What we Believe
We believe that all businesses have a fundamental duty and responsibility to protect and enhance the lives of the people who work for them, the societies we serve and the planet we share.
But it is no longer good enough for that responsibility to be seen as a matter of good governance and therefore de-coupled from what our businesses actually do.
Working with great entrepreneurial leaders in businesses of all sizes for many years has shown us that, to truly succeed in a transparent, ambiguous and fast-moving world, business needs to take a clear and courageous view of what it believes in and why it deserves to exist – and then place that belief at the very heart of its strategy.
Purpose drives Strategy
We believe that when purpose drives strategy it simply makes for better performing, more agile and responsive and more sustainably valuable businesses because it has the power to create passionately engaged people, thrillingly innovative cultures and clear and high-velocity management.
But this can only happen when leaders allow their people to feel a strong sense of emotional ownership and create a culture of uncompromising and contagious trust.
have a rare combination of entrepreneurial and big business experience. We have all held senior positions in some of the largest businesses on the planet from Mars to Unilever to Diageo. And we have all built entrepreneurial businesses of our own.
We think this gives us a unique perspective.
And what gets us out of bed in the morning is a passionate belief that entrepreneurial thinking and a truly activated purpose can transform even the biggest and most complex businesses. Our goals is to help bring clarity and drive back to businesses, to help them reconnect with their purpose, re-engage with their people and become agile again.
We have taken this obsession and turned it into a rather brilliant methodology that is now used by large companies globally to remove corporate shackles, shatter legacy thinking amongst leaders, rekindle belief and connection in middle management and transform cultures right down the organisation.
Meet Our Team
Purpose and Entrepreneurial Thinking
I believe passionately in the power of entrepreneurial thinking and courageous purpose to unshackle the biggest corporations.I’ve developed this belief over a 30 year career spent in both huge corporations like Unilever and Diageo and as CEO of loads of entrepreneurial and even start-up businesses. I think this gives me a useful perspective when I’m working with business leaders in big companies to clarify and implement strategy and transform the way their organisations think. I write a lot and speak on purpose, ethics and entrepreneurship and I’ve been a guest lecturer at Cranfield, Henley and Cambridge Judge Business Schools. One of my main interests at Contexis in recent years has been to pursue the ‘holy grail’ of measuring the commercial impact of purpose and show exactly how it drives performance in real businesses. I’ve had the huge honour to work closely with top academics mainly at Cambridge and Plymouth Universities in this ambitious project.leadership and strategy
I am fanatical about building work environments based on trust allowing individuals to bring their true selves to work.Having spent over 20 years in leadership and Board roles across Europe in Mars Inc, one of the globe’s largest, most successful and sustainable family businesses I’ve seen what is possible when senior executives create a culture of trust and ownership within their organisation. I’ve learned how, by developing work environments which engender agile and responsive “followship”, leaders can transform their business; not only making it a place where everyone truly contributes but a company they can feel proud of. I understand the secrets of how to evolve a leadership team that is considered by stakeholders as outstanding, is respected by their workforce and has an authenticity of style. I specialise in supporting “C suite” executives to create clarity around their strategy, and to recognise the refinements required to facilitate successful and sustainable implementation across their business.client delivery excellence
I believe that a sense of ownership is a massive discriminator of performance in all organisations.As Licensing Director for Unilever, I expanded many Unilever brands into new markets by partnering with fast growth entrepreneurial business and giving them access to Unilever’s brands, knowledge and finance. This was a hugely successful venture, creating a rapid innovation cycle for the company and a new business model for growth. Since then, I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs bringing clarity and energy to help them build brilliant businesses that they love working in. I’ve seen how the people and behaviours make the most difference to corporate agility and how purpose-led organisations outscore purely profit-led organisation in all aspects of business, regardless of the size of the company. At ContexIs I really enjoy putting together client programmes which drive strategic clarity, trust and ownership into exciting businesses.Innovation and Design
I think it’s obvious that we all share a heartfelt need to be connected and to be useful, and that we all lose out if we can't bring this to our work.Having spent 18 years working in consumer marketing and innovation for Irn-Bru, Premier Brands and Bacardi-Martini then running my own coaching consultancy, I understands from experience the pressures and rewards of the corporate and the entrepreneur's life. I’ve worked in companies with a genuine long-term perspective and ones for whom next week might as well not exist. Now I lead the Contexis Engine Room – designing and producing systems and transformational programmes that run like clockwork and are easily scalable.Physiology and business performance
