‘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.

Enabling suppliers to the big four supermarkets to secure more profitable wins. We are from your industry delivering People Development. Using our unique ‘Sticky Learning ®’ you too can have the best people for the long term.

Photo of Darren A Smith - Founder of MBM Training Provider to the UK Grocery Industry

Darren Smith, Founder of Making Business Matter

Darren A. Smith

Founder and World Class Tutor with over 25 years experience of the UK Grocery Industry

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.

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’.

Andy Palmer - Coach and Director in Making Business Matter

Andy Palmer, Director at MBM

Andy Palmer

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.

Sally Booth Making Business Matter Tutor

Sally Booth, Tutor in MBM

Sally Booth

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.

Andrew Grant - Consultant for Negotiation Skills

Andrew Grant, Consultant. Negotiation and Selling Skills Training

Andrew Grant

World Class Tutor with over 30 years experience of the UK Grocery Industry

Andrew has extensive Commercial Buying and Marketing experience gained at a senior level with a number of the UK’s largest and most respected retailers. A graduate trainee at Sainsbury’s, 13 years at Tesco UK and Internationally -responsible for numerous product categories including Fresh Foods, Impulse and Non-Foods.

Experience of Entertainment categories at WH Smith and Beers, Wines, Spirits and Tobacco experience with both Thresher Group and Somerfield Stores. He combines this comprehensive category knowledge with highly developed negotiation skills and an in-depth experience of category management and business development planning gained trading with major blue chip FMCG suppliers. Andrew has a BA(Hons) Degree in Human Geography from University of Reading. His favourite film is Die Hard.

Sue Reside - MBM Training Provider to the UK Grocery Industry

Sue Reside, Learning and Development

Sue Raeside – MCIPD

World Class Tutor with over 27 years experience of the UK Grocery Industry

After 15 years of store management and people development roles within one of the big four UK supermarkets, Sue has spent the last 12 years in learning and development which has improved individual and team performance in many business sectors from Retail to Professional Services. As a highly experienced facilitator Sue specialises in personal effectiveness and management skills development, through experiential learning and feedback that builds confidence. Sue’s energetic, insightful delivery style ensures that learners are engaged and motivated to improve‎ their performance back at work. In the classroom. Sue is less about theory and more about practise and application. Often found cycling, playing tennis or dragging friends and family round charity fun runs, she doesn’t sit still for long.

Sue’s favourite film is ‘Love Actually’ and she often uses film clips within her workshop sessions to motivate and bring key skills to life.

Sue has a degree in Economics and Politics, is MBTI qualified and is a corporate member of the CIPD.

Kate Burrows - MBM Training Consultant Training and Development

Kate Burrows, Senior Consultant

Kate Burrows

World Class Tutor with over 12 years experience of the UK Grocery Industry

Kate has worked in the training & development functions of a variety of blue chip companies and fell in love with the grocery industry when she began working for The Tetley Group in 2002. She is passionate about developing people and teams in an engaging and practical way.

She has been a Learning & Development Manager for other blue-chip manufacturing organisations including BAE Systems, Airbus, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and, most latterly, Natures Way Foods where she delivered training to the produce buying team at Tesco. She has also worked with other fresh produce clients on a freelance basis.

Her expertise lies in soft skills training, management development, coaching and facilitation. Clients describe Kate as passionate, pragmatic and engaging – focused on delivering bespoke learning solutions that help their people to make a difference.

Kate now has over 15 years’ experience in developing people and teams and is an accredited coach. She is qualified to administer and interpret Myers Briggs Step I and Step II, Firo-B and SDI (Strength Deployment Inventory) and is a qualified Situational Leadership® trainer. She is qualified in Saville & Holdsworth occupational testing and personality profiles, is a Level A-Qualified Assessor with the British Psychological Society and is qualified to use the Level B instrument OPQ (Occupational Personality Questionnaire).

A scientist at heart, Kate has a degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering with Management, is an affiliate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and speaks German (more fluently after a glass of wine).

When not at work, Kate hangs out in sunny Chichester with her husband Alex, young son Harry and usually a few friends at the weekends. She enjoys cooking and baking and adding to her groaning shelf of recipe books. She also enjoys gardening, swimming, listening to 80s tunes whilst running, visiting new places in the UK and abroad and all things related to stargazing.

Her all-time favourite films are As Good As It Gets, A Fish Called Wanda and A Good Year; although her favourite viewing of all time is Blackadder (particularly series II). Favourite YouTube Clip?: The Death Star Canteen (LEGO/ Eddie Izzard).

