We’re always happy to hear – and read – other voices: after all, without a variety of contributors, all you can achieve is a monologue. As guests on the Don’t Compromise blog contribute articles or take part in Q&A sessions, a brief biography will appear below. Where they were able to contribute more of their time, you will also find links to their Personal Learning Profiles.

If you’d like to contribute an article, we’d be very interested from you: all you need do is Contact Us.

Katie Wright
(read Katie’s Q&A Session)
(read Katie’s Personal Learning Profile)
Katie Wright is Editorial and Research Director for public policy publishers, Neil Stewart Associates, and was a contestant in the 2012 series of the BBC programme, The Apprentice.

Dr Nigel Spencer
(read Nigel’s guest article)
Dr Nigel Spencer is Head of Learning and Development for Simmons & Simmons. His focus in that role is on the business skills development of all staff, especially upon the implementation of innovative talent management and leadership development programmes throughout the firm worldwide, together with coaching and mentoring programmes. Nigel has also been heavily involved in a number of global organisational development projects at the firm such as redefining the firm’s career path and implementing a graduate MBA into the firm’s pipeline. Previously Nigel was at PwC for 7 years and before that was a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University, directing international research programmes, where his research focused on cultural change, including themes of group definition, hierarchy and power. As a Classicist, Nigel is also part of the Classics for All team, an educational charity which is supporting the introduction of Classics back into state schools.

Steve Knight
(read a Question and Answer Session with Steve)
Steve Knight is an experienced journalist, editor and consultant who has been at the forefront of the internal communication sector for more than 20 years. He has edited the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) magazine in its various formats for the last decade and has trained hundreds of IC professionals. Two years ago he was one of the people responsible for creating and launching the IoIC Foundation Level accreditation programme, which is designed to raise standards throughout the industry. Last month (January 2011) the Institute followed up on the success of the Foundation Level to launch its Advanced Level accreditation programme. Both the Foundation and Advanced Level programmes are administered by Steve’s company, Knight Train & Consult Ltd.

Read Steve’s Personal Learning Profile.

Calhoun Wick
(read Cal’s article)
Calhoun Wick is Chairman and Founder of the Fort Hill Company. Cal graduated as a Rockefeller Fellow from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and continued his studies as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. A consultant, educator and researcher on improving the performance of managers and organisations, he is also co-author of The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development into Business Results. His research led to the concept of Follow-Through Management® and the development of web-based tools that improve results by increasing follow-through and learning transfer.

Peter Cook
(read an interview with Peter)
Peter Cook started in pharmaceuticals, leading innovation teams to bring multimillion dollar drugs to markets and as an international troubleshooter. He is the Managing Director of Human Dynamics, offering strategy facilitation, coaching, training, practical MBA programmes, conferences and events, and author of the book Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll.

He is also a rocker in his spare time.

Read Peter’s Personal Learning Profile.

Clifford Peat
(read Cliff’s review of Alain de Botton’s The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)

Cliff finished Grammar school when he was 16: at the age of 21, he qualified with a small firm in the City as a chartered accountant.  After being a partner in another firm in the West End in the 1970s, he moved to Milton Keynes and set up a practice (which was later sold in 2006).  In 1984/85, he was released for a year’s secondment as MD of a medium-sized software company in Bristol during a time of transition in a fast changing market.

Cliff has studied business and IT/web matters informally for many years and cherry picked from a one year external MSc course on Information Systems Management at de Montfort.

He is currently helping businesses and other organisations in strategic development.

Read Cliff’s Personal Learning Profile.

John Best
(read a Question and Answer session with John)

John Best is a consultant working in the fields of urban development and management, and on the edge of local government. After a period as a professional musician, he trained as a town planner and surveyor and spent 24 years working in local government in London on regeneration and housing renewal before moving to Milton Keynes, the largest and most successful of the UK’s new towns. For 12 years he oversaw the city’s development, first as Environment Director and then for five years as Chief Executive of the unitary authority, responsible for the governance and trajectory of the place and the delivery of a wide range of local services. During his time as CEO, he oversaw the improvement of the council from weak delivery to three star, helped in part by a strategic partnership with a private sector partner.

At the beginning of 2008, he left local government and set up John Best Re.Generation Limited, engaged in helping places work out what they’re good at and how they might become even more successful. His portfolio now includes advising developers, local authorities and design organisations internationally on making and managing successful places, bringing innovation and good practice in a wide range of activities. In particular, in his role as director of Virtual Viewing Limited, he is exploring ways whereby cities can make full use of their digital and virtual environment through innovative use of realistic virtual 3D models.

Read John’s Personal Learning Profile

Deena Ingham
(read Deena’s guest article)

Deena is a hackademic – in true terms. The hack stems from 30 years in newspaper, radio and TV journalism,  including work for the BBC, Sky and Reuters, while the academic develops, runs and teaches journalism degrees at the University of Bedfordshire where journalism courses came second nationally for student satisfaction this year proving that UoB undergraduates are a discerning bunch!

One of the main focuses of her work in Higher Education is encouraging lifelong learning – getting people to recognise that it is never too late to learn a skill or develop an academic approach that will prove life-changing.  Graduates who never had enough faith in their own abilities to believe they could achieve are transformed and that in itself is inspiring and hugely satisfying.

Read Deena’s Personal Learning Profile

Barbara Hocking
(read Barbara’s article)

Barbara enjoys that modern phenomenon of a portfolio career. She works part time as a learning and development consultant (including working with ASK)and also on a part time basis for Oxford Brookes University Business School, where she has responsibility for their MBA Leadership Development module. In this latter role ,she was responsible for developing the Global online supported MBA and co-authoring the MBA leadership textbook. Previously she worked in HR roles for companies such as Ford Motor Company and HSBC, and for 5 years as a Principal Consultant with SHL.  She works extensively with cross cultural groups and has run workshops in Europe, Africa and the USA. Her passion is for meaningful leadership development and for achieving real, impactful behaviour change. She is particularly interested in supporting managers in the challenges of  leading cross cultural – and often virtual – teams.

Read Barbara’s Personal Learning Profile

The Graduate
(read the Graduate’s article)

Here at ASK we pride ourselves on our charitable disposition. And so, in light of the 2010 graduate unemployment problem, we took in a graduate and gave him coffee and biscuits in return for general dogsbody duties and the obligatory blog offerings.

Read The Graduate’s Personal Learning Profile