I believe that by attending to both health and productivity, we can directly improve performance for business leaders and their teams.I’m a life scientist by background but with a passion for entrepreneurship. I am inspired by working with business leaders and their teams to overcome issues hindering their progress and to develop a clear and very do-able strategy to achieve their vision. In 25 years experience, in a mix of commercial and consulting roles, I have worked with entrepreneurial leaders in businesses large and small, private and listed, throughout Europe and North America, India and China. My special area of interest is in applying my original research background with innovative tools to help business leaders and their teams to feel more energised and be more productive. Using heart rate variability technology by Firstbeat™, I give clients an in-depth means to understand their physiological response to stress and a heavy workload and to manage their resources more effectively, in and outside of work.Strategy
I firmly believes that change comes from within and that this is far more effective and sustainable than external consultants telling you what to do.I am based in Amsterdam but work across Europe. I’m completely at home in a number of languages including French, German, Dutch and English. My way of working is pragmatic, open and frank, and this clarity of approach allows clients to focus once again on those things that truly add value for them and their customers; devising strategies that are useable and effective throughout the whole company. I have spent over 20 years in corporate functions in sales and strategic business development. My passion for innovation enabled me to lead the development of the worldwide mobile applications business at a large IT services company – the precursor to what we know today as apps. I was also part of an internet startup and have helped several startup companies since then. These experiences have given me the skills needed to be able to help companies help themselves, and I’ve experienced at first hand that bringing back the entrepreneurial mindset to a company has resulted in amazing outcomes.Purpose and Partnerships
I believe purposeful businesses are a force for good; socially, environmentally and economically. Simply put, well implemented purpose drives more profitable business.Making an impact is what drives me and I work with large businesses because they can make a positive impact at scale. My approach is very practical and hands on; I love learning by doing and I help my clients do the same. My background is a mix of entrepreneurial and corporate businesses, across Europe and Australasia. Originally from the manufacturing shop floor and with a Cambridge University education, I learned what it takes to make a manufacturing business run well, blending people and process. I then applied these skills into other industries including financial services, civil engineering, transport and property development. I see entrepreneurial thinking matched with effective purpose implementation as a key to making lasting change in a corporate environment and I enjoy creating that bridge.Strategy
My purpose is to unlock the potential for growth in both organisations and leaders via resolving apparent complexity back to its core issues.Any reading of the recent data around both community distrust in business practices, and the shocking levels of employee disengagement at work make clear that the imperative exists to change the way we conduct and grow businesses in the future, and that the businesses and leaders who can do this will thrive. This process must be rooted in the tangible and measurable however: when working with clients, I love to bring to bear the practical, hands on experience I gained as a Senior Managing Director for Deutsche Bank in leading national and regional teams through times of rapid growth, external crises, and major cultural change. As a coach, my satisfaction comes from the moment when the barriers around a situation or decision fall away, and clear-eyed thinking becomes not only possible, but seemingly effortless. This comes from a process of bringing the discussion away from the ‘noise’ of everyday business and towards the higher context considerations as to purpose and vision.Corporate Ecologist
I believe passionately that magic will happen for our community and planet when the individuals within large organisations are courageous, aligned and enabled.I am inspired by work which seeks to shift established organisations from operating solely for profit to profit with purpose. I have a flair for identifying where waste like intellectual capital, systems, processes and products has accumulated within an organisations and leveraging these through business development and product or service innovation. As CEO of Engineers Without Borders Australia I transformed the value proposition from a traditional non profit giving model to a service model. By managing multinational stakeholders across the private, government, education and philanthropic sectors, I developed a thorough understanding of the not for profit sector and the role it can play in solving the complex challenges we face. From 9 years working for Boeing on the 787 in leadership roles spanning manufacturing and engineering, I understand the complex environment of a large organisation and led teams to thrive despite this complexity.Leadership
I believe that it takes courage to truly lead.Courageous leaders dare to go where they have not gone before. I love to work with leaders who want to achieve more; for themselves, for their businesses, and for the people in them. Previously I worked for nearly ten years with DMS as Senior Vice President, tasked with transforming operational efficiency, managing teams through complex projects and several organisational evolutions. I recognised then the interconnected nature of strategy and execution. Ever since, I have worked to bridge the gap between strategy and implementation by understanding both the technical and commercial requirements of the task and the human beliefs and behaviours that can derail progress. I am fortunate to be based in the Cayman Islands but I work around the world, with a particular focus on the US. My aim in advising any client is to connect the human with the commercial, to improve alignment, accountability and to deliver sustainability change.Business psychology and engagement
