As part of our ‘Getting to Know’ series of blog posts, we’re talking to central members of the LEO Learning family so you can get to know them a bit better. Today we’re talking to Learning Consultant, Fiona Bravington.
Describe your role at LEO Learning
I work as a learning consultant in LEO Learning’s Bid team and my role primarily revolves around analysing our clients’ requirements at the very earliest stages of their project. This includes looking at their ideas around how to convey specific subjects to their employees, getting a better understanding of the needs and preferences of their employees, and understanding the specifics of the technical requirements. Once I’ve assessed this, I work with my colleagues in the Bid team and the account teams to determine the best solution for the client. The proposal is then used as a point of departure for our future discussions with them.
This early engagement with clients is incredibly varied and interesting because while the content maybe a similar across clients, no two clients approach the content in the same way. Their organisation’s values, ethos and ways of working are very different and I enjoy looking for ways to create a solution that is bespoke to them.
Which part of working at LEO Learning do you love most?
I’m a self-confessed learning theories geek. This originates from when I studied linguistics and became fascinated by how we acquire and learn language. My interest in how people learn and what we can do to make that better, easier, quicker, more sustainable and transferable grew from there.
At LEO Learning, I’m surrounded by people who share this ‘geekiness’ and view it, not only as normal, but as essential to life as air and water.
I love that this interest and passion is valued and acknowledged, as well as supported and encouraged.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
While there have been many elearning projects that I’ve been involved in that I’m tremendously proud of – particularly those for the public sector – the thing I’m most proud of is the impact that I had on the people I taught.
At the time, when they were teenagers, it was pretty hard work (you’d expect nothing less from teenagers!) but many of them have kept in touch via social media and I’ve had several messages over the years from people saying how much I inspired them and how much they appreciated the extra effort I took with them. I’m always amazed that these people continue to tell me these things even when I taught them nearly 20 years ago. It just goes to show that people don’t always remember what you said but they will remember how you made them feel.
Recently two of my former students dropped by for a visit. It was just fabulous to see them. Suddenly we were transported back to 1999/2000 and were laughing heartily at their antics. It was truly wonderful.
Personally – while she is not an ‘accomplishment’ as such – I am most proud of my daughter. I am in awe of how bright, inquisitive and curious she is while also being one of the most funny, caring and empathetic people I’ve ever met. She has a truly unique ability to observe people and see beyond the exterior behaviour to their real needs. She is a blessing.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Like many people, there hasn’t been just one challenge or one event that I’ve had to overcome. Life can throw all sorts of curveballs at us and I’ve certainly had a lot lobbed at me. Through these experiences I think I’ve become more resilient and able to handle most situations with humour. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get knocked for six at times or hit rock bottom, but I think I’ve become better able to figure out what’s going to help me get up and keep going because of these life events.
There’s a great scene in the Steve Martin movie Parenthood where the grandmother describes how she prefers the up and down of the rollercoaster to the around and around of the merry-go-round. The rollercoaster made her feel thrilled, frightened, excited and scared all at the same time while the merry-go-round goes nowhere and is always the same. She prefers the rollercoaster ride because you get more out of it.
I’m with grandma.
What are the three things you can’t work without?
- Radio 2 – I usually have this on in the background while I’m working!
- Our team meetings – the Bid team tends to work remotely or out of different offices so we’re not together very often and, because we work to such tight deadlines, we don’t often have the chance to pause during a normal day for a chat. So, our ‘almost-weekly’ team meetings are a vital part of what we do. It’s great not only for keeping in touch but also to see what the others are working on and to share ideas and experiences. Invariably there are times when something someone else has been working on gives me an idea for something I’ve been struggling with. I’ve learnt so much from these sessions.
- Collaboration and reciprocity – and I think this is something that is very strong at LEO Learning. I would be completely lost without our art director’s ability to understand my oftentimes garbled graphic briefs and their innate ability to turn my stick man drawings into the fantastic art that graces our proposals. I’d be equally lost without the client and sector knowledge that our account managers and programme directors bring to the Bid process. And if I’m stuck, I always know that Kath Fleet – our other bid team learning consultant – will have a project from eons ago that she can dig up that will be useful. While our manager and bid executive – Nicola Harman and Sophie Kacigeras – are always on hand to help with diagrams, proofreading, sanity checks and moral support and nothing is ever too much trouble no matter how busy we are. If this collaboration and reciprocity was absent, it would make this role so much harder.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher. Go figure.
At first this idea was sold to me as a good option because it would fit well with the stereotypical wife and mother role. But as I became more interested in learning, particularly language learning, this idea was a natural fit.
That said I didn’t spend very long teaching in schools in the end. I quickly realised that my own learning and being challenged to grow and develop was as important to me as helping other people learn, so I’ve consciously put myself in spaces where I can be the learner too – like when I decided to train as a Pilates teacher with Body Control Pilates.
I also desperately wanted to be a mum. And that has been the biggest learning curve of all.