Meet the Team

leadership team

Daniel Ayton

Founding Director

Daniel is responsible for Business Development and Account Management at AytonLee and brings 17 years’ experience of Organisational Development working with International Financial and Financial Regulatory organisations.

He has been a member of various OD Leadership teams and has experience in facilitating the design and delivery of Training, Training Needs Analysis and Design and Delivery processes, Technical Competency Frameworks, Learning Management systems and Validation and Evaluation methods.

Daniel's role involves exploring new markets for AytonLee to work with, engaging with clients and developing long-term relationships that deliver excellent learning to support the growth and development of those organisations.

Facilitators and Coaches

Donna Branson
Facilitator and Coach

Having spent over 18 years working in a variety of roles within the Organisation and Management Development space, Donna now focuses on Leadership Development Programmes, Executive Coaching and Talent Management projects.  She has worked across industry sectors such Finance, Drinks, Oil & Gas, Pharmaceuticals, Engineering, Retail, NHS and Telecoms.  Donna enjoys working both with large corporate as well as smaller businesses.

Donna is a member of the CIPD, a fully qualified Executive Coach, psychometric user and incensed to use tools such as OPQ 32, Insights,  MBTI, Caliper, as well as the SHL assessment and development products.

She passionately believes that nothing changes unless behaviour changes, and has been  described as someone who brings a human and pragmatic approach along with strong balance of support and challenge to her work with both individuals and teams.

Simon Crowe
Facilitator and Coach

Simon specialises in coaching and facilitation with a particular interest in the effectiveness and well-being of leaders and teams.

His background is rich and diverse - in addition to his coaching accreditations, he holds a Masters Degree in Learning Technology, is qualified at post-graduate level in adult learning and spent 8 years a manager in local government. More recently, Simon held a senior e-learning advisory role at the University of London, before moving into coaching and facilitation full time.

Simon has a transformational coaching style and loves working with intelligent, interesting and demanding people who see their personal growth as an indispensable aspect of their success and fulfilment.

Simon is also an experienced trainer and facilitator with a natural ability to read a group and work with their energy to take them forwards. He has delivered extensively on a range of innovative leadership and team development programmes in both private and public sector organisations all over the world.

Anna Vorster
Facilitator and Coach

Anna is an employee engagement specialist and has over 15 years' experience working for large international organisations where she has held key roles in employee engagement, learning and development, continuous improvement and internal communications. As a result Anna is highly experienced in all aspects of supporting businesses to bring about performance enhancing change.

Anna gained her Six Sigma Black Belt in GE Capital where she worked for five years. Since then she has worked in management positions or as a consultant for organisations across a variety of sectors including financial and professional services, insurance, IT, transport, retail, media, utilities, automotive and contact centres.
Anna is a qualified EFQM Excellence Assessor and has used this experience to design and deliver bespoke continuous improvement frameworks and training courses for clients who are new to organisational change programmes.

Anna is also qualified to facilitate the Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI) which is used to improve self-awareness and team effectiveness.

James Hodgkinson
Facilitator and Coach

James has worked as a Leadership Consultant, Coach and facilitator with a range of organizations for over 15 years. He has worked with a diverse range of clients in the UK and internationally and across multiple sectors with recent clients from the worlds of Formula 1, financial services, utilities, manufacturing.

James' primary focus is coaching and supporting leaders in how to engage their people and release their energy and potential. He works with people to explore what is personally meaningful to them and how to remain true to who they are. James is also a member of the International Society for Psychological Coaching and is currently studying for an MSc in Gestalt Psychotherapy.

Jill Downing
Facilitator and Coach

Jill is a learning & development consultant, passionate about helping businesses and individuals to develop leadership, management and communication skills. She has worked with many companies across the public and private sectors, designing and delivering a wide range of training programmes. Her work has taken her to India, Bangladesh, Uganda, Bangkok as well as across the UK.

Jills background in advertising and her experience as an actor and theatre director give Jill a unique style and expertise that help those working with her in developing their confidence, influencing skills and personal impact. After delivering high level presentations to marketing directors, appearing as the Genie of the Lamp to thousands of school children, and - more terrifying still - writing and performing her own stand-up comedy set, she knows what it's like to face the most demanding of audiences, and simply loves helping people to conquer their own communication challenges.

