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Founder of The Charisma Connection

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Charisma – the future of leadership and engagement
By Nikki Owen, Founder of The Charisma Connection

Harvard Business Review (July 2012) claims that charismatic leaders outperform their non-charismatic peers by 68%. Charismatic leaders build higher engagement, find it easier to attract and retain talent and create a collaborative high performing culture. So why does charisma often trigger a negative reaction from organisations keen to sharpen their results? Is it really possible to teach charisma and does it pose a danger for organisational succession?

Having devoted my adult life to studying this elusive and often controversial topic I embarked upon a piece of global research with 2663 organisations. I discovered that you can’t teach charisma. If you teach a behaviour that you have identified as charismatic that is out of alignment with the individual’s core essence they will come across as fake, inauthentic and they definitely won’t have charisma. I knew that conventional approaches to leadership development would not work with charisma.

My own definition is that Charisma is an authentic power that captivates the hearts and minds of others. When you are being totally true to who you really are inside then you shine in your own unique way. This creates a natural state of flow that embodies high performance. I still believe that you can’t teach charisma. It is an innate power that exists as a field of potential within us all. The tough experiences of life trigger a primal need to protect ourselves. We begin to erect emotional walls designed to keep out the hurts and attacks. Whilst this walls protect us they also create a block to our own true essence.  This is the main principle that drives my work on charisma because you don’t need to shout or show off to be charismatic. You simply have to find the courage to let down your walls and allow the truth within you to shine.

My research has taken me into the rebellious world of quantum mechanics when I began understanding the impact of energy on a person’s presence. I studied cellular biology and saw the link between the operating mechanism of cells and how this translates to silos, disengagement and resistance to change. I started working with Emotional Intelligence, Control Dramas and Emotional Contagion. I conducted a variety of experiments to prove the impact of a leader’s mood on the bottom line. These have garnered extensive media interest. I have now worked with over 2000 people helping them to reconnect to their innate charisma to help them attain more harmony and inner balance. In 2008 I put my blueprint for charisma through a five year rigorous testing process.  I worked with business leaders from a wide range of industry sectors at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre using 15 different key performance indicators to test the efficacy, sustainability and truth of my techniques. In 2012 I took my work into organisations who were the ‘early adopters’ to gather more evidence of success.

Following the publication of my life’s work on charisma in 2015 (Charismatic to the Core) I have worked with a team of like-minded individuals who I have trained and accredited in my methods. It is with great excitement, backed up by years of hard work and global research that we bring to The Charisma Connection to organisations. My approach is not for everyone. Yet if you are continually seeking to breakthrough personal, team and organisational barriers the charisma is the ultimate attribute for emerging leaders.


Nikki Owen FPSA, is an Award Winning Speaker, Bestselling Author and Personal Transformation Coach. She passionately believes that charisma is vital to business growth, high performance, health and happiness. In the spirit of a willingness to experiment with new concepts and theories at the frontiers of leadership development, Nikki’s thought-provoking ideas and strategies challenge, inspire and motivate transformation in the workplace.

  • 5 years delivering charismatic leadership seminars at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
  • Commentator for Aljazeera Television and The Sunday Tribune during televised UK election debates in 2010
  • Positivity Advisor to The Expotel Group
  • Executive Faculty at Henley Business School
  • Creator of The Big Apple Experiment (impact of disengagement and Emotional Contagion)
  • Founder of The Charisma Connection Programme
  • Charisma Coach on Sky’s Kitchen Sink to Catwalk series
  • Internationally published autobiography – Nicola, A Second Chance to Live
  • Author of Charismatic to the Core – a fresh approach to authentic leadership
  • Runner up New Speaker of the Year 2014 Academy for Chief Executives
  • Best New Speaker 2013 of Vistage UK and Ireland
  • Finalist 2013 Highest Impact Speaker Vistage UK and Ireland
  • 2012 winner of London’s Speaker Factor by Professional Speaking Association
  • Rising Star 2011 of Academy for Chief Executives
  • Fellow Professional Speaking Association
“I engage the services of Tony Robbins, Allan Pease and Jack Canfield. Having seen Nikki Owen hold an audience spellbound, she is one of the most authentic and effective speakers I have seen.”

