DMU alumna wins Businesswoman of the Year award

Developing a compassionate leadership model delivered through her coaching consultancy has earned a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) alumna Businesswoman of the Year at the 2023 Niche Business Awards.

Sarah H 560a

Sarah Higgins graduated from DMU in 1996, after completing a business studies degree, and went on to become a human resources director (HRD) before setting up her own coaching and leadership business.

“As a solo entrepreneur, working for yourself is quite a lonely world - doing everything but also keeping yourself motivated and growing your business year on year. So, the award is a wonderful recognition from my highly valued peers, and I will treasure it forever,” said Sarah.

Sarah discovered a passion for human resources (HR) during her course, which covered finance, marketing and HR, as well as a language.

During her third year, Sarah secured a work placement position as an HR advisor and was able to use that experience to specialise in HR for her final year, winning the best student award for that subject.

She said: “DMU has changed quite a lot since I was there, with more modern buildings and facilities, but even without those, I valued the support from my lecturers and tutors, the access to books and resources, as well as the friends that I made and the fun we had while studying - always the best bit about being at university.”

Sarah Higgins560

After graduating, Sarah reached out to several employers and secured a job with AstraZeneca where she gained three years of experience in HR.

“I knew that I wanted to be an HRD and was even more determined after someone told me that I was too nice to be one! I left AstraZeneca as I wanted more responsibility and got a job at Boots, as the regional HR manager, and then on to the Royal Bank of Scotland as an HR consultant,” she said.

In 2003, Sarah applied for an HRD role at Oval Group where she set up an entire HR department and took the number of employees from 150 to 1,500 in five years.

When her position was made redundant in 2011, Sarah considered looking for another HRD role but instead chose to go it alone and set up her own business delivering executive coaching and team effectiveness workshops.

Her experience and knowledge enabled her to create her own leadership, emotional intelligence and resilience model called Power of Love Leadership®, supporting clients to lead from a place of love and not fear.

Sarah, who has also published a book based on her model, said: “This means behaving with humility, compassion, enthusiasm, hope, gratitude, forgiveness and learning. “My key message is to keep following your purpose and what you believe in. All of your experiences and challenges lead you to where you need to be. I’m still on that journey as there’s more I want to do to help people to get the results they want.”

Sarah Higgins560 (2)

If you’d like to find out more about Sarah’s book, Power of Love Leadership, visit

Posted on Friday 15 March 2024

  Search news archive