Meet the Founders
Jon & Andrea dream of a world in which every individual is equipped with the skills to build better relationships at work, at home and in life.
Dr. Andrea Taylor-Cummings BSc, MPhil, DPhil (Oxon)
Helping people “be” more and lead well have been the constant theme in my 30 yrs experience as an organisation design and development consultant, coach and mentor.
I have worked internationally (Jamaica, UK, Japan and Korea) in both the public and private sector, as a consultant with “big four” and niche consultancies, and as an entrepreneur.
My fundamental passion is to help people change behaviours for the better and build stronger relationships. This has been achieved through successfully designing and delivering talent / leadership development programmes for diverse, global audiences, with extensive experience in facilitating workshops / seminars, online webinars, video conferences and one-on-one coaching.
For me, life is about being courageous, being authentic, running my own race with excellence… and helping others to do the same.
Jonathan Taylor-Cummings B.Eng, MPhil (Oxon), AltMBA
Building ‘bigger’ people and organisations has been a common thread running through my career through a focus on engagement, alignment and relationship development.
I have spent much of the last 30 years in professional services, helping both blue-chips (Merrill Lynch & Credit Suisse) and start-ups grow and develop corporate assets and client relationships to deliver a wide range of services across the banking, pensions and consulting sectors.
As Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Soulmates Academy, today I have the privilege of being at the centre of the drive to reduce national and international relationship breakdown rates through a proactive approach to relationship capability development. We do this by working directly with Couples & Individuals, with Corporates & Institutions, with Communities & Governments, and with Schools & Classrooms.
I do what I do because seeing relationships break down for lack of knowledge, breaks my heart. I also do it because I love helping people overcome challenges and become their very best selves.
Why we do what we do?
Relationship issues lie at the heart of many of the challenges we face in our day-to-day lives. And the implications are of astronomical proportions – in the UK alone, workplace conflict has been shown to cost organisations in excess of c£33bn per annum, family breakdown costs tax payers £51bn per annum, and it has also been identified as the single biggest indicator of teenage mental health problems.
Our experience over the last 20+ years tells us it doesn’t have to be that way. We all have it within our reach to develop the skills and habits that can transform our relationships for the better, forever. We just need to be intentional and proactive about developing them.
This is the message we had the privilege of sharing in our TEDx Talk in Mar 2019. In 15 minutes, we explained the 4 simple, yet fundamental, habits for successful relationships. The really great news is that these are habits we can all learn and develop… and when we do, we significantly improve the chances of our relationships not just surviving, but thriving.
As a key part of our vision for social change we engage with corporates & other institutions to lead the way in raising the high water mark on relationship capability through building knowledge and skills as a natural part of professional learning and development. Success in addressing many of the corporate strategic concerns – issues like diversity & inclusion, wellbeing, employee engagement, mental health, productivity and developing high performance teams – rests on our ability to build quality relationships.
The “need” for improving relationship capability is unquestionable. Our goal is to help as many people as possible develop the skills to do what it takes to transform their relationships. We remain convinced that if we can each just take responsibility for developing these habits in our own relationships… together, maybe we can leave the world a better place for the generations to come.
The Journey So Far...
Having seen the difference proactive equipping has made in our lives and those we’ve worked with, we’ve developed a real passion for building strong relationships to stem the tide of relationship breakdown.
In 2016, building on 20 years' experience in the space, we formally established Soulmates Academy with a vision of helping people and organisations improve emotional & mental wellbeing, performance and productivity, through proactively equipping people with strong relationship skills to have better conversations and better outcomes.2016
In 2018, we launched our #BestSelfAtWork offering for the Corporate markets, facilitating workshops to equip client teams with the skills to build stronger relationships across difference and distance and deliver a wide range of HR strategic benefits around mental health, wellbeing, inclusion, collaboration, flexibility, employee engagement and performance.Watch the Best Self at Work video 2018
Okay to be me & OK2BU
In 2019, we developed and delivered a new offering for the “Classroom”- short talks and workshops to form part of the new RSE curriculum. We have since run a number of workshops (“Getting the best out of Relationships”) and an Assembly-focused talk (“OkaytobeMe… & OK2BU”) which received extremely positive feedback from the pupils, teachers and parents alike!March 2019
Also in 2019 we have made some headway in our conversations with the UK government. We had the privilege of addressing the All Party Parliamentary Group responsible for Strengthening Couple Relationships and Reducing Inter-Parental Conflict in Apr 2019 - suggesting policy ideas and interventions at key life transition points to help develop a coherent national approach to proactive relationship capability education (vs the current reactive approach). We are delighted that our work sparked a Westminster Hall Debate on 16 May 2019 encouraging the government to consider the link between #mentalhealth and #emotionalhealth.Watch the debate March 2019
… the journey continues in the direction of our dream to halve the rate of relationship breakdown and improve the emotional health and well-being of future generations.