Core Team

Anne Cooper

Anne is the former Chief Nurse at NHS Digital and has many years’ experience of working in the NHS, with a focus on digital leadership. She has worked at all levels of healthcare technology delivery, from local deployment through to national policy development.

She was named as an HSJ inspirational leader in 2014, with comments from the judges as follows: ‘She is on a mission to get nurses involved with the information technology and informatics agenda – and it is a mission in which she is succeeding.’

Anne believes that focussed leadership development can help everyone to achieve their objectives.  She was the co-developer of the ‘Leadership for Informed Practice’ Programme, which was awarded the Digital Health CCIO Clinical Leadership award in 2012.

Anne is a Director of Ethical Healthcare, who support the delivery of the programme.

Ian Pettigrew

Ian runs Kingfisher Coaching, helping leaders to develop their true strength so they can get the best of themselves and others. He does this through designing and delivering leadership development programmes, coaching, writing, blogging, keynote speaking, and publishing a podcast.

Ian’s areas of deep expertise are strengths-based leadership (he is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach) and personal resilience. He wholeheartedly believes that everyone has talent, and anyone can shine, given the right lighting! He is a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and the Association for Coaching. Prior to founding Kingfisher Coaching in 2009, Ian was Change Director for AstraZeneca R&D Finance, and he has extensive leadership experience in Informatics and change management.

Ian is an OD Associate for the NHS, a member of CIPD Manchester branch committee, co-founder of Connecting HR Manchester, and founder of Connecting HR Africa.

Ian was announced by HR Magazine as one of HR’s most influential thinkers in 2023.

Susan Hamer

Susan’s varied and distinguished career is in the fields of higher education, health services management and leadership. She has a clinical background in nursing and moved into education at the University of Hull. Following a period working in The National Health Service, Susan returned to higher education at the University of Leeds where she worked for over 25 years, during that time Susan has held a number of senior roles at the Department of Health which have given her deep experience of designing and leading large transformational programmes in the public sector.

Susan’s first degree is in nursing, she has a master’s in Women’s Studies and a doctorate in Post Compulsory Education. She was awarded the University of Leeds Women of Achievement Award in March 2016, the IACRN Distinguished Clinical Research Nurse Award 2018 and the AHCS Chairman’s award in 2020. Susan has been a Fellow of the Queen’s Nursing Institute since 2004. She was one of the HSJ 50 Inspirational Women in 2013 and in 2017 she was identified as one of the most influential clinicans in the UK,  while she was Director of Nursing, Learning and Organisational Development for NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Susan is currently a governor and member of the Corporation at Bishop Burton College

Programme Coaches


Kathryn Winterburn

Kathryn is an inspiring and accomplished organisation and leadership development consultant. Her work helps people see the context of their systems from different perspectives. She is skilled at challenging norms and behaviours and generating new possibilities for lasting change. She possesses a rare mix of international, public and private sector experience gained over 30 years, including 16 years in complex and fluid NHS environments.
She works with individuals, teams, boards, and other diverse groups, supporting their development and learning with a range of approaches. Kathryn is a strong advocate of experiential learning and reflexive practice. She has designed and delivered a broad range of leadership programmes, including clinical leadership development, board development and aspiring director programmes. She has successfully established communities of practice and learning networks that provide places of learning, inquiry, peer support and reflection. When working one-to-one, her coaching style is challenging but empathetic, working holistically with clients to create ideas and craft new ways of thinking, seeing and being. Using penetrating questions as well as a range of creative methods, working with Kathryn is a rich client-centred and supportive experience.

When working one to one, her coaching style is challenging but empathetic, working holistically with clients to create ideas and craft new ways of thinking, seeing and being.

Natalie McMillan

Natalie is passionate about supporting women in leadership roles. As an HR professional she has worked across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, the NHS and not-for-profit. She has worked at board level as an HR Director and taken roles as Deputy Chief Executive and CEO. Having worked her way up to a Chief Executive in a business with 1,500 people and £70m turnover, she recognises the pitfalls and challenges that often mean women find ourselves having to work that bit harder than our male counterparts.

Nat decided that she would like it all as a working mum and defined what that means for her. After all, success is personal, and it depends on what you want. So, she left her six-figure salary and runs her own business offering HR advice and support. She can work flexibly and is a lot happier. This is Nat’s version of success.

Julie Hickton

Julie is passionate about working with individuals and teams to achieve their potential; you will find her to be calming, challenging, supportive, non-judgmental, creating a safe space for exploration and discussion. Her positive motivational personality is infectious, creating a real sense of purpose, focus and enjoyment for all those who work with her.

Combining her own experiences as a HR Director, NED and Coach, Julie brings with her a wealth of practical understanding and realism to the issues that teams and individuals face. She can see beyond the immediate issues and gets the people she works with to change the aspects that really make a difference to their performance and overall wellbeing.

As an author, Julie has written about resilience and wellbeing in her book “The Tree of Resilience”. She uses the art of storytelling to make connections that inspire others who are experiencing difficulties.

Sonia Mayor

Sonia is known for her compassionate, insightful and thought provoking approach to addressing workplace dilemmas.

Her focus is supporting others to adapt to change, inclusion, and social justice issues. She draws on her experience in workforce reform, community engagement, diversity, and psychotherapy.

She values each person’s inner wisdom and uses mindfulness, movement and reflection to support others’ change efforts.

Her interest is on building team resilience, reducing workforce anxiety, and diffusing conflict.

She is currently a visiting lecturer for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust facilitating on a compassionate leadership programme for NHS managers.  She also facilitates on an MSc programme on Leadership for Sustainability at Leeds University. She works with a number of organisations to support the implementation of restorative practices.

Beverley Powell

Beverley is an experienced Transformation Leadership Coach who specialises in equality and diversity and Inclusion. A value led coach with a particular focus on self-care, respect, freedom, and empowerment. Beverley has been recognised as a winner of multiple national awards for her contributions towards equality, diversity, and inclusion most notably by the HSJ in 2014 as one of the top 50 BAME Pioneers.

Beverley also works and an Associate Consultant, providing Inclusive Leadership development for global majority nurses and a senior nurse inclusive development programmes of learning.

Beverley’s commitment to her work and her specialist expertise have resulted in her receiving commendations from the police and prison services for leadership commitment to the Equality and Diversity and Inclusion agenda, and her innovative work has resulted in strategies that have led to sustainable commitments to progression, development, and transformation within a range of public sector organisations.

Liz Simms

Liz is a Transformational Coach and is passionate about supporting professional businesswomen who lack confidence and self-esteem, she challenges limiting beliefs and self-talk and will encourage you to move forwards to a new beginning. Coaching can be daunting if you have never experienced it, Transformational Coaching is a conversation between the coach and their client enabling them to move from where they are now to where they would like to be. Liz’s relaxing manner is calming and enables her clients to freely express themselves in a safe environment.

Liz has over 35 years working in both the NHS and for several NHS Suppliers, so has a good understanding of the barriers that women can face in the NHS and in IT.

Liz enjoys learning and believes you never stop no matter how much you know.  In 2023 Liz was honoured to be nominated twice for the Enterprise Vision Awards, which is the UK’s largest business award dedicated solely to women.