Niri S Patel, BNI India National Director

“I was blown away by Nikki’s energy and inspirational personality.”

Niina Turunen, Global Customer Service & Competence Manager, Shell International




Mobile: 07909 914815

Charisma – the ultimate form of influence

By Sylvia Baldock, Presence, Gravitas and Charisma Expert

In 2005, I had my first real experience of the impact of charisma in business. I was attending a busy networking event full of female business leaders. The room was packed. On the far side of the room I noticed an animated woman who was surrounded by a large group who were all smiling, totally engaged with what she was saying. Such was the presence of this women, (her name was Natalie) that she ended up supplying my organisation with a range of services!

Natalie’s charisma and gravitas triggered a fascination within me. I wanted to understand more about this tantalising attribute. How does charisma differ from presence and gravitas? Do organisations really want their leaders to be charismatic? Can charisma help women in the board room feel more comfortable with competing in a predominantly male domain? What does being in flow really mean to the bottom line? My research and theories were put to the test as I built groups of networking events aimed specifically at women in business. I often heard women complain that it was tough operating in a man’s world. The continual insecurity around whether to display emotion and compassion in the workplace. My members often expressed that being their natural authentic selves was not good enough. As I gathered momentum with my own research, publishing two books on the subject of presence, I discovered the work that Nikki Owen has been pioneering for years on charisma. There was a natural resonance between our two approaches. I liked the validity of her research, the rigorous testing and measurement of her model, especially because charisma is such an intangible subject.

I became the first person in the UK to become accredited by Nikki Owen to deliver her series of Charisma Connection workshops. These are specifically designed for organisations who have a forward thinking leadership agenda. Harvard Business Review and the University of Lausanne both agree that when business leaders, talent and high potentials possess charisma they are 68% more effective.

Since running The Charisma Connection for business leaders I have witnessed the immediate impact on confidence, engagement, Emotional Intelligence and resilience. The results are striking and enduring – it is the overarching vision that has created such a high impact programme. The approach used in The Charisma Connection has been shaped by two main principles. Firstly, that authenticity and being true to the real you (regardless of whether you are male or female, introvert or extrovert) is a vital element to charisma. Secondly, that charisma cannot be taught using conventional leadership development. Consequently, the workshops incorporate a model based on working from the inside out and therefore tapping into what is already innate within everyone.

Working at this depth with organisational leadership teams challenges the way they think and act. It stretches their perceptions causing a shift in awareness on a hour-by-hour basis. By doing so the potential for significant transformation is created. The Charisma Connection really does provide an exciting glimpse into the future of leadership and engagement.


Sylvia Baldock is a Personal Presence and Team Dynamics Specialist and Trainer, Professional Speaker, Business/Personal/Speaker Coach, International Author and Regional Director of The Athena Network. A seasoned and engaging business trainer/coach and networking guru who specialises in unlocking the hidden potential in individuals and teams. Sylvia believes that Charisma is the key to engagement, productivity, profitability and fulfilment.

  • 30 years of experience training over a thousand business people  in public speaking, charisma and presence.
  • Accredited Partner for The Charisma Connection.
  • Global Partner with Talent Dynamics, working with teams to ensure high performance.
  • Training coaches and trainers in how to profile and debrief their clients.
  • Member of the Professional Speaking Association.
  • Author of   ‘From Now to WOW in 30 Days’ and ’30 Top Tips on Presenting with Power, Passion and Presence’.
  • Regional Director of The Athena Network
  • 10 years experience in delivering networking workshops
  • Member of The IOD
  • Member of The Association for Coaching
“You are the consummate professional. Your stage presence and delivery are first rate. You have a great start catching the attention of the audience. You look just fabulous too. I like to see people in our profession do this job really well. And you do. Now go set the world alight with your fabulous speaking!”

