From a young age I was curious about the world, the people I met and the conversations I had with them 

Anni Townend at Five years warmer.jpg

I was brought up in the Pennines, Yorkshire in a small mill town by my hard-working parents. 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 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.

On completing my first degree in Communication Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, I knew I wanted to work with people. I gained a Masters in Management Learning from Lancaster University and am an Accredited Mediator, by Regents College London. I am also an Accredited Practitioner of MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and FIRO-B. These are tools widely used to understand peoples' personality type and decision-making styles to bring about positive behavioural change and promote team performance.  

I am passionate about leadership. I believe it is personal and relational. In 2007 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 believe that people can change but in order to do this, they need people – and trust

 Photo: Sofia Townend 2018

Photo: Sofia Townend 2018

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. At the root of all my work is trust, which I consider to be my greatest strength. I can be trusted and I am trusting of others. In my work with senior leaders across a wide range of organisations, I trust that when I am truly at my best, others will feel safe to open up.  I listen with empathy and act according to intuition which is grounded in professional experience.

Whether I am working or relaxing, I love being outdoors. I regularly make the most of living on the edge of the South Downs in Sussex by enjoying walks and talks with friends, colleagues and clients. In 2013 I was interviewed on BBC4’s Ramblings and spoke about my love of the Walk and Talk approach. I live with my partner, and have two grown-up daughters.

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