About Susan Room
My career began in Paris, working in press and marketing roles at the United Nations University then at the International Chamber of Commerce. I returned to the UK to secure international marketing roles and a seat on the Executive Committee of Danish facilities group ISS A/S and property partnership Jones Lang Wootton (now JLL). I was later headhunted to join the Executive Committee of Lafarge Tarmac (now Tarmac) as Group Marketing and Commercial Director. My experience of being a lone female voice in the boardroom inspired me to retrain as a voice and executive coach to help professionals (mainly – but not exclusively – women) feel, look and sound more confident so they can speak up, get heard and get on.
ICF PCC coaching credential
I am an International Coach Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC), meaning I am one of a global group of just 30,000 elite coaches. To achieve this credential, I have completed many hours of coach training, mentoring, supervision, observation and practice. I also undertake Continuing Professional Development to hone my skills, and because I have to renew my credential every three years. ICF credentials "are awarded to professional coaches who have met stringent education and experience requirements and have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the coaching competencies that set the standard in the profession. Achieving credentials through ICF signifies a coach’s commitment to integrity, understanding and mastery of coaching skills, and dedication to clients." Source: ICF website.
Voice coaching qualification
Whilst training as an ICF coach, I became fascinated by the correlation between mindset, body language, speech and voice. This prompted me to audition for one of eighteen highly-coveted places to study voice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, a world-renowned institution whose graduates include Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Judi Dench, Dawn French, Rupert Everett, Kathleen Turner, Graham Norton and Zoe Wanamaker to name but a few. Much to my surprise I secured a place and graduated, two years later, with a Master of Fine Arts in Voice Studies with distinction. My studies encompassed vocal anatomy, phonetics and how to teach spoken voice, and my dissertation explored ways to adapt actor voice training to help women advance in business and society.
My personal journey
My career is evidence that success need not follow a linear path.
I thought I’d left corporate life behind me in 2000 when I left it to raise my long-awaited son. For the next thirteen years I juggled motherhood; working as an independent consultant and trainer; volunteering; building a 'grand design'; and, helping run jhd Architects, the RIBA-chartered practice I co-founded with my architect husband, Tim Ball.
Then out of the blue in 2014 I was headhunted to join the Executive Committee of Lafarge Tarmac (now Tarmac) as Group Marketing and Commercial Director.
All my corporate experiences have been tough and rewarding in equal measure. There were few women holding executive leadership positions like me when I entered motherhood and, what I realised as a returner some 14 years later, was little had changed. I wanted to do something about that, specifically to help more women secure and retain leadership roles. That's why I took the job with Lafarge Tarmac, but resigned soon after to retrain as an executive coach.
As a coach I draw on my corporate experiences, my voice and executive coaching expertise and my personal journey to help people recognise they can have fulfilling, non-linear and upwardly-mobile careers.
If invited on a platform as an inspirational speaker, I often share highlights of my story to inspire others to believe in themselves, create the life they want, and explore the joys of life-long learning.