A unique, new leadership consultancy is using key skills and experiences gained from more than 50 years of policing to help businesses and organisations adapt and evolve.

Mark Pannone and Zoe Billings have formed the Adapt and Evolve Consultancy. The pair met while Mark was an Assistant Chief Constable for North Yorkshire Police and Zoe was his Staff Officer. Both have extensive experience operating at tactical, strategic, and executive levels, giving them the skills they need to help individuals and teams perform to the highest standards.

Now, despite the company having only recently taken its first steps in the world of consultancy and leadership training, they have already gained a number of national clients who value their unique approach to training and more importantly the disciplined skills they bring with them.

Phil King from Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle based Serious Injury Team embraced the pair to carry out well-being training.

Phil said: “We’ve asked Mark and Zoe to look at how biological well-being can be supported and how to improve dynamics within our teams.

“Our team works across the UK assisting clients and their families who are victims to road traffic collisions some sadly resulting in fatalities. Mark and Zoe have first-hand experience of the traumas and emotions we face on a day-to-day basis and so they can not only prepare the right training for us, but they can relate to our lives and show empathy because they too have been in those tragic situations”

Indeed, both have accrued a wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills during their time with the Police. Mark who lives in North Cumbria, served with Essex Police, Cumbria Police and latterly with North Yorkshire Police as an Assistant Chief Constable while Zoe from York is still a serving officer. Both realised that they had a passion for training, engagement and community focused work, with helping people being at the core of their shared values.

“I really enjoy the management of complex situations having been involved in many major incidents throughout my career. It’s very satisfying to be able to make sense out of chaos. Zoe and I can help individuals and organisations gain the confidence they need to make tough business choices and help people understand how to make defensible decisions through effective problem solving,” said Mark.

“Zoe’s role when we worked together was as a Staff Officer – basically to be the critical friend and sometimes the conscience of a senior manager and I suppose that’s what we’re doing with Adapt and Evolve Consultancy.  We want to be that critical friend; we will stand back and look at what someone is doing and say that’s great, but you could be better, then we will help them move forward.”

While Mark’s role in the new business is based on his experience looking after 800 staff, managing huge budgets and his knowledge of how teams fail and how effective leadership can help teams out, Zoe has utilised her academic background and her biology doctorate to bring a unique angle of well-being training to the table.

“I use my background as a biologist to challenge thinking on how we perform and how we need to adapt, and balance this with my experience in the workplace as a senior investigator managing road traffic fatalities.

“Everything we do relates to the mind and the body and there is still a stigma about mental health. There will always be some people that feel embarrassed talking about it, so my well-being approach comes from a completely different angle. By looking at the biology of it rather than the psychological side, this reduces any perceived stigma related to chronic stress and really increases engagement. The feedback that I’ve had to date has been phenomenal and is making a really significant impact on people’s ability to look after themselves, their families, their colleagues and actually do their job effectively,” said Zoe.