Meet the founder - Sally-Anne Airey

Hello and thank you for taking a moment to find out more about me and my work. I hope you like what you see and hear.

As a professional leader myself - in the Royal Navy and later in international business - and as a leadership coach, I’ve devoted all my working life to the art and skill of leadership.

And I owe everything I know about how leadership really works to all the leaders I’ve followed, the teams and individuals I’ve led, the peers I’ve worked alongside, and to all the mistakes I’ve made.

What got me here

Throughout my life I’ve been guided by a deep knowing that, whatever happens, I have the courage to do what’s needed. I call this a ‘fearless compassion’ mindset and it’s at the core of my approach to my work with leaders.

This quality comes at least in part from my experience as a child. In very challenging circumstances, my parents worked together to build a business from nothing. When my father unexpectedly died as a young man, my mother found the courage to step up and continue their work alone, with my younger sister and me in tow.

Joining the Royal Navy

My decision to join the Royal Navy from university was pretty spontaneous and I became so intrigued that I stayed. Courageous, fair leadership was part of the organisational DNA. But equality of opportunity for men and women, for which I strove tirelessly, came later.

After 23 years I left the Navy as a Commander, the Navy’s first serving mother and a Chartered Fellow of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

From Russia...

In the same year that I left the Navy, my husband and I divorced. This was the most difficult year of my life.
When I remarried I wanted to start a new life outside the UK. I moved with my young family to eastern Europe. We lived and worked firstly in Ukraine, in the aftermath of the Orange Revolution, and then in Russia.

It was there that I began coaching leaders. I specialised in emotionally intelligent leadership, started practising mindfulness and gained an Advanced Diploma in Coaching from The OCM in Oxford.

...To the Alps

One sunny day in 2010 my husband and I asked ourselves this question: if we could choose what we woke up to in the morning, what would it be?

Our answer? Mountains.

Later that year we bought an old farmhouse in the French Alps. After years of loving renovation and development it has become the home and leadership retreat centre we live in today.

How others see me

I’m often told that I have a calming influence, and that I’m compassionate, empathic, intuitive, incisive. That feels like me and I think helps me greatly in my work with leaders. It helps me listen, and it fuels my curiosity to understand how leaders tick.

I believe in the infinite potential of the leaders I work with to be their best – for themselves and the people they lead.

My approach

Living a meaningful life, aligned to my values, has given me so much. My intention for this decade is to share all this learning in my work with leaders.

The Navy taught me how to lead. Mindfulness has taught me how to create space inside to see things as they are. Together they have led me to develop a holistic leadership framework, Mindful Command®, to enable you too to align who you are with how you lead.

Mindful Command® is my life’s work. It’s for leaders seeking the inner stability to see a better future and make it happen.