Running an organisation or business has become a little complicated these days, hasn’t it? Technology, staff morale, social media, marketing, processes – they’re all changing at lightning speed and it’s hard to keep up! It’s easy to slide back into what’s familiar. But what we’ve found is it doesn’t allow your best work, and your best people, to shine.  

Sometimes companies need a kick up the backside, a wake-up call, a klaxon sounding to reinvigorate the mission that made them set up in the first place. A Stimulus. 

At Stimulus, we’re here to give your organisation and staff the boost they need to make an impact. We love the fluffy stuff too – but that good feeling at the end of a training session doesn’t always last long, does it? For us, the real kicker is results. 

The proof is in the pudding for us. That’s why so many of our services come with a six-month evaluation period, so you can make sure your investment has paid off – or your money back. 

Our job is to work with you to simplify it all. Simple structures, so you know exactly where everything is. Simple processes, so every question has an answer. Simple cultures, so no one is confused about who they are, or what their purpose is when they’re working for you. 

We work with you to simplify structures, processes and cultures.

Who Are We?

Penelope D'Souza

Chief Stimulator

Penelope’s a dying breed. She has a no-nonsense, no-fuss approach which she delivers with kindness and a stoic flair. Direct with compassion, assertive with a constructive solution focus. She’ll be honest but fair. With over twenty years of personal and professional experience in all sectors including private, public and charities, Penelope has gained a reputation for results and impact. For her, the proof is very much in the pudding. Starting her career as a nurse, this matriarch then went on to leadership and management positions in Accenture, ADT Fire and Security, Lancashire Women and Humraaz. She is the author and deliverer of all of Stimulus’s training programmes and workshops. She is a PRINCE2 Practitioner with 20+years experience as a leader of which 9 years is in the women and girls sector alternately as Impact Director, Deputy CEO and Chair of the Board of Trustees where she helped the charities she served to transition and thrive through the COVID19 pandemic. Stimulus is her passion and was set up in September 2020.

Maira Butt

Partnerships Director

Maira is full of energy, ideas and dreams which she works enthusiastically to make come true. Having worked with Penelope in the charity sector and benefited firsthand from her coaching and mentoring, she joined Stimulus to help build meaningful relationships and expand. Graduating from the LSE with an LLB in Law, she went on to complete her MEd in Psychology of Education at the University of Manchester in 2016 and her MA in Magazine Journalism at City University on Aziz Foundation and NUJ George Viner scholarships. She has bylines in publications including VICE and is completing an Editorial Fellowship at The Independent. With six years of experience in the third sector, Maira has worked in project management and governance for charities working with disadvantaged communities including Humraaz, Lancashire Women and Lancashire Mind. Her passion is people (to chat endlessly to) and collaboration (to make all our lives easier).

Our Services

It’s not about developing “charisma” or sales skills. It’s about letting your leaders bring their real selves to the workplace. What drives them? We dig deep to find the spark that makes their eyes light up.

We also offer bespoke leadership training based on Still I Rise®, our flagship Leadership Programme for professional women from minoritised backgrounds.

This bespoke training explores:

  1. Leading Self
    • Understanding personal power
    • Limiting beliefs and triggers
    • Leadership styles
  2. Leading Others
    • Understanding source of influence and how to use it
    • What to do when there’s no movement
    • Having difficult conversations
  3. Leading Organisations
    • Moving from managing to leading
    • Being visionary
    • Asset based thinking

The course caters for different learning styles, e.g. visual, audio or kinaesthetic learners.


Value - £800+VAT

Got a gap in knowledge at your company? We can probably fill it. Ask us about our quick half or full day workshops to get staff up to speed in one place at the same time.

An experienced facilitator who has run workshops, enterprise-wide learning events, focus groups and team away days across the UK, Penelope has worked across sectors with a diverse group of people. She is a qualified coach and leadership development professional; with the ability to assess and respond to the needs of individuals and group dynamics during sessions. Her approach includes fun and creativity to achieve the purpose of the session.

Some workships we deliver:

  • Using Data Effectively

    Learning how to use open source, sector specific and data collected by the organisation to influence change and make evidence-based decisions. Measuring impact.

  • Consider, Communicate, Connect

    Managing upwards, how to manage conflict, difficult conversations, transcending survival mindsets when challenging authority (having lived as a marginalised person), how to influence without authority.

  • Team Building

    Understanding team dynamics, working as a team to achieve a common goal.

