About Ivy House

There exists a set of skills and knowledge that makes a game-changing difference to how your life turns out.
Elke Edwards
Managing Director, Ivy House

The Ivy House Story

Elke Edwards, Founder of Ivy House, and founding partner of the multi-award winning executive development company, Blue Sky Performance Improvement, has always been fascinated by the people who create successful and fulfilling lives. What do they do and know that others don’t?

Based on what she learned from the world’s leading behavioural, educational and business thinkers, Elke created life-changing development programmes. For over twenty years she and her team worked with some of the biggest global organisations. They coached their most senior executives, and helped them reach the ‘top of their game’ and stay there.

What if we didn’t wait?

In the boardroom of one of these global organisations, she began to wonder – why should profound learning that can dramatically change the course of a life be the preserve of just a select few? What would happen if this insight and expertise were made available to people at the time it can have the biggest impact?

Ivy House wants to know what the world will be like – what ideas will emerge and what potential will be realised – when each generation is given the training and development they need to really succeed.

Keynote speaking

To forward our mission, Elke Edwards delivers keynotes that change the dialogue around high potential development and inspire action.

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The team of coaches we worked with are exceptional. It is a tough process. You are asked to confront things you often have avoided and deal with things that are sometimes hard but the results are amazing.

Mary Homer, MD Topshop

A weekend bursting with energy and encouragement. The support network of new friends I have made is as valuable as the learning I’m taking forward from the programme content.

Ed Wilkinson, Assistant Project Manager, TfL

This team is exceptional. They are direct, pragmatic and really know how to create change in people at every level in the business. The fact that they are now working with young people at the beginning of their careers is superb.

Paul Dickinson, Executive Director, Virgin Atlantic

Over the past few years I have attended multiple self-development courses – The Ivy House Programme is the only one where I feel like I have actually developed.

Daniel Johnson, Head of Growth, KOMPAS travel

The worst thing that can happen is for someone to look back and say ‘I wish I’d learnt that at a younger age’.

Hannah Smith, HR Business Partner, ITSU

I had the opportunity to network with a group of talented, driven, and passionate people from a variety of different backgrounds that provided the perfect environment for me to learn more about them.

Oliver Brown, Doctor

The leadership team

The team at Ivy House is united in their belief that if you give our brightest and most determined emerging talent the right kind of development early on, they will go on to change the world. We have brought together a network of performance coaches and senior mentors who share our vision. If you feel the same passion, we’d love to hear from you.

Elke Edwards

Founder of Ivy House, speaker, writer, performance coach

Clare Mitchell

Programme designer, performance coach

Stephen Wood

Marketing and communications director, performance coach

Spinny Witter

Partnership director, performance coach

Danny Witter

Non-executive finance director

Lindsay Terris

Client Director

Elke Edwards

Before setting up Ivy House, Elke Edwards founded and ran the multi-award winning executive development company, Blue Sky Performance Improvement. Elke has worked with leaders of industry at the highest levels. Her clients have included Virgin, Centrica, BBC, Barclays, Wateraid and RBS and her skills as a coach and an educator are highly respected in the corporate world. She is also a sought-after speaker and writer.

Clare Mitchell

Clare heads up programme design for Ivy House, having spent the last 5 years developing a series of award-winning executive development programmes with Blue Sky. Prior to focusing on design, Clare worked for 12 years as a performance coach, trainer and consultant to some of Europe’s leading organisations such as Royal Mail, npower, KPMG, EE and BSkyB. Still working with clients today, she ensures that the design of every programme is practical, experiential and relevant to the real world.

Stephen Wood

Stephen leads on Ivy House’s marketing and communications. He worked for over a decade at St. Paul’s School, a leading independent school in London, as a department head, professional mentor and manager of pastoral and career-focused initiatives. He speaks four languages, continues to write examinations for Cambridge International and is a trained solution-focused coach.

