Our team

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Matt Grimshaw, Partner

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Curious, impatient, sanguine

What did you do before you joined The Pioneers?
I was the Planning Director at a consultancy called the Storytellers and before that HR and Change Manager at DS Smith.

Why did you join The Pioneers?
I don’t like the idea that there are millions of front line employees who aren’t particularly happy and who don’t flourish at work. Life seems a bit too short (and the world a bit too competitive) to keep wasting people’s talent and ideas.

What experience do you draw on in your work with The Pioneers?
I’ve spent 10 years managing culture change and engagement projects. Firstly working in house in a large manufacturing company then moving to consulting where I’ve designed and delivered programmes in industries from pharmaceuticals, banking and telecoms to retail, hospitality and restaurants.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I love exploring the ideas that sit behind our approach and then turning these insights into something practical and applied to create real change.

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
Nathan Zuckerman — doesn’t everyone want their own controversial, groundbreaking, literary genius of an alter-ego?!

What keeps you busy outside of work?
My kids

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
A ‘pause’ button so I can carry on with what I want to do while everyone else stays still and waits for me!

If you had a theme tune what would it be?
When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
Ancient Athens — I’d definitely look the business in a tunic and sandals

Want to speak to Matt?
You can book time in his diary here.

Find out more about Matt here:

Bee Heller, Partner

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Adventurous, driven, centred.

What did you do before you joined The Pioneers?
I worked in the Business Enhancement team at Babcock managing group-wide integration projects resulting from the acquisition of VT Group. Fascinated by the human elements of change in large organisation, I joined The Storytellers as a Consultant and learnt an enormous amount about the role of narrative in shaping how people feel and behave.

Why did you join The Pioneers?
Matt bribed me.

What experience do you draw on in your work with The Pioneers?
Having initially honed my skills as a project manager, I’ve now been running change projects for over 5 years. In that time I’ve designed and delivered storytelling and engagement programmes for banks, culture change programmes for hotels and management innovation projects for restaurants.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Meeting people on the front line of businesses.

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
Matthew Webb – the first person to successfully swim without buoyancy aid across the English Channel and in so doing starting a tradition that continues to attract 100s of people to push their physical and mental limits every year.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Swimming in the Serpentine, running trail races and planning adventures around the world.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Flying

If you had a theme tune what would it be?
Don’t worry, be happy.

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
1940s – I would have made a great spy

Want to speak to Bee?
You can book time in her diary here.

Find out more about Bee here:

Karl Brown, Associate

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Compassionate, dedicated, honest

What did you do before you joined The Pioneers?
Performed in King Lear at The National Theatre, directed by Sam Mendes and helped London based gang members make positive changes to their lives.

Why did you join The Pioneers?
Because I was excited by the vision and what we could go on to achieve.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Helping people.

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
Robin Williams

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Watching Newcastle United lose and expanding my knowledge of Belgian beer.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Hair growth

If you had a theme tune what would it be?
The Jurassic Park theme tune!

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
I’d go back to 1598, to catch Shakespeare’s Hamlet performed for the first time at the Globe.

Find out more about Karl here:

Matt Jones, Client Services Director

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Determined, ambitious, professional

What did you do before you joined The Pioneers?
Worked in Sports Marketing

Why did you join The Pioneers?
For the challenge

What’s the best thing about your job?
Dealing with people and helping them to realise their ambitions

Who’s your favourite pioneer and why?
The Wright brothers…I enjoy flying and am still amazed at how it continually advances and pushes boundaries

What keeps you busy outside of work?
My dog

If you had a superpower what would it be?
Invisibility

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
The 1950s… I think it must have been a fascinating decade with so much social change.

Find out more about Matt here:

Gabriel Vick, Associate

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Energetic, diligent, daft.

What do you do when you’re not working for The Pioneers?
Acting in the west end, singing on film soundtracks, writing songs, playing in a folk band.

Why have you got involved with The Pioneers?
I like the concept of making everyone’s work life more enjoyable. A happy staff member will inevitably propagate a happy customer.

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
Isembard Kingdom Brunel. The fact that he did so much across many different factions of engineering impresses me. The legacy of his elegant train line from London to Bristol continues to this day. Although I wish they’d listened to his idea of a broader gauge railway – our trains would be travelling a lot faster nowadays. See? He was such a pioneer that even his unrealised ideas would still improve life today.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
A little boy I created with my wife called Wesley.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
It’s always flying every time. Simply for the way it would make you feel completely free. Unless your family could also fly.

If you had a theme tune, what would it be?
A little night music sung by the 4 Peter Griffin’s from family guy. It’s not annoying in the slightest.

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
The past seems pretty scary before the 14th century so I’d visit England in 1851 during the great exhibition. I love this exciting era of industrial revolution – however it was also the catalyst to global warming so I’d leave the Victorians a few copies of “an inconvenient truth”

Charlie Tighe, Associate

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Energetic, Loyal, Dedicated

What do you do when you’re not working for The Pioneers?
Actor, Voice Over Artist, Singer, Musician

Why have you got involved with The Pioneers?
To explore and learn from other career paths, and hopefully let others explore and learn from mine.

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
Sir Tim Berners- Lee (for inventing the internet and then gifting it to the world).

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Travel, Reservist in the British Army (and looking for more acting work!)

