Who are we?
CEO & FOUNDER
Delivering Successful Change - Successful delivery of change programmes, ranging from major outsourcing programmes, complex systems integrations and at Visa delivering three new service lines (wallet, mobile and loyalty), managing teams of 200+ and budgets of 100m +. He excels at quickly building multi-disciplinary teams and creating results through exceptional collaboration and clarity of outcome.
Operational - COO in a range of environments including Barclays Home Finance, Capita Financial Group and Visa Europe’s Digital Business Unit
Co-Founding and Operationally establishing Visa Europe Collab - Creating the strategy for and establishing a stand-alone innovation hub based in three sites across Europe and head quartered in Shoreditch, London.
Programme Management – successful planning and coordination of Visa Europe’s online checkout programme (budget €101m over 3 years) for multiple European merchants and banks with a focus on driving Visa Europe’s Beta launch into the UK and Spanish markets
Operational execution – leading Corporate Change Portfolios’ (overall budget €25m) including various change initiatives across multiple divisions including Legal, Finance, Risk and HR.
Head of Business Development APAC
Donna Blanks is the Head of Business Development for business mix’s APAC responsible for client relationships and collaborations with our innovation ecosystem across Asia, with over 10 years professional experience across multiple industries.
Donna began her career as a Legal PA in a Law Firm before entering the Investment Banking Sector at UBS Asset Management.
Working for a number of Research Teams she then implemented a program to train all new Desk Assistants for the role of which she set precedent.
Her next role involved working directly for the Global Head of Research before transitioning into a Marketing Role, where she co-ordinated directly with both Research, Sales and clients globally.
While she stepped away to become a mother of two, now teenagers she trained and run her own Personal Training freelance business.
Donna has a passion and drive for all that she does and has recently reignited her love of martial arts.
Her Key Areas of Experience are:
Events & Marketing – Running large events in house and venue side for both small companies and large corporates
Training & Development – Coaching and mentoring employees hands on through new roles and procedures
Business Development – Lead the construction of a marketing software tool to role out globally by working with both from the business & client side perspective
Client Relationship Management - Interacting directly with key clients and compiling data to analysis client relationships. Building & maintaining those relationships and dealing with any concerns or complaints. Alerting the sales teams to opportunities for further sales with key clients.
An enthusiastic and energetic leader, Jo is adept at entering complex, and uncertain, environments and bringing structure, and focus, to both business-as-usual and transformational change.
Jo has over 20 years’ experience of delivering change and running teams across financial services and engineering to the voluntary sector. Despite her FTSE 100 / Blue Chip organisation pedigree, Jo has worked as a consultant, and interim manager, in a wide variety of firms from the start-up of less than 5 full time staff, to the to the truly global.
She is skilful in leading multi-disciplinary teams, has often been brought in to troubleshoot, or reinvigorate, change activity and Jo is a fun team player; able to roll up her sleeves and pitch in.
More recently, Jo has been helping growing organisations develop and implement operating models that meet their legal and regulatory requirements, whilst being flexible enough not to overwhelm a rapidly maturing organisation.
Jo provides reassurance around good practice, produce workable governance & policies and set up, and coach, effective working practices and feedback loops, ensuring everyone in the team knows what is going on.
Mark brings over 35 years of consultancy, payments, and international business development experience gained in a variety of senior roles to the team at business mix, with a demonstrable passion for innovation and product design.
Through permanent and interim assignments, Mark has worked for many global multi-nationals including Cap Gemini, Virgin Media, Sky and Visa Europe.
Passionate about innovation, he is experienced in developing and deploying commercial product strategies around the globe. Mark has lived and worked in Asia, the Middle East, North America and Europe.
Most recently, Mark has been consulting for companies specialising in Internet of Things, mobile solutions, wearables, connected car and blockchain technologies, primarily in the payment, mobility & personal identity sector.
Helen Abrams is a creative, energetic and versatile events all-rounder with over 10 years’ experience working in-house, venue-side, and as a freelance consultant where she has executed a range of B2B and B2C events.
With a focus on sustainability, provenance, and support for local start-ups, Helen works with a hand-picked collection of reliable and innovative suppliers.
