Core team

Mind Gym is organised around strengths, so everyone gets to do what they are great at every day. Crack teams work closely together to deliver for every client and participant.

Read Mind Gym's position on DE&I


Octavius Black Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Octavius Black is the Co-Founder and CEO of MindGym, which he co-founded in 2000. Octavius co-authored MindGym’s four books and has written in The Times, Financial Times and The Sunday Telegraph. Prior to founding MindGym, Octavius was a director of the organisational communications consultancy Smythe Dorward Lambert and prior to that he was an analyst at Booz Allen Hamilton. Octavius read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at The Queen’s College, Oxford University.
Joanne Cash Board Chair
Joanne Cash is the Board Chair at MindGym. A former barrister, Joanne was called to the bar in 1994 and practised as a human rights barrister until 2010. She co-founded Parent Gym in 2009 and joined the Board of MindGym in 2011 becoming Board Chair in 2014. Previous roles include Vice-Chair of the Fawcett Society and board advisor to Women2Win. Joanne read English Literature at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.
Sebastian Bailey, PhD. Co-Founder and Executive Director
Dr. Sebastian Bailey is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of MindGym. Sebastian has led the development of MindGym’s products since its inception, from the portfolio of 90-minute workout to the latest digital eWorkouts. Sebastian conducted the definitive academic research on how to maximise the transfer of learning, which underpins MindGym’s proposition. Sebastian co-authored the four MindGym books. Sebastian gained a PhD from Bristol University with a thesis entitled “Maximising transfer: How learning translates into action in organisations.”
Richard Steele Chief Financial Officer
Richard Steele joined MindGym as Chief Financial Officer in March 2018. From 2012 until January 2018, Richard served as Finance Director of Cook Trading Limited, the frozen ready meal retailer. Prior to this, he was Finance Director at the retailer White Stuff Limited from 2007 to 2012. Richard has also held a variety of finance roles within Principles Retail Limited and Easy Group and started his career at Tate and Lyle plc where he qualified as an accountant and worked for 10 years from 1989.
Sally Tilleray Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Sally Tilleray is the Senior Independent Non-Executive Director on the MindGym board. Sally has served as Group Chief Operating Officer and Finance Director at Huntsworth plc, the international public relations and healthcare communications group, from 2004 to 2014. Sally is an experienced marketing services agency executive and has been Non-Executive Chairman at Cognito Europe since 2016 and also Non-Executive Chairman of digital agency, Kagool. In July 2019 she became a Non-Executive Director of NAHL plc, the AIM-listed consumer legal focussed marketing and services business. From 1999 to 2003, she held the role of CFO Europe for Predictive Inc., an IT network consulting business which undertook an IPO on Nasdaq in 2000. Prior to this, she held senior finance positions at Imperial Software, Unique Solutions, Dowty Communications and Sunlight. She started her CIMA qualification at Bayer UK and completed it while working at Schlumberger plc.
Trevor Phillips OBE ARCS FIC Independent Non-Executive Director
Trevor Phillips is a writer and television producer. He is the co-founder of the data analytics consultancy Webber Phillips, and Chairman of Green Park Interim and Executive Search. He is the Chairman of the global freedom of expression campaign charity Index on Censorship; a Senior Fellow at the Policy Exchange think tank; and a Vice-President of the Royal Television Society. He was the President of the John Lewis Partnership Council until 2018, and founding chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
David Nelson Non-Executive Director
David Nelson is Non-Executive Director on the MindGym board. David qualified as a chartered accountant in 1987 and has been a partner of Dixon Wilson since 1990, serving as Senior Partner from 2008 to 2018. David is a non-executive director of a number of family-owned companies. He is an adviser to UK-based families and their businesses, advising on financial and tax matters 24 in the UK and overseas. He is also a trustee of a number of UK trusts. David is a non-executive director on the board of Daily Mail and General Trust plc (LSE: DMGT) and also sits on the Audit and Risk Committee and Remuneration and Nomination Committee.
Ruby McGregor-Smith Independent Non-Executive Director
Ruby McGregor-Smith is the President of the British Chambers of Commerce. She also chairs the Air Operators Association, is a Non-Executive Director at the Department of Education and the Tideway Tunnel and Senior Adviser at Mace Group. Ruby was the Chief Executive of MITIE Group PLC, the strategic outsourcing company, employing over 65000 people predominantly in the UK. She is one of a small number of women who have held the position of Chief Executive in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 and is the first Asian woman to be appointed in such a role within that group of companies. She was recognized as a top 50 female world business leader by the FT in 2013. Ruby was also an Independent Non-Executive Director of PageGroup, appointed to the Board in May 2007. She chaired the Audit Committee, was a Member of Nomination and Remuneration Committees and also latterly their Senior Independent Director.

