What matters to us

ExtraordinaryPM places mastery in leadership and people skills at the heart of project and programme management.

What matters to us is to leave a legacy that elevates people and leadership skills within the profession of project management.

We run a series of courses based on a robust, proven framework and an expansive set of supporting resources for anybody working in and around projects. We are also acclaimed for our thought leadership work, particularly in challenging conventional views of project and programme management.

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Our Purpose

We want to leave a legacy in the world of project management, by elevating people and leadership skills to hold equal importance alongside the technical skill set traditionally held by project and programme managers. As experienced project professionals, we know that while technical skills are essential, it is ultimately people that deliver projects.

  • Supporting individuals and organisations through a leadership framework, with a people-focussed approach that enhances, improves and facilitates the successful delivery of a project
  • Empowering project managers to become truly fulfilled and recognised as highly skilled professionals and respected leaders
  • Establishing a better understanding of project management as a profession and discipline that brings integrity and critical value to businesses today

Our Vision

To inspire fellow project managers to develop essential skills that will not only empower them to grow in their role, but also enhance their professional reputation.

To deliver a project management ethos synonymous with leadership skills and a people-focused approach.

To be the go-to “applied approach” for achieving project management excellence.

Our Values

Always Curious in our ethos and approach

Building a strong Community

Providing Authentic mastery and insights

With a focus on Simplicity and ease of Understanding

Nurturing individuals to realise their full potential

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Who are we?

Marion Thomas and Sarah Walton are the driving force behind ExtraordinaryPM. As Chartered Project Professionals and Members of the Association for Project Management, they aim to raise the profile and standing of project management as a qualified profession.

The ExtraordinaryPM Mastery Programme was born out of Marion and Sarah’s boundless energy and enthusiasm for their profession, by combining their extensive cross-sector expertise with leading-edge learning and techniques in leadership and people skills.

On top of their substantial project management credentials, they have invested heavily in their own personal development, particularly in the areas of leadership and coaching. Drawing on this mastery of multiple disciplines, they have integrated experience, insight and deep understanding to create a truly unique project management tool.

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Meet Marion

Marion is sought after for her ability to get 20% more from a project team through her leadership and people skills. She is on a mission to help other project managers do the same so that they can feel more fulfilled and their projects are more likely to be successful. Marion has a wide breadth of experience which she now shares through the ExtraordinaryPM courses.

Marion on ExtraordinaryPM:
“My clients tell me I am the Mary Poppins of Project Management and I want to share the magic with you. On our courses we explore how to get things done in organisations, lead teams to deliver above and beyond what might seem impossible, and not get bogged down or distracted when there is a project to deliver. This isn’t just about showing up to a Zoom call – this is experiential learning where we encourage, empower and mentor you to put your insights into use straight away. If you want a course you can leave on the shelf then this is not for you!”

Marion is a Director of ExtraordinaryPM, a Chartered Project Professional and a Fellow of the Association for Project Management and a Certified Co-Active Coach.

For Fun:

  • Plays bassoon in three amateur orchestras, enjoys theatre and musicals, grows vegetables and plays Carcassonne online.

Project Management Experience

  • Approach: Leading business transformation projects from the front, side and back and naming the elephant in the room
  • Sectors: Manufacturing, Engineering, IT, Telecomms and Digital TV, Financial Services, Public Sector (MoJ, MoD, Home Office, SFO), Air Traffic, Pharmaceutical and AgChem
  • Companies: ICI/AstraZeneca, Roche Pharma, Hitachi, TetraPak, Cable & Wireless, NTL, MoD (UK), Barclays Bank, Institute of Chartered Accountants, National Air Traffic Services, Serious Fraud Office, Balfour Beatty, James Fisher Marine (EDS HV), De La Rue International, Serco, City and County Healthcare and many more

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Meet Sarah

Sarah is known for taking people, particularly client staff, with her on the project journey. She is driven by her desire for project management to be recognised as a true profession and not simply something that any technical expert can do, because, as any good project manager knows, project success is mostly about guiding people through a change.

Sarah’s perspective:
“At ExtraordinaryPM we support you in ‘Project Managing’ your own success, being more effective, noticed for your contribution, and being valued by those around you. We explore practical solutions to real-life issues that project and programme manager’s experience – we know because we have been working on and managing projects for well over thirty years. We help you to find what works for you, then we challenge you to stretch yourself further to understand how you can be extraordinary in your own unique way and hopefully have some fun in the process.”

Sarah is a Director of ExtraordinaryPM, a Chartered Project Professional and a Member of the Association for Project Management and a qualified accountant.

