Advisory & Coaching for “Start Up Leaders” (Founders, Entrepreneurs and Executive Leaders)

Your actions as a leader should inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more..

Who IS IT For?

A “startup leader” could be an early-stage founder, startup CEO/senior executive or anyone who is responsible for leading and managing people at a startup. I enjoy working with all cool leaders from startups of all sizes and ventures at any stage are who want an innovative and new approach to a specific problem around work happiness, relationship building (business partners/employees/teams), culture development or employee retention/attraction/happiness/wellbeing. 

I strive to help individuals transition their companies from scrappy chaotic start-ups into happy and scalable businesses with strong leaders and healthy relationships

Previous Clients

Some of the areas/concerns/ questions worked on:

Improving and enhancing the relationship between founder & co-founder

  • What can I do to improve my relationship with my co-founder? I think we’re about to have a huge fight soon.
  • Investors are breathing down my neck, my team wants to know what the plan is, I barely see my boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/kids, and I think something is wrong with me. What am I supposed to do next?
  • I want my teams to trust me/us more. I’ve got a plan I just don’t know how to bring people onboard.
  • I constantly worry about transitioning into a CEO role...will I be any good?
  • What are some tricks for getting better at setting and sticking to our goals, values and priorities?
  • I’m still in start-up mode when I know I need to switch focus to help us scale

Maximising performance amongst leaders and teams

  • How can we fix our team communication? It feels like a lot of people are getting frustrated about basic things.
  • Is it normal to feel like I am a fraud? I know they say fake it till you make it, but this new promotion feels weird.
  • We are missing crucial parts of the team, how can I hire the right people now?
  • I’m worried that we can’t attract new talent (especially technical) without big bold perks...we don’t have the funds for this yet.
  • People talk about work-life balance, how can I achieve this when our team is stressed, under pressure and demotivated?
  • How can I be more aware of the impact my behaviour has on others?

Preparing the company and people for growth with the right culture

  • How can we improve our company culture?
  • Can we take some lessons from (*insert aspirational company of choice) to build a signature training program for new hires?
  • Our management style isn’t quite right for our culture aspirations….what do we do?
  • How can we create company values that have substance?
  • I think we need to rejig our organisational design, team job specs and basically order to make this work.
  • Working remotely seems like a great way to be new-age without an office, but I barely see people  and I think our communication sucks.

Case studies

SHOPIFY - The Studio Team within Shopify in Canada

Virtual coaching and webinar delivery

What were the problems you experienced before getting a coach and specialist?

  • Trouble attracting high-level talent to grow our team
  • No direct vision on the growth of the Studio Team within Shopify
  • No significant brand equity outside of the Shopify brand umbrella
  • No specific recruitment strategy for looming projects and no talent pipeline

Why did you choose Samantha & over other existing options?

  • Samantha seemed like a good fit because she had a background in coaching and creating workshops in both the tech and creative industries and specific experience talking and developing ‘Employer Branding for Successful talent attraction’. We needed some guidance on how to make it work and align all our thoughts

What top three positive outputs/outcomes /benefits did you receive?

  • We learn a lot from Samantha and it was very useful for our team to gain insight from an outside perspective. Her advice was logical, intuitive and actionable and she was able to break down our problem - which allowed us to dissect the issue and see it on a first principles basis.
  • With Samantha’s help we have:
    • Found an employee brand manager who is dedicated to building our team and our brand
    • Created and maintained a good relationship with all liquid talent and created a formal employee engagement strategy
    • Created a succinct FAQ section to improve efficiency and establish core team values and weed out the right/wrong candidates which will go live shortly.


"It was very obvious that Samantha loves what she does and cares about helping people. She genuinely cared about the problem we were having on our team and thought very critically about what could be done to help solve it. We appreciate Samantha’s hard work and dedication. She is a very talented woman and I, and my team, enjoyed working with her" - Alexandra Middleton, Shopify Studio Team


Consult p/t as Head of Happiness - March 2014 - September 2016 - Virtual and In-Person

3 talented founders, a handful of intelligent developers, project managers and data scientists all come together to create DADI. With rapid success, it’s clear that an entirely remote working company has many pros but there are a few challenges.

What were the problems you experienced before getting a coach and specialist?

