  Psychology (BSc & becoming Chartered), Counselling, Gestalt (organisational consulting), Jung, Leadership (PhD). 

My children were at school when I decided, in my 30's, to undertake GCSE's, 'A Levels' and then a degree in psychology at Bristol University. This propelled me into organisational psychology where I have been all my career.

Curious about the psychology of leaders and leadership, I undertook a PhD at Cardiff University which I completed in 2013. I investigated the underlying dynamics of leadership exploring social and cultural influences and challenging the dominant leader-follower model that by its nature limits what people bring to their work. The wider perspective considers leadership as the activity of many people leading the business forward; where untapped talent and ideas are brought to the surface, valued and acted on in ways the business benefits.

A key question in my research was: When leadership is acknowledged as organisation-wide, what then is leadership development? It is not conventional current leadership development.

 My interests continue to appreciate the transformative capacity of arts-based interventions, using images, narrative and metaphor for learning in-depth.

I am grateful to Malcolm Parlett, my Gestalt teacher in the 80's who taught me one of the most inspiring learnings ever on 'field theory'. My work is deeply informed by Marian Woodman, Mary Hamilton and Ann skinner who taught me Jungian ideas, active imagination and how to find my own deep embodied wisdom.

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giving back to the world

I started the Leaderful Women Project to develop and apply my ideas about the leadership of women, and what (by nature or nurture) they contribute that is different to men.

Fortune again took me to the next and present stage of my career. I met Mary Musselbrook and Rosie Mayes, two very successful leadership specialists, consultants & coaches. Together we set up Engendering Balance Ltd to bring the ideas to organisations in a form that would be inspiring and commercially important. Now, the EB Centre for Developing Leadership, we use a set of Qualities of Practice to raise awareness and balance in leadership, that takes from both traditionally masculinised and traditionally feminised ways of leading. I love this work and know that myself, rosie & Mary are making a difference in this field of work.

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