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Meet the Team

Derek Blackburn MBA

Derek Blackburn MBA - Managing Director

Derek is one of the UK’s most well-known customer experience specialists. He has an outstanding reputation for achieving measurable results and is especially talented at overcoming self-inflicted barriers - shifting mindsets and transforming attitudes.

As consultant, trainer and sought-after key note speaker, Derek’s interactive presentation style uses thought-provoking questions, humour and real experiences to engage, entertain and inspire his audience. 

As well as managing Sidona Group, Derek is also Lead Consultant for Mary Gober International and Beyond Philosophy, both global customer experience consultancies.  In these roles he works with a wide range of organisations & sectors such as; Capita, Zurich Insurance, Orange/EE, Bechtel Construction, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Peabody Homes & Maersk Shipping.

Derek is a member of a professional community of leadership specialists at The Centre for Leadership at Exeter University where he presents the customer experience module on their MBA programme and identifies leadership development and research for future generations.

Derek clocked-up over 20 years’ experience in service leadership roles within before he founded Sidona Group, with his wife Anne in 2000. Back in the late 1990s, Derek created and shaped the culture and values for Egg Plc - the first internet bank!

Anne Blackburn

Anne Blackburn - Customer Experience Director

Anne heads up Customer Insight and Business Development at Sidona Group. Anne excels at interpreting customers’ emotional needs – understanding what they really value. This, coupled with a deep understanding of loyalty drivers, helps her identify ways to exceed expectations, consistently. This is a skill that was applauded when Sidona won a National Training Award in 2010.

Using different research methods from in-depth customer interviews to mystery customer programmes, Anne uncovers what your existing customers really value, how they feel at each stage of the customer journey, and how to make prospective customers choose you. Her expert analysis turns key customer knowledge into actionable insights that you need to make your Customer Experience your most powerful USP.

As a well-respected expert, Anne is a judge for the UK Customer Experience Awards, UK Employee Experience Awards and is author of many articles that regularly appear in The Customer Experience Times, HR Magazine, The Caterer, Big Hospitality and The Hotel Magazine.  Anne is also an expert in The Guest Experience and is a regular speaker at The Independent Hotel Show and Big Hospitality Show.

Mark Godfrey FIH MI

Mark Godfrey FIH MI - Hospitality Management Consultant

With over 25 years’ experience at the helm of 4 and 5 star hotels, Mark is well-versed in all aspects of Hotel Management. Previous positions include Managing Director of Harbour Hotels and Dart Marina Hotel & Spa, as well as General Manager at the prestigious Stoke Park Club.

In 2012, Mark launched his own Hospitality Consultancy to help hoteliers grow by reducing costs, driving up sales and achieving excellence. Working alongside the Sidona Group, Mark shares his expertise in Hospitality Management, creating clear strategies for business improvement.

Mark has achieved outstanding results for English Heritage, FBD Hotels, Clevedon Hall, Dillington House, and many more. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a Master Innholder, Freeman of the City of London, Member of the BHA South West Committee, Treasurer of Exeter Hotels Association, and dedicated dog owner.

Nodge Greatorex

Nodge Greatorex - Customer Experience Consultant

Nodge is passionate about training and development. She specialises in delivering complex culture change, large scale events, coaching and training. She is an inspiring and intuitive facilitator with a genuine commitment to the customer and colleague experience.

A Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Nodge relishes the opportunity to engage with teams of all levels, adapting her style, pace and content to suit the audience.

Nodge has nearly 25 years’ experience in the training and development. Her clients have included many well-known multinationals including Marks & Spencer, Virgin Holidays and Telefonica o2.

David Soloman

David Soloman - Leadership & Communications Consultant

David is an experienced designer and facilitator of Leadership, Communication and Performance Management training programmes. His expertise spans a diverse range of management disciplines from presentation skills, influencing and persuasion and negotiation skills, through to customer service and conflict management skills. David is also accredited to use a range of psychometric tools including Myers Briggs and Bolton and Bolton People Styles.

Uniquely, David graduated in Mathematical Statistics and Operational Research and spent a year in the City before going to RADA to train as an actor. David brings his expertise as an actor and salesman to empowering people, helping them communicate more effectively. He harnesses the power of facilitation and forum theatre to develop high-performing teams who excel in customer relationship management. David brings energy, passion and fun to his work. He is based in London.