Spinny Witter

Spinny is Ivy House’s Partnership Director, working directly with our corporate and educational partners, and mentors to ensure Ivy House members have the best support possible. Spinny spent a decade in the City, initially as a Barclays graduate recruit and high-flyer, and then as a consultant in the Financial Sector Services division of KPMG. She is a practicing performance coach and has trained in psychotherapy, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and strategic career development.

Danny Witter

Danny is non-executive finance director at Ivy House. He spent 25 years in the City of London, the last 17 at Deutsche Bank where he ran coverage of FTSE100 corporate clients and was also Chair of the UK Corporate Citizenship Committee. Passionate about giving back, he is CEO of Work for Good, and non-executive director of Shakespeare’s Globe, The Microloan Foundation and Shape History.

Lindsay Terris

As Client Director Lindsay works directly with each Ivy House client from on-boarding and contracting through to year end review. Over the past 15 years she has worked with senior leaders of organisations such as Barclays, Direct Line Group, Virgin Active, More Than and Virgin Atlantic to drive award-winning behavioural change programmes. Lindsay is obsessed with client experience and is a passionate coach and presenter who combines experience, storytelling and an unmistakable Scottish accent to make a real impact.

Top performance coaches

Ivy House coaches are currently working with people at the top of their careers. They know how to accelerate the development of high potentials people so they can make an impact sooner rather than later.

Ivy House Mentors

Our mentors hold senior positions across a range of sectors. Their expert guidance offers our delegates valuable insights as they apply what they learn on the programme to their own professional context.

 

Are you ready to give back and mentor the next generation of leaders?

Get in touch

Do you work in education and want to bring the very best of leadership development to our future leaders?

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We are always keen to hear from people who share our passion for growing the leaders of the future.
Contact Spinny Witter: spinny@ivyhouse.london

Ivy House alumni

This is a powerful network of rising leaders. They come from different fields and backgrounds, all determined to take responsibly for their world. They share a desire to be the best they can be, and to learn from the best knowing that there is always more to discover. Ongoing networking events, talks and lectures ensure they stay connected.

Anil Sarda

Economic consultant, The Economist Intelligence Unit

Edmund Wilkinson

Project Manager Transport for London

Hannah Smith

HR Business Partner ITSU

Daniel Johnson

Founding Partner at Nascence.io

Sebastian Brixey-Williams

Project Leader British American Security Information Council (BASIC)

Blandine Oller Perret

Marketing & PR Manager at BP PRIME

Anil Sarda

Economic consultant, The Economist Intelligence Unit

Tell us about what you do

I am a Consultant with The Economist Intelligence Unit, sister company to The Economist magazine. I help corporations, international organizations, NGOs and governments understand how public policy impacts their bottom line. Through research, analysis and amplification, I help provide organizations with the tools they need to advocate for real change, whether it be on food security, internet inclusiveness or flood mitigation and resilience.

What impact are you looking to make?

Harnessing my experience in international business, marketing and public policy, I want to help provide entrepreneurs in less fortunate areas of the world with the same tools that I’ve been fortunate enough to leverage to learn and grow. To us, these are basic resources – Internet access, access to funding, a strong network of educators and professionals – but to others, these can make all the difference between success and failure.

How is Ivy House helping you move forward?

Rarely do personal and professional development intersect in the training programs available today. Ivy House blends the two seamlessly, forcing you to explore your inner strengths and goals which at times can be uncomfortable but in the end, completely rewarding.

What did you like best about the programme?

Accountability and a network of like-minded individuals. Months after the program, the peers and relationships I’ve formed continue to push each other to make sure we are following up on the goals we laid out in the session. This network is one that is molded within two days but will be lasting due to the strong bonds that are created from sharing personal goals, successes, failures and ambitions.

Edmund Wilkinson

Project Manager Transport for London

Tell us about what you do

I lead multi-disciplinary project teams at London Underground. The job is really about managing people – behind every process is a person that has to be engaged to keep things moving forward.