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Time travel

If you had a theme tune, what would it be?
Challenge Annika theme tune (as it’s always in my head when running late)

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
Georgian (I look great in a top hat and frock coat)

Andrew Chevalier, Associate

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Positive. Inquisitive. Creative.

What do you do when you’re not working for The Pioneers?
I’m an actor.

Why have you got involved with The Pioneers?
As an actor I believe in the eternal importance of storytelling. As someone who works, I believe in the importance of finding dignity and delight in our workplaces. The Pioneers embody both of these, so I’m in.

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
William Shakespeare. He pioneered a creativity in language and story telling which still shapes our world.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Being a Dad and husband, being an audience member, being a volunteer.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
To be able to bend time to my whim.

If you had a theme tune, what would it be?
‘Mr Blue Sky’ by ELO

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
Roman Canterbury in the first century.

Jen Bryden, Associate

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Curious, Committed, Compassionate

What do you do when you’re not working for The Pioneers?
Actress, Voice-Over Artist, sometimes Producer

Why have you got involved with The Pioneers?
Put simply, to help people find the small changes that will make the big differences to their levels of happiness (and therefore productivity) at work.

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
Mary Wollstonecraft

What keeps you busy outside of work?
At the moment becoming best friends with London’s parks and riverside tracks in training for my first marathon.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Without a doubt, flying. Not only would it fulfil every childhood dream I had but then I could also take off whenever fancy took me and pay visits to my family who are spread around the world.

If you had a theme tune, what would it be?
Tough Question! Probably U2’s Beautiful Day

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
I think the Renaissance – hopping between London and Florence with the aid of my newly discovered superpower.

Lucy Phelps, Associate

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Empathetic. Creative. Enthusiastic.

What do you do when you’re not working for The Pioneers?
Actor. Producer. Translator.

Why have you got involved with The Pioneers?
Too many people nowadays are unhappy in their place of work, don’t reach their full potential, leaving them feeling unfulfilled and this is accepted as the norm! NO! The Pioneers aim to help change this and establish a new status quo for work life. I want to be part of this revolution!

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
Marie Curie

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Yoga, Stand Up Paddleboarding and my nephew!

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
To speak all the languages in the world.

If you had a theme tune, what would it be?
‘September’ by Earth, Wind & Fire

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
I was going to say the Tudors as they were my favourite horrible histories but I’m not sure I’d like to have a ‘vacation’ in the 16th century. If I’m looking for fun, I’d go for the roaring 20s!

Charlie Tapper, Creative agency

Who are Serial/Trash?
Serial/Trash are a creative design agency run by Charlie Tapper.

What do they do for The Pioneers?
Serial/Trash enable us to provide clients with a full creative offering to support our programmes. Their services include: creative concept initiation and development, photography, illustration, video, animation and supporting technology design and development.

In Charlie’s words: “Our job is to bring your ideas to life with conceptual design and copywriting. We help you craft the best message possible because we believe everyone has a story to tell… what’s yours?”

Want to see some of their work?
Visit the Serial/Trash website or check out their online portfolio to see their most recent projects.

Find out more about Serial/Trash and Charlie here:

Jeff Wellstead,

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, energetic, imaginative

What did you do before you joined The Pioneers?
I come from a 25+ year career in human resource leadership experience, having worked in global roles with major consulting, investment banking and technology companies in the USA for 18 years and with hyper growth tech start up companies here in the UK for the last 13 years. I’ve led global HR roles for companies such as MessageLabs (now Symantec), SpinVox (now Nuance), Kantar’s IT Partnership Group (now WPP Core tech), MetaPack and Realistic Games. I’ve also engaged in change and transformation work with several companies such as Skype and Brady Plc. Most recently I founded an employee experience design consultancy called ex.design.

Why did you join The Pioneers?
I’ve always sought to work with like minded, scientifically oriented consultants who know my space well, are passionate about creating inspiring management solutions at work, and who are driven to prove that when people feel inspired to give their all at work, exponential results soon follow. The Pioneers is such a place. They’ve done the maths on that equation and understand that I can bring additive value to their approach. It seemed perfectly logical that we might work together wonderfully!

What experience do you draw on in your work with The Pioneers?
Mostly that all of my career has been focused on providing organisational solutions to get people to be more productive and more innovative – but that this was the wrong way round. Turns out that the more you enable and empower (and inspire) people, the better they feel about creating amazing results because they feel personal ownership for those outcomes. Now I want to help architect environments and experiences that attract great talent, develop their abilities and keep them craving more positive impact at work.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Seeing the fruits of my thinking, experience and knowledge helping organisations reach new heights, often beyond their wildest dreams. For me, it’s all about purpose and impact on creating powerful relationships that deliver exponential results.

Who’s your favourite pioneer?
I love Albert Einstein, having watched the Genius series directed by Ron Howard – as he challenged the very core tenants of physics and never stopped working to prove his theories until they were indisputably proven. We’re still proving them to this day.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Family and learning mostly. I read voraciously seeking patterns of new technology such that I can predict where everything is headed. And I’m always challenged by the unknown variables that shake my hypotheses. What a fascinating time to be alive!

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The power of accurate prediction.

If you had a theme tune what would it be?
Cantaloupe Island by Herbie Hancock

In which era of history would you most like to take a vacation?
The first Industrial Revolution – turn of the century from 1890 to 1910 I think.

Want to speak to Jeff?
You can book time in his diary here.

Find out more about Jeff here: