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Sara Ramos

By | Facilitation, Magical Moments, Magilitator, Team
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Sara Ramos

Community Wizard

Facilitator

Sara is passionate about learning and bringing people together to create impactful shared experiences. In her eagerness to challenge the status quo, Sara seeks alternative ways to learn, work, live and relate to others.

She designs meaningful learning experiences and creates the conditions for great collaboration. She achieves that by holding space for others, asking questions and allowing collective intelligence to emerge.

She works as a freelance Learning Designer and Facilitator, and hosts a podcast called Learning Day: https://learningday.community

Sara's superpowers:

★ Creating safe spaces

★ Singing

★ Productive procrastination

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello

Alex Lyons

By | Facilitation, Magical Moments, Magilitator, Team
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Alex Lyons

Word Wizard

Facilitator

Alex facilitates communication and connection wherever its needed most. Nothing matters more to him than being true to who we say we are. He has a background as a media, communications and culture specialist, TEDx host and speaker coach, and an equity, diversity & inclusion consultant. Alex blooms most when helping others to bring integrity and heart into their words. Fair warning though, Alex will talk your ear off about the worlds and works of Ursula K Le Guin or everything Wonder Woman has taught him about the power of love to change the world ⚡💖

Alex's superpowers:

★ Warm grins

★ Wise words

★ Wonderful clarity

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello

Malerbi

By | Magical Moments, Magicians, Magilitator, Team
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Malerbi

Dismisdirectioner

Magician

A graduate in Communication and Body Arts currently living and working in São Paulo, Brasil.

Malerbi believes in the power of magic. He believes that every trick is a metaphor wanting to be recognised.

Contrary to popular belief, magic isn't about fooling people. In fact, it can inform by revealing hidden information. We humans are already being fooled... our senses and preconceptions misdirect us. And we're blissfully unaware of it! By causing little shocks and surprises, magic questions our senses and can reveal our blind spots.

Malerbi's superpowers:

🎩 Listening

🎩 Connecting everything

🎩 Metaphors

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello

Ward van Laer

By | Magical Moments, Magicians, Magilitator, Team
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Ward van Laer

Machine Magic

Magician

As well as being a magician, Ward is a machine learning engineer and speaker. He has with experience in computer-vision, detection on time-series and NLP. He likes to agonise over the possibilities of explainable AI and AI interpretability 😄

Read his posts about machine learning on Medium / @ward.vanlaer

Ward's superpowers are:

  • Machine magic
  • Data
  • Insight

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello

Sonia Benito

By | Education, Fashion, Magical Moments, Magicians, Magilitator, Schools, Team
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Sonia Benito

Spanish Trickster

Magician and dancer

"I think magic can be created anywhere. We are therefore surrounded by moments that make us question the impossible"

Originating from Spain, Sonia is now based in London bringing something new to the magic scene. She blurs the lines between classic and modern magic techniques adding in unique movement patterns.

Sonia has worked with us many times including the MURAL Maze and the Royal Museums Greenwich project with young women.

Sonia's superpowers are:

🗲 Tutting

🗲 Effortless style!

🗲 Making modern magic 

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello

Naomi Freeman

By | Client management, Project management, Team
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Naomi Freeman

Project Sorcerer

Client and project manager

Naomi is a dog lover and a wellbeing enthusiast. Some might say the two are linked... She has spent most of her career working with individuals to realise their potential. And with communities to explore empowering activities that bring people together.

At Abracademy, Naomi is master of the magic potion needed for excellent project management and happy clients!

Naomi's superpowers are:

🗲 Peacekeeper

🗲 Listening

🗲 Empathy

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello

Alice Pailhès

By | Abracademy Labs, Curiosity, Education, Food for thought, Science, Team
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Alice Pailhès

Wizard of Science

Psychologist, researcher

Alice is a PhD Candidate and Associate Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her thesis focuses on using magic tricks to study the illusory sense of agency over choice. This is to better understand the subtle factors that influence our decisions without our awareness.

Alice is driven by her desire to give people a sense of wonder about how their minds work and how to best use the mind. By studying the subtle mechanisms magicians use to direct our attention, Pailhès probes the unconscious factors that subtly influence our choices. Magic tricks offer her an amazing way to collect and transmit scientific data in an entertaining and powerful way.

