Who we are

The High Impact Core Team

Founder and Managing Director High Impact Europe Ltd.

Grant Aylward

Consultant & Coach in Leadership development and High Impact Communication, Professional Moderator

I asked my colleagues at High Impact what they would like me to highlight in my biography. What you will find below is therefore the reflection of their insights and observations, their guidance to me on what you – the reader – would perhaps most like to know. I am most grateful to them.

Meeting of 2 Worlds – feet on the ground / head in the clouds

Firstly a bit of background on me. Prior to creating High Impact in 2005, I began my professional life in the Corporate world (Mars, Unilever and Kraft), in France and the UK. After 13 years I left that world and went on a journey into the performing arts – a journey which was to change my life. After studying at Guildford School of Acting (the Conservatoire) I became a professional actor for 6 years, mostly in London’s West End. It was an amazing time which, looking back, was a quest to find my own personal creativity and purpose in life.

The journey to become an actor was huge, edifying and, at times, brutally hard. I particularly remember being confronted one afternoon by my mentor, Ian Rickets “Grant, dear Grant, you must strive to keep the insights of your life and to lose the baggage in order to find the truth in yourself”. Uncertain as to what that actually meant, I decided to take it as an invitation to open myself up to explore what else I could do to be more authentic in my portrayals as an actor. Years later this has become the essence of the work we do at High Impact. Opening people up to themselves and to others, for all that they are and all that they can be as leaders and as connected human beings.

Co-founder and Partner High Impact Europe

Steve Apps

I am an original founder of High Impact Europe, having worked closely with Grant to develop our offering and brand back in 2007. Unexpectedly, I started my career in Market Research doing data analytics and quickly decided that wasn’t really for me. I attended a training course and was inspired enough by the trainer to say to her afterwards, “I want to do what you do.” I’ve never looked back. So began my journey through IT and technical training, to HR & soft skills training and into the world of leadership communication and impact development.

I have worked on all five continents and with people from over 50 different countries which I know helps me in my quest to improve my openness to people from different backgrounds and perspectives.

At my core, I like helping people. I felt proud when I helped Jean-Christophe transform his conference presentation so that he truly demonstrated his desire to connect to his people and acknowledge their cares and concerns. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when a participant emailed me, unprompted, two years after a programme to express his deep gratitude at the huge impact the High Impact philosophy had on his life. I feel privileged each year when I visit an orphanage and apply High Impact experiences to support groups of children and adults from the UK and Romania. My proudest moment happened when, 6 years after purchasing an oboe for a 12 year old girl from a favela in Sao Paulo, she was accepted on full scholarship into London’s top music academy. For me, it really doesn’t get better than that.

Director High Impact France

Karine Arnaud

I believe that leadership is daring to be who we are.

This is why I joined High Impact. To help leaders dare. Nothing is more rewarding to me than helping leaders to remove their own barriers; to encourage them to ask themselves the right questions, ones that will positively impact their careers if not their lives.

Joining the High Impact team was in total alignment with my guiding principles, which are grow and enjoy. Grow because I get bored easily when I stay for too long in my comfort zone. And enjoy simply because hardships help me realise life is short and anything can happen at any time. Enjoying what life offers right now, I find crucial.

Living in the Alps, I enjoy the great outdoors, hiking, running and skiing. My family is a key pillar and you may bump into me in a treetop adventure course with my husband, Olivier, and my 2 teenagers, Camille and Marion. When not travelling, I like working from my terrace and you’re likely to hear birds in the background when you call me. Grant, the CEO of High Impact called me recently using our webcams and his first sentence was: “I hate you” when he saw the mountains behind me.

Project Manager

Marion Dauchez

Here is a glimpse of who I am.

For 4 years now, I have been personal assistant to the CEO and a Project Manager at High Impact. I feel that I have found my ‘home’, that I am really in the right place, at the right company, working in a multi-cultural environment, with great people I admire and enjoy working with every day. I am proud to support my colleagues to help Leaders embark on their journey with High Impact and inspire others by daring, being true to themselves and open to others.

I am 42 years old and I worked for 15 years in marketing, commercial and project management roles within the events sector before joining High Impact. During this time, I spent 8 years organising and promoting large International trade congresses within the e-commerce sector.

I am deeply intuitive and enjoy new situations, new cultures (I spend part of my childhood abroad and my school friends came from Egypt, Senegal, Canada, Iran… ) and being close to action.

Calm and composed, I know how to downplay delicate and unforeseen situations in a straightforward way. I remember this strategic seminar near Paris gathering top leaders coming from all over the world: the venue was not adapted after all-I had to use all my diplomatic and influencing skills to move the entire group to another place in a way it did not affect the workshop and our relation with the client. That was a real “in the moment” challenge.

Director High Impact France

Mélanie Rey

I am convinced that anything is possible!

Our biggest barrier to greatness is often ourself and our limiting beliefs. My gift lies in seeing and helping people find their true power, in unleashing their full potential and truly shine as individuals and as leaders. I love to help them gain greater awareness of themselves and what is holding them back, by consciously connecting to themselves to others and to the world around them. 

