Our Team

The High Impact Core Team

Founder & Managing Director High Impact Europe Ltd.

Grant Aylward

Consultant & Coach in High Impact Leadership Communication
Professional Moderator

I asked my colleagues at High Impact what they would like me to highlight in my biography. What you will find below is therefore the reflection of their insights and observations, their guidance to me on what you – the reader – would perhaps most like to know. I am most grateful to them.

Meeting of 2 Worlds – feet on the ground / head in the clouds

Firstly a bit of background on me. Prior to creating High Impact in 2005, I began my professional life in the Corporate world (Mars, Unilever and Kraft), in France and the UK. After 13 years I left that world and went on a journey into the performing arts – a journey which was to change my life. After studying at Guildford School of Acting (the Conservatoire) I became a professional actor for 6 years, mostly in London’s West End. It was an amazing time which, looking back, was a quest to find my own personal creativity and purpose in life.

The journey to become an actor was huge, edifying and, at times, brutally hard. I particularly remember being confronted one afternoon by my mentor, Ian Rickets “Grant, dear Grant, you must strive to keep the insights of your life and to lose the baggage in order to find the truth in yourself”. Uncertain as to what that actually meant, I decided to take it as an invitation to open myself up to explore what else I could do to be more authentic in my portrayals as an actor. Years later this has become the essence of the work we do at High Impact. Opening people up to themselves and to others, for all that they are and all that they can be as leaders and as connected human beings.

Transformations and the quest for openness

The experiences we began building found inspiration in the world of the performing arts and in particular in the actor’s journey and it became quickly apparent that these experiences were high impact and transformational. They would explore leadership qualities, discover themselves as powerful and connected tools for communication, take decisions to change things and choose new paths to future growth and much more.

This gave me huge energy to do a lot more. This has become my purpose in life, my driving force.

Among the many authentic leadership qualities we seek to explore in our work, openness is one that I personally attach great importance to for it is often where connections are made. This quality must be constantly invested in in order to ensure our openness to change, to opinions, to feedback, to criticism, to challenge, to exploration, to appreciation, to love and much more…​

The extra mile

There are hundreds of moments / experiences which have marked me deeply over the years and they always relate to someone finding the courage and openness to do something remarkable for the first time, an individual who has dared to go beyond themselves and in doing so, has touched others. Whether it is a young engineer who dares to write poetry for the first time ever and so discovers creativity they didn’t know they had; or a Senior CEO of a global company who throws away the academic book on how to effect lasting cultural change in an organisation in favour of speaking the truth from the heart to an audience of global leaders.

As consultants and coaches, if we are not prepared to ask ourselves the same questions and to dare to go beyond, I do not believe we can ask this of others. Giving freely and generously of ourselves, all of our energies in service of the work we have chosen to do is our greatest responsibility. People tell me this is a deeply rooted trait in me, I hope it is.

Child-like qualities and a sense of playfulness

I am 52 years old living in Lyon. My passport says “British”, my heart says “français” – what the heck, these are simply national identities. My 18 year old son says I am embarrassing, my 15 year old daughter Manon pats me on the head and says “you alright old man?”. My colleagues tell me I have a childlike playfulness and a joie de vivre (perhaps because I was throwing pine cones at them this morning when we were doing our 5 Tibetans physical wake up in the garden during our team week in the mountain chalet in the Vercors). Our clients tell me I am “full on”, impactful, and engaged. My body tells me I have still yet many things to explore… so let’s get on with it.

Thank you for reading.

Co-founder & Partner High Impact Europe

Steve Apps

I am an original founder of High Impact Europe, having worked closely with Grant to develop our offering and brand back in 2007. Unexpectedly, I started my career in Market Research doing data analytics and quickly decided that wasn’t really for me. I attended a training course and was inspired enough by the trainer to say to her afterwards, “I want to do what you do.” I’ve never looked back. So began my journey through IT and technical training, to HR & soft skills training and into the world of leadership communication and impact development.

I have worked on all five continents and with people from over 50 different countries which I know helps me in my quest to improve my openness to people from different backgrounds and perspectives.