Alice's superpowers are:

🗲 Making science fun

🗲 Information seeking

🗲 Problem solving

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello

Tiu de Haan

By | Curiosity, Facilitation, Magilitator, Storytelling, Team, Wonder
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Tiu de Haan

Wonder Woman

Facilitator

Tiu is an Oxford-educated creative facilitator, ritual designer and idea doula. She helps people shift their perspective to remember the magic in the mundane. Her work is all about creating moments of meaning. Bespoke micro-adventures that connect us to ourselves, each other and our own creativity.

Tiu has worked with Google, the World Economic Foundation, L'Oréal and the UN. She's also a visiting lecturer at UAL. She collaborates with neuroscientists, quantum physicists and chemists to create experiences that wake up our sense of wonder.

Tiu teaches creative thinking and imaginative awakening to a variety of organisations. She consults for global brands on rituals for beauty, food and wellbeing, as well as times of transition and organisational change. Her Tedx talk, ‘Why we still need ritual’, is about the art of celebrating the transitions of life, love and death.

Tiu's superpowers are:

  • Imaginative inspiration

  • Engineering serendipity

  • Creating magical mini adventures

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello

Florian Klaass on the magic of teams

By | Change management, Food for thought, Leadership, Learning and development, Storytelling, Team, What's new?

SVP / VP / Head of Marketing – Brand expert | Leadership Mentor | Business Advisor – FMCG, Entertainment, Culture, Social Responsibility – ex RED BULL… some of Florian’s credentials. Earlier this year we chatted with him about teams. Building them, nurturing them and helping them in times of crisis. He also told us why your luggage might go missing if you travel through Munich airport…

What’s the magic formula for a winning team?

The very short answer is: be authentic, don’t be an a$$hole!

There’s a couple of things I feel strongly about. First of all, we’re social beings so if everyone understands that when a group works or plays together, then certain rules must be adhered to. Humans mimic emotions. We synchronise, we’re dependent on each other. So, realise and acknowledge that. Respect and empathy are a great start to a winning team. Also, the team needs a joint purpose. Be 100% clear about why the group exists and what its goal is or else the team won’t work. Think about how many hours we spend at work, as part of a team, compared to time with loved ones… So, be very clear about why you’re spending so much time there at work! Have clear direction and vision. 

At Red Bull, it was clear: Red Bull gives you wings. My job was to find talent, foster ideas, bring them to life and give people an experience. Another example of such clarity that I love is Apple. Their purpose and their why is very clear. In 2001, the first iPod launched at the same time as another company’s MP3 player. The latter was, in some ways, better, but the big difference was the creative – the PR – claim. One sold itself as a 5GB MP3 player. Meanwhile Apple said 1,000 songs in your pocket. You have to be very engaged and motivated as a team to use that statement rather than the techy sell. But when you have a clear vision and formulate in a way that everyone understands it, people embrace it and live up to expectations.

In times of crisis, clarity is paramount. Organisational restructure, whether it’s shutting down or reforming, puts people under stress. Some people will lose their jobs and things will change. So, give clarity. Cut the BS. Tell the truth. Tell everyone and get them involved. Uncertainty and anxiety are toxic. Celebrate the successes, acknowledge them. That can happen many ways – champagne, a party or a team offsite. Even internal comms work, put the team on a pedestal and say a simple thank you. 

Create a safe psychological space where people can be themselves. You know when you sit in meetings and don’t dare ask something for fear of seeming stupid? You worry more about how you’re perceived than you do about solving an issue. A few years back, Google researched the parameters of great teams. Aside from goals and clarity, a safe space was the other major requirement. Let your team feel safe enough to say what they want to say. Allow them to let their guard down, be who they are, be true, be raw. When you’re a newcomer, you try to impress and demonstrate why you deserve your place there. The hardest work I’ve done in the past couple of years has been making people comfortable and letting them be who they are to get the best out of them. 

In moments of crisis, is it harder than usual to build a team?

I recommend the same rules as on any other day! I adhere to these 3 principles:

  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Vulnerability

Trust is self explanatory. Enable trusting relationships. It’s the same for work as in life generally. There’s an interesting study by Harvard where they looked at asking for help. If you’re in a situation where you hit a wall and need help, who do you ask? It turns out that people don’t ask the most competent or the most accessible person, they ask the most trustworthy person because… “I won’t be laughed at”. It’s safe to ask that person. So, provide and receive trust.

