Monday, 14 September 2009




Sales at a Manchester training consultancy have rocketed since the business owner was given a dynamic Gok Wan type image makeover by a young up-and-coming celebrity fashion stylist.

Marilyn Comrie, the CEO of business mentoring and coaching specialists LeaderGen was awarded an OBE for services to women’s enterprise in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours, and enlisted the professional services of Lisa Maynard-Atem, who runs the Manchester-based styling consultancy, STYLISA, to prepare her for her special day at the Palace.

But Marilyn could never have imagined the impact that STYLISA’s rebranding and styling strategy was going to have not only on herself – but also on the business. “I just wanted to look my best for my day at Buckingham Palace. But Lisa took a much more strategic approach geared towards increasing LeaderGen’s earning potential through the creation and maintenance of the ‘Marilyn brand’. In styling me, Lisa carefully constructed a commanding world class image that draw parallels with other powerful, female role-models, such as Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Oprah Winfrey, and Hilary Clinton.

The results are sensational. Just four weeks later I secured a major six figure contract with a major organisation which I attribute to my stylish professional new look which inspires confidence, and oozes achievement, authority and credibility”.

She added: “My business is inundated with offers of work, and I have had to take on more staff to meet the demand. This is undoubtedly the best investment I have ever made, and I look and feel like a vibrant new woman. And it’s all thanks to Lisa”.

In her capacity as a global leadership coach, Marilyn’s diary has an increasingly expanding international focus. As an outreach champion, helping burgeoning Third World businesses to find a foothold in western markets, she frequently finds herself flying to sub-Saharan Africa for meetings with Government and business leaders or sitting in the boardroom with the UN, World Bank or international development agencies to negotiate funding support for her clients.

And, back home in the UK, her business week invariably takes her away from her desk to attend high-profile meetings, present leadership masterclasses or deliver motivational speeches in London and just about any other big city or town between Land’s End and John O’Groats.

Celebrity stylist Lisa, who has worked with Richard Fleeshman on the hit show Soapstar Superstar, quickly set to work in designing a unique brand image for Marilyn that would accentuate her profile as a globetrotting “ambassador”, and inspirational thought leader.

The “Marilyn Brand” was conceived, embracing everything from an all-occasions wardrobe to hairstyling and makeup whether it be for a Government reception in Kenya or Somaliland, a board meeting with US bankers or, back home , a nut-and-bolts planning meeting with Manchester City Council to progress her “Yes I can” active citizenship project.

Lisa says: “The clothes we wear make a statement, so by choosing the right type of clothing, you are inevitably controlling the statements that you are conveying about yourself. We have to accept the fact that people the world over are influenced by image –it creates that all-important first, and often indelible, impression. Clients associate with a brand and can be inspired to take on its characteristics themselves. They want to buy into it and if they want to buy ‘you’, then you should make it the best ‘you’ that you can".

“Your image speaks volumes about you. Creating the right brand image is pivotal in raising a business’ profile, and reinforcing its key messages. My aim was to establish Marilyn as a global leader and trendsetter with the qualities to inspire others but also the humility to communicate at all levels”.

Marilyn added: “As a 40 something woman, and mother of three it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your best days are behind you. I feel glamorous, attractive, rejuvenated and re-energised. It’s given me an exciting new lease of life. And I know my best days are only just beginning.”


STYLISA is a full service styling consultancy that caters for all your fashion styling requirements. Whether you are looking for styling for press shows, television, music videos or a personal consultation, STYLISA is here to help. The company was set up by fashion stylist Lisa Maynard-Atem. Lisa’s commercial styling experience includes ITV (Celebrity Love Island, Soapstar Superstar), the BBC, L'Oreal Colour Trophy Awards, Hello and OK Magazine. Lisa also writes fashion-related articles for several fashion and lifestyle magazines. Lisa made her name within fashion circles by styling former Coronation Street star Richard Fleeshman when he sang on Soapstar Superstar.

