Juliet Atkinson, Founder of The Coaching Connection

I am originally from Nottinghamshire in the UK and have lived and worked in France since 1996. I studied English Literature at the University of Lancaster and went on to train as a coach at the IFG Ecole de Coaching here in Paris and then at Ashridge Business School in the UK. I’ve had a rich and varied career in marketing, communications, sales operations, events, and human resources, mainly in the software industry. 

My forties have been truly (and sometimes gruellingly) transformational for me and in the past few years I’ve changed my career path, taken voluntary redundancy, gone back to school, had health issues that ended in a hysterectomy, and gained French nationality! 

Entering into my forties, I felt the need to focus my energy on work that felt meaningful to me. In 2012, and thanks to my manager at the time Nick Buck, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take on the challenge of running a people programme within marketing at SAP. Diving into the world of leadership, learning & development, talent development, and organisational development was quite a revelation and I felt like I’d found my place. Learning and intellectual stimulation has always been important to me and there are a lot of teachers in my family so I guess that my genes caught up with me as well! 

MY JOB: I took voluntary redundancy from SAP in 2016, as I’d been itching to experiment with working independently and then launched The Coaching Connection in February 2017. I absolutely love coaching individuals and groups and feels like a place where what I enjoy and what I’m good at come together. That said, and to my surprise having sworn off corporate world, I found that I missed working on projects and working collaboratively with teams. I recently started working on a short-term contract for Engie in their Hydrogen Business Unit as a Talent Manager. I’m very fortunate to have joined a talented and modern HR team and it is really stimulating to be a part of an organisation that’s both growing and transforming rapidly.

WHAT DOES PWN PROVIDES ME WITH: I joined PWN Paris in April 2018. It’s a network that has been very welcoming and I’ve enjoyed creating relationships with talented and interesting women. I was fortunate to meet Romaine Johnstone last year and quickly got involved in the professional development programme, which I’m now co-coordinating for 2019/2020 with Christine Mourgues-Bastide. It’s been a great opportunity to be a part of a team, to connect with the network and also to learn with and from fellow coaches. I’ve also taken part in the mentoring programme as a mentee and would encourage others to do the same. It really helped me to take the decision to experiment with working for a company again. 

WHAT DO YOU ADVICE TO WOMEN: As I get older, I am finding that what I fear the most is the place that I need to go, so my advice (for what it’s worth) would be to be courageous! Trust your instincts – they will rarely let you down. Invest in and nurture your relationships – it’s important to have a supportive entourage, to have allies, and we learn and grow with people. Be collaborative – the most exciting accomplishments are born out of genuine collaboration (see relationships :-)). And accept everything that happens to you in Life as a gift.   


Juliet Atkinson

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