Interview with Denise Nurse, Success Coach, TV presenter and Founder of Both Businesses and Charitable Organisations

Denise Nurse

Denise Nurse is a distinguished Television Presenter, dynamic Business Coach, seasoned Lawyer, and captivating Speaker and Host. Known best as the presenter of BBC1’s Escape to the Country and for presenting the weather and travel on Sky, Denise brings an inspirational style and energy that captivates audiences.  

Her ability to challenge perceptions, encouraging individuals to surpass their limitations and take the steps to actively change their lives sets her apart. 

With a track record of breaking barriers and setting new trends, Denise is celebrated not only for her professional achievements but also for her bright and warm personality that resonates with audiences. 

As a successful business woman, in 2007, she co-founded Halebury, a groundbreaking UK law firm that revolutionized the legal industry with its introduction of flexible and agile working practices. In 2018 demonstrating strategic prowess she successfully sold the business paving the way for the launch of several new ventures.  

As the CEO of Realise Your Value, her coaching business, Denise is committed to creating economic empowerment for her clients. 

In addition to her business and TV pursuits, she is Co-Founder of the Black Founders Hub, a peer networking organisation for ambitious Black Founders in professional services businesses, and Support SEND Kids, a charity dedicated to facilitating easier access to educational rights for SEND children and their families.  

Denise Nurse’s impact extends beyond her professional realm, embodying a passion for making a difference and empowering others to do that for themselves.  



As an accomplished success coach, TV presenter, and founder of both businesses and charitable organisations, can you share what deep down inspires you?

What deep down inspires me is being the change I want to see. If there is something that bothers me I want to fix it.

I like to create the things that I want to experience. Plato said necessity is the mother of invention.  Well, he actually said, our need will be the creator.  I am inspired by my need to make spaces and services that match my needs, wants, and values and that I believe will meet those of others who are underserved with what is currently on offer.

This has been behind all of my ventures. From launching the first Liverpool University Afro-Caribbean Society in 1994 because there was no Freshers Week club for the African and Caribbean heritage students, to starting Halebury my flexible law firm because I wanted to be able to practice law and pursue a TV career and needed flexibility. Now, serving business owners who want to create a new type of success that does not follow the traditional script. Where there’s a need there’s a way.


On your journey to date, what would you say has been the most significant moment or milestone that has shaped the person you are today?

There isn’t just one most significant moment. Each one has unfolded a new path. However, entering Sky Talent the competition that launched my TV career was a pivotal moment.   

It was 2003 and I had been on a coaching weekend with my best friend. Plotting our lives and envisioning our futures. I came out and decided to invest in a television presenting course. Just for fun. A few months later the advert went up at Sky, where I worked as an in-house commercial lawyer,  “Do you think you can cut it?”.  It was the Sky Talent competition. 

Entering changed the trajectory of my life.  As one of the winners, I got the opportunity to take a secondment from my legal job and present the weather for Sky News. I never looked back. This led to me presenting travel, law, and property programs, creating a flex law firm so that I could practice law and present on TV, meeting my husband, and creating my family. 

It cemented my belief that anything is possible and sometimes things that we haven’t even consciously dreamed of can come true.


Every year it seems the pace of change gets ever faster. Against this backdrop how do you ensure you stay adaptable and open to new opportunities? 

Surround yourself with people who lift you higher. This is one of my favourite lessons from Oprah Winfrey. Our perception of the pace of change is relative to the time we are living in. Being around different viewpoints and people who are open to discussion, debate, and change is important.

The cross-pollination you gain from learning from other industries and people is so valuable. When building the business of Halebury, I learned the learnings from working as a procurement lawyer and with technology and engineering concepts and processes. This led to innovation in the way we worked and collaborated.

Secondly connecting with nature. All answers can be found in the natural world which is constantly showing us how to change and adapt. When feeling unsure, stepping out into nature always helps. This looks like daily walks in my local park or by the river for me.

Finally self-reflection and challenged my ideas. Getting coached and learning how to self-coach so that I can manage my mind and thinking with increasing skill supports an adaptable mindset.


Founding a business or organisation often involves taking risks. But what role do you believe risk-taking plays in achieving success?

I define risk as uncertainty. By its very nature entrepreneurship is full of risk.  You are embarking on a path less trodden. If it’s not been done before there may be no evidence that your idea can work.

So you have to be willing to be uncomfortable and go beyond what you can see.  Doing something that’s not been done before feels risky. But I believe it’s riskier not to do it. 

I love Sir Richard Branson’s approach to risk.  Which is to embrace risk but manage the downside. Here’s my version of that. I asked what was the worst that could happen and if could I handle it. Then I make sure I like the reason for the decision I make. So there is no regret because I was 100% behind my decision at the time.

I follow this philosophy. In the non-business world when I did a bungee jump over Victoria Falls, I assessed the risk. I watched several others do the jump before me, researched the company, and sought feedback from those who had gone before me. The worst that could happen would be my early death or major injury but the risk of that was extremely low. My reason for doing it was to experience the 4-second free-fall feeling of flying that I wanted and to push myself. 