STYLISA was shortlisted for the New Business Start-Up 2008 by the Ethnic Minority Business Forum, as well as two other business awards. They offer a complete menu of corporate, business and personal one to one styling services. Visit for full details and to view the STYLISA portfolio of styling experience.
More recently, Lisa was asked to style an exclusive fashion show, for supermodel Caprice's latest collection. The Didsbury-based stylist oversaw the catwalk show of pieces by the model-turned-designer. And following the event which was filmed for satellite TV channel Fashion TV, Lisa was asked to get involved with the prestigious London Fashion Week which takes place later this month.

Lisa Maynard-Atem is an expert in styling solutions to all fashion matters and is available for television appearances, media comments and articles on fashion and general styling-related matters.


Marilyn was honoured in this year Queens Birthday Honours List with an OBE for her services to women’s enterprise. She was awarded the prestigious Kofi Annan African Leadership Excellence Award in Nov 2007 for her pioneering institutional capacity building work with post-conflict African countries like Liberia and Somaliland to create an enabling environment for economic and social transformation. Working alongside the World Bank and United Nations, LeaderGen is helping these countries access donor funding and develop strategies for growth to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

A dynamic entrepreneur and professionally trained coach, Marilyn is recognised as one of the foremost thought leaders in Europe in the areas of leadership and governance. She is one of the rising generation of younger business leaders set to command a prominent position in Europe, the USA and the world. She is the author of a forthcoming leadership book “Leaderene – Feminine Principled Leadership For the 21st Century”.

Marilyn is a board member of the International Business Forum, and the Ethnic Minority Business Forum NorthWest in addition to being a Women’s Enterprise Ambassador. She is a goal-orientated strategic thinker; highly experienced in strategic planning & policy development; performance and project management. She has an extensive range of skills, knowledge and expertise for helping board level teams to clarify core priorities, objectives, and devising transformational implementation plans focused on delivery of business outcomes. She has excellent written and oral communication and deal negotiation skills, with the ability to communicate complex problems or solutions in a way in which they are quickly understood.
LeaderGen was born out of Marilyn’s desire to make her high impact brand of leadership and management training available to a wider business market for the purpose of driving up performance and productivity.

Marilyn is a professionally trained and corporate coach and qualified with a distinction from The Coaching Academy, Europe’s largest coach training school. She is also a member of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council. She was educated at Stretford Grammar School for Girls, and went on to study Chemistry at Birmingham University. She also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in radio and television journalism and is a regular business pundit for BBC local radio station, GMR.


LeaderGen is a consultancy which is actively working to be a catalyst for positive global change through their innovative approach to the science of leadership engineering, which builds the capacity of established and emerging leaders to deliver large scale transformation and real impact.

LeaderGen is influencing and transforming the thinking of leaders in the private, public and voluntary sectors to place service to others first, rather than ego or personal gain, as the key to mobilising support and commitment for change.
LeaderGen are facilitating a new paradigm shift in inspirational leadership, away from the left brain, command and control, dog-eat-dog thinking, to the more inclusive, nurturing and interdependent approach of right brain thinking which values people, diversity, individual contribution and supports well being on this planet. This is the company’s higher purpose.

With clients in the UK, Africa, and Eastern Europe, Marilyn’s mission is to grow LeaderGen into one of the major global brands for leadership excellence within the next five years, with a distinctive reputation for equipping diverse business and public sector leaders with the courage, talents, and abilities to make their mark on the world.

LeaderGen works with the best leadership practitioners in the UK to offer a portfolio of transformational coaching and mentoring services, as well as top team facilitation to build leadership capacity and strengthen organisational effectiveness. This is achieved through enhancing personal accountability and responsibility for making change happen, so that it benefits everyone; staff, customers, community and other stakeholders.

LeaderGen can design, implement and deliver leadership and management development activities from grassroots level through to corporate boardrooms that deliver measurable impact and transform the workplace into an environment where people come to experience success and achievement.


For further editorial information and photographs, please contact Lisa Maynard-Atem, from STYLISA on 07745 544 418 or e-mail For more information about STYLISA, please visit their website

For further information on the range of leadership development and consultancy services offered by LeaderGen Ltd please visit

Picture Credits:

Photographer: Roland Lane -
Stylist: Lisa Maynard-Atem, STYLISA -
MUA: Anna Priadka @ Nemesis -
Clothing: All provided by House of Fraser, Deamsgate, Manchester -
Location: Leftbank Apartments, Spinningfields, Manchester -

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