Home of Britain's Sales Trainer of the Year, 2013-14

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Dr Simon Raybould

Before becoming a trainer and facilitator Simon had a very successful career as a university researcher. In over 24 years he published numerous books and was Manager for the Centre of Urban & Development Studies – recently ascribed the status of the second most influential research unit in its field, globally.

He has also worked as a fire-eater, a lighting designer for dance companies, a teacher, an actor and an author. It is this mix of backgrounds and experience that makes him so effective in the training room – he combines the intellectual rigour of an academic with the delivery flair of a performer.

Simon is in demand as a public speaker, and recently closed the Northern HR Briefing with his signature presentation ‘Bamboo and Oak’: he also closed the first evening meeting of the region’s Professional Speaking Association.

His book ‘Little Big Voice’ is used in drama colleges and teacher training courses while his most recent book ‘Presenting Made Simple’ was described by the President of the Professional Speaking as “not a presenter’s or a speaker’s bible. It’s more like a Sat Nav that actually gets you there!!!”. He has also had plays commissioned by such organisations as Christian Aid.

Current clients include seven universities; over a dozen local authorities; charities such as MacMillan Cancer Relief; social enterprises such as HomeGroup (the UK’s largest provider of social housing); public bodies such as SportScotland & various NHS Trusts; and commercial clients from one man bands to multinationals such as Dell.


Barrie Tynemouth

Dr Barrie Tynemouth

Has spent the last 10 years as an independent consultant, advising major international companies around the globe on value based pricing and positioning issues. Prior to this for 14 years he worked at Reuters, the world’s biggest news agency and one of the big three suppliers to the global finance community, working in sales, training and finance roles, before ending up running commercial strategy for their Enterprise Group.

His spectrum of business and commercial experience also covers business process analysis & process improvement, systems audit programmes, order management systems, commercial policy, data usage & rights management, contract negotiations, business and product operations, sales & bid-management and major account management.

Barrie has a BSc in Mathematical Physics from Liverpool University and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from The University of Edinburgh, with published papers in Physical Review Letters and Journal of Physics G.


Norman McConnell

Norman McConnell

Is passionate about helping businesses and individuals perform better and achieve more. He wants to change peoples’ lives.

For most of the last decade he has specialised in financial management support to the entrepreneurially-led, owner managed sector – cash starved businesses; those struggling to service their customers; and those with core markets disappearing rapidly. Right now, he is focused on those with aspirations for growth – irrespective of size or sector – and is working with one person start ups, entrepreneurs across manufacturing and service industries, and third sector enterprises operating internationally.

He is an occasional public speaker, and has had some of his MBA work from Durham University Business School published as an academic text.

After a first degree in Economic History, his career path took him through textile manufacturing and into financial services where he held operating board roles within FTSE 250 PLCs. As an independent consultant, he has delivered major change programmes within the financial services industry.

andy profile

Andy Skowronski

With over 25 years industry experience with organisations such as Pepsico, Yum Brands and Krispy Kreme.   An internationalist he has worked in Central Europe, The Middle East, The Far East and The United States in senior leadership positions.

Now the founder of A & C Associates which acts as Industry Advisers to FMCG, the F&B and Hospitality sector in the UK and the International Arena. Clients include multi nationals as well as Private Equity Groups looking to enter or exit the industry.

Lesley Hunter

Lesley Hunter

Lesley has over 25 years’ experience in developing individuals both in business and education. Her corporate clients include Akzo Nobel and Quorn Foods while her public sector experience takes in local councils, police forces and government agencies.

As an inspector of schools, working for Ofsted, Lesley gained extensive experience in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of leadership on organisational performance

Lesley’s academic work includes associate lecturing with The Edinburgh Institute of Leadership & Management Practice at Napier University, teaching on their BA in Business & Enterprise and their MBA and Masters courses. She also leads the teaching of leadership and innovation modules on Napier’s international masters’ programme in Hong Kong and is the programme leader on their Managing Innovation bespoke short course for the UK’s Ministry of Defence.and improvement. She further extended this by working internationally with the National Association of British Schools in Spain, the Government of Gibraltar and The Hague.  In short, Lesley is recognised an expert on how to get the best from teams.

Lesley is currently completing her doctorate, for which she has established a three-stage coaching model and behavioural framework for the development of authentic leaders.

In addition to training, one-to-one coaching and organisational consultancy, Lesley is also an internationally recognised speaker with experience of keynote presentations at regional, national and international conferences, such as the Association of Leadership Educators in New Orleans, USA (2013).

John DugganDr John Duggan

John’s academic career began with an undergraduate degree in Psychology at University College Dublin, followed by a postgraduate degree in Psychology at University College Cork.

While working as a senior lecturer in Psychology at Sunderland University, he was also a Wellcome Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Durham University and a Visiting Scientist at the University of Camerino, Italy.

For over 30 years, John has been interested in understanding what motivates people to behave as they do. This interest led to his partnering, in 2000, with two colleagues to establish PSYCON, the consultancy arm of the Department of Psychology at the University of Sunderland.  Since then, he has focussed on applying knowledge gained through research in Psychology, to the behaviour of people at work.

John brings considerable experience in designing, developing, delivering and quality assessing courses across a wide spectrum and to postgraduate degree level.  Consequently, he is in a position to contribute to deciphering the learning outcomes for a particular course, designing the programme to meet those outcomes and developing measures for assessing those outcomes.

John is qualified in Psychometric Testing and registered with the British Psychological Society. He is a Governor of New College Durham and a Director of New College Durham Academies’ Trust. He is currently completing a book on Motivation in the Workplace.

Matt Hudson

Matt Hudson

Matt is a highly experienced international, trainer speaker and coach. His skills are in demand by a wide range of individuals and organisations: he is a regular guest presenter for a host of national and international Coaching and Training organisations; he has run courses and seminars for the Proudfoot School of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, Mind International Training Associates, Business NLP Sweden, The Life Long Learning Company and the UK Guild of Hypnotist Examiners, and he has trained in Norway, Sweden, France, Netherlands and Kuwait.

Matt has presented papers to the Annual Conference of the UK Guild of Hypnotist Examiners (of which he is a former committee member), and is a popular after-dinner speaker on the subjects of Hypnosis and The Unconscious Mind. This knowledge combines with his communication specialism to make him very much in demand with FTSE100 businesses.

Matt has featured regularly on BBC Radio Newcastle, in the Evening Chronicle, The Journal, The Northern Echo, The Daily Express and other national publications. He often gives talks on the curative powers of hypnosis to doctors locally and nationally. He is a well-known speaker on the subjects of hypnosis, unconscious coaching and “The Saboteur Within”. He has also appeared on BBC1, Tyne Tees TV and Sky TV demonstrating his success in treating phobias; he has been featured on national radio. He is regularly contacted by TV programme makers, for advice and information on the healing powers of Hypnotherapy plus the power of the mind.