Patricia and I met many moons ago when we were both involved in women’s training. Patricia was one of the very first people ever to ask me about licensing RenewYou so I was thrilled when she became one of our first ever licensees back in March 2013.
Jane: Patricia, tell me a bit about your early life/career. Were there any early signs of the ‘educator/facilitator’ you were to become?
Patricia: I grew up in Wolverhampton with very little self-esteem or self confidence and as a result have developed myself over many years to overcome my gremilins. (So I guess I’m proof that we can achieve our goals and successes by using the kind of techniques and strategies we work with in RenewYou.)
I left grammar school with 5 O’ levels, didn’t know what I wanted to do so I started a secretarial course at a local college – because that’s what my friends were doing. I didn’t enjoy it and left after a term with an ‘elementary’ typing certificate. After a couple of general clerical jobs I joined the Department of Employment, initially as a casual typist (the elementary typing certificate opened the door) and then progressed through a number of promotions.
My early career in central government involved managing staff and helping people out of long-term unemployment by developing their confidence and job-search skills. I worked with severely disabled jobseekers helping them to promote their ‘abilities’ and then became professionally trained and qualified and spent 3 years at a national level training Jobcentre and Benefit Office managers develop their personal and managerial skills.
I then moved into local government with Dudley MBC, developing and delivering a range of corporate initiatives and training courses, including a programme training mentors to support managers studying on the Council’s MBA programme. Whist there, I was a member of a forum of the top 400 managers across a council of 13,000 employees and it was during this time I introduced the Springboard Women’s Development programme into the Council where I’m happy to say it continued to run for many years.
I left the Council in 1995 to set up my own training and development business and became a licensed Springboard Trainer. I’m fortunate to work with people at all levels in organisations and from a wide range of occupational backgrounds and as well as Springboard, I’m licensed to run a range of personal development programmes including Spring Forward, Fresh Steps and of course Renew You, which I love. I also work with people on a one-one coaching basis.
During my careeer I’ve been privileged to work with hundreds of women and a number of years ago a client suggested I put myself forward for an award called ‘Women on Their Way’ (WoW) where I was a finalist in the category ‘Outstanding Contribution to Womens’ Learning and Development’.
Were there any early signs of the ‘educator/facilitator’ in me? I don’t think so, other than running a recorder class at lunchtimes in junior school!
I know you work with both men and women. Do you find any significant differences between the genders and how they respond?
This question reminded me of a 3-day residential assertiveness course I ran quite a few years ago, for around 12 men who were moving into managerial roles from being ‘on the tools’. The ‘banter’ started as we arrived at the venue for lunch, prior to the course starting. I did feel uncomfortable as some of it was inappropriate and I knew I needed to challenge the comments/behaviour, after all, it was an assertiveness course. However, I also knew that had I have done that at the time, I would have potentially ‘lost’ them. So I waited until we’d done some work around the subject of assertiveness and the following day, referred back to the comments of the day before and asked the group to think about how I might have been affected by them? Great opportunity for discussion and learning all round!
Going back to your question, I feel ‘I ought’ to say yes, but because the kind of work I do is all ‘personal development’ now, I don’t think the difference is that significant. I once ran a 3 day programme with 15 men and one woman and I was amazed at how quickly the men opened up (literally their hearts some of them). These were ex-police, ex-service personnel and so I’m sure could be easily stereotyped. However, from my experience, in the main, given the right environment, understanding and ‘permission’, both men and women welcome the space to talk about things they wouldn’t otherwise.
How did you get into the world of training and personal development?
I got into training many years ago when I worked in the Department of Employment. As I said earlier, I worked for 3 years supporting severely disabled jobseekers into employment and part of this role required me to give talks to GP’s, Physiotherapists, Disability Groups etc and I was trained in ‘public speaking’ to help me do this. This must have given me the bug, because later I applied for the job training jobcentre/benefit office managers. Very different to public speaking I know, but I was fortunate to receive excellent ‘trainer training’ which not only included facilitation and feedback skills but also equality, consultancy, counselling skills and behavioural science. I guess it was the latter that furthered my interest in understanding people coupled with my interest in psychology that drew me towards personal development rather than other types of training. I’ve always been committed to my own personal as well as professional development, so the two go hand in hand.
What’s your least favourite part of the job?
The behind the scenes stuff required to run a business. I derive very little energy working on my own in the office.
And the best?
Helping people believe in themselves more. Because of the types of programmes/workshop I run, people generally ‘want’ to be there and are sometimes thirsty for that kind of space. A number of years ago I set the criteria for deciding whether to say yes to a piece of work was to ask myself the question ‘does it feed my soul?’
What’s been your experience so far of working with Renew You?
As you said in your introduction, I’ve been involved in womens’ development for many years and was delighted to be one of the first trainers licensed to work with Renew You. So, over the past 4 years, I have run Renew You workshops in a number of Councils as well as ‘open’ workshops attended by women from different organisations. For the past 3 years I’ve been running regular workshops, 2 each year, within a Police Force for both officers and staff. The feedback has been extremely positive, with one woman commenting that attending Renew You had prevented her from being away from work on long term sick leave.
What’s been your best career move?
There have been two. The first becoming a trainer within Central Government, the second, setting up my own business.
Do you relax much? What’s your favourite way of unwinding?
I go to the gym as regularly as I’m able to (work commitments permitting), not to work out in the gym, I much prefer the step/dance/body pump type classes. Paul and I have an apartment in Spain so I enjoy switching off there, walking, socialising, eating, drinking…….
What’s your favourite book and/or TV programme?
My long time ‘go to book’ is ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay. But at the moment I’m telling everyone about a book I read recently after a trip to Florence called ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Sarah Dunant. I found it absolutely captivating on so many levels. Favourite book as a young girl, Heidi. (Mine, too – Jane.) Favourite TV programme, Strictly Come Dancing. Love it, love it, love it!
If you could have any other job in the world, what would it be?
A professional dancer, of course!
If you’d like to contact Patricia her website is PatriciaCresswell.com
Posted on April 3rd, 2017 by Jane