What impact are you looking to make?

To challenge the status quo – to question and find new ways of doing things. I’m in my element meeting and connecting with new individuals. My aim is to bring people together so they can collaborate, and support each other.

How is Ivy House helping you move forward?

Ivy House helped me understand thinking processes and habits, and what a growth mindset really means. I also learnt skills that were immediately applicable to my professional life. Ivy House is a network of hugely talented people and I have connected with members from a range of sectors.

What did you like best about the programme?

The programme gave space for me to reflect not only on the path I want to take, but also on the person I want to be and how I can become that person.

Any other comments about Ivy House?

It was inspiring to hear the personal stories and aims of some individuals present. The whole atmosphere was one of energy and encouragement.

Hannah Smith

HR Business Partner ITSU

Tell us about what you do

I am an HR business partner at ITSU, a fast growing healthy food brand. I look after 25 shops, managing internal communications and staying connected with the managers to understand their experience. It’s a challenging environment where attracting and retaining the best talent is essential.

What impact are you looking to make?

A happy and healthy workforce does great things for a business. I’m in HR to put people at the heart of what we do. My vision is for HR to be fully involved in shaping the values of the business and how they are lived throughout the company. I believe we can use data as a powerful tool to understand our people and go on to find innovative ways to see and value the impact they make.

How is Ivy House helping you move forward?

The Ivy House Programme is about doing it, and not just thinking about it. I left more connected with my own sense of purpose, my strengths and passions. I’ve kept in touch with a lot of people I met there. Everyone gave 100% and everyone is committed to making an impact in everything they do.

What did you like best about the programme?

The conversations that sparked off and the level of support. There was freedom to explore, to go off on tangents, to question. The days were long and intense but I left energised and lifted.

Daniel Johnson

Founding Partner at Nascence.io

Tell us about what you do

I run an innovation consultancy alongside my business partner. We solve the problems that companies (mostly early stage) face. We have three main areas of focus: validation (turning ideas into profitable companies), growth (scaling startups) and innovation/research (nascence).

What impact are you looking to make?

This is a question that influences every decision I make, and one that I ask myself on a daily basis. I want to look back on life and know I’ve made an impact and added value to the world. I’m still trying to understand what that value is. Short term – it means helping people expand their ideas and achieve their goals. Long term – I’m still figuring that out.

How is Ivy House helping you move forward?

The programme has impacted my decisions in many ways. I’ve been asking myself some big questions and meeting a bunch of successful people with the same questions was incredible.

What did you like best about the programme?

The value of the learning. I left with a lot of questions to ask myself but also skills and processes that I could put into action straight away.

Any other comments about Ivy House?

The people were genuinely enthusiastic and influential. The most welcoming group of people I’ve encountered – a place where I could just be myself.

Sebastian Brixey-Williams

Project Leader
British American Security Information Council (BASIC)

Tell us about what you do

I run the research programmes at BASIC (British American Security Information Council), a small but influential think tank in London working on nuclear disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.

Our programmes are diverse, but they all contribute to our core mission: to increase global peace and security through reductions in global nuclear arms to zero.

We approach this mission through dialogue and empathy, working with all stakeholders to ensure that their concerns are being heard. That said, we’re also not afraid to make the case for meaningful change. Ultimately, it is governments and their publics that will decide to move away from their reliance on nuclear weapons, and we see it as our role to present them with innovative and workable proposals to make this happen.

My job is to ensure that all of these programmes have achievable goals and funding. At the moment, we’re working with states around the world to strengthen assurances that nuclear weapons will never be used against a non-nuclear state. We’re doing pioneering work with people in the Middle East to develop a regional weapons of mass destruction free zone. We’re presenting evidence that nuclear submarines will not be invisible forever, and highlighting the risks that this could bring. And, as the US retreats, we’re working hard with UK Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum to demonstrate bold diplomatic leadership on multilateral nuclear disarmament.

