‘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.
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’.
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 practiced 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.
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.
World Class Tutor with over 35 years experience of the UK Grocery Industry
John’s background is in retail, working for 20 years in one of the big four supermarkets, initially within fresh foods buying, but for the majority of his time there within people development. John has worked for the last 15 years as an independent learning & development specialist and business & personal coach. He specialises in negotiation skills training, customer service training and all aspects of personal impact, people motivation, leadership and emotional intelligence, bringing his experience in these areas to help develop Sticky Learning ®.
John enjoys music, film, food, cooking and all things French and Italian. His favourite film changes constantly, but would settle on ‘The Battle of Britain’ if pushed to name one. His spare time is spent with his partner Janet, his two children James and Emilia, studying for a counselling qualification and playing in a band.
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.
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).
Jo has worked in event management and coordination for the last 7 years. She has worked 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. During her career she has worked closely with the management and finance departments of the company, ensuring smooth delivery of services and a broad support structure that emphasises efficiency & availability. She has a Diploma in Customer Service coupled with a Business Administration NVQ. 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 set is Vikings, and is relishing the opportunity to learn about other cultures and environments.