Meet the team

Sarah Vogel



Sarah co-founded PDA in 1994 after many years experience in retail Training and Development. As well as being Director of the marketing, sales and people side of the business, Sarah is also a Fierce “Master Facilitator” and together with David leads all PDA’s Fierce Train the Trainer and accreditation workshops. She also has a busy coaching practice and works with execs and leaders from small businesses to blue chip clients and everything in between. Sarah has a BSc in psychology, a post graduate certificate in coaching from Lancaster University and is licensed to use MBTI.

“At PDA we value transparency and honesty. We suspect that you want this too.  We’re light on our feet in responding quickly to clients’ needs, and thrive on collaboration. Ultimately, we want our clients to walk away with practical solutions that get them real and lasting results”

David Cripps

David co-founded PDA with Sarah Vogel in 1994 following a career with Selfridges. David is Director of operations, finance and innovation at PDA, as well as delivering learning events to senior teams. He has also developed particular expertise in coaching, career counselling and designing learning events. Like Sarah, David is a Master Facilitator of Fierce Conversations, and is also licensed to use several psychometric tools including MBTI.

“Key to PDA is that we’re open to the ideas that work for our clients. I really enjoy reflecting on what is genuinely worthwhile in contrast to what looks more like a fad. PDA never jumps on the latest bandwagon, but concentrates on what’s really important and what can make a positive difference for our clients. I bring this reflective approach to our work so that I can quickly get to the core of issues and challenges”.

Tasha Bevan

Tasha is a committed and versatile team player a skilled facilitator, leader and coach. Her clear and grounded style make her fantastic to work with, whether you are co training with her, being coached by her, or a participant on a course.

Her client feedback is consistently excellent and she has proved time and time again what a flexible and indispensable member of PDAs team she is, turning her hand to ever more varied tasks and projects.

She is also a talented relationship manager and manages several key accounts for PDA.

Sara Penter

Sara has significant experience in supporting organisations, teams and individuals to optimise their capability and to successfully transition through organisational change. She has a genuine curiosity and interest in people with a desire to create authentic conversations that can make a difference. Her philosophy is that everyone has the resources they need to get to where they want to – they are their own expert. Sara’s role is to provide the space in which to raise self awareness so individuals can create options and the change they want for themselves. 

Sara joined PDA after 30 years in the field of Human Resources with 15 years in the Utility and Energy Sector. Her subsequent 15 years as a Coach, Organisational Design & HR Consultant working across a range of sectors (including Aerospace, Education, Logistics, Entertainment, Care, Charity and Local Authorities) makes her a perfect partner to our broad range of clients.

Sara has a BA (Hons) in Business Studies, a Diploma in Personnel Management and a Diploma in NLP. She is a DiSC & MBTI practitioner, SHL psychometric testing practitioner and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD). Sara is an accredited coach by Ashridge Business School and an accredited FIERCE & THINK Facilitator.

"I love working with the Fierce tools as it is clear what a difference it makes to leaders in all kinds of organisations. And because PDA practise what they preach it feels like a great team to work with" 

Emily Parker

Emily has worked in learning and development for many years and has been working independently since 1997. Since then PDA have collaborated with Emily many times and consider her to be one of the family! Recent projects include developing and delivering a dynamic customer service programme for one of the largest health insurers, delivering influencing skills to senior teams, teaching image and impact to women in a major banking group, and training Fierce Conversations workshops to retail directors at a major Building  Society.

Emily is licensed to use MBTI step I and II psychometric tools, Verax Lifestyles 360 degrees feedback tool as well as SHL’s psychometric tools. Emily is also accredited to deliver Fierce workshops and is a key member of our skills delivery team.

Paul O'Keeffe

Paul is our media manager at PDA and Director of his own communications company, Boulder Group. Paul worked for nine years as a BBC broadcast journalist, mainly at BBC Radio 4 and Five Live. Prior to that, he worked for five years as a journalist for Institutional Investor, writing and editing for publications aimed at the financial services community.

“I really enjoy working with organisations like PDA to help make their ideas and knowledge available to as many people as possible. I work on the premise that there is nothing that can’t be explained easily to somebody” 

Paul has a BA Hons in History from Warwick University, and a post-graduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism from City University, London.

Allison Joseph


Allison is a creative, dynamic equalities diversity & inclusion specialist. With over 20 years experience within youth & community work sectors, Allison uses core youth work values of participation, empowerment & education to underpin her work across a range of professional roles.

