My journey into the world of business psychology began in Mae La, a United Nations refugee camp on the Thailand/Burma border. I was working with people who had fled their homeland with nothing, leaving behind what most of us spend our lives striving to obtain. As the sun rose over the mountains each day, warming the dusty red earth, the camp sprang to work. Makeshift schools, hospitals, smallholdings and shops hummed purposefully. Mae La was alive. It was business as usual reflecting the resilience of seventy thousand displaced people.
Despite the traumatic events that had forced them to leave their homes, the resilience of the camp’s inhabitants was evidenced everywhere. What I was observing was the epitomy of resilience, post traumatic growth. A counterintuitive response to trauma where human beings thrive.
On returning to London I was employed as head of organisational development. The juxtaposition was stark. I was surrounded by colleagues who regularly confided their feelings of deep unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Absenteeism was at an all time high, long term sickness worse. Working there was physically and metaphorically making people sick. It was impossible not to reflect upon the resilience of people in the camp and compare the two. This was the beginning of my journey into researching resilience.
I knew there was another way. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted people to recognise that they had a choice, that they could do things differently, do things their own way. I wanted to help organisations recognise that people are their most important resource. To identify the optimum conditions for employees to thrive. To recognise that when we work with the intention to lead well, it can make a huge difference. So that’s what I did. I left the corporate world to start Koru.
Since then I’ve been working around the world as a business psychologist, executive coach, visiting professor, writer, mindfulness teacher and conference speaker. I work with international businesses across the globe building effective, resilient leaders, teaching people to be more mindful in their careers as well as in their personal lives, talking about how mindfulness, creativity and innovation are inextricably linked and spreading the word about how the practical application of positive psychology can make a huge difference in business. Sound interesting? You bet.
I work with some amazing companies, universities and organisations from tech start ups to established fortune 500s including Deloitte, Spotify, KPMG, The United Nations, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Teenage Cancer Trust, UK Central Government, L’Oreal, NHS, Price Waterhouse Coopers, UK Sport, the Natural History Museum, Google, Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales, Royal College of Physiotherapists, Kenyan Ministry of Tourism, Royal Institute of British Architects, Ernst & Young, Combat Stress, The Football Association, Lancaster University Bonington Leadership Programme, London School of Economics, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Health Education England, WaterAid, IProvision and loads more. I’ve loved every minute of helping these organisations optimise their leadership and build resilience.
I consult, coach, train, speak at events, facilitate leader retreats and run workshops. I leverage my corporate and international experience to package the latest research in neuroscience, mindfulness, positive psychology and resilience into something practical that works.
What does Koru mean?
noun: koru; plural noun: korus
a stylized fern-leaf motif in Maori culture
Koru is a Maori symbol of creation, representing change, new beginnings growth, strength and peace. That’s our mission, to help you change, grow, transform and unlock your potential.
Gill regularly writes about psychology, wellbeing and mindfulness for publications including The Guardian, Thrive Global & HR Zone. She contributes to international publications on everything from wearing red lipstick to toxic relationships (and of course, psychology) being featured in Success Magazine, Refinery 29, She Knows, Dare Magazine, Everyday Power Blog, Accounting News and Stylist Magazine. She regularly speaks at conferences on the subject of leadership, resilience, wellbeing and performance in the workplace. She is also Visiting Professor at CHE University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In her spare time Gill runs a small trust that supports refugees on the Thailand/Burma border.
She holds an MSc in Mindfulness Studies specialising in mindful leadership, resilience and compassion. She is a qualified mindfulness teacher, adhering to the UK Mindfulness Good Practice Guidelines and is a registered teacher on the UK Mindfulness Teachers List. Gill is excited to be currently co-authoring Mindful Heroes with Aberdeen University alongside her very own personal mindful heroes including Professor Paul Gilbert, Graeme Nixon, Alan spence, Sharon Salzburg, Graeme Nixon Terry Barrett and Vin Harris amongst others. Mindful Heroes will be launched in 2019.
She is a member of the Association of Business Psychologists, British Psychological Society Psychometric Assessor, Institute of Leadership and Management, British Neuroscience Association, International Mindfulness Teacher Association Member, Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and is a Reiki Master. She has practiced mindfulness for over twenty years, having lived, worked and studied in China, Tibet, India and Thailand.
Gill regularly presents her research at conferences including;
Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre Conference, Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre. Mindfulness at work research.
Compassion & Wellbeing Conference, UK, November 2015. Research presentation ‘Making Mindfulness Work: The impact of Mindfulness interventions on leader stress, anxiety and resilience levels’
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Learning at Work Conference. Presenting ‘Mindfulness at Work’ on expert panel. October 2015
Digital Mindfulness London, June 2014. Mindfulness Keynote
Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, Learning and Development Show Conference, May 2014. Mindfulness at Work.
British School of Osteopathy. Conference Keynote speech March 2013 Performance Management in Practice
Local Government Association. Healthy Workforce, Healthy Communities, October 2012. Mindfulness at Work