Who we are
Darin Brockman — CEO
Darin is the founder and CEO of Firsty Group, and author of The Website Workout (published in 2008), a simple guide for businesses on how to strengthen their online presence. He began working in the digital industry in the early 1990s in IT security solutions and web solutions for a range of government and corporate organisations. In 2003 he set up BCL to provide technical and consultancy services to SMEs and blue chip companies in the UK and internationally. Four years later, he started exploring the potential of digital solutions for book publishers and, with the advent of eReaders, decided to specialise in this area. He spent the following 2 years researching the book publishing industry, developing software, acquiring the relevant knowledge and expertise, securing investment and training staff in preparation for the launch of the Firsty Group in early 2010.
Charlie Warburton — Managing Director
Charlie has been in the publishing and training industry since the early 1990s, working in both the US and UK. Most of his career has been spent helping companies, academic institutions and governments implement strategic-level learning and custom publishing solutions. He joined Euromoney Plc in 1993 and in 1998 was appointed Managing Consultant responsible for worldwide sales within their financial training group, DC Gardner Training. In 1999 he co-founded Trade Basics Ltd, an online B2B service provider specialising in personal finance, wealth management and trading education for consumers and high net worth individuals. Charlie joined FT Knowledge (a Pearson company) in 2003 and became Managing Director in 2007 and then, in 2009 VP Learning Solutions in Pearson Education’s International Division. He joined the Firsty Group in mid-2010, taking on responsibility for its sales and business development activities, before his subsequent appointment as Managing Director.
Alistair Tripp — Financial Director
Alistair was the co-founder of an estate agency in 1990 that became one of the largest independent estate agencies in the Thames Valley, with six offices, more than 90 staff and a turnover in excess of £5 million. His work covered all aspects of property, including sales, lettings, property management, commercial property, financial services, property development and property investment. In 2004, Alistair established the Thames Valley Property Association, a non-profit organisation that consisted of about 20 agencies that wanted to join forces to negotiate better advertising rates with the local media; over the following 3 years this initiative saved his company more than £300,000 in marketing costs. Alistair sold his share in the business in late 2009 and became a shareholder and director of the Firsty Group, where he oversees the Group’s operations and financial management.
Kay Sayce — Publishing Consultant
Kay has more than 30 years’ experience in book publishing, starting with the publication of her first book in 1978. A year later, after a stint as a publisher's reader, she joined Faber & Faber, London, as an editor. In 1982 she became senior education editor with Macmillans Zimbabwe, and was subsequently production editor of Encyclopaedia Australia (Collins Australia) and general editor of Birds of Southern Africa (Readers' Digest). In 1985 she founded Quest Publishing Ltd to commission and publish titles in fiction, education and politics, including a major co-publication with John Murray Publishers, London. In 1988, working from the UK, she became a publishing consultant for international aid agencies affiliated to the EU, World Bank and United Nations; the work included co-publishing with John Wiley Publishers. As a sideline in 2005 she launched a series of small-format business books, selling the rights to the leading title to a Far East publisher in 2008. She joined the Firsty Group in 2010.
Kay also works under her married name, Kay Powell
Rosalyn Brockman — Operations Director
Ros brings a wealth of business and office management experience to the Firsty Group. In the 1970s, with her husband she set up and ran a manufacturing business focusing on display units for homes and retail outlets. Major clients included Zanussi and the Bank of Ireland. She sold the business in the late 1980s and in 1992 took up a position at Vodafone, where her work involved managing a large corporate migrations and acquisitions team, arranging training and conducting annual pay reviews. She worked closely with many of Vodafone’s high-profile corporate clients, among them Manchester United. In 2005 Vodafone moved its operations to Newark, and Ros travelled to Newark weekly to train the new teams. Later that year she decided to leave Vodafone and in 2007 she joined the Firsty Group as an investor and board member, taking up the position of Office Manager to oversee the Group’s internal operational processes.