Barbara Bird




One of the founders of Catalyst, Barbara’s involvement in Continuous Improvement spans thirty years.

She has worked with top teams to evaluate organisational effectiveness, competitive positioning and strategic development. She has also led the design and implementation of strategic change programmes and critical process identification. She is highly experienced in Lean Six Sigma techniques, having been selected as Lean Six Sigma Trainer for GE across Europe, where she trained over 800 green and black belts. Barbara is a Master Black Belt with the British Quality Foundation’s Lean Six Sigma Academy and oversees their certification process.

Barbara moved to consultancy after a career of considerable breadth with the Information Technology supplier ICL/Fujitsu. Her early career was in project management and her management experience spans software development, customer support and marketing management. As Strategic Planning Manager,she spearheaded a number of change initiatives including core competency analysis and resultant skills reprofiling; business process re-engineering; managing the cross functional teams which replaced 120 processes with a simplified system of 12 key processes; revised investment management processes to align investment with strategic goals.

As Software Commercial Manager responsible for ICL’s annual £60M software procurement and collaborations programme, Barbara established a new commercial/contractual framework to ensure competitive advantage from the third party software and services business. She also ran a large regional purchasing unit and was heavily involved in the development of ICL’s Vendor Partnership Programme.

Barbara is an EFQM Business Excellence model specialist. Key assignments include supporting the rollout of pan-European Business Excellence initiatives for a major financial services organisation and an aerospace organisation; trained assessors; leading EFQM and BQF Award assessments and site visits; devising simplified assessment processes and running many top team self assessments, often linked to policy deployment.

“You have been a great help to us on our improvement journey, and I look forward to working with you again this year.” Jerry Hall, Director, Operations, Rolls Royce Submarines

Barbara holds an honours degree in History from London University and a MBA from Henley Management College, researching the application of EQA self-assessment to strategic planning, goal setting and CI delivery. She is currently completing a diploma in personal coaching.


Recent experience includes:

  • Supporting the use of Lean Six Sigma tools to redesign the service offerings and organisation of the IS department of a major pharmaceutical company
  • Leading a project to reduce by 50% the resource needed to handle software maintenance
  • Mentoring a project to drive IT/SOX compliance through a global supply chain
  • Mapping and consolidating finance processes for a major retailer
  • Lean Six Sigma consulting and training for a telecoms company, an NHS Trust, an aerospace company, a major UK retail chain and an investment bank
  • Running a series of EFQM based self-assessment workshops for Board level management teams for two defence contractors, including action prioritisation and project selection
  • Developing and running the Catalyst open enrolment change management training programme
  • Leading lean six sigma projects for two retail companies