Honesty: this can be difficult. Sometimes you have to talk about uncomfortable things, admit you’re wrong or tell someone else they’re wrong. Either way, people in a team need to know where they’re at.

Vulnerability. It’s ok to be vulnerable. Gone are the days when managers had to be tough all the time. It’s fine to show emotions. That’s widely accepted. But it’s also important to admit when you’re wrong or emotionally affected by something. Admit weakness! Many struggle with this. It’s the ego at play; it tells you what to do and how to represent yourself in work. I’ve learned that it’s not about impressing others, showing how great and impeccable you are. It’s about authenticity and dealing with your mistakes. Then you have a team that is empowered – an independent team conscious of their responsibilities. They don’t need direction, they know where they’re going.

What’s your secret to working with global teams, diverse teams?

I’ve worked with so many different people, from different countries, different ethnicities and genders, etc. There is so much diversity and variety in the world. What worked well for me was listening, learning then leveraging what was gained. Observe. Look at the world around you, see how people interact and operate. The main lesson I’ve learned in the past couple of years is to be humble, not take myself too seriously. Regardless of job title, salary etc, stay receptive, curious and eager to learn. Another thing is never, EVER, assume that your perspective or your way of thinking applies to everyone else! It doesn’t. Remind yourself of this. A sign of appreciation in one place can be an offence in another. A joke in one, discriminating in another. A simple example from German culture – you can point your finger at someone and it’s fine. But do the same in Japan and it’s highly offensive! Your behaviour is the same, but the perception and reaction is different. So, be thoughtful about your behaviour. 

What magical moments have you had in the past few years?

  1. At RedBull, we did a festival in NY for our global music programme. It was an amazing show with Solange, at the Guggenheim museum. There were around 40-50 black women in her choir. What a celebratory event for women and black culture in music. That felt magical, it gave me goosebumps.
  2. I work with international teams – great and different people. We did a workshop in Reykjavik. And Iceland is magical anyway, it’s a different world. Combine a magical landscape with a crew of 20, from 15 different countries, solving a problem together over 3 days… Bright minds using their brain power – that’s a most magical experience. You get their intelligence, their wiring, their experiences, their upbringing, their everything!

What’s your superpower?

Probably listening. I’m really good at shutting up and listening! Sometimes that’s all you need to do. People tell you things and very often they have the solution themselves, they just need the canvas to paint on.

Tell us a secret…

When I was at school in Munich, I worked at the local airport driving the small luggage lorries. If you’ve ever wondered why you didn’t get your baggage, it was me! I mixed the terminals up… Now I travel extensively and every time I see those guys, I really respect them because it’s quite a tough job. And I NEVER check bags – cabin bags only!!

If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

I’d erase social media! The whole thing, including its great sides, has failed. It highlights negatives in humanity. And sometimes you have to break things to make them great again. So I’d shut it down and come up with something new.

Favourite song?

Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want 😉

Do you need to spark magic in your team?

Get in touch

Vanessa Faloye

By | Belief, Curiosity, Education, Facilitation, Magical Moments, Magilitator, Team
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Vanessa Faloye

The Enchantress

Facilitator

Vanessa works with change-making organisations to design and deliver social justice education, and strategy. Together, they challenge and transform systems of power by dismantling the intersectional inequities that uphold them. As a trainer-facilitator, she delivers curricula in anti-oppression, movement-building and systems thinking.

Her big dream is to build an activist training ground in Spain that invites retreat, resource and rehearsal for the revolution, through critical pedagogy, transformative justice and healing practice. Needless to say, Vanessa’s got big plans when it comes to our collective liberation and a non-binary world. A world where we all get to show up as our whole, free, joyous and magical selves.

In other news, Vanessa loves reading, writing, traveling, dancing, mixing music, speaking Spanish, Chinese takeaway, odd socks and Bollywood. She's originally from Nigeria. Born and raised in London, and grew up in Oxford, UK. Her favourite food is her Mum's jollof rice. "Thank God it's vegan".

Vanessa's superpowers are:

  • Empathy
  • Determination 
  • Laughter

Abracademy

We’re a diverse team of magicians, facilitators, learning designers, strategists, communicators, scientists and creatives who love what we do at Abracademy ♥

Meet the team

"Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless"

Walidah Imarisha

Contact us

Say hello