I’ve co-piloted business owners of established businesses and start-ups to success in varying industries, sometimes with very little knowledge of the industry to begin with. My naturally intuitive, enthusiastic and empathetic character lets me listen carefully and compassionately to understand where you are and what might be stopping you move forward.

With an established and active involvement in business networks across the East Midlands, and beyond, I can offer some smart, on-the-pulse ideas (and smart connections) to help business owners, and people at a career crossroads, become and stay where they want to be.

I have a knack of being able to help people break through barriers, often before they see them coming. By listening to where you are my view can help you identify not just solutions to reaching your goals, but also insight into the barriers that may be preventing you from achieving them.

Many of my clients have been surprised at some of the observations I’ve made which have allowed them and their businesses to shine brighter.

My business background is in car rental and filling stations (petrol and retail shops) having started my first business straight out of college, grew this over a 13 year period and sold to take a break to have two children. The ensuing years saw me take on a variety of roles and different business interests including being involved in a car body repair business (which we exited from in 2013) and developing a portfolio of private SME clients across various sectors. I am now looking to further advance this portfolio with a couple of NED roles. 


  • Advertising, Marketing & PR
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Printing / Publishing / Media
  • Property & Construction
  • Technology, Telco & Internet
  • Transport, Automotive & Aviation
  • Business Transformation
  • Hospitality
  • Professional Business Services


  • Non-Executive Director/Chairman
  • Founder
  • Director


  • £5m - £15m t/o
  • £15m - £50m t/o
  • £50m t/o +



East Midlands Business Champion Business in the Community (and formally under EMDA) July 2008 - Ongoing

Various projects over the years including:

Bulwell Academy Business Advisory Board member.
The board provides business and commercial input to the planning and delivery of business and enterprise functions within the Academy and supports the Principle and Senior Leadership team.

Emmanuel House - mentor to the Centre Manager devloping skills around operational efficiences, time manangement, meeting busines plan objectives.


Consultant Deborah Labbate Business Solutions January 2005 - Ongoing

I have experience of business start up and exit and a lot of 'stuff' in between which I’ve gained since starting my first business in 1980. I've exited successfully from one business and under some distress from another.

It's all gone in the experience pot and I would be pleased to share this with you.

You can read what my clients have to say about working with me here:

My passion for the last 10 years has been supporting businesses, both start-up and established.
I offer Coaching, Mentoring and practical business advice across a range of sectors to business owners and their teams to drive growth using the tried, tested and proven ideas I've worked with myself.
Often called a confidante, or a critical business friend and sometimes a 'Secret Weapon'.
It really doesn't have to be lonely at the top!

I've also work with successful professionals in various organisations enabling them to develop in areas around operational efficiences, time management, networking strategy, presentation skills, confidence, emotional intelligence.
Some would say soft skills.  I say essential skills in a hard business world.

My no nonsense, straightforward approach combined with a unique blend of skills and years of practical business experience could be just what you need if you want an improved bottom line and progress in your business.

Governor / NED ncn (New College Nottingham) April 2013 - January 2015

Board member.  Also various committees including Employabilty and Governance. 

Partner Pepe's Autos January 1995 - July 2013

Specialist Car Body Repairs and Vehicle Refinishing - Established 1978

Pepe's Autos repaired damaged vehicles for a number of Nottinghamshire Dealerships, companies and private motorists.

What did I do here? 1995 - 2004 Hands on role covering all areas of the business apart from actually repairing the vehicles ... I left that to the expert craftsmen!
2004 to 2012 P/T Finance director role. Negotiations with insurance companies, suppliers etc. HR.
2012/2013 and my final role, structuring the exit including sale.

Business Mentor NBV and EMDA September 2005 - September 2012

Accredited Mentor delivering the Mentoring to SME clients across the East Midlands on behalf of NBV and EMDA.

Also help develop the mentoring programmes with EMDA. 

President Nottingham City Business Club May 2011 - May 2012

I first became involved with Nottingham City Business Club as a Council member in 2007 becoming Vice President in 2010 and President in 2011. I remain a member today and act as an advisory member to the board.  

This business club was establised in 1924 and had enjoyed an enviable reputation for many years. Membership had declined in more recent years as had attendance at events.  During my tenure it was my remit was to increase numbers and awareness of the Club and to become a voice for Nottingham businesses.

A successful period of office saw attendance at events increase from 40+ to 80+ and today this has continued to increase with regularly 100 members and guests attending monthly events.  NCBC is firmly on the Nottingham map and regularly involved in business related matters accross the city.

I also instigated and continue to faciliate a Round Table Forum with the regional office of the Bank of England twice each year.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve Nottingham City Business Club in the capacity as President and to follow in the esteemed footsteps of Presidents past since 1924.

