Karen Durkin

Karen Durkin

“I love to help organisations, teams and individuals navigate change, by creating safe spaces where my clients can explore deeply, and through powerful questioning can find answers to difficult but important questions.!


Karen brings a depth of insight drawn from her background as an Anthropologist, skilled in interpreting patterns of human behaviour and culture, and refined in the corporate jungle of large and complex organisations.  She works in partnership with her clients to develop authentic, resilient and inclusive leaders, bringing deep expertise in Leadership Development, Diversity & Inclusion, Culture Change and & Well-being. Karen has over twenty years of consultancy, facilitation and executive coaching experience across professional services, financial services, public sector and the charity sector. She has worked cross-culturally across Europe, North America and Asia.  

At Barclays, Karen implemented the talent review process and managed career development for the Top 100 Talent. As a Senior Manager at PwC, she led the design and facilitation of the flagship Emerging Leaders Programme and two award-winning Diversity and Inclusion programmes. Karen established her consultancy practice in 2013 and has worked across the public, private and non-profit sectors in the UK, mainland Europe and Asia, working with clients as varied as Mercer, HSBC, PwC, Arup, Kearney, the NHS, Essex County Council, IGD, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK and Tearfund.


Karen is an NLP master practitioner and an ITS graduate coach. She has trained in Gestalt Coaching & Facilitation, Action Learning, Organisational Constellations and Transformational Narrative Coaching. She is accredited in a range of development tools including MBTI Step 1 and 2, Hogan Development Systems and FIRO-B. Karen has a BA in Anthropology from Durham University and is CIPD qualified.

Examples of recent work

  • Sponsorship Programme to develop the leadership potential of BAME women in Primary Care and develop inclusive leadership skills in senior leader sponsors (NHS)
  • Creating High Value Client Relationships programme – experiential learning with actors, action learning and virtual workshops  (Arup) 
  • Relating to others and Resilience and Wellbeing virtual workshops (Essex County Council) 
  • Research and design of Emerging Leaders proposition (Tearfund) 

Examples of recent coaching work

  • Several Directors on pathway to Partner – development centres and executive coaching (PwC)
  • Leadership Charge Points peer group coaching for Directors and Associate Directors (Arup)
  • Leadership development, resilience and work-life integration for high potential managers (Kearney)
  • Female founders & entrepreneurs 1:1 business and mindset coaching
Waverley Learning are very vested in what they’re doing, very committed. They’re dynamic individually and collectively, they are 100% invested to the learners when they go into a program, it really is a sense of ownership of the experience that I don’t necessarily always see with every other vendor or learning partner that we use.
Lisa Smisek - Director of Learning, Kearney
There’s a credibility and a humility that you just sense when you’re engaging with Waverley Learning. I’m personally very drawn to that.
Karen Brown - Director of People and Talent, Tearfund
It is the extent to which Waverley Learning understood all the requirements, the innovation that they brought, the talent they brought. Their whole style takes the frantic pace at which we work out of the equation, the messages comes through really clearly. They’ve tuned into the challenges of our organization and made observations that have given us added value. It’s always based on our needs.
Alison Maher - Head of Learning, GWR
Their Developing Skills course consistently gets the best feedback of any standard developmental course that we offer. They’re clearly doing something right in terms of engagement, for those individuals to realise their own development within that situation. Waverley Learning listen to what’s going on, the chats that they’re having with my colleagues. They’re able to play that back, this is what’s going on in your business. As an organization, they provide great insight into to us.
John Probert - Director, Mercer
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