Think Forward Consulting is an innovator in the field of providing developmental solutions for organisations, teams and individuals. Founded by the energetic Penny Strutton in 2011, Think Forward Consulting is the brainchild of an individual driven by her passion for motivating others. In just over nine years, Penny has worked with powerhouse companies in construction, manufacturing, technology and the finance industry. She has worked with in excess of 1000 clients, who view her glowingly. Adjectives used to describe Penny include “positive”, “informative”, “personable” and “creative”.
Passion has always been a driving force for Penny who left her native South Africa at the age of 21. Armed with a degree in Organisational Psychology and Journalism with Television Production, Penny moved to London to pursue a career in the latter. As is commonplace, the reality didn’t quite match what Penny hoped she would be entering into. After two years Penny decided that she could no longer continue working in an industry that didn’t align with her value system, displaying the morality that has come to define her career.
Penny’s next step was to move both city and sector, departing London for Nottingham to head up a regional charity. There she spent seven years, working on projects designed to engage disadvantaged communities in city planning. This experience consolidated Penny’s leadership qualities, though was unfortunately interrupted by redundancy after the 2010 Coalition government withdrew her charity’s funding. Though most would be despondent in that situation, Penny mobilised.
She used her modest redundancy package to pay for the course needed to become a qualified coach, and from there Think Forward Consulting was born. Penny launched the agency to help individuals and organisations alike achieve their goals, priding herself on “starting brand new as a fresh voice in the consultancy world”.
Penny works with people of all levels; From the board to the shop floor, Penny runs programmes of team and organisational development across multiple industries. Penny and Think Forward Consulting forensically examine the functionality of organisations, aiming to plug the skills crisis and secure strong employer brands.
She does this by exploring a vast array of avenues, including:
► Leadership & management development
► Employee engagement research, consultation & development
► Organisational restructure
► Culture review
► Diversity & Inclusion strategies
► Performance management & psychometric assessment tools
► Executive & career coaching
Being a crucial player in the above has ensured Penny continues to feel that she is “working for the greater good”. Of her role, Penny says:
“I try to sell myself, my capabilities and my knowledge – all backed up by my experience. I try to be authentic – I come in and try to help an individual or organisation achieve what they want to achieve.”Penny Strutton
Penny works with both individuals and organisations, but acknowledges the limitations that can present themselves. Penny remarks that her work with individuals only truly pays dividends within a healthy company infrastructure – people can’t effect change if they’re “dominated by negative environments”. Positively influencing the individual and positively influencing the culture of an entire organisation are two wholly different challenges.
The challenge now for Penny is to keep moving in an innovative world. Past evolutions have seen Penny become a qualified business psychologist, as well as a licensed Lumina practitioner, which gives her expertise in psychometric methods of testing. Both have enabled Penny to tighten her grip on the inner workings of the individual, key to her role of coaching people toward their correct path. Penny also co-founded the East Midlands HR network, designed to harness the potential of professionals in the region.
For Penny and Think Forward Consulting, 2020 is to be a significant year. Penny wants to combine her love of one-on-one coaching with her passion for empowering female leaders. In April Penny is planning a ‘Women in Leadership’ retreat to develop authentic female leaders. She is adamant that she wants to develop female leaders who fit their own mould, rather than those who fear they must embody ‘the male leader’ to be respected.
As Think Forward Consulting approaches the 10-year mark, Penny has a tremendous amount to be proud of. Penny has built a hugely successful enterprise alongside raising two children, her schedule highlighted by the fact that she laughed when questioned about free time. The success of Think Forward Consulting is underpinned by Penny’s natural energy, and augmented by her learned experience. Those who work with her can attest to that.