About Charles Ledsam (FCIS)

My philosophy is that everything is possible, as in training for a marathon, if you put in the time and effort and take one step at a time. I recognise that it takes both courage and determination to change and I want to help people take the brave steps to achieve their potential, hopes and ambitions.

For this reason over ten years ago I formed a consultancy, Reach For The Rooftops, which offers a practical form of lifestyle change, business and career coaching and mentoring. My approach builds on my experience gained when working in the City of London for many years.

In October 2013 I completed my year as Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, one of the "modern" City Livery Companies. (see my Blog) This was a one year post and was both a privilege and a responsibility. It enabled me as Master to attend various events, visit interesting places and meet a wide range of people.

I am a longstanding member of a church in Hertford,where I served as a church warden for three years. I have been involved in fundraising there, as well as supporting and mentoring church members.

I am an active fundraiser for various charities and have taken part in a Three Peaks Challenge, two London to Brighton Cycle Rides and four London Marathons, the most recent being in April 2011. I have also run several 10k runs for charities such as WaterAid, London Youth and Crossroads Counselling.

Having lived in Hertford for over 40 years, I have been involved in Hertford Rugby Club, have worked as a school governor, on vari ous NHS committees and in various voluntary ways, so am well-known in the local community and understand the challenges we all face, whether as a spouse, parent, or colleague. I currently chiar the friends of Hertford Museum.

Times are tough out there. I know that because I talk to plenty of people and hear their anxieties, but it is also a time for change, for getting excited and for seizing oppportunities that arise.

I just want to help people to be effective, happy and fulfilled.


I began my working life in 1967 in the wine trade, earning just over £6 per week. I worked for the then agents of Mateus Rose, one of the most popular wines of its day. One Summer, I hitch-hiked across France visiting various vineyards on the way. That was great fun and gave me a real sense of freedom.

In 1969, after devaluation and import levies were imposed in the UK, on the day that the first man landed on the moon ("one small step for mankind...") I joined Hartley Cooper, a medium sized firm of Lloyd’s insurance brokers. Initially working as a policy clerk, I was then offered a junior post in the company secretarial department and found my niche. I became involved in recruiting the more junior staff and organising their training programmes. My then boss encouraged me to study for ACIS and in due course I qualified as a Chartered Secretary in 1977, but worked in the Lloyd’s Broking sector for most of my working life.

In 1984 our company was acquired by HSBC. Following promotion, for the next fifteen years I held the post of company secretary of HSBC Insurance Brokers Ltd. This post required tact, understanding, listening skills, the ability to implement change, build relationships at Board level and between colleagues at all levels.

From 1985 I also became responsible for HR and people issues, believing that if you understood what motivated your staff, each person would respond more positively to the needs and pressures of the business. I also recruited specialist teams setting up small subsidiary companies and arranging service agreements for the executives.

It was through this that I began to understand what made people tick and their motivations. Being a senior executive could be very lonely, so I was often used as a sounding board. They would offload their fears and concerns, many of which I was able to overcome for them discreetly and thus enable them to be more effective. After considerable expansion through a host of acquisitions, I gave up the company secretary’s role to concentrate fully on HR.

During the Summer of 1998 I took a three month sabbatical and, amongst other things, tackled the Coast to Coast route from Workington to Whitley Bay and cycled on my own across England. On my return I was appointed to the board of HSBC Insurance Brokers as its first HR Director in 1998. I held this post for eight years.

The HR role proved very challenging both for me and the Company as new systems and processes, performance management programmes and capability recruitment were introduced and we became more aligned to HSBC. New bonus processes and flexible benefits, as well as staff being transferred from one business to another and overseas secondments grew.

In October 2006 I decided to stand down as HR Director as I wanted to take on a part-time role. That role was as Director of Corporate Responsibility, which I held until 2008. This involved working alongside charities, organising volunteering programmes for employees and being the company’s ambassador at corporate events. I also project-managed publication of the Company’s history, titled “Elephants in brown paper bags and steam in crates”. This spanned 200 years of the Antony Gibbs' story and was published in October 2008.

Since then most of my work has been of a voluntary nature or coaching or mentoring.

Charitable Work

I enjoy fundraising for variuous charities and mentor, support and encourage individuals in a number of ways.

In Retirement

In retirement, I keep very active. I help with our allotment, enjoy walking, going to concerts, lectures, theatre and films.We also have six grandchildren who keep us busy too!