Audrey Daumain
July 7, 2024, 10:55 a.m.

Audrey Daumain: Navigating Business Change Through the power of Human Connections in Today's World

Welcome to our exclusive interview with Audrey Daumain. In this article, we explore Audrey's inspiring journey and impactful career in business change strategy, executive facilitation, and conversational coaching. Audrey begins by sharing her personal background, reflecting on a childhood in Provence, France, and her adventurous move to the UK at age 20—a journey that has shaped her approach to life and career.

Audrey discusses the challenges of communication in today's world despite technological advancements, emphasizing the importance of genuine connections and meaningful dialogues. Her insights into navigating these challenges are informed by over two decades in the finance industry and her decision in 2020 to pursue freelance consulting, focusing on fostering understanding and accountability in business interactions.

Throughout the interview, Audrey reveals her focus on strategic decision-making, people management and effective team work in the workplace, highlighting the pivotal role of dialogue and language in addressing core wellbeing and engagement issues. She also shares her ambitious plans for growth, including writing books on business communication and expanding her influence through public speaking engagements.

Join us as we uncover Audrey Daumain's vision for enhancing organizational dialogue, her dedication to fostering effective teamwork, and her commitment to impactful innovation in business and beyond.

Background and Career Path

Can you tell us about your early childhood and background and what brought you into the consulting industry?

Audrey Daumain: I was born in 1977 in the north of France and had a pretty happy childhood. My parents were 40 years apart—my father was 40 years older than my mother—which wasn't always easy to navigate as a child. However, it was a great environment overall. I grew up in Provence, in the south of France, in a beautiful house where I never lacked anything. My father spent most of his life in the army and I owe him the resilience, dedication and discipline that are accompanying me in my journey today.

At 20, I decided to go to the UK for a holiday, but ended up staying there for almost 13 years. This journey represents my approach to life—embracing new experiences and seizing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Business Presence and Market Strategy

Tell us about the business and its presence in the target market

Today, I am a Business Change Strategy Advisor, Executive Meetings Facilitator, and Conversational Coach. I specifically support C-level executives in handling meaningful conversations.

It's quite surprising that in 2024, people still find it difficult to understand each other. Despite the immense technical progress and the numerous social media platforms available to stay connected, we struggle to communicate effectively. After working in the finance industry for 20 years, I decided in 2020 that something needed to be done, and I could be the one to do it. I realized that regardless of the work or environment, people need to connect, pause, listen, and care. It's not just about caring for others, but about holding ourselves accountable, conveying the right message, and leaving the conversation at peace. That's what I focus on in my work.

In terms of market presence, the companies I work with face three major strategic challenges: Cybersecurity, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), and DE&I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) . The latter is particularly linked to employee well-being, and there, clearly people are at the center. While various well-being initiatives (massages, home office, gym memberships…) are beneficial, the core essence of employee engagement and happiness comes from feeling considered and heard, that’s why I devote my time to dialogue and language in the workplace.

Growth and Expansion Plans

What are some of the growth and expansion plans you have in your pipeline?

When it comes to growth and expansion, I feel there are no limits. I have two books in the works. One is an autobiography that I started in 2019 but haven't had the chance—or the heart—to finish. When you read it, you'll understand why. The other book focuses on my core work: handling successful and meaningful business conversations. Interestingly, the principles that apply in business are just as relevant at home, and perhaps should even start there.
I also aim to expand my public speaking engagements at company events, emphasizing the fundamentals of effective collaboration. Additionally, I envision creating a simplified and accessible version of my work, something fun and engaging for younger generations. I have two daughters, aged 20 and five, who benefit from these principles today, so sharing this with a wider audience is a key goal for the coming years.

Annual Performance Overview

How has the year been for your company?

This year has been amazing so far. When I first started, I had what I thought were really big ambitions. But as I grow and widen my impact, I see even more opportunities for expansion. Many thought it was crazy to leave my secure banking job in 2020, just before COVID, to launch a freelance change management and strategic advisory business. Looking back, it seems incredible how far I've come in just three years.