I entered this field because I care deeply about our world and believe lasting peace is achievable. After trying a number of things out, I found that I am at my most effective working at an international level. I’m glad to say I love my work.

What impact are you looking to make?

I would like to contribute to a global reduction in nuclear arms and risks, by promoting understanding, mediation, and innovative paths to peace and security. To do this, I’d like to continue to work with the UK Government and other countries, and international bodies like the United Nations, to promote more responsible approaches to security, take meaningful steps towards irreversible disarmament, and find new ways to build the trust and confidence we need for sustainable global peace.

For example, I would like all the nuclear-armed countries to make a formal declaration that they would never use nuclear weapons first. Only China and India have done this so far, and it often surprises people to hear that the United Kingdom and the United States have always reserved the right to launch its nuclear weapons first, just like Russia, because we have certain assumptions about who the responsible powers are. This is the kind of good leadership that the international community needs right now.

How is Ivy House helping you move forward?

The world of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament is small, but full of big personalities. It’s also highly collaborative: we all know each other and we all share a common goal – at the very least – of making sure the things don’t go off at all costs. Dealing with such big personalities and such big issues, we all need to radically and humbly challenge your own beliefs, develop confidence in our abilities, and learn to communicate our ideas effectively.

Self-growth, confidence and communication are all core to Ivy House’s teaching. In the Edge we explored some useful tools to allow us to explore our vulnerabilities, develop our skills, and assess our progress. In one-to-one coaching after the course, we went even deeper, and now I’m starting peer coaching with a fellow course mate to see where it might lead.

Practically, it’s meant that I’ve been really able to develop the stories I tell about what I do. We’ve even started to write BASIC’s story now, looking back over our 30 years of operations. This has come for a crucial time for us too; with the scary tensions between the Trump Administration and North Korea being so high, we need to communicate our value now more than ever.

What did you like best about the programme?

In truth, Ivy House had a transformative effect on both my outlook and my ambitions. I feel that I came out with a new clarity on the kind of life I want to lead – as a happy and flourishing individual making a meaningful impact on one of the world’s most intractable structural challenges – and equipped with the tools to pull together and review progress on the various facets that make up my life. And then there’s the people – many of us at the first Ivy House developed deep personal connections and we’re still in regular contact. It’s an inspiring community to be in.

Blandine Oller Perret

Marketing & PR Manager at BP PRIME

Tell us what you do?

 
I currently work as a Marketing & PR Manager at BP PRIME, a provider of online trading services. Led by a visionary CEO, we are a high-growth company where it is possible to take on responsibilities and be proactive in moving the company forward. Besides running marketing campaigns, I design and code both of which I absolutely love.
 
Outside work, I am developing the skills I need to realise my goal of being a professional and personal life coach.

What impact are you looking to make?

 
I wish to support people who feel dissatisfied with where they are and are ready to start work on what their next steps might be. Life is messy and unexpected, and our mind can sometimes be a obstacle – stopping us rather than helping us achieve our purpose. But we all have what it takes to fulfil our potential. Taking a risk to “blossom” takes courage and I want to be a part of this journey for others.
 

How is Ivy House helping you move forward?

 
Ivy House brought and continues to bring me new waves of energy and strength. Having incredible professionals share insights that you normally only acquire after years of experience is a gold mine and saves years.
 
I left ready to start the journey towards my next professional adventure. Ivy House helps you discover what you are really capable of. Whatever your age you can really come to know yourself and go beyond what you thought your limits were.
 

What did you like best about the programme?

 
Ivy House is a strong community where people give open and honest feedback and help you move forward. The programme gave me the reminder I needed to trust my instinct and work hard – but work smartly. Since I was a child, I have always pursued my dreams but the program helped me think differently about what age means. As soon as you have the determination, nothing stands in your way. Coming on The Ivy House Programme you’ll definitely open your eyes to a great new path.

Find out more about The Ivy House Programme

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