Dawn Edwards – Managing Director and Executive Coach

Dawn EdwardsDawn is the founder of Challenge Consulting which has established itself over the last 28 years as one of the most trusted and well known brands for training and development in the East Midlands.  Dawn is a thought leader, and regular key note speaker on leadership.  She is keen to use every opportunity to learn more about leadership concepts and theory, although as she says herself “theory is only any good if it can be applied in practice”.  She has used this ethos successfully to build the Challenge business, but also to develop other successful business interests including a mixed property portfolio, and a Children’s Day Nursery which was built from a nil start to a winner of a National Award as Nursery Newcomer.  It was subsequently sold after 7 years, and continues to thrive.  She also supports and advises a variety of small businesses through the work which she does with the East Midlands Chamber and Federation of Small Businesses (for whom she is Area Leader for Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire – a volunteer role) and often represents the Business Community in the East Midlands via local media channels.

Dawn is an Executive Coach and skilled facilitator and applies her extensive experience of developing, leading and advising businesses to ensure that she combines the right mix of Challenge and Support when coaching, with excellent results.  She is able to navigate and manage meetings where there are divergent and opposing views to reach consensus and where relationships are maintained, something which has proven invaluable in many senior management and Board meeting situations.

Dawn works closely with the ILM and business clients to develop new and innovative programmes and training interventions in Leadership & Management as well as Coaching and Mentoring.  She is an advocate of continuous learning and uses this to advise and guide businesses to improve their performance.

Her background is in financial services, having worked in both personal and commercial finance. Her employment includes roles with Investors in Industry (3i), Scottish Life and also Scottish and Newcastle (where she was employed as an Investment Manager. She has a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Level 7 in Diverse Leadership, NVQ7 in Management qualifications and is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management. She is also a member of the Chartered Management Institute. Dawn has won various awards for Entrepreneurial flair (having owned and run various businesses) including the Business Awards (Nottinghamshire) Entrepreneur and the British Business Awards “Nottinghamshire Woman Achiever of the Year”.

Most Recent Accolades :
2023 – Winner “Outstanding Female Leader in a Market Town” (East Midlands) in the Women’s Awards
2023 – Finalist in “Great British Entrepreneur Awards”; Service Business Category.
2023 – Silver Award winner “Most Inspiring Female Leader” BEST Businesswoman Awards (Midlands);
2022 – Winner : Entrepreneurial Educator Real Entrepreneur Awards

Dawn gives her time freely to promoting the East Midlands and was a Board Member at East Midlands Chamber for 12 years, including being its President in 2019/20 representing around 4300 businesses, and lobbying government for assistance during the Covid Pandemic.   Currently she is the Federation of Small Business local area leader (for Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire) which is a voluntary role, and hosts a monthly networking event.

She is also an experienced and capable Chair person and Non Executive Director.   She is heavily involved in her local community and has been Chair of Lambley Parish Council since 2020.  She was a Trustee for Ashfield Citizens Advice; Chair of the Nottinghamshire Members Forum and has been involved in the consultation towards the Local Skills Improvement Plan for Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire as an Employer Representative, and Nottingham City Centre Strategy Advisory Group.

She also designed and delivered a serious of sell out webinars entitled “Grit & Grace” aimed at women in business and female entrepreneurs on behalf of D2N2 which were free to attend.

Dawn has led the Challenge Business to become the largest centre for ILM qualifications in the East Midlands having registered more delegates onto programmes than any other centre each year since 2012.  It has direct claim status for ILM programmes up to and including level 7 (post graduate for senior managers), a status only awarded to those organisations who have demonstrated excellence in design, delivery and assessment over a number of years.     She is a licensed DISC (psychometric tool) Practitioner.

Debbie Parr – Management Training Consultant

Debbie joined the company in 2001 and has worked with both our Private Sector and Public Sector clients on a wide range of courses and activities since then. Prior to this, Debbie worked within the Training and Development Field for Argos Distributors and also Pound Stretcher. She attained a First Class Honours Degree in 1990 and attained the Certificate Personnel and Development (CIPD) in 2002.   Debbie has many years of experience of designing and delivering engaging and participative training and delivers extensively on both bespoke programmes to strengthen management and leadership skills, as well as delivering on Accredited Programmes leading to Qualifications in both leadership and management and Coaching and Mentoring up to to Level 7.    Her strengths lie in soft skills training and facilitation, developing and delivering a wide range of bespoke interventions and providing advice on Customer Experience, Communications Skills and Interpersonal Skills. Debbie also designs, delivers and assesses on our full range of  qualification courses including leadership, management; coaching & mentoring and customer care.   Debbie has recently designed and delivered a serious of webinars on Unconscious Bias; Coaching Skills for Managers; Assertiveness & Personal. Effectiveness & Motivation.   She has a keen interest in cognitive diversity and adaptive training techniques.     Debbie is a licensed DISC (psychometric tool) Practitioner

Stuart McCord – Management Training Consultant

Stuart joined Challenge early in 2015 and brought with him a wealth of experience at a senior level.   His background includes working as Chief Executive Officer at NLT training, responsible for all aspects of quality and delivery, and for a large team of people.   He has also work for various organisations in manufacturing (including Meridian Lightweight Technologies) and his strengths lie in strategic thinking and project based work.   Stuart is qualified to Masters Level (MBA) in Leadership and Management.   Stuart is conversant with  Safety, Health, Quality and Environment topics related to engineering and manufacturing and holds an HNC in Engineering, is a qualified Predictive Index Analyst, is a member of the Chartered Management Institute, and an Associate Member of the CIPD.  Stuart delivers on a wide range of topics within his role at Challenge including designing and delivering bespoke programmes for clients in Project Management and Financial Awareness, as well as using his extensive experience in both manufacturing and engineering sectors to ensure programmes are relevant and applicable.   Stuart has recently designed and delivered a range of webinars delivered free during the Covid Crisis entitled “What’s new in leadership” – focusing on concepts such as “Nudge” and “Agile” and Managing Remotely.   Stuart designs, delivers and assesses on a range of accredited programmes leading to qualifications from level 2 to level 7 in both Leadership & Management and Coaching & Mentoring.