For Fun:

  • Scuba diving, surfing (traditional Cornish belly boarding!) dancing and theatre with a bit of caving, skiing and horse-riding thrown in

Project Management Experience

  • Approach: Leading business transformation projects, just getting stuff done and embedding the change in the organisation by taking people with me
  • Sectors: Manufacturing, Publishing and Printing, Airlines, Financial Sector, Telecoms, Public Sector, Car Manufacturers, Oil and Power companies plus Domiciliary Healthcare
  • Companies: De La Rue International, OUP, Pearson Wyeth pharmaceuticals, NTL, Thorn EMI, McMullens Brewery, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, Barclays Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, TSB, Hendersons, One 2 One, Lambeth Council, Volvo, Shell, BP, City and County Healthcare Group and many more

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What makes us different?

Built upon decades of hands-on project experience and practical know-how, the simple, structured framework of ExtraordinaryPM enables you to take multiple views of your project – from a strategic bird’s eye view, right down to the real nuts and bolts. We will encourage you to get curious and use a blend of leadership and management tools to achieve success.

Managing the rich mix of people and relationships that you encounter in most projects is not easy, which makes project management in the real world demanding, frustrating, and often stressful – but never dull! We have lived and breathed these challenges for over 30 years, so we’ve specifically designed the ExtraordinaryPM framework to help you to view projects through a different lens.

Enhancing your effectiveness

ExtraordinaryPM works hand-in-glove with more technical project management tools to deliver human mastery. Using tangible, real-world examples, we show you how to harness a tool kit of highly effective techniques, which can be applied to your situations for greater success.

Traditional project management methodologies, including PRINCE2 and Agile, are the essential foundation of any project management skill set. There are plenty of excellent courses out there that focus on these methodologies, so we don’t teach them. Instead, we will coach and mentor you through our framework, which we know enhances your effectiveness by focusing on the human and leadership aspects of project management.

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Find Your Tribe

We provide a unique forum for programme participants in the form of a facilitated “safe space”, where delegates can grow, learn and feel supported in the process. Participants bring their own learning and experience to the mix, which then sparks the most amazing discussions, debates and ideas. In turn, this fosters an incredibly strong sense of community and creates a valuable Tribe for the participants to benefit from as the sessions progress.

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The story of the heron

Ever wondered how ExtraordinaryPM all began? And what about the significance of the Gold Heron logo and name?

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The Framework

The idea behind ExtraordinaryPM was first conceived in 2016 by Marion Thomas while completing a set task on a Speaker Training Course. She had long considered the notion of focussing on leadership skills within the realms of Project Management but had not yet created the framework that would ultimately hold the whole concept together.

The task in question was to outline the content of her programme in simple, easy to remember bite size pieces. The 5T’s Framework was born and after several iterations and refinements, having been continuously honed and carefully shaped over the last five years, it is the model now recognised as being at the heart of all things extraordinary!

It became clear not long after this initial conception, that Marion needed a partner to join her in this venture and was delighted when her friend and fellow project manager, Sarah Walton joined this exciting journey.

Their first Mastery Programme ran in 2017 and was awarded CPD accreditation in 2019.

Bringing innovation and their own unique approach to the profession, Gold Heron and their ExtraordinaryPM Mastery Programme were selected as finalists in the Association for Project Management 2020 Awards in the “Mike Nicholls Award for Inspiration” category.

Most recently, the team have undertaken a brand refresh, launched a new website and are currently working on some new developments to their offer: Bitesize course programme & a new Membership platform, both coming soon.

The heron

The heron, curiously, first made an appearance in 2013 during Marion’s very first coaching session. A heron landed on the roof of her coach’s garden shed and seen as a strong sign herself, the coach introduced Marion to the symbology of the heron.

As Marion and Sarah left the hotel where they had been discussing their partnership over coffee a heron was standing there.

Grey herons have consistently been showing up ever since, in curious and unexpected places for both Marion and Sarah noticeably when they have been focusing their attention on ExtraordinaryPM.

The name

When choosing the right name for their company it was clear that the heron had become a really important symbol to both Marion and Sarah, so was pre-destined to be part of it. Gold Heron Limited was incorporated in 2017. The gold element of the name representing the value that Marion and Sarah both bring to the business, and the heron also representing many of the attributes of ExtraordinaryPM’s.

So, what are these attributes?

The heron is flexible and adaptable in all situations. A heron is comfortable on land, water and air and transitions easily between the three and is uniquely adaptable. They are shrewd, focused, patient, resourceful, determined, and take action. They can be independent but they also nest together. All qualities shared with exceptional project managers.

The heron logo is a symbol for how supportive and nurturing the ExtraordinaryPM Tribe is. The five feathers are reflective of the five elements of the 5T’s Framework, the core of ExtraordinaryPM’s offering.

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Don’t just take our word for it!