Business Achievers: Rita Smyth and Role Players for Training


This month's Business Achiever is Rita Smyth, founder of Role Players for Training. We asked Rita to tell us a little bit about her training business and asked her about her business journey to date. Read on to find out more in Business Achievers: Rita Smyth and Role Players for Training:

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Give us the background to your business

In a previous life I worked in Financial Services where I was a Human Resources Manager with Bank of Ireland Group. From a young age I always had an interest and was involved in some way in the performing arts and indeed was an active member of the Bank's Theatre Group. The decision to resign after almost 15 years and take up full time actor training was not an easy one however it has led me to where I am today and ultimately in setting up my own business Role Players for Training.

Having graduated from drama school and working in the more traditional areas for actors I discovered how drama based skills were being used to support Learning and Development in business and executive education. Because of my HR and Acting background I was lucky to be taken on as a Corporate Role Player by one of the UK's biggest Role Play companies, where I worked as a freelance role player for about 5 years. During that time I worked with blue chip organisations across the UK and Europe.

Coming back to Ireland I was dismayed to find how little of this valuable approach to adult learning was happening here and so I decided to set up my own business Role Players for Training. That was back in 2011. Initially a slow burn, a lot of educating my target audience, growing my own team, lots and lots of networking and getting involved in relevant institutes and personal CPD has resulted in a growing, very enjoyable and valuable niche business in the professional training and coaching area.

In 2018 we were engaged to work on projects in the UK, Brussels and in Spain where we provided a very large multilingual team to support a learning initiative as part of our client's Sales Kick Off Meeting.

Recommended reading: Business Achievers: Neil Dowling and EventEase

The best business tip you've ever received?

Never appear desperate. It is easy to feel that you are getting nowhere when you initially set up, full of positivity but not getting customers or sales. So keep positive, approachable and interested in what other business owners are doing and approaches they have tried.

Any advice for other business owners?

Have patience! Things don't happen overnight and it takes time for your brand and profile to get noticed. However you still need to be active and tenacious.

Also, join a relevant networking group - there are lots of them out there. They provide support and sometimes training at reasonable rates to keep you learning and meeting like minded people who may also be starting out on their entrepreneurial journey. Especially relevant when you work on your own.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The 'go to' business for professional corporate role player/facilitators to support Development and Assessment both in Ireland and overseas. Supporting other learning initiatives, e.g., as part of Conferences and Leadership Summits.

What does business achievement mean to you?

Recognition for superior service provided through testimonials and recommendations from our clients. Knowing that we make a difference from the positive feedback we continually receive from the participants on the programmes we support.

It is also important that my own team are challenged and rewarded for the work they do. It is also nice to be recognised by peers and other industry professionals. Recently I was awarded the 'Rising Star' award by LEO Dublin City Women in Business Group and previously an 'Outstanding Achievement' from the IITD (Irish Institute of Training and Development).

Where can people connect with you and your business?

Visit our website at, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., we're on Twitter at @RoleplayersforT

Over to you now. Have you come across or used Role Players for Training? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.



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