Who we are

Relational Dynamics 1st (RD1st) is a specialist training company based in Lancaster. Founded by Deb Barnard MBE, the RD1st team comprises a team of experienced trainers and coaches who, along with Deb herself, deliver RD1st courses and services. All team members can be contacted for coaching or RD1st Supervision – please click on the name to send an email. 

Deb Barnard – RD1st Director, Course Design, Supervisor, Trainer & Coach
Deb_RD1st_PicDeb has extensive experience working within the creative sector combining artistic practice with arts/business management at Senior Executive level. Deb currently works as a Trainer & Coach; specialising in relational dynamics, personal development and leadership. She is a coach for the NESTA & Clore Leadership Initiatives (Arts & Social Programmes), Arts Marketing Association, the NHS, Peace Nexus Ltd (Switzerland) and the Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Programme. Deb is an experienced coach Supervisor and RD1st Action Learning set facilitator

Deb is regularly commissioned to design and deliver bespoke courses in Coaching Skills for Leadership & RD1st Action Learning: most recently for: LASeR (Lebanon), Zakheref (Jordan), E.U.N.I.C (Amman), LOYAC in Kuwait, The Young Women’s Trust, The Cultural Enterprise Office (Glasgow), The EXTEND Leadership Programme, The British Psychological Society, Creative Scotland, The Clore Short Course and the Clore Fellowship Residential at Bore Place. She has an ongoing relationship with Ruwwad, the Youth Empowerment Programme for Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine .

She achieved full membership with the Association for Coaching (AC) in 2005, is a BBC Accredited Coach and was shortlisted for the ‘Award for Influence’ at AC in 2010. Deb holds a B’Ed (Hons) with a specialism in Child Psychology and achieved a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy diploma in 2016, Counselling Skills for Bereavement diploma in 2019, Inner Child Therapy Diploma 2021, Counselling & Psychotherapy PG.Dip 2019-2021. She was awarded an M.B.E. (for services to young people) in 2004.

Isabel Mortimer – RD1st Trainer, Supervisor & Coach
Isabel_RD1stIsabel Mortimer is an experienced personal and executive coach and is qualified as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and an Organisational Relationship and Systems Coach (both endorsed by the International Coaching Federation, ICF). Isabel specialises in leadership & team development, cultural change, and enabling positive team dynamics. An established leader, Isabel was Resident Director for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Dance Company and is a fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme (Arts).

As well as her extensive experience in the arts, she has also worked for a wide range of organisations e.g. the BBC, AstraZeneca, Action for Children, Royal Borough of Kingston, British Airways, British Gas, Greenpeace, The Royal Commonwealth Society, International Passport Services and Royal Mail.

Isabel is a coach for the following organisations: 21st Century Legacy ‘Be the Best You Can Be’ programme for primary and secondary schools; The Clore Leadership Fellowship Programme and the Clore Short Courses and she is Director of Coaching for the Dancers Career Development. She is also a visiting lecturer at Birkbeck University specialising in personal development planning.

Emma Haughton – RD1st Trainer, Supervisor & Coach


Emma has over twenty-five years’ experience of supporting a diverse range of individuals and organisations to realise their vision and potential. Following a successful career as Creative Producer supporting and leading a diverse range of artists and arts companies, in 2011 she became an accredited Relational Dynamics (RD1st) Coach and has since developed a broad client base, coaching individuals, teams and groups across the creative, cultural and not for profit sector.

Clients include Arts Council England, Living Wage Foundation, Royal Opera House, Icon Films, The Freud Museum, MIND, DiverseCity, National Companies of Wales, Theatre Bristol, Charleston Trust, Brighton & Hove Council, British Gas. In 2014 she co-founded Generate, with Lisa Westbury, which focuses on coaching teams and partnerships within organisations. Emma is a coach for PeaceNexus Foundation which supports peacebuilders globally, and for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Emma is a qualified Time to Think (Nancy Kline) Coach and a certified Gestalt Groupwork practitioner. She is a (full) member of the Association for Coaching and an RSA Fellow. She sits on the Board of Trustees for the Trust for Developing Communities (Brighton) and aerial dance company Gravity and Levity, and on the Steering Group for Hydrocracker Theatre.

Charlotte Semlyen – RD1st Supervisor & Coach
Charlotte SemlyenCharlotte qualified as a coach in 2014, training with Relational Dynamics 1st and in Solution Focused Practice with BRIEF . She has been part of the coaching team at the Young Women’s Trust since 2017, working with a diverse range of young women to help unlock potential and create positive plans for careers and strong mental health. Charlotte also coaches and facilitates regularly for several arts organisations including the National Theatre, Sound & Music and ZoieLogic Dance Theatre. Her other clients have included Fuel, Studio Wayne McGregor and Poetry London. She is also an Associate with Support Squad .
Prior to coaching, Charlotte worked with arts organisations for over 20 years to enable creative visions.  She managed international tours, produced new work for independent artists, and was responsible for overseeing organisations’ finances, fundraising and HR. Her previous roles include Executive Director at South East Dance and Associate
Director at Culture Shift.  
Charlotte is passionate about living and working in tune with nature, and she recently studied Ecopsychology with the Centre for Ecotherapy. She is a member of the Climate Coaching Alliance, and a Trustee (formerly Chair) of the community garden charity Plot 22, which creates opportunities for people from all walks of life to grow, cook and eat together.

