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Building leadership skills with Help to Grow

Damini Sharma, CEO of The OM Group
Damini Sharma, CEO of The OM Group
OM Group logo

My name is Damini Sharma and I am the CEO and Co-Founder of The OM Group. We are a construction consultancy and training business, working nationally.

As we are based in the Midlands, I completed the Help to Grow: Management Course with Aston Business School.

The OM Group has been established for 15 years and was set up as a family business by myself and my father.

The Help to Grow: Management course has been instrumental in helping us to realise opportunities that we have as a business and as result, we have experienced significant growth.

I’m passionate about learning and have done many business programmes, Help to Grow: Management most recently. I’ve completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme and the Productivity through People course through Aston Business School.

I work in the construction industry so my team and I are regularly visiting sites. It wasn’t intentional but the business now has a high proportion of females in operations, consultancy, advisory, as well as marketing, admin, support, and training. This is obviously unusual in the traditionally male-dominated construction sector.

Why were you interested in applying for the Help to Grow: Management Course?

Aston Business School approached me about the course. I had completed business leadership courses before, but Brexit changed the way in which we do business. It created challenges, as well as so many opportunities.

The reason I wanted to do the Help to Grow: Management Course was that the previous courses I attended didn’t cover resilience. Resilience wasn’t a topic. It was barely discussed.

I wanted to understand how I could build resilience in my business in order to scale sustainably, whilst enhancing productivity and taking advantage of all the new opportunities that are available. When on the course, I had questions like how can I be a better leader; how can I develop my team to be more resilient so that we can move all of this forward?

What did you learn in the course? How did it help you in your business?

The Help to Grow: Management Course is structured as an impactful business programme for business leaders. It combines academic theory and knowledge, as well as practical insights and tools to help leaders, such as myself, to implement best practices and proven frameworks to help drive business success.

The peer network on the Course is also incredibly strong – all of the leaders in the room want to be there, they are committed to the success of their business and committed to building resilience and learning new things to help drive growth.

Being delivered at the Aston Business School meant that the course was taught by both the academic faculty members, as well as guest business lecturers.  This approach helped balance the practical with the theory of the topics that are covered in the Course.

In addition, the case study aspect of the Help to Grow: Management Course was incredibly interesting for me, as I knew the business owner on who it is based.  Deep diving into another company and understanding the fundamental operations of that business helped me to put things in my own business into perspective and gain clarity on things that I had been stuck on previously.

My two biggest takeaways from Help to Grow: Management were how to build resilient teams, whilst becoming a stronger and more confident leader; and that, even though it may seem lonely at times being at the top, you are not alone when you have a peer network, like the one that I can access now as a Help to Grow: Management Alum.

What support was offered during the Help to Grow: Management Course?

To be honest, the support provided before, during and after the Course has been phenomenal and it continues to help me be the best leader I can be for my business.

Prior to registering, Aston Business School were brilliant – they reached out to me to tell me about the Course and I then applied via a short online form that confirmed my eligibility.  They provided me with advice and guidance on what I needed to know before I completed the registration.  I know the team really well, but it was still a very easy experience for me.

During the course, the session leaders and lecturers were incredibly knowledgeable and the peer network was diverse and engaging.  Having business leaders from a variety of industries, with businesses at different stages, led to a lot of interesting and inspirational conversations and a few opportunities too!

The mentoring support provided with the Course was also really helpful – each business leader is provided with 10 hours of 1-2-1 mentoring and because we are experiencing high-growth I was assigned someone with experience in scaling a company. To match me with a mentor I was asked around 20 questions about my business this helped me find the right match.

Would you recommend this offer to other women running businesses?

Absolutely, I would 100% recommend the Course to other women running businesses!

I know that the statistics show that record numbers of new businesses are being started by women, but on the flip side, women-led firms struggle to attract equal investment.  The Help to Grow: Management Course helps build confidence and inspires business leaders to achieve their growth potential – it creates a network of peers that can help sustain us, support us and encourage us.

As for The OM Group – we’re growing. We have three new brands that we are launching this year and moving into new and exciting phases in our journey.  Our mission is to be a positive influence and a voice for change in the construction sector, inspiring future generations and helping deliver every project safely and efficiently.

My biggest takeaway from Help to Grow: Management was how to build resilient teams while becoming a stronger and more confident leader.

Damini Sharma