Sarah Montagne

Head of EU Regulatory Policy and Regulatory Affairs UK at Bayer

“Over the years I’ve found Bayer to be a great workplace, and we feature highly in the Great Places to Work UK ranking. But a recent employee survey we’d done showed that people were struggling with their workloads and finding it hard to consistently achieve a positive work/life balance.

This was also noticeable across other country Regulatory teams as, not surprisingly, Regulatory Affairs is a very complex, highly regulated area of business – there are so many different systems, databases, and processes, and it can be hard to properly control the peaks and troughs of your workload. I’d also started to notice that the people in my teams were working in an increasingly isolated way, as they were all dealing with such different projects. So I approached Sarah – who had been recommended to me as a resilience specialist coach and part of Clarity Leadership – about doing a resilience and wellbeing workshop with my team, to try and combat some of these challenges.

Well, it was genuinely a fantastic session! During the day you could see around the room people’s heads nodding in recognition, and understanding dawning on their faces as Sarah spoke – the energy in the room was incredibly positive and people left feeling empowered to start doing things differently.

One of the biggest mindset changes for our whole team came through Sarah unpacking the ‘explorer model’ – i.e. moving people from feeling either like prisoners (having no voice and no choice) or tourists (happy but disengaged) to being in the role of explorers, where they feel positive, curious, and engaged in their work. It’s really given us as a team  a vocabulary and a common language to express our thoughts and challenge the way we operate, particularly in meetings.

I also think Sarah’s focus on mindfulness, flourishing, and positive psychology has helped people become more empathetic and feel more connected. There’s a sense that people are now not just looking at how to preserve their own wellbeing but are encouraging each other as a team, particularly when the latest challenge hits. We’re also mindful of taking time to celebrate our successes, both as individuals and as a team, and we’ve started having breakfast together every Wednesday to take time out whilst being together. It’s really positive.

Also Sarah has helped me as a leader to be more aware of needing to look after myself – not just for my own benefit but because of the impact it can have on my team. It’s been a really interesting learning curve to see that sometimes prioritising my own wellbeing is actually the unselfish thing to do, as the more resilient I am the more capacity I have to look out for others and manage them effectively.

Overall I’ve found that Sarah has such a great energy and sense of fun – she’s friendly, kind, and funny, as well as being a very clear and engaging communicator. Plus she just really knows her stuff. I’ve loved spending time with her and I know my team loved her too. I’d have her back in anytime and can promise you that you won’t regret using her.”