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Ann marie Houghtailing works with a several businesses across the United States, helping leaders and employees increase revenue with heart, humanity and humor. She’s been working with BDO USA, LLP – a premier accounting, tax, financial advisory and consulting organization – for the past five years.

I spoke with Colette Harper, National Leadership Skills Manager for BDO, about how Ann marie has worked with BDO and what their experience has been with her as a facilitator and speaker. Here’s what Colette had to say.

LS: How long has Ann marie consulted with BDO?
5+ years

LS: In what ways has Ann marie worked with BDO?
In my role as National Leadership Skills Manager, I’m responsible for the leadership (soft skills) curriculum for our firm’s leaders. I first hired Ann marie to facilitate at our new manager training to help demystify relationship/business development.

Since then we have expanded our curriculum to have Ann marie facilitate sessions on storytelling and narrative leadership for our experienced managers. This training focuses on using narrative and storytelling in both relationship development and leadership conversations.

She is also now facilitating Qualifying Questions and Storytelling Narrative Training for one of our milestone programs, BDO Leadership Institute, which is a program designed to help develop future firm partners.

We also hired Ann marie to be a keynote speaker at the BDO leadership conference in 2016. As you can see, we believe that Storytelling is an important tool to have in your toolbox!

LS: How has the experience been for BDO working with Ann marie?
Whenever we do a workshop, attendees complete a 5-point rating scale questionnaire. Ann marie’s sessions for our experienced managers this past fall earned straight 5s. And there were over 100 people in attendance!

LS: Why is Ann marie different from other trainers?
Her key differentiator is that she truly understands relationship development, and can come into any group speaking the right language. She really does a great job of proving that business development doesn’t have to be scary.

LS: Can you provide an example of someone who directly benefited from Ann marie’s training?
Yes! After a BLI session last year that focused on qualifying questions and narrative sales conversations, the participants do a role-play of an actual proposal meeting using a scenario of a fictitious company that BDO is trying to engage. After the training, one of the participants emailed that her office had won a huge engagement, and she said she was sure that the practice and tips she got during the mock proposal contributed directly to that win.

LS: What would you tell a business that is considering hiring Ann marie as a consultant?
She is such a great listener and can read between the lines so well. She has a great knack for understanding things not said and knowing what people mean (even when we’re not putting it into words in the best way). She will tailor and customize the learning experience, and does a great job of weaving the right narrative to connect with the audience. That’s why she gets straight 5s – she practices what she preaches! Our participants just love her and always ask to bring her back.

Leah R. Singer


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