Leadership team

Octavius Black Chief Executive Officer
Octavius Black is CEO of MindGym which he co-founded in his kitchen on 01/01/01. Octavius writes extensively in the Financial Times, Times, Sunday Telegraph and City AM, and has co-authored four books. He also leads MindGym’s CSR programme, Parent Gym, which delivers free parenting programmes in socially challenged areas across the UK.
Sebastian Bailey, PhD. President
Sebastian Bailey is a thought-leader, Co-Founder and President of MindGym where he consults on the future of learning for global organisations. Sebastian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with Cognitive Science from the University College of London and a PhD from the University of Bristol, where his thesis focused on how to maximise the transfer of learning in organisations.
Richard Steele Chief Financial Officer
Richard Steele joined MindGym as Chief Financial Officer in March 2018. From 2012 until January 2018, Richard served as Finance Director of Cook Trading Limited, the frozen ready meal retailer. Prior to this, he was Finance Director at the retailer White Stuff Limited from 2007 to 2012. Richard has also held a variety of finance roles within Principles Retail Limited and Easy Group and started his career at Tate and Lyle plc where he qualified as an accountant and worked for 10 years from 1989.
Claire Poll General Counsel
Claire joined MindGym as General Counsel in January 2019. Prior to that Claire was a director and General Counsel of a Biotec startup responsible for the strategic planning of the company transitioning from an R&D entity into production. Claire has over 25 years’ experience as a lawyer specialising in intellectual property, working in private practice in New York and as a managing partner of Hobson Audley in the City before joining Barclays as Head of Group IP where she set up the IP worldwide governance framework.
Wei-Li Chong President, Americas
Wei-Li Chong is the U.S President of MindGym, a behavior change company that has helped business leaders transform their organizations for over 20 years. He leads the rapid growth of MindGym’s U.S. operations, headquartered in NYC and directs teams across the country. MindGym works to change the culture of many ambitious companies, including more than half the S&P 100, as well as mid-size and smaller businesses, by translating behavioral science into a unique set of experiences, products and tools that create company-wide behavioral change. With a background in human resources and business operations, Wei-Li is an expert in building high-performing cultures that have measurable impact on business performance. Prior to joining MindGym, he served as President of KinderCare, the largest provider of childcare and early learning services in the U.S., where he oversaw more than 30,000 employees. Wei-Li was tapped for the role after working as Executive Vice President of HR for the company and leading the organization’s cultural turnaround by developing a “people first” philosophy that bridged culture, data and analytics to drive business results. He is credited with transforming the business and delivering record company performance. Wei-Li’s extensive background also includes a position as SVP, Human Resources for women’s retailer Ann, Inc., home of the prominent Ann Taylor brand. Wei Li Chong is based in New York City at the MindGym Americas headquarters.
Elaine Safier Chief Digital Officer
Across her career, in both large corporates and start-ups, Elaine has been leading businesses where emerging technologies create new consumer and media opportunities. She joined MindGym in 2019 to take up the challenge of transforming and expanding our digital offer. Elaine was previously the Chief Commercial and Operating Officer - Digital Channels at HSBC where she was in charge of the digital leadership team at one of the largest global banks in the world. She has an MBA and BSc in Economics from the Wharton School. She is passionate about increasing the role of women leaders in business, government, and society overall and believes that diverse leadership, teams, and organisations are the real key to success in our ever more complicated world.
Desi Kimmins Chief Commercial Officer - EMEA
Desi Kimmins is MindGym’s Chief Commercial Officer and oversees all of MindGym’s client relationships across EMEA & APAC, managing the commercial team, client services team, and solutions strategy for these regions. Desi brings global experience in designing and delivering behaviour change. Her experience in leadership roles within HR and consulting, combined with her background in psychology and psychometrics give her a unique perspective across both the scientific and commercial sides of the business. She was previously Senior Partner and Head of Leadership Development & D&I EMEA at Korn Ferry and holds a master’s degree in social and organizational psychology from Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Janet Ahn, PhD. Chief Behavioural Science Officer
Dr. Janet Ahn is an expert academic researcher, professor, and consultant. She is MindGym's first Chief Behavioral Science Officer leading product innovation and R&D and serving as primary subject matter expert translating academic models into scalable and actionable insights to solve organizational problems. She is a trained psychologist from Barnard College, Columbia University (Bachelor degree in Psychology), New York University (Ph.D. in Social Psychology), and Teachers College, Columbia University (postdoctoral fellowship). Prior to joining MindGym, she was a tenure-track professor of Psychology at a large public university in New Jersey, where she created tools and interventions to increase persistence and retention for underrepresented groups (women and persons of color) in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) fields. She published in high-impact, peer-reviewed academic journals topics related to motivation, goal pursuit, cognitive biases. She is a sought-after speaker in academic and industry conferences and is also a skilled statistician. Her research has been featured in several media sources - Business Insider, NPR, Times Higher Education, CBS, Women's Health Magazine, etc. She consulted for various Fortune 500 organizations, educational institutions, and non-profit agencies.

