04 January 2023
Octavius Black, Co-Founder & CEO of MindGym and Co-Founder of ParentGym, has received the award of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours List.
An entrepreneur, philanthropist, best-selling author and former business columnist, Octavius has been recognised by King Charles III for his services to entrepreneurship, business, life sciences and community.
Octavius co-founded MindGym in 2001 alongside co-founder Sebastian Bailey, with the mission of helping people use their minds more effectively to get more out of life and give more to others.
The business, whose first client was Deutsche Bank, has gone on to become a leading international behavioural science consultancy, equipping global blue-chip companies including Microsoft, Citi, Burberry, Coca Cola, Unilever, Salesforce, KPMG and Lloyds Banking Group to build the culture, commitment and skills that deliver business results.
MindGym has worked with 62% of the FTSE 100 and 59% of the S&P 100, changing the way more than 5 million professionals think, feel and behave at work.
With a network of more than 400 accredited master coaches spanning 43 countries, MindGym integrates evidence-based behaviour change experiences into bite-sized live and digital experiences, using a highly scalable methodology and digital ecosystem.
The company is a significant exporter, with more than 70% of revenue generated overseas and offices in New York and Singapore. After successfully listing on the AIM in 2018 with a market capitalisation of £145 million, it has recently undergone a major digital transformation, with digital experiences now accounting for 75% of its revenue.
Since its early days, MindGym has been a thought leader and change-maker – setting out to transform people’s self-efficacy, working lives and relationships. As its size and scale have grown, the consultancy has developed into a leading light solving major corporate and societal issues:
In 2010, Black and his wife Joanne Cash co-founded ParentGym, MindGym’s philanthropic arm. Entirely funded by MindGym, ParentGym runs parenting classes for schools in socially deprived parts of the UK, offering a lifeline of support for thousands of parents across hundreds of schools.
Researchers at the University of Warwick have found ParentGym classes to significantly improve parents’ satisfaction, self-efficacy and wellbeing vs control groups. ParentGym also works in partnership with the Prison Advice and Care Trust to keep parents connected with their families during their imprisonment, reducing the risk of reoffending by 39%.
Octavius said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be recognised for MindGym and ParentGym’s contributions to business and the community. No entrepreneur has it easy, but I had it a lot easier thanks to the remarkable talent and commitment of my co-founder Sebastian Bailey and my wife Joanne Cash, MindGym’s Chair who chaired MindGym for almost a decade and led us through the IPO.
“Above all, my thanks go to the clients who were willing to be pioneers and the thousands of exceptional people who have been part of MindGym’s dedicated global team over the last two decades.
“For society’s most pressing challenges, from polarisation to productivity, loneliness to mental illness, discrimination to disillusion, behavioural science is the active ingredient in any lasting cure. It is MindGym’s job to turn this theory into practice by equipping millions of people all over the world with the practical psychological tools and wherewithal to use their minds more effectively, so they get more out of life and give more to others. I am thrilled to accept this honour on behalf of MindGym and ParentGym, for the part we play to help make the world a better place.”
Octavius is the co-author of a series of bestselling books, including ‘MindGym: Achieve More by Thinking Differently’, ‘Wake Your Mind Up’, ‘Give Me Time’ and ‘Relationships’. He has given a TEDx talk on diversity and inclusion, has been a business columnist for The Sunday Telegraph, and is a regular media commentator and public speaker on corporate and behavioural science issues. In 2013 he was named a runner-up for Business Columnist of the Year at the Editorial Intelligence comment awards.