Core team

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

Leadership team

Octavius Black Chief Executive Officer
Octavius Black is CEO of Mind Gym 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 Mind Gym’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 Mind Gym 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.
Wei-Li Chong President, Americas
Wei-Li Chong joins from KinderCare, the US's largest provider of childcare and early learning services, where he was appointed President with responsibility for c. 30,000 employees having previously been EVP for HR. As a member of the Executive Team, Wei-Li led the cultural turnaround and people strategy which has been credited to transforming the business and delivering record results. Prior to joining KinderCare, Wei-Li was SVP, Human Resources at Ann Inc, the women's retailer known primarily for its brand Ann Taylor. At both companies, Wei-Li brought in Mind Gym as a strategic partner to deliver cultural change that drove a turnaround in business performance.
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 Mind Gym 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.
Richard Steele Chief Financial Officer
Richard Steele joined Mind Gym 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.
Desi Kimmins Chief Commercial Officer - EMEA
Drawing on 20 years of professional experience consulting with leaders and organizations, Desi Kimmins is Chief Commercial Officer for Mind Gym based in the firm's London office. She oversees all of Mind Gym’s client relationships across EMEA & APAC, managing the commercial team, client services team, and solutions strategy for these regions. Prior to joining Mind Gym, Desi took on the following roles: Senior Partner and Head of Leadership Development EMEA at Korn Ferry - the global organizational consulting firm – where she was responsible for: Leadership Development, Top Team Development, Executive Coaching and the firms Diversity & Inclusion practice (with a strong focus on building the female talent pipeline)., International Client Director at Mannaz Global Leadership Development, in London, where she was responsible for a portfolio of large multinational Fortune 500 clients., Head of Leadership Development, Talent Management and Talent Acquisition at ING Investment Management Europe, based in the Netherlands. She completed her MBTI, Insights, Hogan, Real Drives, PPA, Firo B, KFLA , KFALP and viaEDGE certifications, and also holds various project management certifications. Desi earned a master’s degree in social and organizational psychology from Leiden University, The Netherlands. She is fluent in English, French, and Dutch.
Ryan Boughan Chief Commercial Officer - Americas
Ryan Boughan has been with Mind Gym since 2011 and his experience of growing our client base helps inform Mind Gym’s strategy on marketing, recruiting and retention, solution support and design, and the prioritisation and launch of new products and points of view in the marketplace. Ryan is the Executive Sponsor on many of Mind Gym’s largest and most complex client accounts working in partnership with the management team and senior sales team to oversee and broaden our client relationships across the globe.
Claire Poll General Counsel
Claire joined Mind Gym 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.
Mark Dickinson-Keen Chief People Officer
Mark Dickinson-Keen joined Mind Gym as Interim Chief People Officer in April 2020. Prior to joining he spent 10 years with TalkTalk where he held a number of people roles, most latterly as Chief People Officer. Mark held a number of people roles prior to TalkTalk including in the Financial Services and Retail industries.

Academic board

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.
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.
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 University and Chief Talent Scientist at Manpower Group
Tomas is an organizational psychologist who works mostly in the areas of personality profiling, people analytics, talent identification, the interface between human and artificial intelligence, and leadership development. He is currently a professor of business psychology at University College London (UCL) and Columbia University, as well as the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup, and was previously the CEO at Hogan Assessment Systems.
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