Nick Hogg – Management Training Consultant

Nick joined the Company in 2004, having worked as a Manager within large retail stores for several years. Nick has a wealth of experience in Management and Operational issues. He attained a Level 5 Diploma in Management Studies in 2005. Nick specialises in People Management Topics and in those related to Operational Management including those interventions designed to enhance customer experiences, and Health and Safety & Risk Assessment. Nick designs and delivers qualifications at levels 2 and 3 in the National Qualification Framework and also some units at Level 5.

Dr Alex Morgan – Associate Executive Coach and Training Consultant

Alex is a C-Suite Executive Coach and Leadership Development expert with over 20 years experience of developing leaders and improving team communication in both the public and private sector.  She works with both UK based organisations, as well as multinational corporations where business is regularly conducted across internal borders and cultures.  Alex’s key skill is getting individuals and teams to appreciate the richness of each others’ talents and diverse backgrounds, in turn helping them to communicate better and be more productive.   Alex has a Doctorate in International Communication and is the author of “Coaching International Teams”, a highly regarded book for leaders and coaches showing how to get the best from teams and individuals in a multilingual and multicultural environment.   Alex supports Challenge Clients with specialist coaching supervision services and will be instrumental in design and delivery of the ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring Programmes, as well as the ILM Level 7 Coaching Supervision qualifications.

Amanda Kennedy – Associate Training Consultant

Amanda is an experienced Learning and Development advisor and coach and hold professional qualifications from the CIPD in both areas.  Amanda has worked for a number of years in a generalist Learning and Development role within Industry, with responsibility for a team of practitioners, and is experienced in delivering training needs analysis, 360 degree feedback, and designing and delivering workshops for a broad range of managers and staff in a range of topics including customer care, leadership and management, and culture development.  She is an Associate Member of the CIPD.

Gerry Kitchingman – Associate Training Consultant

Gerry has a long association with Challenge Consulting as she used to contract the company for work when she was employed as an
HR Manager at BASF Pharma!     Gerry joined the company in 2002 as an employee, but worked previously with us as an Associate Trainer.   Gerry has a generalist HR background and excellent working knowledge of Employment Relations type issues.    She has a Degree in Business Studies and attained the Certificate in Training and Development (CITD) in 1995.   Gerry is also qualified in Occupational Testing and Myers Briggs Type Indicator Profiling.    She has a wide scope of expertise and designs and delivers extensively on Leadership, Coaching and Emotional Intelligence Topics.     Gerry delivers on qualification based programmes up to Level 7 in the National Qualification Framework.

Maria Coulter BEM – Associate Training Consultant

Maria has worked with Challenge Consulting since 2015 and specialises in design and delivery of training programmes to the Construction Industry for Challenge.   Her background is with a major multi-disciplinary construction consultancy.  Maria is a qualified quantity surveyor and worked her way up through her career from a graduate before becoming a senior quantity surveyor in industry, and then moving into Project Management and Risk Management, dealing with multi-million pound budgets.   Maria has been involved in developing and delivering coaching programmes for a number of years, including one designed for graduates who are progressing through to Chartered Surveyors.  Maria is an Associate Member of the Association of Coaching, holds a Professional Certificate in Personal and Business Coaching and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Martin Perry – Associate Training Consultant

Martin started out his career in Banking becoming both a Branch and Business Banking Manager for Lloyds Bank in the late 90’s. Since then, he moved into IT working predominantly in the City of London and became an IT trainer in 2005 leading to a Training and Development Management role for 3 years for a large outsourcing company. Martin now delivers a wide range of Microsoft product training including Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365 and the associated apps, SharePoint and One Drive, Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Martin designs courses that meet the exact requirements of customers ensuring the new skills can be put in to practice immediately. He has run IT Training courses for many different sectors including Manufacturing, Food, Retail, Legal and third sector. Martin is also the creator of the unique Taming Your Inbox workshop, a cohesive email strategy that ensures you are always in control of your emails. Martin’s style of training is very informative ensuring students enjoy the experience and take many new skills back to the workplace.

Donna Smith – Associate Training Consultant

Donna is an award-winning, dual qualified (Law & HR) Coach & Speaker with an extensive range of experience in Coaching, Leadership & Management Training and workshop facilitation.

Her background within the corporate training world has brought expertise in Talent Development and training needs analysis.  She is qualified with Psychometric tools such as Myers Briggs Type Indicator and NLP.  Donna delivers on a variety of projects for Challenge.

Harriet Franklin – Associate Training Consultant

Harriet is an experienced trainer and health and fitness consultant.  She specialises in programmes based around personal development, mindfulness and mental health and is an approved deliverer for Emergency First Aid at work and other mental health awareness qualifications.   She has designed and delivered many programmes tailored to organisation’s own needs to ensure the wellbeing of their staff, and works to engage and enable more people to live healthier and happier lives.