Our Genderbuzz Listing Blackwood Consultants Ltd
Hello fellow Genderbuzzers – I’m Joanna and I’m one of the directors of Blackwood Consultants Ltd – a company that offers Personal Consultancy (more about that later) and executive coaching to corporate companies and private clients. I feel that I’ve finally managed to be in the career I’ve dreamt about for years. It’s been a long road to get here……..
Where it all began..
I left school at 16 not having a clue what I wanted to do – except be an actress and go to drama school, which my dad was dead against – being an accountant he looked at the rate of unemployment and directed me to a safer role – Banking. Not the most exciting role for me, but I was offered a junior role at my first interview so took it. I have to say I found the junior roles very monotonous and in my early twenties looked for something in the city slightly more interesting. I found myself a role in the commodities markets, which held my focus well and I began working my way up the corporate ladder to Vice President level.
In the meantime…..
I went on a journey of self discovery – that’s not to say I sat in a barn meditating (though I did that too) – my journey was a long and messy one, it was a mixture of bad decisions, difficult relationships, not owning my boundaries, bouts of depression and lack of self care – during this time I also met some great people and in order to try and understand myself I developed an interest in psychology and meditation. I loved listening to people and their stories and people would often comment that people around me changed – for the better. I wondered if I could use my interests and skills for a career, but when I looked at the amount of training I had to do on top of a full time job – I never thought I would be able to complete it.
Then…. One day over 10 years ago, everything changed – my marriage broke down – I saw this as an opportunity to live a more authentic life. I was a divorcee, a single mother – but I had a decent job which meant that I was financially self sufficient. They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step – it’s true! So I sought help and undertook a programme of personal development that informs my practice today. I also enrolled to study a degree in psychology part time. Yes it was tough, being a full time, working, single parent is challenging and I salute all the working/single parents out there – though for the first time in years, I felt free – I didn’t have to answer to anyone – it felt liberating to follow my own dreams. I graduated and went straight on to complete a 2 year post graduate diploma in Personal Consultancy and am currently completing my masters researching mental health support in the workplace.
Personal Consultancy …Is a model that blends integrative counselling with coaching, this allows me to work on all of a clients timescales – past, present and future. Integrative means that I am trained in a range of approaches, from person-centred, gestalt, CBT through to psychodynamic, to name a few. I fit the therapy to the person rather than fitting the person to the therapy. I consider the counselling part of the model to be a chance to build (or even rebuild) the foundations on which to grow – which is where the coaching element comes into play. Through my course I met some fantastic people. I co-founded a low cost counselling charity in East London and also met my colleagues at Blackwood today.
Blackwood …started as a conversation outside of the classroom and the momentum continued after the course ended – we felt we had an idea that would be beneficial to our users. My previous role in the city and my own experience of personal and emotional issues had taught me a lot of things – especially about the stigma related to mental health. The research is out there for all to read – the statistics of absenteeism, presenteeism due to mental health are disturbing, yet many companies stick to the same solution. At Blackwood we believe that we offer a different kind of support, we can work on emotional issues, we can work on behavioural issues, we can also coach a person to perform better in the workplace, we offer training, we have an in house trauma specialist and renowned addiction specialist and much more. After all, people are complex – their issues and needs are unique and therefore we have to match that with a bespoke service – therapy is not a one size fits all affair! We are working with forward thinking companies offering our services to their employees and also have a private client list. And me? Well I’m finally living my dream – listening to people and their stories and working with them to facilitate change.