Holly Davey – RD1st Trainer & Coach.
Holly Davey photoHolly is a trained personal & professional development coach and mentor working in the creative sector. In 2017, she trained as a coach with Relational Dynamics 1st and has been coaching
with creative individuals and groups since. She has worked with artists and creative professionals through a number of associate programmes such as Spike Island, Bristol; CAMP,
Plymouth, a-n, UK wide; Creative Scotland; as well as supporting staff teams at PEAK, Powys and g39, Cardiff. Alongside this, she has a number of private clients.
In 2020, she became an accredited Clean Language coach and completed her training as an Action Learning Facilitator, offering a number of approaches when coaching with creatives.
Underpinning her coaching work is an additional 18 year’s experience of teaching and facilitating group professional practice workshops in several Further and Higher education settings such as Bromley College, Morley College, Ravensbourne College, University of Hertfordshire, as well as being a Senior Lecturer at University of Wales Trinity St David and a visiting tutor at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
She is a practising artist and in 2020, had a solo exhibition at Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London.

Diane Sammons – RD1st Assessor

Diane SammonsBelieving that if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.. my great passion and professional journey of 30 years has been in pursuit of this in relation to disability.  My most important learning has come from my search for making meaningful connection with the hardest to reach individuals so they can lead a more empowered quality of life. Committed to challenging mindsets and developing best practice in others, I became a teaching and learning assessor and trainer in the sector and on the ‘Opening Doors’ course at the Tate Liverpool.  As an advanced practitioner, issue-based performance tutor, curriculum manager and creative arts programme manager in a Lancaster specialist college for people with complex needs, I drew on a range of highly relevant approaches including coaching, counselling, Intensive Interaction, Sensory Integration, and using the arts as an inclusive platform for unheard expressions.  

Since retirement I’m now experiencing the joys of being a hands on grandma, fiddling in a band and acapella singing.  My ongoing Wildscapes project serves to facilitate change in the way people connect with nature for their wellbeing and for health of the planet.  The coaching principles remain pivotal throughout.

Sarah Hymas – RD1st Assessor & Coach

shymas headshotSarah Hymas lives by Morecambe Bay, England, working as a poet, maker, facilitator, coach and mentor. Her writing appears in print, multimedia exhibits, as lyrics, installations, short films and on stage. She also creates artistbooks and immersive walks. Her facilitation and mentoring practice is grounded in coaching philosophies: opening up spaces for creative thought and practical engagement with our imaginative potential. Her coaching work rises from the premise that a fulfilled life is a deeply and expansively imagined one.

Dina Abu Hamdan – International Development


Dina Abu Hamdan, a Jordanian cultural consultant, arts manager, director, dancer, coach and choreographer, is a woman who wears many hats. She was appointed at the Dubai office of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein as a project manager and artistic director to plan and oversee the establishment of Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children, which was inaugurated in Dec 2014.

Dina had previously directed the Princess Haya Cultural Centre in Jordan and was responsible for the centre’s regeneration plan. She was the creative Director of the Children’s Museum, and a Media consultant with the Philadelphia Consulting Group.

Creatively Dina had extensive experience directing theatre with large number of children, in addition to a number of TV shows. She was the resident choreographer of the National Company of Jordan. Combining both creative and managerial roles, she was selected for the Cultural Management fellowship program of the Kennedy Centre-, and in 2012 became a Clore Leadership fellow- UK. Dina is currently a freelance cultural consultant and artistic director for special projects and is an accredited Relational Dynamics Coach. Dina has been instrumental in setting up the RD1st coaching projects in Amman, Jordan and is our link to the rest of the world!

Other Trainers

RD1st has also worked with a wide range of partner trainers;  Rivca Rubin (who led the main course with Deb for a number of years), Samar Dudin (Jordan), Sarah Al Charif (Lebanon), Anne Caldwell (UK), Claire Antrobus (UK).

Carol Wilson – Programme Accreditation & Standards


International speaker, writer and broadcaster Carol Wilson is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management, the Association for Coaching and the Professional Speaking Association, and is Managing Director of Culture at Work and Performance Coach Training Ltd. She was Head of Accreditation and Honorary Vice President at the Association for Coaching UK for a number of years. She experienced the value of a coaching culture first hand while working at board level with Richard Branson at Virgin, where she became the first woman to found and run a successful record company. She designs and delivers programmes to create coaching cultures for organisations in 33 countries, through a team of multi-lingual trainers. Carol has been nominated for or received many awards and is the author of ‘Performance Coaching: a Complete Guide to Best Practice Coaching and Training’ (Kogan Page 2014), featuring forewords by Sir John Whitmore and Sir Richard Branson, and “The Life and Work of David Grove: Clean Language and Emergent Knowledge” (Matador 2017). She has contributed to six other books and published over 60 articles. Carol is a Trustee of the charity, MOE Foundation (www.moefoundation.com), where she provides free coach training for young people and the African Prisons Project.


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