“I have been an equalities practitioner for 15 years delivering training, project management & professional development to colleagues in youth work as well as related sectors. I am passionate about inclusion & widening participation for all communities and whilst my particular expertise lies with race & identity, I am dedicated to improving understanding around intersectionality to give tangible outcomes for all.”

Specialist areas:

  • Race Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Identity & Inclusion (protected characteristics)
  • Voice & Influence
  • Mental Health
  • Social Health - SRE  (Sex & Relationships Education)/drugs and alcohol education

Dr Naomi Irvine

Naomi irvine.jpg

Naomi is an accredited Fierce facilitator. She specialises in helping individuals to find their voice in complex organisations, focusing on gender empowerment, courageous conversations, personal effectiveness, leadership development, and coaching and mentoring.

She is an experienced facilitator of reflective practice, culture change, workplace learning and career development. Prior to working independently, Naomi worked in the higher education sector, in research, business development, organisational development, and equality and diversity functions. 

Naomi believes in having engaging conversations so that everyone can be their most authentic, talented and empowered self in work and in life. Colleagues speak of her engaging and facilitative style, and her ability to ask questions that move the conversation towards a successful outcome.


Penny Heater

Penny is a part of our coaching team, with over 20 years cross-sector experience. Her diverse background encompasses start-up and growth entrepreneurs and consultants, (individually and in peer groups); senior leadership in the education sector; teenagers, graduates, mid-lifers, women-returners making important life choices and improving the life-chances of community-based offenders through work and education. 


Penny completed her accredited training with the Coaches Training Institute. She also holds a post-graduate certificate in coaching. 

Paul Sayers

Paul joined PDA in 2008 as a business and financial consultant and became passionately interested in the learning and experience that PDA offers. He trained as a coach with the Coaches Training Institute and successfully completed the PDA Train the Trainer programme and is now a Fierce Conversations facilitator. Paul is a fantastic all round member of the team: he has worked in the legal sector, a publishing career including Professional and Legal Editor of the Estates Gazette and as an actor and director in his own theatre company.

“The team at PDA is very creative and talented. I became involved as I wanted to work for a company that connects with its clients and really understands the benefits of what it offers”.

Simon Bolton

Simon joined PDA’s delivery team in 2009 after over 20 years experience in educational and learning environments. As a professional teacher, he mentored staff in new and creative approaches to teaching. He has also worked with voluntary agencies training adults who work with children. He now delivers a variety of intensive skills training events for PDA and is working on our portfolio of development courses for teachers and leaders in education.

“PDA presents people with really useful and easy to understand tools that work. It’s really good when you see what we do really working for people”.

Marianne Skelcher

Helping people develop to achieve their potential and deliver great work has been at the core of all the roles Marianne has held over the last thirty five years. A Chartered Director, who holds NED roles in housing, social care and health, Marianne brings her passion for helping people and organisations succeed, along with extensive experience and skills as a business leader, facilitator, consultant, coach and trainer, to PDA. 

"My first contact with the team was in 2005 when I commissioned them to deliver Fierce to the sixty senior leaders in the organisation where I was Group HRD, so I know first-hand the impact they have and the difference they can make."

Bob Dignen

Bob Dignen is an associate of PDA and a director of York Associates. He currently specialises in supporting international projects. He runs seminars on the theme of international teamwork, he coaches leaders and facilitates project (kick-off) meetings, and delivers international team-building events.

He is an accredited facilitator of Fierce Conversations™, a licensed coach for The International Profiler (an intercultural profiling tool), and an advanced practitioner of TMP (Team Management Profile) an international team development tool.

As an author, his titles include Communicating Across Cultures (CUP), Communicating Internationally in English (York Associates), 50 Ways to improve your international presentation skills and 50 Ways to improve your intercultural skills published by Summertown. He is also co-author of Developing People Internationally, a multimedia international team training resource.

‘Effective communication is the foundation of successful organisations. The principles behind Fierce and its four very practical conversation models have the power to transform communication between individuals, within teams and across organisations leading, quite simply, to better results.’

Dale Coulter


Dale is an accredited Fierce Facilitator of Fierce Conversations, a PDA associate and Associate Director of York Associates. He currently specialises in communication skills, leadership and team development training.

His experience spreads over 8 years in Italy, Germany and Switzerland in both the cooperate and higher education. He has delivered training in English, German and Italian.

“The power of Fierce lies in the fact it makes sense of all the many factors inhibiting success, and provides four simple and effective conversation models that drive collaboration.”