Business Adviser NBV June 2006 - September 2011

ILM/SFEDI Qualified Business Adviser.

Providing support & advice to start up businesses and established businesses.

Career Break Career Break October 1993 - January 1995

1993 - 1994 Full time mother to twin boys
1994 - 1995 Continued to enjoy my career break whilst also taking on a voluntary role as Regional
Co-ordinator for TAMBA and set up a small business selling children's clothing and books.

General Manager / Principle White Self Drive Hire June 1980 - October 1993

Responsible for all aspects of P&L, general business management, recruiting, training, introducing new working practices, opening multiple locations, re-development of petrol/service stations including retail shops.

Start up with 4 cars, a mini bus and a van. Qualified by experience learning on the job. Grew the business to a fleet of 80+vehicles and 2 service stations - one in Nottingham and one in Loughborough.

Sold the business in 1993 taking a break to have a family.


Facilitator of Change Management Working with clients to facilitate change in operations, management and leadership and mindset.
Business Management Broad set of skills including the ability to understand key business functions such as marketing, human resources, information management, technology, accounting and finance and operational efficiency .
Financial management Learnt hands on from an early age the importance of financial management in any business. In my car rental and body shop days I was responsible for all aspects of P&L.
Extraordinarily diplomatic and tactfulUsing an eclectic mix of skills and techniques I am told I have on many occasions demonstrated extraordinary tact and diplomacy to resolve even the most complex or troublesome situations.
Highly experienced networker and influencerI have over a number of years built my own significant network and am often called upon to speak on the subject of networking to various groups and organisations. I have provided networking skills training to universities, financial institutions and SME's. I have started my own networking groups and developed other more established groups, for example Nottingham City Business Club which was founded in 1924. I run a number of events each year to facilitate other people's networking opportunities.
Coaching and Mentoring Qualified Coach and Mentor working with SME's and professionals. Also a Master Practitioner of NLP (Neuro Linguist Programming)
Business DevelopmentI do business development to source my own clients and also on behalf of clients.

The One Big Mistake People Unwittingly Make When It Comes To Time Management and How To Avoid It September 2011It's all too easy to say 'I'll get around to that when I have more time', isn't it? At last, a sensible, easy to read booklet packed with thoughts and ideas that gives you something practical you can do today to improve your effectiveness in life and in business. The One Big Mistake People Unwittingly Make When It Come To Time Management & How To Avoid It will transform your thinking about time and suggest to you some simple and uncomplicated ideas to try. This booklet is for everyone who wants to get the most out of their life and their business whatever stage you're at. This booklet will help you to . . . • look at how you spend your time • develop effective time strategies • see how by implementing just one idea can make a significant difference to your day, your week and even your life! Think about this for a moment. Everything you are today and everything you become in the future will be determined by the way you think and the way you use your time. Your attitude towards time is a critical factor in all you do and everything you accomplish. You ability to set yourself clear and accurate priorities on your time determines the entire quality of your life. Take action today and you have taken the first step in achieving effectiveness with your time. FIRST PUBLISHED AND AVAILABLE ON AMAZON SEPTEMBER 2011. AVAILABLE AS A EBOOK SEPTEMBER 2014 Click on the link above for an early version or if you would like your own copy please contact me with your email address and I will send one to you with pleasure or you can sign up via my website


Business Support, Advice and Mentoring Institute of Leadership and Management July 2010Qualification Licence No. N50908C9419502
Coaching OCN via Coaching and Mentoring International October 2005Certification No. 3795197
NLP (Neuro-Linguist Programming) Master PractitionerThink Big Education July 2010Practitioner and Master Practitioner qualification
Business Advise SFEDI (Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative)April 2010Diploma in Business Support

“If I was a stick of rock and you cut me I’d have Nottingham through the core”By Ian Evans - 3rd October 2016October 2016Mentor, coach and consultant Deborah Labbate is a fixture of the Nottingham business networking scene, known for her work with Nottingham City Business Club – an organisation she once led – Forward Ladies, and her bespoke coaching business We met up with the East Midlands native to discuss the importance of experience and what makes her coaching unique.
My Week - Deborah LabbateNottingham Post July 2011Regular piece in the local press showcasing a week in the life of various business owners
Sixty Seconds with Deborah Labbate of Star Coaching Read more at would you describe what you do to a Martian? Read more at 2012Sixty seconds with . . .


Institute of Directors East Midlands April 2014Active East Midlands members

Nottingham City Business Club Nottingham May 2007The oldest established business club outside of London. Est. 1924


ILM Diploma in Business Support
ILM Diploma in Business Mentoring
Master Practitioner - NLP (neuro Linguist Programming