BFP: What do you do?
LM: I work for IMA International, a business delivering training, international development consultancy and coaching around the world. I lead design, delivery and business development for our capacity building services in subjects such as creating partnerships, leadership, soft skill development and more. We work exclusively with development professionals, whether they be from the UN, NGOs or the private sector.
Our clients are my focus, so I am constantly reaching out to understand more about what their needs are, and ensuring that we are well positioned to respond.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
LM: We work with consultants placed all over the world who are experts in their fields, and I love matching them with great organisations and watching the innovations and change that happens as a result – that’s job satisfaction for me.
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
LM: I used to work in the private sector in the UK, so when I first got into training in the international development sector I felt overwhelmed with the opportunities that were available. I am a naturally ambitious person, so it was tough to specialise and learn to say ‘no, that is not my/our area’ and pass opportunities on. However, as anyone in this sector knows, it’s impossible to serve your clients properly without doing this.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges?/ What advice, would you give to others?/ What is the secret of your success?
LM: A consultant’s life is a hectic one, and so I really recommend taking on an activity outside of work that helps you relax. For me it was yoga, but for others it could be a team sport like basketball, football/soccer etc. It gives your mind a break and helps you get into new creative spaces, so that when you return to work the next day you are more focused.
In terms of general success in this area, for me the network has been extremely important. Networking without a cause is pretty useless though – it’s got to be targeted networking that brings benefit to both parties.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
LM: I started by offering free trainings to charities in London, and going off to explore the coffee sector in Rwanda. I built a network of interest around that, and by the time this job came up I had the knowledge and training experience that I needed to place myself. I stand firmly by the notion that training can not be learnt from a book – you can gather some basics but the only real way to develop in this area is by doing it.
BFP: Finally; what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
LM: It is a great platform for me to understand more about what other companies are looking for, especially around my area of interest, which is cross sector partnerships. IMA will be running a course in Bangkok in May called Creating Successful Partnerships, so I am hoping to use BFP to keep reaching out with these types of opportunities, and to hear what else would be helpful.
Thank you to Linzi Moore for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.