At High Impact, we take people of a journey of self discovery on an intellectual level, a physical level, an emotional level and a spiritual level. This holistic approach is what made working with High Impact such an obvious choice!

My life is full of contrasts that have helped to shape me – I’m French but was raised in South-Africa and lived and worked in London for over a decade. I’ve been a certified leadership coach for 10 years after a corporate career in marketing and communications where I was at the helm of international and multi-cultural teams. I’m a certified emotional intelligence coach and also trained in neuroscience. I feed off the energy of the city and thrive on a deeply rooted connection nature. I am extremely empathetic and passionate about the power of relationships but also have a sharp and strategic business mind… 

I am told that my positive energy is contagious and when asked what I do, my children used to say that I am like a fairy, I help people to achieve their dreams!

High Impact Director North Africa

Loubna Bennis

My carrier started in 1999 at Unilever in the marketing field. After 3 years, I moved to a chocolate company: Mars, where I stayed for 17 years: initially marketing, widening my responsibilities to sales & finally in general management for the last years. I was enjoying a “classical” successful career path in a wonderful company. I’m so grateful to Mars for all the development opportunities, experiences I lived. Approaching the 40th, I started to look for meaning in my life. What impact I want to have? What legacy I would like to build for my family, for the community? ​

​My story with High Impact started in 2014 as a client. I was promoted as the Regional manager for Mars in the Maghreb region and while taking my new responsibilities I had a leadership style that was directional, purely results driven at any cost and very detail-oriented which, whilst useful when running a business, was not very engaging for my teams. I started the leadership & impact development journey with High Impact through individual coaching. It was a transformational experience for me, I realised that to become more of the leader I could be, I needed to explore other dimensions: being more open, more sensitive, more adventurous…and being more connected with others in particular when communicating as a leader.

It was very uncomfortable at first and hard work, and as my journey progressed, I began to notice a real difference in my teams; I was feeling different, and this was having a direct impact on my teams.

​With High Impact I discovered the power of the body and the huge importance of working physically in order to connect with mind and emotions.  This is at the heart of Hi philosophy. I allowed myself to express my emotions more and more, to become comfortable with my body. My body and I started to talk to each other again!

Senior Consultant

Sartaj Garewal

As I write this, I’m marvelling at how uninhibited and free my young children are – twin girls aged 1. Watching them roll around, make physical shapes and explore their surroundings with the utmost curiosity. It strikes me that we adults clearly lose something valuable through the process of growing up, becoming educated and conforming to society’s dictates.

So, it can feel exciting, dangerous even, to step back into an adventurous place and do something we would not ordinarily do. To surprise ourselves and maybe re-discover an innate wildness that lies dormant beneath layers of trying to fit in, could be the most liberating of awakenings.

I guess it was an element of this wildness that led me to ditch a career in fund management with Baring Asset Management to become a professional actor and voice artist. An unpredictable journey ensued with theatre credits at the highest level, many TV & Film roles and narrating over 50 audiobooks.

I also practiced a traditional form of Kung Fu for many years alongside yoga & meditation and worked one to one with stroke recovery patients in London hospitals to improve communication abilities.

Friend and Experienced High Impact Consultant

Pascale Mary

Pascale is 52 years old. She is the Managing Director, and has been an associate consultant at DMJ (High Impact partners) since 2005, after 17 years spent in fast consumer goods companies with Anglo-Saxon culture (Mars, Allied Domecq, Cadbury, Orangina Schweppes). Pascale has developed commercial, marketing and human resources experience in European environments. She is a certified MBTI practitioner, personality questionnaire (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) levels 1 and 2, Lominger 101 Skills, and 360° feedback Voices Lominger.

She is a coach for cross-functional groups of managers having monthly training within the GERME network.

Pascale works in a variety of fields, from large international companies to associations defending a societal cause, and this gives her a keen insight into organizations and change processes.

Her inclination for human relations shapes her approach to teams in their phase of development and change of organization or even universe. She regularly assists companies in the merger, change of structuring tool or team restart stages with new governance.

Friend and Experienced High Impact Consultant

Jean-Christophe Depraetere

An industrial engineer and an M.B.A. by training, I am also a certified MBTI practitioner (personality questionnaire Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), and DISC (behavioural assessment tool). I effect, I did practice as an Engineer in France in the port and petroleum industries, and ten years in Canada in Finance, managerial and then HR functions at the Toronto head office of a bank. Beyond the rich, grounded human experience from the docks to the senior executive teams, I developed a good understanding of managerial strategies and constraints, a varied experience in engineering, industrial maintenance, finance, management and general administration, organizational improvement and talent development.

This varied experience satisfied two essential drivers for me: my curiosity for all kinds of industries or jobs, and my aspiration to contribute to drawing the best out of people and increase their impact and collaborative performance. So it was only natural at one point that I bring all this together and decide to become a consultant.

I help companies and their teams work through the various phases of their transformations, particularly from the perspective of “working better together”, collaboration, impactful communication and leadership.

A strong believer in upcoming talent and in nurturing strong inter-generational relationships, I am involved in addition to my consulting activity as a lecturer at the Arts & Métiers engineering school and SciencesPo Aix as part of their General Management course. I also support co-op engineering students through their learning path.