Even with all that. When I stood at the end of the platform with my harness on securely and the countdown to my jump about to start, I didn’t want to jump. Then the instructor told me it was more dangerous for me to back out and step back off the platform now than to just jump. This logic made sense to me and off I leaped into the clear air above the Zambezi River. 

With entrepreneurship and ideas that are burning a hole in you. Sometimes it’s riskier for you not to do it than to do it.  The worst that can happen if you don’t pursue is a dream unfulfilled.


What is your personal success philosophy, and how do you use this to inspire and motivate those around you?

Do what you love and love what you do. Find a way to love no matter what. The greatest gift and emotion is love. In Barbara Fredrickson’s work on Positivity there is scientific evidence that 10 positive emotions enhance our life and love is one of them.  Love like all emotions, works for us.  Choosing to love, even when it’s something difficult, does not diminish the other emotions or hurt someone else - it enhances our well-being. Finding love in what you do opens the door to doing what you love. Even if you leave you take yourself with you wherever you go. So doing the work to love yourself and what you choose to do is a positive emotion that will fill you with the energy to create what you want. 

From this comes my belief that anything is possible. If a tiny seed has the potential within it to grow into a mighty oak, what potential are humans sitting on? Client after client I see is sitting on a pot of gold that they haven’t recognised. I love my work in helping them to realise it and value what they have so they can experience the benefits in their life. 

The gold is useful to them rather than just feeling uncomfortable to sit on. This looks like making more money in their life and creating more time for the things that are important to them and that they love to do.


Overcoming challenges and displaying resilience are increasingly important. Can you share any setbacks you’ve encountered, and how you’ve used that experience to learn and grow?

Setbacks, I don’t believe in. Life happens and things don’t go the way you think they are going to. It may be a redirection but I don’t see it as setting me back. I have many examples of life happening though. Here are a couple;

In business, we started with no financial backing. My co-founder had some savings and I had a job as a presenter for the first 7 years to pay my bills and all money earned in the business went straight back in to invest in growing a team, profile, systems, and processes. It was 4 years before we started paying ourselves. The banks were disappointing.  Running a multi-million pound business that had never been in the red we still were put through hoops to raise even a relatively low overdraft. It felt painful believing that they could not see our value and would not support us no matter how hard we worked.

The biggest moment of my life happening was my son being born 3 months prematurely. His due date was May and he arrived in February. 

That was not part of my plan. I had moved to Southampton to raise my two stepchildren, my business partner was living in LA with her family and we ran our remote business that was physically centered in London. With an office and a small team that gathered there.  We were growing and pitching for our biggest contract to date.

My son didn’t care. He turned up early and immediately became my top priority.  I had to rely on my team, amazing clients, and my ability to work flexibly, (the whole raison d’etre of the business) to the fullest extent. We experienced our biggest growth. There was time to work on the business not in it and allow the team to rise rather than relying on me or even creating a bottleneck. This was the beginning of me focusing on higher-level work and allowing the team to do what they did best. 


Uncovering, supporting, and backing ideas can often make a difference. What do you believe is important when seeking to foster a culture of innovation and creativity?

I believe that Leaders set the tone for the culture in any organisation and I also believe that we are all potential leaders. 

To foster innovation and creativity it’s essential to create safe spaces, to teach and encourage listening, to allow failure, to know when to stick and when to pivot, and to know what to take and what to leave. Traditionally in a monoculture, you can just make demands and force people to do what you want. The military style of leadership.

For diversity of thought, creativity beyond the obvious, and inclusion of all opinions you need to be much more flexible in your approach. 


Successful people often face challenges in balancing work, commitments, and personal life. How do you manage this balance, and what strategies do you use to prevent burnout?

Get a coach. 

Athletes get injured without them. I am a professional. I risk getting emotionally injured without one. Creating a business is work so I am mindful to be intentional about how I spend my time. 

I create and adapt my self-care routine that means something to you. Remember always to be kind and compassionate to yourself. Notice harsh voices and tones as you speak to yourself and have compassion for yourself doing the best you can at the time with the tools you have.

Crucial is to learn to say no. Creating boundaries of what you will and won’t do. What are you willing to say no to make space for the ‘Hell Yeses’


You’ve already achieved a great deal in your career, so what keeps you going and ensuring you bring your best self to your endeavours?

I don’t always bring my ‘best self’ I bring me today. This version of me is the best I’ve got today.  A team is a great change-maker. Having a team to support you, personally and/or in business. Although it may feel like a lonely journey at times you cannot and will not do it alone. Who is supporting you? Move on from anyone who isn’t.


As a successful business coach, what is the one common behaviour or tactic you think all leaders could employ to help them achieve success?


Keep questioning and being interested in yourself, others, and the World. 


Finally, out of all the businesses and causes you’ve helped, what’s the one project or initiative that you’re most proud of?

Can’t pick between my babies. There isn’t one. The story of my life so far may only make sense when I’m not here anymore.  Right now it’s all about creation and service. What can I create and who can I serve?