About Us

Who We Are

Sam Charles
Director and Founder of Ascend

Sam is a highly experienced consultant with over 15 years experience working with clients in the field of culture, leadership development and team effectiveness.

After an early career in financial services, Sam worked as a senior consultant and client director for a private consultancy for 9 years, before he founded Ascend. 

An engaging and dynamic practitioner, Sam has designed and led a range of innovative and impactful large-scale programmes of work in both the public and private sector, including local government and the justice sector, as well as logistics, engineering, financial services and healthcare. 

He is an experienced executive coach, and has worked with senior teams on strategy development, as well as cultural change, leadership and organisational effectiveness.

Away from work, Sam is a dad, a football fan and a keen runner on both roads and trails. He has a handful of marathons under his belt, and has recently completed his sixth ultramarathon, a 54 mile race from Caldbeck in north of the Lake District to Cartmel. down in the south.

Our Team

Ascend work with a small number of outstanding associates and specialists in their field.

Our client teams are selected based on a good professional and personal fit with your organisation, and your specific requirements.

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How We Work
Step 1: Discovery
The most important starting point of what we do.

Our expertise tells us there are certain approaches that work, but our experience tells us that every organisation has different quirks and cultural characteristics. 

With new clients, we work hard to get to know them – understand the context, pin down the challenges and priorities so we can design and deliver recommendations and solutions that do what you need them to.
Step 2: Design
By incorporating the principles of the neuroscience of learning, Ascend design solutions which feel challenging, engaging and enjoyable.

We make use of the insight we gather to ensure that everything we design is based on current state, usually with a focus on behaviour, creating new habits and thinking differently about how we do things.

We take pride in creating solutions that are interactive, engaging and activity-based, so leaders and teams are processing information, challenging existing ideas and practicing new skills.
Step 3: Delivery
Ascend bring expertise and insight bring from rich and varied backgrounds - whether it’s from previous roles with other companies, work with different client organisations, personal development and research, or current thought leadership. 

We understand how adults learn and create new habits and our approach is designed to connect with people, bring them together and drive actions that they can take, individually and collectively, to make the changes your organisation needs.

Our people are engaging, personable and human. We work with clients and participants as peers and professionals, not students or trainees. We have a track record of success in working with individuals and groups to help them develop and deliver high performance and results.