  • Feminist Leadership

    Social identities and systems of oppression, intersectionality, cultural and gender stereotypes

  • Equity Diversity & Inclusion

    Understanding the Equality Act 2010, maternity, menopause, gender, race, disability etc. Understanding your individual rights

  • Male Allyship 

    What is male allyship, how to demonstrate this, what to expect and how to garner support from others, using your privilege to challenge thinking and practice

  • Feminist Leadership

    Social identities and systems of oppression, intersectionality, cultural and gender stereotypes

Value – Dependent on requirement. E.g. 2 hour facilitated workshop including planning, developing content, resources, delivery and report - £300+VAT (not including travel expenses).

Most people recoil at the thought of GDPR and data. But here at Stimulus, we love that stuff.

At Stimulus, we’re good at a lot of things to do with organisations, leadership and structures. But we’ve got a couple of babies that we’re especially passionate about. GDPR and race and gender equality. GDPR is a bore for most of us, but we make it exciting. Race and gender can feel intimidating, but they’re not scary, we promise.

We are experienced experts when it comes to data protection compliance (GDPR), charity governance, organisational culture, teamwork and customer experience. We do the following:

  • Ensuring organisations in the social sector are compliant with UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 without compromising on service delivery, contractual and service users’ needs.
  • Providing advice and guidance, reviewing policies and processes and supporting organisations to implement changes related to data protection.
  • Training varied audiences from senior leaders to frontline staff. Stimulus has developed a training programme “Protecting Personal Data” which takes the learner back to basics and covers all the core principles of data protection.
  • Stimulus is trained in EU GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 cert. Remaining up to date with forums and ICO updates.
  • Conduct organisational culture reviews

Testimonials of Penelope’s GDPR work 

  • “Who knew that GDPR could be made so accessible and interactive!” WRKWLL Associate
  • “As an organisation we were daunted that we might have to make unmanageable changes in order to comply, but you helped keep things simple and found ways that we could make things work for us. I feel more confident in our procedures now which is great. We opened what felt like a can of worms and you very much helped us sort them out in a painless and reassuring way. Thank you.” Young Gloucestershire
  • “The best GDPR training I’ve attended. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m actually interested in data protection now.” Leisure Centre Staff, Local Council
  • “We feel that the excellent grounding you have provided us with and the professional support you have provided to Sue means that we are in a position to proceed on our own.” - Adrian Leather CEO Active Lancashire

Value – Dependent on scope. Typically based on £60+VAT per hour

We’ve dealt with some problems in our time. Believe us. You think you’re the only organisation struggling to streamline? We can guarantee you aren’t. We can help you to get your projects tightened up, so there’s less time wasted faffing, and more time spent actually enjoying the work (imagine that!)

We believe in multi-faceted leadership and the ability to build a robust foundation that enables people and organisations to become high performing. We work with individuals and organisations to translate executive vision to operational reality working with the structure of project management principles, and adapting based on the needs of the individual and organisation. We have a proven track record in developing successful individuals and teams that exceed targets and objectives. Making complex concepts accessible by matching learners understanding. Developing individuals holistically. Passionate about working collaboratively.

As a PRINCE2 practitioner, Penelope has managed contract performance and service delivery of multiple small to large contracts with public-sector commissioners - Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups, Police Innovation Fund pilot projects, as subcontractors for Sodexo (CRC) on the Ministry of Justice supply chain and other grant funders e.g. Comic Relief, Henry Smith.

Penelope has managed projects like IT and CRM system implementation, quality management like ISO 9001, setting up of new and merging departments including teams, systems and processes across a variety of medium to large organisations including Lancashire Women and ADT.

Value – Dependent on requirement. Typically £60+VAT per hour.

We do transformative coaching, yes it sounds American. What it means is we work with people to make changes when they feel stuck. Got a staff member whose hit a plateau or lost their motivation? Or maybe they’re dead eager to climb the ranks? We can probably help.

Transformative Coaching has evolved as a more complete approach to coaching, moving away from a simple performance-focused tool to a humanistic and psychological focus, where the whole person is considered – not just what is visible on the surface. It is a reflective way of coaching that aims to explore a client’s cognitive, emotional, sensory and relational patterns to create a more complete understanding of their perspective of the world.

Through this awareness, there is much more potential for clients to unlock bigger transformative shifts, break down the negative patterns or beliefs that may have held them back and – most importantly – open up the path to achieve the outcomes or changes they genuinely want to see in their lives.

The number of one-to-one sessions is dependent on the individual, typically averaging at 5 sessions.

Value - £70+VAT per session.

Why Stimulus?

Who We've Worked With

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