FOOD fan Veronica Baldwin has hit on a winning recipe.
The mother-of-two – who likes to spend her spare time cooking up new creations in her Holmfirth kitchen – had a 20-year career in food manufacturing before setting up her own coaching business to help firms of all kinds and sizes get the best from their people.
Says Veronica: “I have a fascination for what makes people tick and how they work with others.
“It saddens me when I see the wasted effort in some organisations just because people can't work effectively with each other.
“It also inspires me – helping teams successfully work together and seeing how their performance truly becomes greater than the sum of its parts.”
Veronica, who hails from Hertfordshire, moved to Yorkshire in 1986 when she studied chemistry at Sheffield University.
She had early ambitions to be a forensic scientist – but decided that might be too boring – and took up a job as a graduate trainee at Northern Foods.
She says: “I always loved factories and seeing things being made – and I still do.”
During her career in the food industry, Veronica worked in Nottingham, Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley for manufacturers of diary products and desserts, sandwiches and bakery goods in areas including production, quality control, continuous improvement and learning and development.
It was during her time as factory manager for a bakery employing 200 people that she first got the idea of working for herself.
Her next job was at a firm making mince pies in Oldham, but she says: “At that point, I realised that I really loved working with people and helping them get the best results.”
Says Veronica: “In my view, you can have the best products and processes in the world, but unless you have people who know what they are doing and care about what they are doing, you will never have a thriving business.”
Since launching Baldwin Coaching Ltd three years ago, Veronica has dedicated her time to helping people become more effective in their jobs and drive performance in their businesses through training, coaching and mentoring.
She helps leaders and managers understand how to win over the “hearts and minds” of their staff and empower employees in their business goals.
She undertakes leadership training, team-building and strategic development as well as “soft skills” such as confidence building. delegation, how to listen and handling conflicts.
She also offers psychometric profiling, performance coaching and practices neuro-linguistic programming – the study of human communication – and teaches people how to get outstanding results by giving them the practical tools and methods to achieve them.
Says Veronica: “I work with the whole spectrum of businesses, from small owner-managed companies to a large food manufacturer.
“I love the variety. People are people wherever they work and have the same kind of work-related issues. I work with businesses ranging from garages and recruiting companies to accountancy firms and renewable energy providers.”
Veronica says: “I ask companies where they want to be as an organisation. Most of the time, they know what they need to do to get there, but haven’t got the time to talk about it and make it a priority.
“The aim is to get them to take action. I love helping people on their personal development journeys.”
She says: “Everything I do is centred on making the people part of the business work. It is centred on skills and motivation and behaviour.
“My belief is that everyone goes to work wanting to do a good job. They also want to be fulfilled and get recognition, but in the hubbub of a busy working environment, that can get forgotten.”
At the same time, many companies have gone through re-organisation and change due to the economic downturn – with employees given a change of role or more to do.
“That can be unsettling,” says Veronica. “Steering them through that process is absolutely vital.
“Business is about people, products and processes.”
And she adds: “Some people think ‘coaching’ is all a bit ‘pink and fluffy’ but it isn’t. It is about helping businesses achieve their visions – and getting everyone doing what they say they are going to do.”
Veronica practices what she preaches by focusing on her own continued professional development. She set up her own business because she wanted to give herself a challenge – and because it meant she would have complete control and responsibility over her work life.
She says: “I love learning. I can see myself still adding to my skills in my 80s.
“I also believe it keeps you young! I have loved the spin-off benefits of learning how to run and build my own business.”
As well as working in-house with her clients, Veronica runs workshops where people can learn about NLP and drive their business forward at the same time.
In February, she is launching a programme of workshops entitled “Effective Manager to Exceptional Leader”.
Veronica is a member of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Association for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and also attends Huddersfield meetings of the Ladies4Networking group. She is also a member of the Halifax and Huddersfield Speakers’ Association, saying: “I enjoy public speaking. It is a good way to promote what I do. It moves you out of your comfort zone.”
Away from work, Veronica is kept busy with her two children. “They are a big part of my life,” she says. “As I’m working for myself, I work around them as much as I can. I love spending time with them. We do a lot of walking and cycling with the children.”
And it’s no surprise that food plays a part, too. “I love cooking and I have a real passion for food,” says Veronica. “I must have about 200 cook books!
“If I go to a nice restaurant and enjoy a dish I’m always thinking ‘I wonder how you make that?
“I try all kinds of recipes, from sushi to classical French cuisine. I particularly love making fancy pastries, so I’ve been avidly watching The Great British Bake Off.”
Family: Married to Kevan with children Ben, eight, and Hayleigh, six
Car: Volvo XC90 – although if I could have any car I’d have a beat-up old Land Rover!
Holidays: Camping in France and ski-ing
First job: I had a paper round when I was 12. I worked Saturdays in Woolworths when I was 16 one Christmas – and stayed two years
Best thing about job: Seeing results for my clients.
Worst thing about job: Deciding which providers of services I want to work with. I find it really difficult because I want to make the right choice
Business tip: Set yourself some goals, write them down and stick them up on the wall so you don’t forget them! Work: Helping firms get the “people thing” right
Phone: 07930 863695
Email: veronica@baldwin coaching.com
Web: www.baldwincoaching .com