David Thomas, World’s Leading Memory Expert

I first met Sylvia at a PSA meeting in London. She has an amazing natural passion to make a difference with organisations and peoples’ lives. When she speaks, she instantly captures the audience, when I watched her speak at the PSA meeting the majority of the audience were making copious notes whilst listening to her. Sylvia Baldock is a great investment for success.”

‪Steve Beckles-Ebusua, International Speaker, Author of Because I Said So, Understanding Your Teenager.





Terri Bailey

Mobile: 07793 648 472


Charisma – building engagement within Virgin Holidays

By Terri Bailey, Building Engagement Expert

I was fortunate to be part of a great brand and a wonderful success story for over 20 years. Being part of the Virgin Travel Group always felt a privilege and going to work every day – although hard work, was extremely rewarding.

In my last role as HR Director at Virgin Holidays I was known for developing high performing award winning HR/People teams, driving record engagement scores across my team and the business, delivering culture, values and wellbeing projects and for driving a rewarding performance culture.

Part of choosing external consultants and companies to work with meant I had to really evaluate whether they were bringing something new and innovative to the table – this was Virgin after all! We had already delivered many different programmes so it was important to ensure we embraced leading edge development approaches to capture interest and engagement from the delegates. Not all external leadership development suppliers would fit with us culturally so this was an important element of consideration.

When I met with Nikki Owen to discuss her work on charisma I realised her approach was  unique and very different to anything that we had delivered previously. There was a strong connection with my guiding principles on employee engagement and her methods epitomised the Virgin brand values.  I was searching for an intervention for the Emerging Leaders (Talent Pool) and this was perfect. Whilst The Charisma Connection was exciting and different it was also unconventional.  I knew that implementing it had an element of risk to it. Would my target audience really embrace something that was a little bit ‘out there’! I needn’t have worried – some risks pay off and  it was the highest rated training programme delivered at Virgin Holidays during the 10yrs of my HR Director tenure.

The programme is powerful and impactful. It looks at leadership from a different perspective (you do not automatically think about cellular biology or quantum physics when you think about leadership!) The programme proved to be fun and thought provoking. The emerging leaders made immediate changes to their leadership style and as a result this improved their ability to engage and motivate their teams.

Having experienced the the impact The Charisma Connection had on our business I was  keen to continue the work on bringing the benefits of charisma into more organisations. Charismatic leadership is an innate attribute that anyone can develop!

I am delighted to have become an Accredited Partner for the Charisma Connection and I am looking forward to helping others on the journey to discover their true authentic leadership style.


Terri Bailey Chartered FCIPD experienced the impact of engagement on performance and productivity in her role as HR Director at Virgin Holidays. She was the driving force behind record engagement levels built upon her guiding principles of compassion, personal development for all and performance and values—based recognition. Having witnessed the impact of developing the charisma of Emerging Leaders, Terri advocates the vital role of a leader’s presence on engagement and peak performance.

  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • Track record of attaining exceptionally high engagement scores within own team and across businesses
  • Catalyst behind multi-award winning teams at Virgin Holidays
  • Over two decades experience in HR
  • Member of the British Psychological Society
  • Cross lateral experience in psychometric profiling tools
  • Culture, Values, Wellbeing and Employee Engagement expertise
  • Mentor for the Aspire Foundation
  • Executive Coach and Mentor
  • National Council member for the Nautical Training Corps.
  • Former advisory board member for Masters &Bachelors qualifications:
  • Leeds Metropolitan University & Institute of Travel & Tourism
  • Guest Expert Advisor for ‘Women like Us’
  • Accredited Partner for The Charisma Connection

“Terri is a truly engaging, knowledgeable, creative and business focused HR Professional.”

Lisa Jarvis — Director / Owner, Permanent Solutions Direct recruitment services

“In my experience of working with organisations all over the world Terri is the best at truly aligning what’s right for people with what’s right for the organisation – perfectly balancing head and heart.”

Barry Holmes, Owner, Zoom Creates

“Terri’s transformational leadership style and wealth of experience has helped me to progress my career and develop my confidence and self-esteem as a Manager.”

