Catherine Brown

Catherine Brown

Founder of Skilful Conversation

Barrister turned coach and trainer Catherine Brown shares her passions and interests with The Brief

How do you like to start the day?

I generally wake up a bit earlier than I need to so that I can have a first cup of tea back in bed. And then I usually set to work before a break later for breakfast or exercise because I work best in the mornings.

What’s your favourite object in your office/home office?

A little spider plant that I have kept alive, so far, against all the odds.

Who is your closest colleague?

I am a one-woman band so don’t have any colleagues as such, but I have a really supportive network around me, including colleagues from my old Chambers.

Do you have a favourite family heirloom?

I have an old-style iron – as in an actual hunk of metal that my Grandma would heat on the fire to iron the clothes for a family of ten. It’s a pretty useful reminder to be grateful for how much easier life is today.

What’s your favourite song of all time?

Like a Prayer by Madonna (because she has to be in here and I can’t put her in as movie star).

What’s your favourite play?

Can I choose a musical? I am a big fan of Hamilton.

Who’s your favourite movie star?

Clint Eastwood, or Sean Penn if I go fractionally more modern.

What’s your favourite book?

These get harder. It definitely depends on my mood but the one that’s stuck with me most in recent years is An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

What book are you reading right now?

I’ve been rereading the Shetland books by Ann Cleeves, mostly for geographical escapism. The current one is Dead Water.

What book do you wish you had written?

No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol.

What’s the greatest invention of all time?

For allowing me to keep on coaching and training from home, I’m going to have to go with Zoom.

Is there a sport you wish you could play?

I’m a big cricket fan but am really conscious when I watch it that I have no real sense of how hard it must be actually to play it, so I’d love to be able to do that.

Who inspires you in business?

I’m not sure I am really inspired by anybody in the public eye but I love to take inspiration from people who are doing their own thing and making their own path, instead of doing what is expected of them. And I guess I owe that mindset to my mum and dad.

In the office do you dress up, dress down or somewhere in between?

After years of needing to be fully suited and booted in black, charcoal and navy, it’s now my policy to go as casual and bright as I think I can get away with.

Where do you go to relax?

The yoga mat. Or my hammock.

What country have you always wanted to visit?

Iceland. I’ve ticked off a lot of the previous holders of the “country I most want to visit” title so Iceland is now at the top.

Besides your phone, what do you always have with you?

Headphones – I’m a bit of a podcast addict.

What’s the best part of your job?

Seeing my coaching clients achieve something that they’ve been previously avoiding.

How do you unwind after work?

I usually try to do something active – often a walk, occasionally a jog.

Finally, what’s your guilty pleasure?

Crisps and red wine. Separately or together. I’m not fussy.

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Awards

We’re a Sunday Times Best Small Company to Work For: 2016, 2017, 2018