At my core, I like helping people. I felt proud when I helped Jean-Christophe transform his conference presentation so that he truly demonstrated his desire to connect to his people and acknowledge their cares and concerns. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when a participant emailed me, unprompted, two years after a programme to express his deep gratitude at the huge impact the High Impact philosophy had on his life. I feel privileged each year when I visit an orphanage and apply High Impact experiences to support groups of children and adults from the UK and Romania. My proudest moment happened when, 6 years after purchasing an oboe for a 12 year old girl from a favela in Sao Paulo, she was accepted on full scholarship into London’s top music academy. For me, it really doesn’t get better than that.

I have a business degree and my post-graduate studies have led to me becoming a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. I am on the board (previously Chair) of the Association for Business Psychology which keeps me connected to the evidence-based side of people development. I also hold testing qualifications and a Diploma in Performance Coaching. This means I am able to use tools such as OPQ, Wave, Hogan, JTI, Lumina Spark and 16PF in my work. I’m also quite inspiration driven, which recently lead me to complete a Blockchain Strategy Programme with Oxford University.

I am dedicated to curiosity and openness. I am a huge fan of non-fiction books such as ‘Sapiens’, ‘Why we Sleep’ and ‘The Future of Humanity’ because these books shape my life deeply in my quest to achieve balance. When I’m not deeply engrossed in a book, you can find me on a mountain bike in the wilderness or on a yoga mat doing the 5 Tibetans, a simple series of exercises to start the day.

My mischievous nature sometimes gets me into trouble. I guess you’ll have to work with me if you’d like to know more about that…

High Impact France Director

Karine Arnaud

I believe that leadership is daring to be who we are.

This is why I joined High Impact. To help leaders dare. Nothing is more rewarding to me than helping leaders to remove their own barriers; to encourage them to ask themselves the right questions, ones that will positively impact their careers if not their lives.

Joining the High Impact team was in total alignment with my guiding principles, which are grow and enjoy. Grow because I get bored easily when I stay for too long in my comfort zone. And enjoy simply because hardships help me realise life is short and anything can happen at any time. Enjoying what life offers right now, I find crucial.

Living in the Alps, I enjoy the great outdoors, hiking, running and skiing. My family is a key pillar and you may bump into me in a treetop adventure course with my husband, Olivier, and my 2 teenagers, Camille and Marion. When not travelling, I like working from my terrace and you’re likely to hear birds in the background when you call me. Grant, the CEO of High Impact called me recently using our webcams and his first sentence was: “I hate you” when he saw the mountains behind me.

What I especially love in my job is meeting and working with people all around the globe with varied backgrounds and cultures. I vividly remember delivering a leadership development programme in Moscow and that same seminar in Bangkok the week after. If you’re interested, I can tell you more about a seminar in Rio de Janeiro during the football World Cup in 2018…

Sylvie, a Senior Executive I coached told me that she enjoyed working with me because I’m direct while always caring and respectful, which is what I aim for.

I developed my expertise in leadership development and talent management working with global consultancy firms where I partnered with the largest multinational companies to design and deliver their leadership development programmes, assessment centres and competency models. I’m certified on several instruments like 360-degree feedback tools, leadership potential assessments, learning agility, and other personality tests.

I’m 46 years old, I work in French and English. I’m also conversant in German and am definitely looking forward to working again in that language which I love. I hold a Masters degree in Sales and Marketing completed in France and Germany and worked in this field for ten years. This feels to me like another life now.

Project Manager

Marion Dauchez

Here is a glimpse of who I am.

For 4 years now, I have been personal assistant to the CEO and a Project Manager at High Impact. I feel that I have found my ‘home’, that I am really in the right place, at the right company, working in a multi-cultural environment, with great people I admire and enjoy working with every day. I am proud to support my colleagues to help Leaders embark on their journey with High Impact and inspire others by daring, being true to themselves and open to others.

I am 42 years old and I worked for 15 years in marketing, commercial and project management roles within the events sector before joining High Impact. During this time, I spent 8 years organising and promoting large International trade congresses within the e-commerce sector.

I am deeply intuitive and enjoy new situations, new cultures (I spend part of my childhood abroad and my school friends came from Egypt, Senegal, Canada, Iran… ) and being close to action.

Calm and composed, I know how to downplay delicate and unforeseen situations in a straightforward way. I remember this strategic seminar near Paris gathering top leaders coming from all over the world: the venue was not adapted after all-I had to use all my diplomatic and influencing skills to move the entire group to another place in a way it did not affect the workshop and our relation with the client. That was a real “in the moment” challenge.