Joanna Palmer - MBM Business Support and Training

Jo Palmer, Business Support

Joanna Palmer

Business Support Manager

Jo has spent the last 12 years working closely with Learners to ensure they get the best out of their learning experience, to maximise their CPD to accomplish their career objectives. She has come to understand that every individual has their own goals in mind, and although she does her very best to support these goals, she knows that sometimes the best help is to redefine or realign those goals to help guide people in the correct direction. Jo has a Diploma in Customer Service coupled with an NVQ Business Administration Level 2 & 3. Jo enjoys a challenge and isn’t the type of person to give up easily when things become tough. When Jo is not working she spends her time with her husband and 3 children. With two teenagers and one younger child, Jo has learnt to be warm and supportive to everybody she meets, but she isn’t afraid to get tough when that’s what the situation calls for. She is equally at home cooking a family meal or helping her children with complex homework, and it is this flexibility and adaptability that she brings to her career. To unwind, Jo prefers watching a good box set rather than films, however her favourite film is Green Mile; she’s a big Tom Hanks fan, her current favourite box sets are Vikings, Game of Thrones & Prison Break and is relishing the opportunity to learn about other cultures and environments.

Rebecca Brydon

Rebecca Brydon

Operations Support

Rebecca has over 10 years of experience in the grocery retail sector, having gained a first class degree in Food Marketing Economics from Reading University.  Rebecca spent her early career working in commercial flowers with Flamingo group as a category analyst, before moving on to the ready meals and deli sectors in various roles within Bakkavor.  She is responsible for operations within MBM and spends her days dealing with course scheduling, booking venues, costings, helping individual learners with queries, and various projects.  Rebecca lives in the Buckinghamshire countryside with her husband and two children, where she enjoys walking her springer spaniel, playing the piano and swimming in her spare time.  Her favourite film is The Martian, because it inspires her to think about what one person can achieve if they put their mind to it.  (Also, Matt Damon is quite good looking).

Alison Cassidy

Senior Consultant

Alison is pragmatic and results-driven, specialising in design, delivery and facilitation of personal, team and leadership development, behavioural training and change management via facilitation and coaching.  She has project managed SME led programmes, capability frameworks/assessments and designed her own programmes.  Alison has worked across fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), financial services, oil, gas and energy, public sector, retail and third sector.

Alison is passionate about development and is a Master Practitioner and Coach in NLP, a mBIT Coach and a MBTI Practitioner.  She is currently focussing on developing herself around Susan Jeffer’s material from ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’.  Alison is an energetic individual, with excellent people and relationship building skills who welcomes the opportunity to make a difference. Outside of work Alison can be found in the Girl Guiding community, running both Rainbow and Ranger units.  She is also a trustee of a charity and uses this to support others with the same condition as herself.  Alison often claims to work to pay a Disney addiction and for visits to Walt Disney World.  Her favourite films range from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original) to Inside Out.  She also loves to grab an opportunity to attend Disney Institute workshops when she can.

Nathan Simmonds

Senior Consultant

Nathan has over 20 years of leadership experience from multiple sectors across multiple continents. Starting in hospitality, moving through retail, into manufacturing and into call centres environments.From construction to insurance, banking to magazines, including Santander, Time & Fortune and Harvard Business Review. This eclectic mix of experiences working inside the FTSE 250 provides a superb melting pot of practical, hands on stories that help people instantly relate, comprehend concepts and grow inside the inclusive spaces Nathan creates and fosters when he trains and coaches. Having delivered leadership development content for over 8 years in a mixture of roles and whilst working 1-2-1 with an array of leaders, executives and entrepreneurs Nathan has carved out his niche for helping people transform what they do, from where they are and actualise what their teams and businesses are truly capable of. “Your impact has been nothing short of sensational…what you have done so well is to ignite that spark of self-development in our leadership team” His expertise is truly capitalised when focused on Leadership Mindset, enhancing coaching skills and helping others maximise their own potential in the pursuit of maximising others.  Nathan brings healthy challenge to his spaces, a new lens to look at the world through and the ability to transform thinking at every level of leadership. It’s these penny dropping moments combined with the future successes where Nathan seeks his greatest pleasure,A qualified coach – with the ILM, holding a Lvl 5 Diploma, further combined with various certificates in coaching, NLP and PermaCulture. Nathan is also, accredited coach for ICQ – GlobalDISC

Nathan holds his Mental health first Aid Certificate, and celebrates this with multiple opportunities to volunteer and coach others where possible including the Hospice sector, ex-veterans and coaching young adults Nathan is futurist, an out of the box thinker, martial artist and has a hobbyist enthusiasm for epigenetics and the science of purpose. Spending much of his spare time devouring seemingly unrelated ideas and constructing new concepts and possibilities for the leadership of tomorrow to ponder upon and be excited about.