The authors

Dr Barrie Hopson

A psychologist by training, Barrie was Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Lifeskills International. Beginning in 1978 as an educational publishing company pioneering the use of open learning in schools and business the company developed into being specialists in improving organisational performance through aligning human resource management to business goals.  It was perhaps best known for its consultancy services and learning materials for delivering outstanding customer service, employee development programmes, competency based performance management, culture change programmes, learning delivery systems and career management programmes.

He was also joint managing director with Mike Scally and subsequently Co-Chairman of Hay-Lifeskills Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hay Group.

Barrie was director of the Vocational Guidance Research Unit at Leeds University and then set up the Counselling and Career Development Unit at Leeds University in 1975 and was its first Director until 1984.  He was one of the pioneers of careers education in schools and wrote the first 2 books on the subject in the UK.

He has worked widely as a consultant to business and educational organisations in the UK, USA, Far East and Europe. He is a writer, presenter, consultant and was chair of his local community association for 8 years. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

He has written 39 books and numerous articles on personal and career development, quality service, transition and change management, generic training skills, marriage and Lifeskills teaching.  His best known books are “Build Your Own Rainbow”, “12 Steps to Success Through Service”, the series of “Lifeskills Teaching Programmes”, the textbook on “Lifeskills Teaching” and “The Rainbow Years: The Pluses of Being 50+”. .

For 5 years he was Chairman of Axia Interactive Media, a company operating from the UK and Canada, who are specialists in web-based solutions to support lifelong learning and professional development.

His latest project is developing an online learning programme to help people design their retirement.

He is a Non Exec Director of the Aspire-Igen Group and of Disability Sport Yorkshire.

He Chairs the national Quality in Career Standard Consortium Board. He is on the advisory board of The Open Retirement Club in London. He also works for the Age Action Alliance On Attitudes to Ageing and Contributions of Older People.

He continues to deny accusations that he has ‘retired’ believing that the word is becoming increasingly meaningless. He sees one of the payoffs of his Portfolio Career as being able to follow Yorkshire County Cricket Club. He adores running and runs 10k, 10 mile and half marathons for the Stroke Association as he is now a carer for his stroke survivor wife.

His entire career has been driven by helping people to become architects of their own futures.


Katie Ledger

Katie’s portfolio includes… being a communications consultant, conference facilitator and producer, presenter, author and TV reporter for BBC Click.

She helps individuals, teams and organisations to communicate in a compelling way. Katie spent 12 years working as a tv news presenter for Five News, ITN and the BBC.

Currently, she works for many companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Reed Elsevier, 3 Mobile, Wiley Publishing, Waterstones, HMV and the Met Police. She’s therefore well equipped to cope with the high-pressure situations she regularly faces dealing with two small children, two cats, one husband (with portfolio career) and a very busy but fulfilling work style.

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