I was brought up in the Pennines, Yorkshire in a small mill town by my parents, both hard-working – my father in providing us with financial security through his work, and my mother in providing us – my sister and I, and my father with a comfortable home

Anni Townend at Five years warmer.jpg

Education and getting on in the world mattered to them as did their Protestant faith. The impact of this early, very religious upbringing is something that I have written about in the book ‘Children Growing Up with Religion’.

At the age of 10 I was sent away to an all-girls Quaker boarding school in York. I contributed to the book ‘Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege’ (written by Nick Duffell and Thurstine Basset) having realised what a huge impact boarding school has had on me.

From a young age I was curious. On completing my first degree in Communication Studies, I knew I wanted to work with people. 

I believe that people can change but in order to change, they need people. I believe in the power of conversations to heal relationships and that one of our roles as leaders is to create a safe environment in which people can be themselves and do their very best work and that leadership is personal and relational.

Underpinning these beliefs are my values; kindness, honesty and openness, and courage. 

I was recently challenged to think about which of my strengths is my super strength!  It is trust. I can be trusted and I am trusting of others. I trust that when I am truly at my best and present to others, that they will feel safe to open up about whatever they need and want to share.  My other top two strengths include empathy for others and trusting my intuition.

I am passionate about leadership. Ten years ago I published ‘Assertiveness and Diversity’ in which I explore, through theory and case studies, how individuals, teams and organisations can make it possible for everyone to be valued for who they are and respected for what they do.

I am privileged to work with senior leaders across a wide range of organisations, helping them to co-create environments in which diversity and inclusivity in all its forms are truly appreciated and in which people are empowered to lead and deliver change.

Anni offers tangible strategies that help people to overcome both personal and team challenges helping leaders in bringing out the best in people and ultimately enabling them to bring out the best in others.
— SARAH WOODLEY, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, THE MARKETING SOCIETY