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Anthony Donovan

Anthony Donovan – For guidance on inspiring yourself and/or your team to be the best version of yourself

About Anthony

I’m a family man and love to spend time with my wife and two children, Evie aged 8 and Will aged 12.

I am passionate about most sports with football being the top of the list. When I’m not cheering on my beloved team, I love coaching a children’s football team and seeing each player develop and improve in individual ways.

I’m also partial to the odd hack around a golf course – fortunately my coaching and facilitation skills are more finely tuned than my golf swing!

Anthony’s business experience

Having graduated with a law degree, I found I was more inspired by the teaching styles of the lecturers than the content itself and decided to pursue a career in learning and development.

You might say that I took the scenic route. I was selected onto the graduate scheme of Abbey National (now Santander for those of you not old enough to remember Abbey National!) with the idea of landing in head office within a HR role.

It became apparent that the business had other plans for their graduates so I left and joined a recruitment agency; Reed, to find some temp work. The short version of this story is that I left 10 years later with a CIPD qualification and the confidence to set up my own business.

The slightly longer version is that Reed recognised some talent in me and gave me the opportunity to join them as a recruitment consultant. The promise was that if I continued to be successful, they would pay for me to study in my own time for an HR degree (CIPD).

When I finished my degree, I realised I wanted to move into people leadership training, with the only downside being I had no practical experience to fall back on. I therefore put a business plan together to open a new branch of Reed in Banbury, where I lived at the time.

Reed thought my plan had merit and duly gave me 12 months to recruit a team and working out of serviced offices, to hit a financial target that would justify opening up a high street agency in Banbury.

The good news is that we hit our target and Reed did open a new branch in Banbury. The reality is that I could also write three books about the mistakes I made, having no formal structure about how to manage people. Like most new managers, I winged it and whilst I got some things right, I got a lot of things wrong.

Rather than manage the new office in Banbury, I proposed to Reed that there was a space for somebody to design and deliver a programme to support new managers, especially those transitioning from a single contributor role.

Again Reed graciously allowed me to make this career move and I found myself at Reed Business School in the Cotswolds, designing a management programme. The programme went on to win a national training award and I ended up managing the learning and development department for three gloriously happy years.

But the itch to start up my own business was too great to ignore and sixteen years ago I left Reed to set up my own Learning and Development Consultancy.

I began by doing associate work for larger training providers and then grew in confidence to decide I wanted to do things in a different way and add extra value to my clients.

I have always been interested in ‘the what happens next ‘so I gained a coaching qualification. Many of my training courses now incorporate an element of one to one coaching, with clients noticing an even greater transfer of learning and a wider return on their investment.

I am now blessed to have clients based across the UK and in Germany, France, North America and China. I work with business owners and people managers from a variety of sectors, helping them to inspire themselves and their team to love coming to work and to be the best versions of themselves.

Five questions, five answers…

What has been your most pivotal moment in business?

This might strange but saying no to an unreasonable request was one of my most pivotal moments. The wheels did not come off, I was later proven right to have stood by my convictions and I felt empowered to back myself and be brave when making decisions moving forwards.

If you could send a text to yourself the day you started out in business what would it say?

Believe in yourself, do it your way and treat your clients the way you would love to be treated

Who has been your biggest inspiration and why?

My Father – quite simply he was my hero

What book should all business owners read?

Legacy’ by James Kerr

What is your favourite quote?

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” – Albert Einstein (allegedly)

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