Darren has worked in the world of supermarkets and suppliers for over 24 years. His story is one of a game of two halves. For the first 12 years, he worked as a Buyer & Category Manager in one of the big four UK supermarkets buying mainly fresh foods, from cheese to fruit to ready meals.
‘Who are we?’ is about sharing our background, experience and skills so you can determine whether you feel that our people are people you can work with.
Darren A. Smith
Founder and World Class Tutor with over 25 years experience of the UK Grocery Industry
Seeing the opportunity to enable supermarkets and suppliers to work better together, he founded MBM and has spent the last 14 years working with suppliers on People Development to enable them to get the best from their people with their retail accounts through Sticky Learning ®. His main specialities are Category Management Training, Negotiation Skills and Time Management. The latter particularly because he was once an ‘email inbox junkie’! He has had articles published by The Grocer, FPJ, Supply Management, & many more, and written the GSCOP book, plus a testimonial for his work on the Free Guides from Charles Jennings (Founder of 70:20:10). His favourite film will send him into a tailspin as he has so many, yet with his arm up his back, he chose ‘Gladiator’.
When he’s not working you’ll find him living in Thame with his wife, Gayle, and children, Gabby and Jack, creating memorable experiences because he believes ‘life is for the taking’.
World Class Tutor with over 23 years experience of the UK Grocery Industry
Andy started at the coal face with eight years in food retailing. During this time he spent many years in management understanding the fundamentals of grocery retailing. Prior to joining MBM he then spent five years in the supply base in positions of category analysis, category management and account management.
He works as part of the team enabling suppliers to UK supermarkets to secure more profitable wins through people development. He specialises in Category Management Training, and has created the Category Management Scorecard which is used by many suppliers across the globe. He is also a qualified HBDI ® practitioner, which means that he understands how people prefer to think, communicate, make decisions and learn. He understands the psychology of learning retention, which, coupled with MBM’s unique training method Sticky Learning ®, is used to ensure all that work with him achieve great things, and that those things stay with them for the long term.
He has published many articles including, ‘What is Category Management’ and ‘How to Bake a Better Pie‘ and the ‘Benefits of Team Building and The Art of War‘. He used to have passion for rock climbing and mountain biking and will tell you he still does. The reality is time is taken up with family and kids, which is equally as fun and about as painful. His films of choice are anything with a light sabre in it or The Shawshank Redemption.
World Class Tutor with over 28 years experience of the UK Grocery Industry
Sally remains a retailer at heart, having worked for 14 years with one of the big four UK supermarkets, both as a Line Manager and within the Training function, she has practised what she preaches regarding People Development! Sally is passionate about bringing learning to life and enables participants to really experience a new skill and work on it live in the room so that they can see it, hear it, think it and feel it. Her particular expertise lies in the areas of Personal Coaching; Impact and Influence and Leadership and Team Development.
Clients describe Sally as having an energetic, yet sensitive style of working and bringing fun and laughter into sessions, as well as empathy and being really ‘bothered’ about a person’s individual needs.
When not working, Sally enjoys spending time with her teenagers, Amie and Zach, both of whom she finds are a rich source of examples in her work. Sally loves swimming and walking– it’s here that she does her best thinking (as well as being damage limitation due to a love of food and wine!).
Sally enjoys writing articles linking the films we all know and love to key skills that Managers need. One of her favourite films is The King’s Speech – not only because of Colin Firth, but because of the film’s fantastic portrayal of how people got it so wrong for the King – and how we can get it so right for our own people who might benefit less from ‘Telling’ and more from ‘Coaching’. Sally has a degree in French, is MBTI and FIRO-B qualified, holds a Coaching Diploma and has additional qualifications in Counselling, Body Language and Voice Development.