Jules MacMillan
Facilitator and Coach

Jules has been a facilitator and coach since 2001, and has an enthusiastic and engaging style. She has worked in sectors such as Professional Services, Charity & Financial services and has extensive experience in training all levels of staff from entry level through to senior management within global organisations. She is passionate about learning and about the application of it back in the work-place, encouraging delegates to take ownership of that by using facilitation techniques to engage them and achieve buy-in.

Jules has a strong business background in sales & marketing, enabling her to work with key stakeholders to elicit learner needs whilst also appreciating their workplace challenges and objectives. Jules is an NLP Master Practitioner, a qualified NLP coach and holds a BA (Hons) in Communication Arts and Theatre studies.

Margaret Kendle
Facilitator and Coach

Margaret is an enthusiast for facilitating personal development and change, who specialises in designing and facilitating management, leadership and personal skills development programmes that equip people managers with the skills to lead and inspire their teams to develop their potential and team members to acquire the skills to succeed.

She has over ten years' hands-on experience of people management, initially in the retail sales sector and subsequently in corporate training. She has designed, implemented and managed organisational development and training programmes for numerous blue chip and public sector organisations across a wide range of sectors and has extensive expertise in coaching individual performance, up to executive level. Margaret works with clients across financial services, pensions, insurance, public sector, travel and retail.

She is an accredited coach, SDI (Strength Deployment Inventory) facilitator and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner and is CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) qualified.

Alex Ede
Facilitator and Coach

Alex is a Consultant and Executive coach with a 20 year multi-disciplinary career in change management, leadership and performance improvement. His programmes are innovate and creative that translate learning into the real world. Alex's real passion is for coaching. He is firm believer in using the power of coaching to unlock potential and bring about sustainable change. He coaches with enthusiasm and sincerity, combining a down to earth realistic style with an intuitive understanding of his client. Developing coaching skills through workshops, action learning and facilitation is one of Alex's key strengths.

Alex has worked across financial services, IT, Manufacturing, Public Sector, Utilities, Transport and Charities. He holds British Psychological Society level A & B status and is qualified in a variety of psychometrics including MBTI, Emotional Intelligence and 16pf. Alex is a Principal Consultant for PRISM Brain mapping and draws on his knowledge of Neuroscience to enhance behavioural awareness and create the right environment for positive change.

Richard Thornton
Facilitator and Coach

Richard has 25 years' experience in the retail, financial and commercial arenas, with the last 15 years dedicated to learning and development. He brings extensive experience of leading group and individual learning and his skills in learning design and consultancy enable him to create and deliver a range of successful learning programmes across diverse industries. His clients include financial regulators, national and commercial banks, consultancy firms, an international semi-conductor manufacturer, a Formula 1 team and a Middle Eastern telecoms corporation.

Richard is CIPD qualified coach, and an accredited practitioner for Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), "PRISM" (neuroscience tool) and "Strengthscope" (positive psychology tool). These are brilliant tools that help him to interactively explore the natural talents and development needs of individuals and teams.

Roger Vicarage
Facilitator and Coach

Roger is an experienced leadership development and change consultant. He works with leaders to help them understand their values , their presence and their impact on others. He works with leadership teams to help them become clear about their aspirations. His change work is built around creating engagement and commitment to the way forward - this means helping groups develop deeper trust and come to a joint understanding of the change so that solutions tackle the core underlying issues. Roger is also a qualified business and executive coach, helping individuals at transitional stages of their lives and careers.

Roger has worked in the Financial (including financial regulation), Pharmaceutical, Oil & Gas, Charity. Manufacturing, Retail and Leisure sectors . His assignments have taken me to most of Western Europe, North America, Russia, Philippines, Singapore and the Middle East.

Claire Townsend
Facilitator and Coach

Claire delivers solutions to the commercial, not for profit and local government sectors. As well as delivering facilitation of learning and coaching, Claire designs and delivers team development programmes, provides facilitation for meetings and conferences and designs and delivers consultancy projects in areas such as performance management, induction and mentoring.