Today, I feel like I have a strong and impactful message. I won't stop until it reaches and impacts as many people as possible: Listen, listen, listen.  Move from monologues to real conversations. Talking to each other is not enough; it's essential to consider how the other person is receiving your message. This year has been incredible because I've attracted high-caliber clients in luxury industries, oil and gas, and private and investment banking. I work with people at the top of their game, and they continuously inspire and enhance my work through their interactions, their consideration for others, and their business practices. Good business comes from good conversations.

Building Teamwork and Unity 

What measures do you think employees and organizations can take to build effective teamwork and unity?

Frankly, the measures needed are quite drastic. When people join a company, they typically go through cyber security, IT, compliance, and legal training as part of their onboarding curriculum. I envision reaching a point where conversational onboarding is included as a core part of this process.

We should train employees on the essential values and conversational practices of the company. This would involve understanding what's important to us, the codes we use, the types of conversations that are appropriate, and the contexts in which they can occur. This kind of training is, to me, one of the most powerful and impactful tools a business can implement.

Research and Innovation

Focus on Research and Innovation

Tell us about the company’s focus and investment in research and innovation

Audrey Daumain: For me, innovation in this area isn't about grand technological advances. Quite the opposite, I bring people back to essentials. My research involves delving into excellent books like "Conscious Leadership" by the brilliant John McKay, "The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, "Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher, and exploring the core of NLP through books by John Grinder – amongst many others. I read a lot, listen to podcasts and keep track of the latest trends.

Having said that the best research comes from my clients. Teamwork and unity also stem from bridging the gaps between top strategy and operational enablement. Think about it, people disengagement and mental heath’s issues are rarely about ineffective directives or IT being slow or inefficient; it's always about the people behind those processes and rules. The core of my research is focused on people. The more I grow and interact with my clients, friends, family, and the people around me, the more I feed my passion. I gather concrete examples and anecdotes that enhance the value of what I offer today.

Any tips for startups looking to get onto the similar pathway? 

I’d advise anyone looking to make a significant leap to thoroughly consider the reasons why they need a change. Often we think that we need to make radical decisions to be happier, but I know that making small and meaningful adjustments can make a hell of a difference to people’s day to day.   To anyone really wanting to embark on the solopreneur / entrepreneur journey I would say don’t rush into building a website and business cards… Start with really working on your WHY. What is it that you are bringing to the world? What problem are you solving? And most importantly, how do you want to feel at the end of your work day? The shape and content of your work will evolve over time and with experience, but understanding the impact you want to achieve and how you plan to move people from point A to point B—whether through a product or a service—is crucial. The impact is just as important as the "why" behind it.

For me, my "why" is about ensuring people leave a conversation feeling at peace, curious, or excited, rather than resentful, angry, frustrated, or lost. There's a saying I hold dear: confused people don't say yes. If you're confused, you need to know how to ask the right questions to understand where the other person is coming from. Staying in the dark or remaining confused won’t get you anywhere. So, when you launch, make sure you are clear, focused, and listening to your heart.

As we conclude this interview with Audrey Daumain, her passion for transforming business through effective communication and strategic leadership shines brightly. Her journey—from growing up in a peaceful south of France, to working for large financial corporations in the City in London,  to finally becoming a catalyst for change in boardrooms—is a testament to the power of perseverance and purpose.

Audrey's insights into enhancing organizational dialogue and fostering teamwork resonate deeply in today's dynamic business landscape. Her commitment to understanding and addressing the core issues facing organizations—from strategy to seamless execution—highlights her dedication to creating impactful change.

We invite you to connect with Audrey on LinkedIn to continue the conversation and explore opportunities for collaboration. Stay tuned for more insights and inspirations from Audrey as she continues to shape the future of organizational dialogue and business strategy.

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