Name: Jane Rennie.

Age: 53.

What is your business called?

The Extraordinary Training Company.

Where is it based?


What services does it offer?

The company specialises in leadership development training and coaching, working in partnership with clients to develop and deliver bespoke learning journeys for emerging and existing leaders.

To whom does it sell?

Business and civic leaders, with a focus on the hospitality and tourism industry.

What is its turnover?

£615,560 in 2020.

How many employees?

Two full time and four part time.

When was it formed?

The company began trading in 2016 as ConsultingM3 and rebranded to The Extraordinary Training Company in February 2019.

Why did you take the plunge?

I am a professional with more than twenty years’ operational leadership experience, facilitating and coaching leaders around the world, helping them to improve individual and team performance and as a result, grow their businesses. While delivering a variety of training programmes I learnt two key things: Everybody has the potential to be extraordinary and the skills and behaviours needed to be extraordinary are learnable. As a result, I decided to build a company to help everybody, not just leaders, live extraordinary lives.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I was Director of Delivery Effectiveness at leadership training consultancy FranklinCovey Middle East in Dubai, a position I held for six years.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

The company was self-funded. I started the company in Dubai, using some of my salary and company bonus, plus I received investment from a family member.

What was your biggest break?

My biggest break to date has, ironically, come about because of the pandemic. I was approached by the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland (HIT Scotland) in December 2020, who were looking to deliver a talent development programme for those involved in the Scottish tourism and hospitality industry. The industry had experienced a tumultuous year due to the pandemic, with venues closed and most hospitality staff having been made redundant or placed on furlough. Within a month of that initial call, we had designed a ten-week learning journey at three levels – Leadership, Management and Supervisory – and interviewed and contracted 27 trainers from within our network with experience in the hospitality and tourism industries.

The HIT Scotland Tourism and Hospitality Talent Development Programme (THTDP) is, to date, Scotland’s largest online training programme of its kind. It takes a lot to be considered ground-breaking, or the first to do something. That’s exactly what I did this year. I took my small training business and turned around an ever-changing, expanding project, to deliver a 2,000 participants per week learning journey. It has been a privilege to be part of something which I think has brought such a feel-good factor back into the hospitality industry.

What was your worst moment?

Just prior to the pandemic, I had decided to focus all our business development efforts on the tourism and hospitality sector. When Covid-19 was in its early stages, I remember thinking, “oh, that was a great decision!” However, I’ve been able to turn that worst moment into the company’s biggest break.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I love what I do. I love the fact that we can make such a profound impact on people’s working lives by helping them to learn the skills that many people take for granted. Leadership is a learnable skill. I’m a people person and being able to choose who we work with is fantastic.

What do you least enjoy?

I find admin challenging.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

We want to be the leading training and coaching company within the hospitality industry nationally and regionally. We want to help an industry that has been decimated by the pandemic.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

While there is a lot of support available for small businesses, processes of application are very complicated. I would like to see the application process simplified so small and micro businesses can also benefit from grants and funding to train their people. I would also like the process of forming partnerships with learning providers, outwith the usual routes of universities and colleges, simplified. It’s not always an academic qualification that’s needed, but training and skills to build strength in organisations.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

To trust my team. I’ve learned not to undervalue what they bring to the table by micro-managing them, but instead giving them the space to volunteer their best efforts. I know they have the best interests of the business at heart.

How do you relax?

I love spending time with family, friends, my totally untrainable cocker spaniel, Fergie, and my new puppy, Rosie. I’m also a massive DIY enthusiast, I make wooden planter boxes in my spare time.

I’m also known to enjoy the odd glass of bubbly, or three….