As a facilitator Claire works with senior leaders and managers across organisations and with graduates and apprentices in their early careers. An occupational psychologist, Claire constantly researches into new methods and tools to support organisational and individual performance and keeps us to date with current issues within psychology, learning and development.

Tom Boyle
Facilitator and Coach

Tom has over 25 years' experience in the development of individuals, groups and organisations. He provides business coaching and designs and delivers management, leadership and organisation development programmes. Tom has worked with telecoms, IT, banking, insurance, health transport, leisure, media, property and retail sectors. Tom has worked across a range of managerial levels from apprentices to managing director clients.

His style is passionate, responsive and creative and he works to inspire individuals to help create lasting behavioural change. Tom is a fluent speaker of Swedish and regularly works in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

ACTORS & Facilitators

Zoe Harrison
Actors and Facilitators

Zoe has worked as a professional actress for the last 15 years. Alongside this, for the past 10 years, she has worked as a facilitator, role player and coach for companies including oil companies, professional services, financial services, regulation and police. Zoe offers techniques and tips from the actors' toolbox as well as from her own experience as a presenter to add strength to business performance and enable participants to delivery with sincerity and impact. She prides herself on creating a supportive environment in which people can try things out and really challenge themselves. Zoe is currently studying for her ILM Award in Coaching and Mentoring.

Neil Grainger
Actors and Facilitators

As an established actor, voice-over artist, presenter and filmmaker, Neil brings his experience of performance to Corporate clients, working with them in a variety of topics, from individual coaching to increase presence and gravitas, to supporting managers in having great performance conversations or graduates and apprentices starting their careers. He will use performance tecchniques to help increase impact, handle nerves, grow confidence and project as a communicator. Neil will create a supportive environment in which people can challenge themselves and try new things out.


Sarah is 1 of only 7 British Women to win 2 Olympic Golds alongside Sarah Gosling, Victoria Pendleton, Kelly Holmes, Rebecca Adlington, Shirley Robertson and Laura Trott.

2004 Sarah Ayton Achieves Olympic Gold in Athens, and is recognised as one of the best crews in the world better known as one of the 'Three Blonds in a Boat’.

2008 saw Sarah move to the helm of the boat where she led her team to dominate her field, winning every major event leading up to and including the Beijing Olympics, achieving her second Olympic Gold.

2012 Olympics gave Sarah the opportunity to mentor and coach Team GB's first time Olympians

2015 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year

Sarah Ayton OBE

Double Olympic Gold Medalist and Motivational Speaker

Winning Gold in Beijing made Rebecca the first British athlete and second woman in history to win Olympic medals in two different sports at the summer Olympic Games. Already an Olympic silver medallist and World Champion in the sport of rowing, Rebecca took up cycling with the aim of achieving the same elite standard.

Five months into it Rebecca competed in her first major competition, the British Time Trial Championships. She shocked both herself and the cycling world by winning! Becoming British Champion!

In a rapid rise through the ranks in track cycling she shattered British records and became double World Champion and Olympic Champion all within two and a half years in the sport.

2008 Rebecca became Olympic Champion at the Beijing Olympics.

Today Rebecca shares her story of high performance and success with leaders, aspiring leaders and graduates. Sharing the areas that helped Rebecca perform at the top of 2 highly competitive sports.

Rebecca Romero

Olympic Silver and Gold Medalist and Motivational Speaker

Diversity and Inclusion

At AytonLee, we are committed to building an organisation that reflects the communities we work within and for.  The climate we create within AytonLee, our recruitment of Associates and our ways of working, value and encourage contributions from individuals from diverse work and life experiences. We ensure all of our services are fully inclusive, accessible and reflect the different learning styles and needs of all that we interact with.   We believe that by embedding diversity and inclusion within our organisation, we will continue to build a successful consultancy practice that delivers creativity and excellence in all we do.

For more details please email info@AytonLee.comor call us on 0044 1243 513 111.


Supporting 70:20:10 in organisations


Developing skills and knowledge in a format that suits you


Practical and based in your reality


Using expertise to deliver great learning experiences


Content that supports your culture and expectations


Evaluation to Kirkpatrick
Level 4

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