Helen provides clients with open and honest communication, transparency, meticulous organisational skills, extensive events knowledge and a professionalism that will leave you wanting more.
Helen is extremely client centric, with a warm and engaging approach to client servicing, is pro-active, adaptable and very hands-on.
Thriving on providing our clients with a creative, solution-focussed experience that is fun, impactful and unique, her warmth, adaptability, drive and work ethic has seen her gain considerable international events experience across several industries within the UK, Europe, Tel Aviv, Indonesia and Australia.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Jon is an experienced innovation, service and technology leader, with over 25 years’ experience successfully delivering business & technology services to global financial companies – including Visa, JP Morgan, HP Enterprise Services & American Express, where Jon rose to become the Vice President of Technologies Operations for the Global Travel division and designed and implemented a new technology support organisation for Amex’s European travel business.
Previously, Jon was a key member of Visa Europe’s Innovation Hub and was responsible for identifying, and testing, the most exciting and revolutionary ideas in payments and developing them into a commercial reality.
Jon setup and led the Blockchain practice at Visa Europe Collab and was responsible for leading multiple, high-profile, proof of concept initiatives with key start-up companies including BTL; testing ideas for new products and services across the whole payments eco-system, with specific focus and thought leadership in the blockchain and crypto-currency domain.
Jon now provides Advisory and Consulting Services to ambitious entrepreneurs, is currently on the Advisory Board of leading Enterprise Blockchain company, BTL and is a recognised Associate with business mix.
Howard Elsey is an accomplished Associate with business mix bringing data protection expertise to large corporates and start-ups alike.
With professional privacy qualifications certified by IAPP (Industry Association of Privacy Professionals), Howard has worked for small, scaling and corporate organisations including FTP Software, Paysafe and Visa Europe.
His specialist knowledge areas include GDPR, PSD2, the wider innovation ecosystem, payments, Fintech and distributed ledger technology. He has brought many new technologies to market – including ISDN, PCMICIA, wireless networking, IPV6, online, mobile and alternative payments – and brings business wide experience to help organisations understand the practical application of innovation strategies.
From a sales, marketing and product management background in technology, he has developed international distribution channels, created and developed brands, added valuable leadership in business operations management, IT service operations and development to running a PCI compliance programme.
As a founding member of Visa Europe’s innovation laboratory, Howard supported organisations operationalise their own innovation programmes. Howard appreciates the intricacies of start-up ecosystem and has worked closely with multiple incubators and accelerators.
Howard’s broad knowledge of emerging technology is coupled with practical, operational experience in running various areas of a business, from sales and marketing through to the back of IT operations, development and customer service.
Communications strategy - traditional media to social and influencer relations.
Narrative development and brand storytelling.
Sophie Ficek is a leading HR, Talent Management and Change expert with over 15 years professional experience across multiple industries.
With HR certifications and a foundation in change management supported by Prince2, Sophie has built a successful career helping some of the world’s leading financial services, media and healthcare organisations, including Visa Europe and the NHS.
Sophie’s strengths lie in her ability to work collaboratively with both individuals, and teams, to help foster practical strategies and solutions for large corporates and start-ups alike.
Working closely with leadership teams in evolving strategic initiatives, organisational design, HR policy development and, where relevant, implementing new processes and toolsets, are a particular interest.
Sophie has successfully implemented both strategic, and tactical change initiatives, including; Flagship Well-Being (an employee engagement programme linked to Olympic sponsorship), HRIS (Workday), as well as multi-million Euro technical change programs and perfectly balances a personable style with a calm and logical approach.
Social Media Marketing Manager
Lucy is an undergraduate at Leeds University, studying Business Management and Spanish, and is business mix’s Social Media Marketing Manager.
Lucy manages both our content library, and our multiple social media channels and, in collaborating with our Partner, “Formula Creations Ltd”, Lucy continues to develop our online presence with regular updates to our website, in alignment with our social media footprint.
Lucy has developed the business mix brand individuality through creation and implementation of graphics, font and colourway adoption to ensure a coherent brand position; in both virtual and physical forms.
With practical involvement in smaller companies (Platinum Property Partners), and truly global organisations (Visa Europe), Lucy has experience in client pitching, sales and development and business operations.
