Sunday, December 18, 2011


The learning journey continues...

I have been working as a Senior Lecturer at University of Westminster in London since 2004 and still enjoy every minute of my time there.  I love speaking to my Post-Graduate students through my lectures, though these tend to be more like conversations with some theoretical constructs thrown in for good measure PLUS a good dose of practical application.

One of my favourite times in semester 1 is watching my students present back their findings and research in a special 'mini conference'.  They choose from across a range of interesting topics to do with Learning and Development and this forms part of their formal assessment.  Here I am setting the scene last Friday for one such assessment day talking about the future of Human Resource Development.

A great day was had by all, especially when they got the formalities over and could relax a little.


Sunday, December 11, 2011


The learning journey continues...

I am awake early this Sunday morning to get a few work things done before some very dear friends that we have known for years arrive here for lunch for our annual pre-Christmas 'get-together'.

Little did I know that I would be woken up by just two most wonderful gifts, that have certainly brightened the still dark skies outside.  We all know how lovely it is when people say nice things about our work.  We are told to ask former clients to comment about our work with them, I am no different, however, I often forget to ask my clients to do this.  Yes, shock horror, I do forget, and I know that those of you who teach small business marketing techniques and bestow the virtues of  capturing as many testimonials as you can, will be holding their hands high in the air and crying "no, that is not how you are supposed to do it"

So imagine my delight and surprise when I went to my computer this morning to find, not one, but TWO, completely unsolicited testimonials!

The first is from a lady who has just completed her dream, to create an audio book about breathing techniques for asthmatics which will help them control their condition.  Here is her lovely email to me...

HI Józefa

Hope you are well, I know you have not asked for a testimonial from me, but I would like to provide one anyway:-)

Józefa has been instrumental in supporting me in getting my first audio out for public distribution, her support throughout has been professional and she brings with her a depth of experience and knowledge of vocal training and enterprise support.  I am truly grateful to Józefa for helping to turn an idea into reality, and for supporting the essential first steps of turning an distant dream of reaching out to many into a real possibility.  Thank you Jozefa.  

Gurmit Kaur

The second, is from just the most wonderful, unique and thoroughly amazing British commecial poet, Amy 'I Want A Poem' Catherine.

Here is the short film that she made for me...

Words cannot describe how wonderful it feels to be appreciated, especially when you work independently as I do and not for a large organisation surrounded by work colleagues affirming your value on a regular basis.

Having a few really meaningful testimonials freely offered are worth more to me than a whole clutch of them that I have asked for along the way.  Thank you so much Gurmit and Amy - you have truly made my day :-)


Tuesday, December 06, 2011


The learning journey continues...

Looking back to June this year, it is hard to believe exactly how much has happened to me since I last posted here on this blog, and how far I have travelled, just take a look..

UK to Riga, Latvia in August (1800 miles); Latvia to Moscow, Russia in September (555 miles); Moscow back to UK (2182 miles); UK to Madrid, Spain in October (2690 miles) and back again.  Then UK to Dubai, UAE in November (4770 miles); Dubai to Abu Dhabi, UAE, FOUR times back and forth (368 miles) and then finally Dubai, UAE home to UK (4770 miles)


In each of these exciting venues I have been developing a series of products and services offered from my brand new JozefaVO website and managed by my PR and International Bookings Agent, Sarah Mercer who is based in Barcelona, Spain.

In Eurofortis, Riga, Latvia

In Riga, I was with the Eurortis team and we laid down tracks for my first, soon to be released, audio learning programme in Latvian.  These programmes are designed to help individuals learn how improve the quality, impact and effectiveness of their business voice.

Here are my Latvian recording team

Thursday, June 02, 2011


The learning journey continues...

While I have been creating a brand new website for my VO work, I found and uploaded this archive film of me from 2006 supporting the Institute of Healthcare Management.

Hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did making it :)


Thursday, May 26, 2011


The learning journey continues...

A performer is only as good as the production team behind them and in so doing makes sure to surround themselves with the best support that they can find - to coach and mentor, to guide, critique and congratulate.

Well I am very fortunate to have created an illustrious team to support me on my journey towards becoming a successful VO recording artist.

First is Fergus McClelland, child film actor (Sammy Goes South, 1963); TV star (Emergency Ward 10 and Z Cars,1968); Business Speaker/Coach and Vice-President of the Professional Speaking Association. He is superb at helping people use their speaking voice effectively and expert at recording, editing and production.

Secondly, Gary Owston, voice and speech tutor specialising in teaching accents to students at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, originally opened in 1946 by Sir Laurence Olivier.  Gary helps actors learn how to sound different and from our first meeting I knew he would be able to extend my range, pitch and tone in order to make MY voice sound interesting and varied.

And finally, two of the newest members of my team: Kevin Delaney, an actor and VO living and working in Hollywood.  He has performed character voices for Looney Tunes, Warner Home Video,, Disney on Ice, Fox Sports Net, Cartoon Network and many more.  His knowledge about auditioning and the commercial side of VO is second to none.  Kevin is helping me create a more varied portfolio of genres including infomercials.

And Roger Burnley, also from Hollywood, a vocal coach to singing artists Macy Gray, Brandy, James Tormé and Nona Gaye. Now singing is NOT my thing, however, Roger is going to put some TUNING into my voice to create the kind of voice that is interesting and holds attention - two things so needed by lecturers, trainers and VO's alike. 

Now, all it leaves me to do is to practice, listen to the guidance and direction from my 'support team' and start laying down some tracks.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011


My VO learning journey continues...

