Dianne Lowther is a Psychology graduate and NLP Master Trainer. She runs her own training business, Brilliant Minds, offering NLP training, leadership development and executive coaching. This is her 26th year in business. She works mainly with tech professionals and has developed methods of bringing interpersonal skills training to people who are highly intelligent and have an introverted personality type. She is also a published author.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I attended a state school in a quiet market town. I was fortunate that the teachers provided a lot of after-hours activities and regularly took us to the theatre. I acquired a love of Shakespeare at a young age and benefited from a broad education beyond the science subjects I took for A-level. I wasn’t sure what I wanted for a career – I considered Law, Medicine, Engineering and eventually chose to do a Psychology degree simply because I found it interesting.
After graduation I joined a high-street fashion retail company on a Management Training scheme and after 18 months became a store manager. In those years I learned a lot about leadership and how to create a strong and motivated team. The work was not difficult, but it was important the staff were happy so they would treat the customers well. I got involved in training staff and then in training managers.
After 4 years I realised that my main job satisfaction was coming from seeing other people develop, so I switched focus and took a job in Learning and Development. I was also an active member of a voluntary organisation (JCI UK) which gave me the opportunity to extend my skills.
I never intended to have my own training business. I expected to have a corporate career and to work my way up to HR Director. However, I quickly became frustrated with internal politics and with spending most of my time lobbying for support for my various projects. so I changed tack again and went to work for a small training consultancy where I was able to get back to helping people learn and develop as opposed to managing my bosses.
From there it was only a short step to set up my own business…
Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?
I provide leadership development and executive coaching for tech professionals.
A lot of people who work in technology are intelligent introverts and don’t enjoy being in the limelight. As technology has become intrinsic to all aspects of organisational operations, the people who lead the technology have had to step up and get more involved in business strategy and also become more visible. My team and I help with the latter.
The NLP courses I run are open to all, and the people who qualify as NLP Practitioners with me usually report a whole range of benefits, mostly to do with reducing stress and achieving their goals more easily.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
The pandemic was a difficult time for me. Professionally it resulted in the loss of a contract worth around £500,000. It was a huge project and should have kept me and my team busy for two years. It proved very difficult to replace that lost business and I’m still paying the price.
Personally, it was also challenging because I had just separated from my partner of six years and was just settling into living alone. During the lockdown periods I spend weeks alone, never seeing another person for more than an hour and doing my best to keep up the spirits of other people. My Mother and I used to talk on the phone every evening.
I decided that I wanted to be able to look back on the lockdown period and know that I had done something useful with the time, so I built the Brilliant Minds Online Academy. It had been in my plan for 2020 before the pandemic hit us, but I hadn’t expected to spend so much time on it!
What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?
I’m in a business-to-business market primarily, so I can’t really say I’ve had a reaction from consumers. I’m not doing anything ground-breaking but I have satisfied and loyal clients.
How has your life changed because of your venture?
Many times and in many ways. I’ve always enjoyed the autonomy but the lack of financial security can be stressful. In 26 years there have been a lot of ups and downs.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
When I was growing up my Dad often used to say, ‘All the problems in the world could be solved if people could just communicate with each other‘. I think it’s true and that’s probably why I do what I do.
I would like to see communication skills taught alongside other basic skills at school.
Give a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.
If there’s something you want to do, then do it. You may not succeed and you may not enjoy it, but you’ll never regret having taken the opportunity. It’s the things we didn’t do that we tend to regret, not the things we did.