  • We needed to align our visions, goals and business development priorities for real growth
  • Coming from varied backgrounds but no real People Ops or HR experience we needed someone dedicated to help us unify the company and grow our people and culture as we scaled up.
  • We had no formal HR processes or procedures in place but didn’t want the same old outdated take on it.
  • As a remote working company, there was fragmented communication and little team development/cohesion so wanted to build culture.

Why did you choose Samantha & over other existing options?

  • Samantha had excellent experience as a professional coach, lecturer at The School of Life, a genuine love of tech start ups and a very creative and eclectic outlook. We instantly felt inspired by her energy, ideas, action points and her attention to detail with us and the employees

What positive outputs/outcomes /benefits did you receive?

  • Aligned our vision and goals strategically with business priorities
  • Implementation of a dedicated process for orientating/introducing new members to the team, created a streamlined job offering process and attracting new talent for remote teams
  • Redevelopment of the culture/employee handbook templates
  • Establishment of a DADI mentoring/coaching programme for the staff which included 6 monthly happiness chats and employee coaching over lunch/dinner for all London based ones or Skype chats for those employees  abroad
  • Organisation of monthly team nights out / events / conferences - everything from sourcing the event to booking etc which became an instant success and boosted morale
  • Planned and executed 2x annual Strategy & Get Together Retreats for entire company and families, approximately 50 people in total
  • Created an open forum for discussion & development of future DADI+ innovation
  • Streamlined the internal communication processes for the company
  • Successful and seamless growth from 7 people to 30 people and growing. Members of the DADI team successfully work all over the world now, from Taiwan, Copenhagen, Berlin, Austin to London.


"The happiness function at DADI is something we are particularly proud about and Sam has been a key factor in making it a success. We are hugely appreciative of everything Sam has done to promote the culture at DADI since she has been with us." Chris Mair, Founder, DADI

The ups and downs of a startup can really take it out on you and your partners:

Pressure from your board. From your significant others. From clients. From investors. 

But most importantly from the early fledging employees giving their all, who want to feel part of the vision and that you actually care. If you let it slip down the priority list you will end up regretting it.

What if you had someone to support you in solving this challenge?

I'm Intrigued..Tell me MORE.

We belive in a simple three step process for success;

1 -  cultivate key founder/partner and board relationships and align key values, company visions and the goal of people practices

2 - create a framework and roadmap for your signature company, culture and employee success

3 - then implement or train someone in-house to implement through our Start Up Smart programme.

Through a blend of coaching (asking you to dig deep and discover the right answers for yourself) and consulting (telling you the answers and sharing experience and knowledge) you'll be provided with a roadmap and clarity on how to:

  • Define what you want happiness @ work to look like for you and your company values
  • Help you create a culture to thrive and survive the start-up rollercoaster  
  • Identify how you will be aligned to meet and work towards your goals and objectives
  • Develop your attitude to ride through potential challenges
  • Outline how you will continue your commitment to your 'people'

What are the outcomes? 

Examples of actions/outcomes have been:

  • Stronger founder/co-founder relationships to enable a holistic vision towards success
  • A strategic happiness @ work plan, an employee-happiness journey roadmap, an implementation ‘to do’ list, a company culture handbook template or a resource/requirements list or analysis
  • A thorough ‘employer-brand’ marketing plan 
  • A thorough personalised 'employee engagement flow' strategy
  • A technical round up of the platforms and tools to implement, and/or a list of pros and cons about the options you’re considering
  • A dedicated 'happiness/people' operations roadmap for someone in-house

The Difference it will make 

Employees are the heart of your business.

Without focusing on them it's hard to create an experience and/or a company that will make them want to stay and make others join. The best way to craft a happy employee experience is to; create an authentic story based on the true beliefs and passions of the founders/partners, align this with your company's work and values and then co-create with your employees to bring it to life. 

Great! How can we get started?

This experience can be done in a variety of ways:

  • We can do it virtually
  • The face-to-face touch is also cool
  • As a bespoke company off-site where you have the space to be inspired and get creative

Throughout the process, the best secrets will be shared with you to keep you ahead of the curve with the latest thinking. Equipped with the very latest tools and techniques, you’ll develop a sustainable strategic roadmap that you can feel confident and proud of. 

All that is asked is that you be a leader/founder in a high growth company and have one of the following:

  • Raised at least one round of venture capital or be privately funded
  • A team of at least 5 employees

To find out more, get in contact today.