Academic board

Sophie von Stumm Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of York
Sophie studies the causes and consequences of individual differences in psychological and behavioural development across the life course. She takes an inter-disciplinary approach to observing behaviour and environments, primarily through the application of new assessment technologies that enable collecting big, high-quality data. Sophie focuses her studies in particular on three areas: (1) the effects of early life environments on children’s language development; (2) the role of personality traits like curiosity and imagination for learning; and (3) the relationship between genome-wide polygenic scores and educational attainment.
Lasana Harris Senior Lecturer on Experimental Psychology at University of College London
Dr. Harris’research uses a social neuroscience approach to explore the neural correlates of person perception, prejudice, dehumanization, anthropomorphism, social learning, social emotions, empathy, and punishment. This research addresses questions such as: How do we see people as less than human, and non human objects as human beings? How do we modulate affective responses to people? How do we decide right from wrong? By combining social psychology, affective and cognitive neuroscience with philosophy of mind, developmental psychology, evolutionary anthropology, economics, law and policy, this research focus is a comprehensive strategy to explore human behavior.
Debra Noumair Professor of Psychology and Education, at Teacher's College at Columbia University
As director of numerous leadership development programs, Dr. Noumair brings her work on individual, group, and organizational dynamics to executives through examining multi-rater feedback and psychological assessments at the individual and group level and through teaching and executive coaching with senior executives nationally and internationally. She has worked with global companies in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States.
Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos Consumer and Business Psychologist Lecturer and Practitioner, University College of London
Dr. Dimitrios Tsivrikos is a Consumer and Business Psychologist at University College London (UCL). His research, teaching and consultancy work specializes in Business, Consumer/Branding and Occupational Psychology with a specialist interest in the contribution of social identity and group membership to a range of organizational processes, such as leadership, communication, organizational change, advertising, and Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). Throughout his academic career he has held a number of international research fellowships and has published widely on psychology and business-oriented subjects, and articles in various periodicals and general interest journals. He is a leading commentator on consumer behavior/psychology and a frequent guest on the BBC, as well as acted as a scientific consultant in various periodicals such as Property Week, Esquire, and The Guardian.
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D Professor of Business Psychology, University College London, Columbia and Chief Talent Scientist at Manpower Group
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