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Karen addressed the audience in the “Strong boards, diverse boards” session of the NHS Providers Annual Conference and Exhibition in November 2014. This event brings together the senior decision makers in the NHS provider sector to debate and discuss key national issues. Karen’s presented her insights on the issue of gender balance within NHS organisations and drew on her considerable experience and expertise to both diagnose the current situation of gender balance within the NHS, and provide practical and helpful solutions for improvement. Karen also adeptly drew together the issues of how diversity within boards can help organisations embrace and deliver the more collaborative system leadership roles that are increasingly needed within the distributed leadership model of the modern NHS. 

Through her expert analysis and passionate delivery Karen built both a compelling case for change, and set out a clear and inspiring direction for how that change could be achieved. The buzz she created in the room, the questions and debate her presentation engendered, and the interest in follow-up conversations from delegates were all testaments to the impact of her session.

Siva Anandaciva, Head of Analysis, NHS Providers


“Seeing Karen ahead of my interview was crucial.  She encouraged me to reflect on my experience, skills and knowledge and link this to potential interview questions.  We worked through numerous examples of questions which might be asked at interview and this gave me the confidence to go and do really well in my interview.  The tools and techniques used during our session really helped me approach the interview in a much more structured way and I have since been successful in securing my first senior management post . Without her help I doubt I would have been so successful in my interview.


Since starting my new leadership post I had a further coaching session with Karen to help support  my ‘first 100 days’ in post. The tools Karen recommended during this session have really helped me with decision making  and priorities as I entered the early stages of my new post”.

Claire Howe, Head of Capital Planning and Development, Cambridge University Hospitals 

“Karen has coached me for the last 2 years. I had no prior experience of coaching, did not know what to expect; indeed was a little skeptical. She rapidly put me at ease, explained the aims and objectives of the sessions; and to my utter surprise I began to share and verbalise my deepest fears related to my role as a new executive director and a board member.  Within a couple of sessions, I was looking forward to our meetings. She was able to help me think of several solutions to a single problem.  Not only does she have the expertise; has the experience to back it up and keep it real and grounded.  I found her support particularly helpful in managing laterally and upwards and in developing positive, productive relationships. She has, without an iota of doubt helped me become a better leader.  I was able to explore and harness the synergies that existed; and with her help was able to harmonise my moral compass and the pressured world of health care and the NHS.”

Medical Director,  NHS Hospital Foundation Trust 

“Karen has helped me enormously by assisting me to become a more effective and adaptable leader.  Jenny-Ousbey

She provides practical guidance based on sound principles and theory, and is an excellent listener. Receiving coaching from Karen has enabled me to harness my own strengths and gain confidence in myself as I move forwards in my career.”

“I would heartily recommend Karen to anyone wishing to develop their strategic leadership skills and their personal communication style. Karen is very inspirational, which is great for women who aspire to become the next generation of business leaders.”

 Jenny Ousbey, Associate Director, Lexington Communications

“I have received regular coaching from Karen in my career, particularly in my transition to senior and operational roles within health care. Sessions with Karen are delivered in a way that feels organic and informed, drawing on her considerable experience of leadership and coaching.

Dan Spooner

Benefits that I have gained from working with Karen include the ability to re-frame my thinking in challenging environments and understand the options available to me in my career progression and development.  I feel empowered to make positive changes in my career with the added resilience and tools learnt from Karen and time spent with her.

Karen use many examples from the business world and her own personal experiences which easily translate to resolving issues and challenges faced every day in health care.  This is something I have found translates well and is easy to process and achieve on a daily basis” 

Dan Spooner, Lead Nurse/Clinical Nursing Project Manager

“I had reached a point in my career where I knew I had become ‘stuck’.  I was happy in my role, but knew that I didn’t want to do the same thing Becky Sherringtonforever.  I wanted to develop my skills and knowledge in a different way, but found it difficult to make a move. Karen was recommended to me, by a senior colleague, as he felt I would benefit from an outside professional to help shape my thoughts. I had no idea what to expect – in fact in all honesty I’m not sure I had expected to gain much from the conversation…how so wrong could I have been?!  Having had an initial conversation with Karen, it really demonstrated that having someone with senior experience and knowledge, and crucially someone who is separate from your current home or work life, could be incredibly valuable. Without a shadow of a doubt connecting with Karen was a powerful moment and really helped me to guide my thoughts. Karen also helped me think about the way in which I sold myself – which isn’t something I’ve been terribly good at. As a result, I applied for a job, and then got great support in preparing for the interview. I gained invaluable support to re-think how I presented myself and framed my knowledge and skills.  This gave me confidence on the day resulting, to my joy, in getting offered the job!  Karen, without a doubt, helped me to make difficult decisions, gave me confidence, and supported me in getting the job.  I’m now really excited about this and am sure it’s right for me”.

Rebecca Sherrington MSc., BSc(Hons) RN
Nurse Consultant


“Using her impressive network of contacts and valuable insight of the NHS, Karen helped us deliver a fantastic Leadership eventlooking at the future of Emergency Care.  Acting as Chair, Karen ensured that the discussion remained stimulating and that our guests were able to challenge the speakers and express their views. Karen demonstrated her ability to identify the critical issues at the heart of a problem, and keep those she works with focussed on addressing them.”

Duncan Astill, Partner for Mills & Reeve LLP


Dr KarenHEEM_Logo_2_-_Blue Castille, OBE, contributed to our medical education conference aimed at confronting challenges faced by women in medicine and international medical graduates by delivering both a keynote speech and a workshop. Karen was popular with the delegates and received some of the best attendance of all the workshops at the conference. Our formal delegate feedback confirms this with 98% respondents rating her keynote speech as Excellent. Similarly,100% of respondents rated Karen’s workshop as a “useful learning experience”.

From an organiser’s point of view, Karen was great to work with; professional, courteous and passionate. We would be delighted to invite her back to work with us again in the future.”

Robin Sturtivant, Health Education East Midlands

Dear Karen,WiPA-logo-final (1)

“Thank you so much for delivering our Women in Public Affairs workshop on ‘Presenting at Board Level.’  Your presentation and talk were both engaging and informative. We have received very positive feedback from participants and do hope we can work again with you in the future”

Laura Gilmore, Co-founder, Women in Public Affairs

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