Meet the team

Find out more about the Professional Futures Team

Lynsey Heeks – Trainer Specialising in Leadership and Management

I have 15 years’ experience of managing and leading within a highly commercial environment, combined with 12 years’ experience of teaching Leadership, Management, Coaching and HR. This ensures that I can relate your learning to real life experience and help you put your learning in to context.

My philosophy

If you enjoy your learning then you will most certainly remember it, therefore ensuring that you apply your knowledge throughout your career.


I have had the pleasure of being managed by some fantastic leaders/managers in my career, and it has been great to take their best practice and apply it in the learning that I deliver within my courses.On the flipside I have also been managed by some leaders/managers who have clearly never attended a Leadership and Management course (or have not applied their learning!), and who have not understood that being a manager involves people, who are different and have different needs.

These experiences have shaped me as a manager and a leader, and whether negative or positive, have all helped me to improve my own practices and techniques within management. This is one of the reasons why I love to train and teach across the whole spectrum of leaders – from aspiring managers, first line managers to senior managers, as we all have some excellent experience to share and can learn from each other.

My philosophy within any of my courses is that we all know the right thing to do, we just don’t always know we know! It is my job to facilitate your learning and guide you through this process so that you can take your knowledge and have the confidence to be better leaders and managers within your own workplaces.

Why me?

I have a very strong view about learning and it stems from school education – do you remember the subjects and teachers you loved at school? I do! My most favourite teacher and subject at school was English with Mrs Whittam, and the reason that I loved English and Mrs Whittam was because it was fun! She made the subject interesting because she was so passionate about it and she made sure that we had a good time in her classroom as well as ensured we learned. This is exactly as it should be.It is this experience that is transferred in to my sessions, we are there to enjoy learning, have fun, have a bit of banter but also try new things, consider different concepts and enjoy this process.

If you enjoy your learning then you will most certainly remember it, therefore ensuring that you apply your knowledge throughout your career. I have a view that when I plan your lessons, if I find it boring then you will find it boring, therefore my job is to figure out a way to ensure that your learning is as engaging and as fun as possible!

What do I know?

I know that studying, working and juggling family time can be a real challenge – I have a teenage daughter, 3 step daughters, 2 grand-daughters and a big smelly Labrador dog, so I totally understand the challenges that you will face and I will help you.

I know that sometimes you will get “writer’s block” and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to start writing your assignment – I have been working with professional adults for 7 years, so I will help you overcome these difficulties.

I know that it can be hard to motivate yourself to attend your class (whether at night, at the weekend or during the day) especially when you have your “paid” work to do or been at work all day/week – I will ensure that when you attend, you value your experience and enjoy being there, so that it won’t feel so difficult.

And finally, I know that Friday nights are great especially at “wine o’clock” time – I am very partial to a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and I will ensure we all socialise together especially when you have achieved your qualification. Your success will be a real opportunity for us all to celebrate!

And finally….

I just want to say that I am really looking forward to working with you and that I am more than happy to talk with you.

Marie O’Donnell – Trainer Specialising in Leadership and Management

I have over 10 years’ experience of managing and leading together with over 18 years’ experience in teaching leadership, management and teacher training.  My experience ensures that I can relate to your workplace issues and offer realistic, practical solutions.  I have taught extensively across the three sectors; public, private and voluntary which enables me to understand issues facing all three sectors.

My philosophy

I find that the most enjoyable learning experiences I have had, have always been when the trainer has encouraged people to enjoy the experience and not be afraid of having fun while they learn.


My philosophy is and always has been, that people ‘learn when they laugh’. I find that the most enjoyable learning experiences I have had, have always been when the trainer has encouraged people to enjoy the experience and not be afraid of having fun while they learn.  This includes being made to feel safe and able to learn from mistakes too.

I find ‘dry’ training experiences dull and boring and lets face it, management can be like that at times!  Therefore, I try to create an enjoyable learning experience whereby learners share knowledge and experience but in a friendly, non-judgemental way.  I like to create fun, engaging sessions where you will laugh a lot, however, you will learn and remember a lot more!  I like to encourage reflection within my sessions and will encourage my learners to consider past experiences and how they could learn from them to improve their future management practices.

I get so much satisfaction when I see the difference in my learners and building confidence is one of my priorities.  Additionally I like to acknowledge when learners have managed issues well in the past as this in itself is a confidence booster.

Why me?

I have a strong background in managing and developing others and my goal in life is to see others thrive.

I don’t teach from the textbook.  Yes, they are important however life doesn’t always work like it does in the movies and work doesn’t always work the same way as it does in books.  That said, reading is important therefore I try to bring management models to life using my own work experience so that they make more sense and can be applied to improve your working practice.

I also realise that some learners are daunted by what I call ‘management babble’.  I will help you to understand this ‘babble’ but more importantly, I won’t be using it in my sessions.  I use plain English so everyone can understand.  I have also taught many learners from Europe and the rest of the world so it is important to avoid jargon so that everyone gets a good learning experience.

What do I know?

 I realise how challenging studying, working and balancing all of that with family time can be. However, I also know how rewarding it can be when you look at that certificate you have worked so hard for.

  • I know you may find it challenging at times to balance your commitments.
  • I know that you may find it daunting to embark upon ‘a management course’.
  • I know that you may worry that everyone will know more than you.
  • I know how difficult it will be to stay on track, to stay motivated.
  • I know all of this because this is exactly how I felt when I completed my studies.

I always keep that in mind when I meet my students and I will do my best to make you feel comfortable.  I will provide a relaxed and supportive environment where you won’t feel silly if you make a mistake, where you can come and talk to me if you are struggling to meet deadlines and where you will enjoy the course and make some new friends.

Finally, I will be there to help you to celebrate your fantastic achievement when that day arrives!  That’s the time to celebrate and if it is your round, mine’s a large glass of prosecco!

And finally,

I want to make sure that you feel confident that the course you are interested in is the right one for you.  I am more than happy to talk with you about this.