My name is Carolyn Sargentson and my business is Carolyn Sargentson Consulting. I facilitate and empower individuals and teams to realize their vision. I do this in my areas of passion and expertise - academic, museum, and heritage organisations. I offer my clients inspiration, encouragement and a lightness of being. And I invite you to see whether one of my programmes is the right fit for you and your organisation.
"Carolyn is a person who opens up horizons of every kind"
"She inspires me to be bold, to shake things off, and to care about what really matters – life!"
"Carolyn’s input has made the new course go off like a rocket"
I've worked in a series of stellar institutions and with some brilliant people over the years in leadership, mentoring and consultancy roles that have frequently involved working across organisational and sector boundaries. What underpins my work with organisations is an inquiry into how we understand each other at systemic and personal levels, how we move forward together with a shared and sustainable vision and how we enter into creative relationship. One of my beliefs is that we do not often enough invest deeply in developing real understanding and empathy for each other across personal, institutional and sector boundaries. I am here to help with that process.
Personal feedback and formal analysis suggest that I'm seen as an inspirer, guide and leader, an engaging, lively and ethical mentor and coach, and a calming, curious and encouraging teacher on the yoga mat (I'm a long-time hatha yoga teacher and mindfulness practitioner). I've also been described as a disrupter, a maverick and a system-breaker. My least favourite expression is 'that won't work, we've never done it that way before'. I tend to work with a direct and intuitive approach, a lightness of touch and a sense of humour. I find that a sure faith in my client's ability to find the answers for themselves when properly supported goes a long way to creating significant shifts on a personal, group and organisational level.
I bring an embodied approach to working with my clients. That means that I work with mind, body, presence and breath - both mine and yours - to create multi-level insights. One of my theories about 'embedding' change is that we can usefully start by 'embodying' a new practice as the first and crucial step. To that end we will bring many forms of intelligence into the consulting, coaching and mentoring process. Sessions may take the form of a walk in nature; expect to breathe and get into your body's (somatic) intelligence, and yes, we might sometimes meditate together to calm our minds and intellects. The work we do together will bring forward our most skilful selves, in both group and individual contexts, in service of your vision.
women into professorships: a leadership programme for senior academics
• address gender imbalance at senior levels
• support women leaders with expert 1:1 mentoring
• create a pathway into leadership through full preparation for the professorial role
This programme is for you if you face challenges in shifting an entrenched pattern of too few women among your senior ranks. I deliver one-to-one mentoring that focusses directly on the submission of the professorial application alongside an embodied approach to preparing fully for the leadership role. By working with your academics as their accountability partner I offer results in the relatively short term in the context of your ongoing work in embracing diversity and inclusion in the broader work environment.
for museums and heritage
creating world-class partnerships with universities and research organisations
• explore how the academic sector really ticks
• create strategic, institutional sustainable partnerships in service of all your communities
• access scholars with a passion for your collections
This programme is for you if you are keen to collaborate with university-based researchers and want to go beyond relationships with individuals to invest in creative, innovative sustainable strategic institutional partnerships. I will equip you with a clear understanding and languages of academic cycles of research, teaching and funding, and I'll help you identify opportunities to build networks locally and at every appropriate level to help bring innovation, skills and resources into your organisation.
creating world-class partnerships with museums and heritage organisations
• explore how the museum and heritage sector ticks
• get out of academic logic and think about audiences
• shift from short term, individually-driven projects to sustainable and resilient institutional partnerships
This programme is for you if you want to to fully engage with where the museums, galleries and heritage world is moving to and why. Explore what is at stake in developing sustainable long-term local, regional and (inter-)national relationships; co-create programmes and technologies that help disentangle 'difficult histories' (slavery, colonialism, racism, patriarchy); and understand power shifts at play in encouraging the public to re-negotiate museum spaces and co-create stories about collections and sites.
for all organisations
mentoring the mentors: enhancing your in-house leadership work
• support mentors as they enter the leadership role
• offer a safe space to reflect on and enhance practice
• build resilience and sustainability into your mentoring programmes
This programme is for you if you are responsible for institutional mentoring teams and see a need to build in real support for the mentors themselves. I offer this through group workshops and 1:1 coaching, helping mentors develop inter-personal and professional skills. I'll provide a safe space for explorations of creative and embodied approaches to practice as well as space for problem-solving, and I'll deliver tools for resilience and sustainability. I can help you address bias in mentoring so that your programme is a properly inclusive process.
1:1 bespoke coaching programme
for academics, museum curators and expert advisors; team and project leaders;
trustees, directors and managers
Having coached colleagues in many contexts, and experienced myself the transformative nature of coaching, I know this to be a powerful method for creating change at a deep personal level. I'm delighted to be working with a limited number of clients on a one-to-one basis to help them work with a particular scenario or challenge.
Perhaps you are navigating a career transition, a situation in which you feel you have hit a dead end and are stuck; or you sense that skills and languages that got you to where you are today just don’t feel enough as you step into what lies ahead. Perhaps you are entering a leadership role and feel ill-equipped; you may be experiencing imposter syndrome; or are you unhappy with your experience of yourself at work without quite seeing how to address that?
As your coach I will commit to listening deeply, to bringing clarity to where you are right now, co-creating actions that empower you to move forward, and helping you access and express your most skilful, creative, and powerful self. I will challenge your narratives in relation to yourself, others and your workplace, and I'll encourage you to explore new perspectives. I will work with you in deep accompaniment, without judgement.
Please get in touch to set up a career insight session - I'd love to help.
Dr Flora Dennis, University of Sussex
At an AHRC/Clore leadership course, I was asked to identify someone whose leadership was inspirational to me. I described Carolyn. Her rare combination of vigorous creative energy, incisive clarity of thought and empathetic warmth make her a joy to work with and a truly inspiring role model. Her collaborative approach and perceptive pragmatism bring new perspectives on work and on life, and she invites a re-connection with the fun and creativity that can become elusive in the workplace. Carolyn unlocked the positive force of questioning and dissent, especially through humour, and showed me how to articulate the unspoken. She inspires me to be bold, to shake things off, and to care about what really matters – life!
Dr. Glenn Adamson, Senior Fellow, Yale University
I was fortunate indeed to have Carolyn as my mentor for four years, when we both worked in the Research Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She is a person who opens up horizons of every kind. In addition to her intellectual gifts and her extraordinary fluency with the British museum and heritage sector - she can intuit the opportunities that lie within complex funding structures better than anyone I know - Carolyn is remarkably intuitive and generous, able to see the strengths in any person or situation and bring them to the fore. Just watching her operate was a masterclass in leadership strategy. Most importantly, I saw how she worked to make the organization a little smarter, a little more humane, every single day.
Dr. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces
Historic Royal Palaces engaged Carolyn to help us set up a new collaborative Masters in Heritage Management. She was a vital and inspiring translator and facilitator between two very different organisations: Historic Royal Palaces, a heritage charity, and Queen Mary University of London. She helped us to understand each other’s strategic frameworks, financial expectations and operational cultures. She was a wonderful 1 to 1 coach for our staff member charged with delivering the new MA and with making it distinctive, and she minimised the financial risk of it all for our organisation. Carolyn’s input has made the new course go off like a rocket: it’s well-subscribed, it’s getting great feedback and we anticipate that it will be financially sustainable for the long term.
Let's schedule a conversation to talk through what you are working on right now, and explore whether we might co-create just what you need to take the next step.
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