I believe deeply that everybody’s voice should be heard. I am confident in any one-to-one relationship no matter the hierarchy and I am strongly committed to harmony and honesty.

On top of my work, I am a mother of 3 delightful daughters. I can be trusted to embrace various tasks and commitments at the same time – I sometimes see myself as an octopus.

I am French (originally from Britany) and I studied languages (English and Spanish) before attending business school. I am Bilingual in English after having spent 6 years living in the UK.

Senior Consultant

Jean-Christophe Depraetere

An industrial engineer and an M.B.A. by training, I am also a certified MBTI practitioner (personality questionnaire Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), and DISC (behavioural assessment tool). I effect, I did practice as an Engineer in France in the port and petroleum industries, and ten years in Canada in Finance, managerial and then HR functions at the Toronto head office of a bank. Beyond the rich, grounded human experience from the docks to the senior executive teams, I developed a good understanding of managerial strategies and constraints, a varied experience in engineering, industrial maintenance, finance, management and general administration, organizational improvement and talent development.

This varied experience satisfied two essential drivers for me: my curiosity for all kinds of industries or jobs, and my aspiration to contribute to drawing the best out of people and increase their impact and collaborative performance. So it was only natural at one point that I bring all this together and decide to become a consultant.

I help companies and their teams work through the various phases of their transformations, particularly from the perspective of “working better together”, collaboration, impactful communication and leadership.

A strong believer in upcoming talent and in nurturing strong inter-generational relationships, I am involved in addition to my consulting activity as a lecturer at the Arts & Métiers engineering school and SciencesPo Aix as part of their General Management course. I also support co-op engineering students through their learning path.

I lived 19 years outside France, including 16 in the Anglo-Saxon world (England, Canada), which of course shaped my personality, my approach to cultural differences, and my general openness to other people and practices. Fully bilingual in French and English, I currently reside in France and hold French and Canadian nationalities.

I like to describe myself as a person of conviction, sociable and expressive, benevolent, curious of people and of a wide range of subjects, hardworking, logical, and a spontaneous, pragmatic helper and solutions finder. I am also an unreasonable dark chocolate lover.


High Impact Director North Africa

Loubna Bennis

My carrier started in 1999 at Unilever in the marketing field. After 3 years, I moved to a chocolate company: Mars, where I stayed for 17 years: initially marketing, widening my responsibilities to sales & finally in general management for the last years. I was enjoying a “classical” successful career path in a wonderful company. I’m so grateful to Mars for all the development opportunities, experiences I lived. Approaching the 40th, I started to look for meaning in my life. What impact I want to have? What legacy I would like to build for my family, for the community? ​

​My story with High Impact started in 2014 as a client. I was promoted as the Regional manager for Mars in the Maghreb region and while taking my new responsibilities I had a leadership style that was directional, purely results driven at any cost and very detail-oriented which, whilst useful when running a business, was not very engaging for my teams. I started the leadership & impact development journey with High Impact through individual coaching. It was a transformational experience for me, I realised that to become more of the leader I could be, I needed to explore other dimensions: being more open, more sensitive, more adventurous…and being more connected with others in particular when communicating as a leader.

It was very uncomfortable at first and hard work, and as my journey progressed, I began to notice a real difference in my teams; I was feeling different, and this was having a direct impact on my teams.

​With High Impact I discovered the power of the body and the huge importance of working physically in order to connect with mind and emotions.  This is at the heart of Hi philosophy. I allowed myself to express my emotions more and more, to become comfortable with my body. My body and I started to talk to each other again!

In 2018, I decided to make a big shift in my life. Turning from a senior manager in a corporate world to a High Impact consultant with an entrepreneur mindset as founder of High Impact North Africa. My conviction is that everyone has unlocked potential and helping them to explore these hidden dimensions will be my mark on this world. ​

As a Mum of 4 kids, my leadership capabilities are even more required at home and I’m proud to share my experiences with my 3 sons and my daughter and to help them on their journeys as well at an early stage. What is fascinating to me with kids is their authenticity… The challenge for us as adults is how to be more open and get back our childhood authenticity.

Managing my energy is critical in such demanding environment, therefore I like to sit quietly, breath, contemplate, reflect, meditate or have the giggles. My laugh is bizarre and known to be quite contagious. I also have a passion for Non Violent Communication and Ayurveda – the world of natural Indian medicine. ​

​There is a quote I like very much “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’d planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us” Joseph Campbell. I invite you join me there!

