Sarah Clarke’s journey to chartered director

Chartered director status is an exclusive qualification held by some of the world’s best business directors and leaders. Learn about Sarah's personal journey to chartered director status.

Driving business excellence through consultancy

IoD Manchester ambassador Sarah Clarke runs the Occupational Mind Group and THINK, two consultancies advising leading businesses and organisations. Clients include private and public organisations such as NHS, OneFile and many other household names who will remain anonymous due to the nature of the challenges they face.

With a Masters in Occupational Psychology, Sarah brings the science of human behaviour to the workplace to help organisations and businesses develop their people, overcome challenges and be more effective.

A quest for expertise

An experienced people director, Sarah was seeking further knowledge and skills to enable her to develop her own company and provide a broader range of advice to businesses.

Sarah chose the IoD’s Chartered Director programme as the means to widening her people experience to cover governance, legal, finance and other elements of running a business.

Sarah said: “I liken it to reading a bike manual. You can read the manual but it doesn’t mean you can then ride a bike, change a tyre or put a chain back on. Completing the programme meant I took time out to read the manual about running a business and put into practice the theory I was learning.”

Sarah’s manual started with the IoD’s Accelerated Certificate in Company Direction followed by achieving its Diploma in Company Direction.

Sarah said: “I would highly recommend the Accelerated Certificate. It gave me a network with other people and as well as the theory of running a business there were a lot of practical examples to draw on.

“The finance for non-finance directors element was invaluable and gave me the confidence to challenge the commercials in a good way and bring constructive discussion to the board room.

“The course was also very much about coaching participants with very supportive tutors who shared invaluable insights.”

Sarah was joined on the Diploma in Company Direction by four people she had met on the Accelerated Certificate. “The diploma was very interesting with people from different businesses so there was a lot we could learn from each other. It was great that we could all meet up again, especially with one of us having to fly in from Dubai!”

The Chartered Director Qualification

Moving on to the Chartered Director qualification, Sarah found she had the time to reflect and think about her own vision for the future. “I’ve always been a people person, focusing on strategy, leadership and building high performing teams during my career, but I now have the confidence to challenge the financials and governance in the boardroom based on what I have learnt from the IoD.

“The whole Chartered Director programme has given me the ability to see and understand the whole picture not just the people part of a business.

“Just as importantly, it gave me the opportunity to meet a broad range of people who have become friends, where we help challenge and support each other as we continue to grow our businesses.”

About the author

Sarah Clarke CDir Fellow ABP

Sarah Clarke runs the Occupational Mind Group and THINK, two consultancies advising leading businesses and organisations. She is a Fellow of the Association for Business Psychology and a member of the British Psychological Society.

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