Angel Conley — L&D Manager, Greystar Europe Holdings and Virgin Holidays





Mobile: 07904 898200

How does Charisma help create High Performing Teams?

By Louise Southam, Transformational Coach and Charisma Expert

Having spent many years working in the corporate world within in a Recruitment capacity, I understand the importance of creating high performing teams.  The leaders I worked with invested huge resources to attract and recruit the right people for their business.  Many then struggled to retain them once they were on board.  It was like filling up a bath without a plug – their talent was draining away down the plughole.  Leaders often told me that these people were not right for the organization anyway. What made me curious was noticing how their own behaviours and attitudes reflected on their people. The leader’s mood has the biggest impact on retention and the bottom line.

I noticed the difference between the leaders that built their people up and those that made their people feel small.  These leaders were very good at pointing out all the weaknesses, ‘telling’ their people what to do and how to do it and best of all, using the ‘feedback sandwich’ model, which let’s be honest, you only remember the bad stuff you’re told.  I watched some really great recruits deflate and leave the business feeling a failure and as we know, bad word spreads fast.

So what changed?  Suddenly the buzzwords of Emotional Intelligence, Engagement and Empowerment were brandished about businesses.  Leaders were being encouraged to learn how to coach their people so that they learnt from doing, rather than being told.  Feedback models were taught and high performing teams emerged.

I was lucky to have worked with some amazing leaders, who really embraced this model. They would praise and encourage their teams, they would be vulnerable at times and most of all, they were authentic.  Today, we know this as charisma and the more we are our authentic self, the more charismatic we are.  Teams work more harmoniously together, driving towards the same goal.  Their leader taps into their innate charisma, harnessing it and spreading it outwards to their teams.  I have one leader I work with, for me he is a model of a charismatic leader.  I see his people strive to deliver the results, and doing it with a sense of fun and knowing that it’s ok if they mess up. He encourages them to think for themselves and to share their ideas. He embraces the concept ‘you have to dare to lose to win.’ Attrition in his organisation has more than halved since he joined a year ago.

When a leader creates a safe environment, employees operate from a mindset of growth rather than one of fear.

Nikki Owen’s 30 year study of charisma showed me the process that shows leaders how to access their own charisma to create high performing teams that stay.  The Charisma Connection is designed to create a more aware, confident, engaged and authentic leader.  What makes it different is it recognises you cannot teach charisma, it is innate, so it incorporates the concept of the inside-out journey.  A powerful programme, creating quick shifts in individuals, which ultimately leads to high performing teams that have resilience and belief in themselves. I am delighted to be a partner of this exciting programme because I believe that the insights gained from developing your charisma will shape the future of leadership and engagement.


Louise Southam is a Transformational Coach, she works with organisations to effectively develop their leaders and senior management teams. Her previous background in recruitment, where she built and developed teams, ignited her passion to work with leaders on enhancing their own charisma. She believes that this is the key to true connection to others, personal development, increased esteem and engaging leadership. Louise’s style creates the environment to stretch comfort zones in a way that is truly transformative.

  • 12 years organisational experience, responsible for design and delivery of recruitment and retention strategy.
  • 7 year track record in creating high performing teams
  • 1:1 powerful breakthrough sessions with leaders and senior managers
  • Keynote speaker at Aspire Foundation event
  • Accredited Partner of Clairty4D personality profile and Motivational Maps
  • Co-founder of the Power of Women programme
  • TEDx speaker
Louise’s style is both open and encouraging. She takes the time to understand and helps develop your own inner strength.  As a trusted coach she is honest and shows a genuine interest in the people she works with. I would highly recommend Louise and have done so on more than one occasion.”

Sally Bennett, Executive Recruitment Director, Engage Executive Search and Selection

“Louise uses her intuitive nature to create a deep, energetic connection when she is coaching and facilitating. She has a real empathetic approach and deeply listens in order to create space for an individual to explore their own answers and build on their innate strengths.” 

Rob Cameron, Programme Manager, Jaguar Land Rover