A keen volunteer, Lucy travelled to Peru with ‘‘World Challenge’, undertaking charitable work in local communities, building cultural awareness and furthering her language skills. She has also participated in the ‘Study China Program’, spending time in Shanghai, developing her understanding of Chinese culture and world of business.
Highly creative, a fast-starter and a great team player, Lucy brings flair to the team and speaks French, Mandarin and Spanish.
Programme and transformation management.
Significant change of company processes and procedures, including implementation of a tier 1 ERP system Programme Management, implementation of a >€20M programme (over 5 years) which included advanced, optimized neural-network based credit scoring system.
Introduction of process efficiencies to deliver significant benefits to mature organisations based on Kaizen principles.
Suki also provides strategic and secretarial support to various charities.
Financial Management – identifying and delivering cost savings and efficiencies, implementing and managing the business budgeting and forecasting processes, product and service pricing, financial oversight and control, P&L Management - both operational and Investment.
Change Governance – designing and execution of programme governance and controls.
Business Planning – understanding business strategy, vision and goals, and development of clear business plans.
Investment Portfolio Management – designing and implementation of processes and controls to ensure effective management of business investment portfolios.
Rob is the business lead for Sustainable Technology and the Operations Manager for business mix.
As the lead for Sustainable Technology, Rob’s role involves developing the strategy and internal sustainability policy for business mix.
He supports client work through research and by using collaboration platforms.
Rob also represents business mix at key events including sustainable innovation conferences as well as seminars, looking at the recent advances in innovative thinking and technology.
In his operational management role, Rob owns the organisation of events including logistics and content, researching and implementing software tools, sourcing of equipment as well as providing day to day support to the team.
With a background in environmental science, Rob is equipped to tackle complex business problems through study and dealing with multi-faceted issues, including global climate change. He is experienced in working as part of multi-disciplined teams, collaborating on all issues including scientific, economic and social aspects.
In 2018 Rob joined an independent academic research trip to Senegal collaborating with local stakeholders to test a new economic model and educational tools.
Rob has previously enjoyed volunteering as an IT tutor for Age UK where, putting his IT skills into practice.
Operations Manager & Associate
Commerciality - Understanding and aligning activity to cost, income, value and risk drivers. Strong track record of aligning operational / change functions to business strategy, from top to bottom and achieving optimum solutions and delivery approaches.
Stakeholder Management - Relationship building and communication to ensure the optimum outcome for all. As a common theme, Rachel’s career has required a highly developed ability in building and maintaining relationships with internal and external suppliers, peers, leadership and customers, along with an ability to communicate complex change to stakeholders in a balanced and meaningful way that is easily understood and that leads directly to informed business decisions and buy-in from stakeholders.
Practice and Team Leadership - Development and/or creation of human resources and processes to increase organisational competency and capability. Rachel has created and then led several change management practices, resource pools and teams to successfully deliver. The largest had 150 members, comprising consultants, contractors and permanent colleagues, across multiple sites; embedding appropriate cultural and communications approaches has been a key success factor.
Programme, Portfolio and Project Management
- Definition of end to end solutions and delivery plans to optimise business benefit. Rachel has held several change leadership positions successfully directing and delivering change, and has experience in many types of change including:
• Mergers and acquisitions - operations and IT integration of two financial services companies and due diligence phase for the acquisition of a credit card operation in Australia
• Operations and IT change portfolios - including offshoring and systems development (largest £30m investment budget and benefits of £350m)
• Centralisation of legal documentation processing (creating one national centre with 400 staff)
• Regulatory - delivering an FSA mortgage regulation compliant end to end mortgage process for Barclays, including the Woolwich (across 10 mortgage sales channels and 28000 referrers, sellers and supervisors)
• Outsourcing of customer services activity (contract of £120m over 5 yrs.)
• Property – redesign of outlets, development of supporting technologies and rollout to 70 outlets
• Rachel’s strong track record of delivery and breadth of experience has enabled her to provide Quality Assurance and “crisis management” services for other business critical change programmes.
Organisation Design and Development
Talent Acquisition Strategy
Workshop Design & Delivery
Disrupt your Normal
“The future belongs to those who believe.”