BoardBuilders – Meet the Partners, Simon Ursell and Luke Doherty

Simon Ursell is Managing Director at Tyler Grange, and an avid volunteer who, having never experienced being a trustee, wanted to give it a go and so signed up for the BoardBuilders programme. Luke Doherty is Managing Director of Mindful Peak Performance (MPP), a not-for-profit enterprise dedicated to sharing its mindfulness-based approach to performance, and transforming the image of mental wellbeing. Luke signed up for the BoardBuilders programme to help establish MPP’s first board, and one of the five appointments that he made was Simon.


Why did you engage with ELBA’s BoardMatch programme?
When we started our business 10 years ago, we put our local communities at the heart of our business giving all our employees a day off each month to volunteer for charities and organisations that they feel passionate about. We have contributed thousands of days to charities. I have been working with many charities and have developed a real passion for helping. I know the impact volunteering can have. But I’ve never been a trustee, so I wanted to give it a go and see how I could help. 

Tell us about your BoardMatch experience
ELBA made it really easy. I just turned up to one of their BoardMatch events, which are really excellent. To be honest, just going along was fascinating and there were loads of fantastic organisations looking for help. They connected me with Luke at Mindful Peak Performance (MPP), we had a few meetings and then Luke asked me if I’d like to help him. The combination of boxing and Mindfulness was something that really appealed to me, and when I saw what a huge impact they were having on young carers lives I wanted to do what I can to help.

What have you gained from your trusteeship?
Luke and I have been meeting up once a month for a while now and he tells me he is getting loads out of the support I’m trying to give him. The effect of his services on young carers has been so impactful that MPP is now working with significant organisations. MPP need to grow, and the creation of scale in MPP is something we have been concentrating on, and MPP are now growing a network of boxing and Mindfulness practitioners that is looking really promising. We’ve made some good appointments and I hope I’ve been helping Luke with the confidence to grow MPP and help more of the UKs young carers. I’m really enjoying working with Luke and MPP. I’m learning loads about myself and Mindfulness, which I’ve been taking into my own personal and professional life. We’ve looked at how we can learn lessons at our business from Luke and his brilliant team.

There are 800,000 young carers in the UK. Many of them spend the majority of their time at home looking after a relative. They are missing out on many of the normal things young people should be experiencing. MPP make a significant impact on their lives, they feel part of a community and learn through Mindfulness. Their BAM! Service (Boxing and Mindfulness) really does have a big impact.  It’s great to be helping this in a small way.

Would you recommend volunteering to a colleague and, if so, why?
The fundamental principle of volunteering is that it makes you happy. There are many studies that back this up. If you are managing people, you’ll find that the happier they are the better they are at their jobs, retention is improved and, frankly, giving your employees time to volunteer is just the right thing to do. If you are offered the opportunity to volunteer, do it. You’ll feel better, learn new skills, meet interesting and wonderful people. What’s not to love? 


Why did you engage with ELBA’s BoardMatch programme?
We participated in ELBA’s Boardmatch programme to help establish our first board to expand our company, and we found five experienced individuals to support us. One of our appointments was Simon Ursell.

Tell us about your BoardMatch experience
Through BoardMatch we secured our trustee Simon. By being part of BoardMatch and receiving the support of this new trustee, I have been able to understand my own fear and resistance to change, growth and been able to look at what gets in the way of taking Mindful Peak performance to the next level. I’m learning about how to best run a board, and next year we are looking at how my business partner and I divide areas of responsibility within the business to set the right boundaries as we expand.

What impact has the trustee appointment made to your organisation?
Simon has a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur. Amongst the practical support of being able to hold board meetings within his office space, a photo shoot for our new website and also supporting employment contracts, Simon has been a rock for me as the founder at a time of change and transition. Simon and I have been meeting each month and this has not always been easy, because he is willing to pose the right questions. Whatever area of the business we talk about, I realise he has been there, done it, made mistakes and got it right.

Any other thoughts?
It can be isolating and lonely at times leading a start-up. Having Simon on board has helped me stay motivated amongst the challenges and reminds me to keep in touch with what is most important. I’m grateful to have such an experienced and value driven leader supporting the growth of Mindful Peak Performance.

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