I’m a business psychologist and PhD with a fascination for what motivates and drives human behaviour and how this can impact business outcomes.My work challenges individuals to address the real issues which deliver business outcomes through personal growth. In particular, how attitudes and personality influence and inform decision making and the process of change. I have many years experience in academic research and working as a business psychologist and coach, and I’ve discovered that there are a number of key factors which stand out above others, namely because of their impact on behaviour – CONFIDENCE, OPENNESS and COMMITMENT. Working with different cultures and industry sectors across the globe, these core elements remain constant factors.Communication
I believe the power of your message is in its authenticity, authority and energy. It’s more about how you communicate than what you actually say.I began my coaching career after many years as a producer and manager at the BBC and in the independent sector. I’ve since found myself training people in an amazing mix of locations – from the back of speed boats to a shoot with the Sugarbabes – and in a range of situations – from helping authors handle a political media storm to preparing CEOs and board directors to deliver/deliver high profile strategy speeches with confidence and conviction. I work with with many top executives and businesses, transforming the way they communicate both internally and externally. I believe in presenting with authenticity, authority and energy and that the credibility and impact of your message is as much about how you communicate, as it is about the power of your content.Owner managed businesses
I love to build relationships of trust so we can work on the things that really matter.My passion is to empower business owners to fulfil their potential; building their businesses while helping them explore their dreams and fears so they can have high growth from a more relaxed, happy business, in which the owner/founder is doing far less. I like a bloody-minded client and a boardroom tussle - they are a sign of commitment and determination to achieve more. Over the last 16 years I’ve delivered thousands of hours coaching, mentoring and advising businesses in a wide variety of sectors. Prior to this I spent 25 years as an entrepreneur, founding and growing a number of businesses nationally and internationally that were sold successfully.Leadership
I believe in the power of collaboration to deliver commercial achievementI’m a consultant and coach working with both large corporates and SME’s to identify strategic goals, improve performance and manage change. I have a lot of experience of senior management development & change programs, performance management & improvement and have coached senior executives worldwide their on career development. In a past life I was Global HR Director for TNS, one of the world’s largest market information businesses where I oversaw the HR function as the company grew from £10m to over £2billion, and developed a global HR strategy to help drive this dramatic growth. I’ve run global teams and seen how coaching can help to identify and achieve common international goals sometimes against a backdrop of local empowerment, leading to significant improvements in collaboration and commercial achievement. Now I specialising in working with individuals and teams in a changing environment and I particularly enjoy coaching executives transitioning into new, senior leadership roles. I’m also Visiting Tutor at Henley Business School where I coache on Senior Leadership and MBA programs.Strategy
I believe that a clear, compelling vision has the power to inspire others to take ownership.I’m passionate about leadership, and have seen many times that a clear, compelling vision has the power to inspire others to act without the need for line authority. And I’ve built and led many strong teams which have challenged processes and hierarchies and done what it takes in order to single-mindedly deliver against their commitments. As an engineer originally, I moved into brand marketing, market research, back into product innovation, and then into strategy development. I’ve seen a company change from a pioneering, big-thinking, risk-taking exciting ‘family’ to a sluggish, narrow, risk-averse big corporate enterprise and is clear about what has been lost: real leadership and real teamwork. Now, I love to help teams develop clear and compelling strategies that make change inevitable.Executive Coaching
I believe in the transformational power of conversation.I like to build trust and rapport with leaders and leadership teams so we can get quickly to the heart of the issues they face and take accountability for their choices to change things; turning strategy into delivery with noone being letting off the hook. I started my career in operations and transport management and have led operations and customer service teams of up to 2000 people. I’ve managed some of the busiest transport locations in the world. Now I specialise in helping clients in complex environments in strategy development, bidding, mergers and acquisitions and corporate transformation projects.Change Management
I believe we create change by asking rather than tellingI’m an avid learner who likes to make things happen - I’m pretty pragmatic & down to earth and I understand the challenges people and teams face in an organisation. What I love is to take complex problems and help teams come up with a simple way forward to make change happen at all levels in an organisation. My background is as an Engineer in the aircraft industry but I found my home in manufacturing, leading many Lean change programs across Europe and the US. Now I specialise in developing change agents within an organisation, so things happen organically rather than resorting to a top down ‘tell’ approach.Financial Management
I believe it is not just about the money, it’s about what makes a business tick.I’ve worked in the SME market for over 18 years now, and love understanding what makes a business tick and seeing how I can add extra value to my clients by molding a tailored service. A methodical planner who loves to be organized, the challenge of managing the finances for a fast-growing business like Contexis is the kind of work that gets me out of bed in the morning.