Rosie Wyatt Obituary | management

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My friend Rosie Wyatt, who died of cancer at the age of 67, began her career as an English teacher in Germany and became the founding director of VIA International Business Consulting in 1989. She was a pioneer of flexible working.

Her career as a management consultant was global and took her to India, Spain and frequently to the USA, among other places. She advocated part-time work at Arthur Andersen, where she started as a change manager in 1986, and at VIA she created an environment that promoted a healthy work-life balance before the term was really invented. She implemented open communication, comprehensive feedback, transparent payment, flexible working hours, home office and longer parental leave.

Rosie was born in Yeovil, Somerset, one of four children of Rowena (née Bedford), a farmer’s daughter and full-time mother, and David Wyatt, a bank manager at Lloyds. She grew up in Exeter, where she attended Bishop Blackall School for girls and Exeter College for sixth form. After graduating in German Studies from University College London, she taught English as a foreign language at a language school in Trier, Germany, where she later became Head of the English Department.

Returning to the UK in 1979, she completed a PGCE at the Institute of Education in London and then taught French and German at a Woodside Comprehensive School in Plaistow, east London, before giving up teaching for management consultancy. She retired from VIA in 2016.

Rosie and I met through a mutual friend in 1980 and ended up living 10 doors apart with our respective husbands in Telegraph Hill, south east London where our children grew up together. Rosie believed in the power of working together for the common good. She volunteered as a principal at the local elementary and secondary schools and as a box office manager for the Telegraph Hill arts festival. In 2020 she also helped set up Hatcham House, a coworking space in New Cross Gate that supported the community during Covid-19 and beyond.

The essence of Rosie was her interest in others, and her innate empathy, energy, and warmth drew people to her. She was also a wonderful mentor to many, taking time to share her knowledge or solve problems with a smile. Whatever she tackled, she reassured and encouraged people, never patronized them, and always listened. She could see the world through other people’s eyes.

Rosie started a local walking group in 2000; her last walk was in June 2021. Even then, the rest of the group couldn’t keep up with her. She also loved music and singing and was an active member of the Lewisham Choral Society, performing at the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Rosie described people as “radiators” – radiating interest and warmth – and she certainly did. She had breast cancer for 28 years. She is survived by husband Alex Brewood, whom she met in 1983 and married in 2012, and daughters Siobhan and Katherine. Her first grandchild is expected in August.

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