Senior Consultant

Philippe Devaux

Philippe’s experience in team management, performance, facilitation allows him to accompany organisations in their management transformation.

In 2007 he joined bioMérieux, one of the leading companies in the In Vitro Diagnosis with the mission to create bioMérieux University, the Learning and Development organization at global level, and in 2012 Mérieux Université to serve all companies of the Institut Mérieux group worldwide and develop the entrepreneurship and managerial culture in line with the values and history of the Mérieux family and to continue to better serve Public Health.

Philippe has over 20 years of experience of transformation and competency development in Senior Leadership roles in marketing and sales with Danone and the Mars group in European environments.

LHEP©  Licensed Human Element Practitioner
Coaching and Team Performance (Team Performance Model DS)
Experimented Facilitator with visual facilitation

Senior Consultant

Pascale Mary

Pascale is 52 years old. She is the Managing Director, and has been an associate consultant at DMJ (High Impact partners) since 2005, after 17 years spent in fast consumer goods companies with Anglo-Saxon culture (Mars, Allied Domecq, Cadbury, Orangina Schweppes). Pascale has developed commercial, marketing and human resources experience in European environments. She is a certified MBTI practitioner, personality questionnaire (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) levels 1 and 2, Lominger 101 Skills, and 360° feedback Voices Lominger.

She is a coach for cross-functional groups of managers having monthly training within the GERME network.

Pascale works in a variety of fields, from large international companies to associations defending a societal cause, and this gives her a keen insight into organizations and change processes.

Her inclination for human relations shapes her approach to teams in their phase of development and change of organization or even universe. She regularly assists companies in the merger, change of structuring tool or team restart stages with new governance.

She designs and implements team support concepts – seminars, training, workshops, highlights – enabling employees to get to know each other better and to better address the challenges of their profession, while creating an authentic and simple atmosphere.

Her recent collaborations have been with organizations such as Eiffage, Mars, Bioderma, Alstom, Chanel, Bjorg, Orangina Schweppes, Babolat, Saint Mamet, Meetic, and previously with La Croix Rouge.

Pascale balances the rest of her time between her three poles of interest: her family, her commitment to a local rowing association and the defence of societal causes.

Senior Consultant

Sartaj Garewal

As I write this, I’m marvelling at how uninhibited and free my young children are – twin girls aged 1. Watching them roll around, make physical shapes and explore their surroundings with the utmost curiosity. It strikes me that we adults clearly lose something valuable through the process of growing up, becoming educated and conforming to society’s dictates.

So, it can feel exciting, dangerous even, to step back into an adventurous place and do something we would not ordinarily do. To surprise ourselves and maybe re-discover an innate wildness that lies dormant beneath layers of trying to fit in, could be the most liberating of awakenings.

I guess it was an element of this wildness that led me to ditch a career in fund management with Baring Asset Management to become a professional actor and voice artist. An unpredictable journey ensued with theatre credits at the highest level, many TV & Film roles and narrating over 50 audiobooks.

I also practiced a traditional form of Kung Fu for many years alongside yoga & meditation and worked one to one with stroke recovery patients in London hospitals to improve communication abilities.

Utilising this rich mix of varied disciplines and with a belief that the arts and business have much to learn from each other, I worked on global leadership, coaching and training programmes, introducing experiential interventions where learning truly sticks. To date, I have worked with over 100 prominent organisations over 15 years, from graduate level to C-suite, to challenge and enhance the communication and leadership abilities of senior leaders and emerging talent alike.

I hold a BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance from Bristol Business School, UWE, am a qualified coach and commercial mediator CIArb, am a Fellow of Royal Society of Arts FRSA and regularly contribute thought leadership articles for publications such as Training Journal. As an invited speaker I recently delivered “Optimising Ourselves for Expansive Leadership” at the CFA’s major conference Disruption ‘19 at London Excel.

A theatre director I once worked with would not describe any actor as more talented than another actor. He would simply describe them as being “less blocked.” Becoming less blocked or unlearning is as vital a process as acquiring new skills. Not to be childish but childlike with a spirit of discovery.

In that spirit I dare you to do something you would not ordinarily do. The wilder the better. And I mean now. Right now..! Go on, off you go…!