...with a first session with my new vocal coach, Gary Owston, Voice and Speech Tutor at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, who is just amazingly wonderful at extracting the 'best bits' of my slightly damaged voice.

The sun was shining on the school as I arrived in Bristol yesterday, which in itself lifted my spirits to the heavens.  Then meeting Gary was the pinnacle of the day.  To say that he is going to be tremendous for me is an understatement.

We started work by analysing my VOCAL PITCH, and discovered that I have a habit of over compensating that needs to be addressed and brought back to an optimum pitch, which can be done with a few well chosen exercises.  I was practising these all the way home in the car, and must have looked a real funny sight to those driving by.

Next we focused on VOCAL ONSET where my breath meets my vocal folds and are looking to achieve more of a 'modal' and not a 'breathy' sound.  I 'got' it right away and apparently a good level for me is Bb (that's B flat to all of you who, like me, might know nothing about music).

Just cannot wait for our next lesson.  In the meantime, all that is needed is for me to practice, practice and practice.


Friday, March 18, 2011


My VO learning journey continues...

So, now I have announced to the world that I intend to make a 'go' of my voice over work, it seems the pace has hotted up a bit.  During what has been an amazingly busy week with my learning and development work, I found some time to listen to some wonderful webcasts from the VO Ninja himself, Kevin Delaney and his awesome interviews with casting producers such as Steve Reisberg and Ilko Drozdoski from the TGMD Agency in Hollywood.

No, I am not thinking of emigrating however a trip there WOULD be nice at some point.  Picked up some really cool tips about how to audition and produce a showreel that stands out so now the challenge is to do something with what I have learned.

This week I have also found myself a wonderful new voice coach who has complimentary (yet quite different) skills to my existing voice coach and dear friend, Fergus McLelland, who is just the most amazing recording VO artist, ever (and his live speaking performances are just so powerful).

My first visit with my new 'guy' takes place next week and will write more after this which is to see if we can work together.  I really hope we can as I am looking for him to use his background and experience to bring out the 'characters' that lurk inside of me - an absolute must if I want to progress at some point in the future from just straight corporate reads.

More next week!


Friday, March 11, 2011


The VO learning journey continues...

...Something I have discovered during the last 9 years of working for myself is that I love diversity.  During this time I have done many things in many different places here in the UK, across the rest of Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia.  None of this would have been possible, had I not taken the chance to work for myself. It also appears that along the way, I have adopted quite a few different personas depending on the work role, these have included:

  • Formal educator (aka Senior University Lecturer)
  • Instructional Designer
  • Trainer
  • Facilitator
  • Learning Specialist Adviser
  • Conference Key Note Speaker & Chair
  • Career Coach
  • Professional Supervisor
  • Mentor
  • Quality Assessor

and now.... VOICE OVER ARTIST!

I have long harboured the dream of becoming an musical performer and actor, but as someone who cannot sing a note, felt it was beyond my reach - if I had known then what I know now (as demonstrated on X Factor), I could have simply used microphone technology and software to alter my dreadful singing voice.  Whereas I cannot sing, I can certainly speak and now am splitting my personality even further by exploring and expanding the Voice Over side of my business interests.

To reflect these changes, this blog will now focus exclusively on my journey into the world of the voice-over (VO) artist, whilst my other business developments will feature on my LearningVoice Blog.

A new VO website is planned and some new recordings will soon be in production - so listen up and enjoy my split personality.


Monday, March 07, 2011


The learning journey continues...

Last Friday, I attended another wonderful ‘Trainer Talk Live’ event with the superb Sharon Gaskin from the Trainers Training Company at which I met Jo Dodds, an authoritative and engaging speaker who proceeded to tell us all how to use social media.

Not only did we learn so much, it was fun too – a rare combination!

The important thing I reflected upon after the event is a) how much I already knew and was doing and b) how valuable it was to have what I knew endorsed – and then some!

It is so easy to assume that just because you have done something quite successfully for years and there are no particular problems, that you know it all – in fact it is quite dangerous as we can all slip into bad habits or even the perennial, “I know I should be doing X, but haven’t got round to it yet”. This can compromise the quality of what we do, which becomes much harder to rectify as time goes on.

This is also true when trainers start to think about their training, facilitating and coaching ability.  Those who have done it for a long time,  should also consider reviewing their skills and performance with another professional.

At the above event, I mentioned a brand new service that I have introduced whereby trainers can do just that, engage in Professional Supervision, to improve the quality of their provision.

“Learning is an ongoing process”, or so we say to those who take part in our various sessions – so then it must apply to us too!


Monday, February 28, 2011


The learning journey continues...

I posted this tweet this morning in an attempt to kick start discussion, not least of all with my University students (Post Graduate Masters in HRM) on my current 'Designing and Delivering Training' module.

Problems with online courses: money, quality or inertia and is this why so many are against this method of learning?

This week we are discussing how to incorporate learning 2.0 into training activity and what better way to start this off than to engage in a debate about whether online learning will really reduce the number of trainers, lecturers and professors that are needed in the various learning establishments. I am not convinced that this will be the case, despite the early warnings from the New York Times which have predicted this so eloquently

Having just secured FOUR virtual tutor/assessor/facilitator positions for 2011, covering a wide range of programmes at level 7 (Post Grad equivalent) each in part being delivered in a blended approach using trainers, open learning material, online learning material and discussion boards this highlights, if nothing else, the changing role of the trainer in today's learning 2.0 world.

So, I wonder where the problem lies? IMHO, the quality of the training products, irrespective of how they are delivered, in person or online is becoming of paramount importance. Poor content creates a negativity and possibly this is what has put many people, trainers included, off engaging in online training.

What do you think?