Meet the MD(s): Azure Consulting

Some firms don't just have one MD, and when faced with the dual forces of Sue Alderson and Sharon Klein, partners in Azure Consulting, we didn't think it was fair to choose between them! Theirs is an interesting story that shows you don't have to have identical backgrounds to run a successful business.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

Together, we lead our team of consultants and associates in supporting the development of our clients. It is our job to ensure that the passion, energy, values and principles of our business are maintained.

What is it the company does?

Azure Consulting focuses its core services on helping organisations to improve their leadership performance, clarifying their direction and working out how to get the best from each and every person they employ. We do this through delivering programmes of leadership development, coaching, employee engagement and other, related services, and we aim to do all this and deliver results for our clients by inspiring people through our own passion and energy.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

We both believe there are three key elements that make a good leader; passion, energy and authenticity.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

There is a real challenge in balancing the focus upon the strategic needs of the business whilst delivering the operational aspects of the company.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Sue: I like to keep fit by running, swimming and cycling, often together in triathlon events. In October, I am taking on my biggest challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro.

Sharon: I enjoy walking in the countryside, cooking and looking after my garden.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Sharon: I wanted to be a nurse.

Sue: For me, it would have been a teacher.

Any pet hates in the workplace?

Sue: People who display low energy and a lack of initiative.

Sharon: When people say they will do something, and then don’t do it.

Where do you see the company in five years time?

We would like to see a degree of growth, but with us having maintained our values and principles.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Sharon: Lead by learning how to get the best out of each and every person you work with.

Sue: Be clear about your purpose and your values.

Where did you start your career?

Sue: I became a graduate trainee in HR at HSBC and developed my career from there.

Sharon: I spent a year on a student placement at Trusthouse Forte Heathrow Airport, then moved into operational management at Tetley’s Brewery.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.

Sharon: Following my time at Tetley’s, where I trained new managers, I spent three years as a senior lecturer on degree courses in management for the hospitality and service industry at Leeds Metropolitan University. I then became a director at R&D Associates (Training Ltd) prior to Sue and I setting up Azure Consulting.

Sue: After progressing from traineeship to become graduate recruitment manager at HSBC, I spent a year as a HR projects manager at Firstdirect, before joining KPMG as a management consultant. Following that, I split my time between being director of my own consultancy and an associate trainer at KPMG’s European Training Centre. In 2003, we formed Azure Consulting and have never looked back.