Inspirational conversations with magical humans!

Each of our guests bring their own kind of magic to the world. In our conversations with them, we explore topics including wonder, curiosity, freedom, neuroscience, leadership, these uncertain times and, of course, magic!

Join us with a coffee and a curious mind. And if you can’t make the live chat, you can listen to the podcast in your own time

Forthcoming guests

Friday 10th September 2021

Alice Pailhès

Alice is a PhD Candidate and Associate Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

She currently does research at the Magic Lab, where 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.

Register (it's free!)
Date: to be confirmed

Verra Budimlija

Verra is Chief Strategy Officer at Wavemaker UK leading the strategic media and creative thinking. Having started her career in London’s most successful ad agencies, she’s a high profile thought leader and influential figure in the brand communication industry.

Rubens will chat to Verra soon: date to be confirmed – watch this space!

Registration: not yet open

“This magical webinar allows you to slow down and take a moment to reflect on topics that inspire.”

Jolien Van Heyste TBWA/Belgium

Previous guests

Friday 7th May 2021

Rinat Sherzer

Rinat is an interdisciplinary biotech engineer, ethical design strategist, social entrepreneur and educator. She tackles complex social issues around equality, diversity and inclusion. Her current project is What Would the Egg Do…?

Friday 26th March 2021

Julian March

After 23 years at the forefront of digital transformation at blue chips like Sky, ITV and NBC, Julian is now a consulting Partner with Positive Momentum. He’s using his experience in news and media to help other businesses with their digital acceleration. He’s also co-founder of Rome-based influencer marketing agency La Piazza Group, Non-Exec Director of marketing tech start-up Cloudworkz, and a mentor for young people with Generation Success.

Julian specialises in storytelling for change in business. He helps create and scale digital products, restructure organisations and mentor leaders for digital acceleration. He and Rubens will talk about his experience of professional burn-out: “Mental health coaching and awareness is a crucial pillar in digital leadership. Alongside agile working, storytelling mastery, creative collaboration and transcending the ego“.
Friday 12th March 2021

Victoire Mbala

Victoire leads the EMEA marketing production operations for Netflix.

We are lucky enough to call Victoire a client and she was also an absolutely wonderful guest for this podcast. Victoire talked about her passion for mentoring others, having benefitted from it herself early in her career: “It was the first time someone dedicated their time to empower me to know better“.

She spoke about her early role models – a black figure skater and her father. Through their experiences she learned to overcome obstacles in her own life and “knock down barriers“.

You have to be resilient; don’t give up, keep pushing, be the best you can.” — we can’t recommend listening to this conversation enough. We could’ve talked to Victoire for hours!

Born in France, Victoire studied marketing and started her career in brand advertising. She’s built her experience working in many countries and for leading companies over the past 15 years. Passionate about project management and career development, Victoire started writing about this a few years ago. In her blog – Manila Files – she provides career tips for professionals and case studies that highlight the beauty of business management.

Friday 5th February 2021

Florian Klaass

Senior marketing expert, Florian, talked from the heart about leadership, building strong teams and vulnerability. He also opened up about what he’d like to do with social media and why he respects the people that drive the luggage trucks at airports! Podcast to follow soon.

Friday 15th January 2021

Kis Jakobsen

Kis is Education Leader at Kaospilot – an alternative business school in Denmark. She’s the Program Leader and Head of Studies for the Enterprising Leadership program. KaosPilot educated herself, in the first cohorts of the 1990s, she also has a Master in Leadership and Organisational Psychology.

Kis sees herself as an enterprising leader and educational designer. She’s deeply interested, and invested in, meaningful learning. 

Friday 11th December 2020

Lana Kristine Jelenjev

Lana is a community alchemist, a learning experience designer, an author, a speaker and a self-fullness advocate ✨ She’s also an author and co-founder of BASE Conference.

Half an hour with Lana wasn’t enough to scratch the surface of all those things! But we did our best! The podcast will be out soon.

Friday 4th December 2020

Eleanor Ford

Eleanor joined Zinc in 2019 to launch the Zinc Academy – the education arm of Its focus is accelerating the impact of mission-driven individuals.

Eleanor talked about the work of the Academy, mental health, learning and communities. Podcast out soon!

Friday 20th November 2020

Palma Michel

Palma has 15+ years experience advising and coaching. She’s worked with CEOs, boards and investors on senior leadership, and people issues. Before this Palma trained as a lawyer, spent time in strategy consulting and as a board-level executive search consultant.

Rubens and Palma talked about how coaching and mindfulness blend, leadership challenges and helping people find themselves.⁠

The podcast of our chat with Palma will follow soon; sign up to our monthly newsletter to stay informed 😉

Friday 13th November 2020

Karen Rivoire

“When Coronavirus hit, we used our values as the basis for making bold statements. We worked locally and globally to make a difference. The store in Hyderabad became a hospital. The parking lot of a store in Germany became a place of prayer. The Wembley store became a testing place!”

Karen Rivoire is at the intersection of leadership, performance, network design and digital transformation. She’s passionate about human systems and organisational health.

She joined the Inter IKEA Group / IKEA to facilitate circular competence flow, helping create better everyday lives for the many. Previously, Karen has worked with Sony, Carrefour, Thai Union, WPP, Unilever and Human Revolutionary. She’s an award-winning, board-level executive who thrives on innovation, open source and difference 💥

Friday 6th November 2020

Jennifer Emery

Leader, thinker, writer, speaker. And Global People and Culture Leader at Arup, giant of the built environment. No matter which hat she’s wearing, Jennifer wants to unlock potential to help people and organisations flourish. We talked to Jenni about the power of storytelling in change, things that block change from happening and why belonging matters. 

“There are three gifts leaders can give people:

  • Attention: show up, be there for them;
  • Permission: say it’s ok to take a break, role model it and others will follow; 
  • Trust: empower people to make decisions, show them you believe in them.”
Tuesday 20th October 2020

Alessandra Lariu

Brand Experience Consultant, Co-Founder of SheSays, SheEO activator and FastCo’s League of Extraordinary Women. Just some of Alessandra’s credentials. With particular interest in partnership strategies and community building, Ale’s worked her magic with clients including Aesop, Virgin and Microsoft.

When we started [SheSays], we just wanted an escape – a place to vent about the lack of female leaders in the creative industries. Now it’s about action, activism and helping each other” 💥

Born in the Amazon jungle, grew up in Rio de Janeiro, lived the US and now settled in London. A true woman of the world!
Tuesday 13th October 2020

Patricia Corsi

Patricia is an Executive Board member, Global Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at Bayer Consumer Health /NED – so we talked about leadership with her. Particularly her own style of leadership. We asked her… If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

“I’d make sure all children enjoy a childhood. One where they don’t worry about food, school, friends, playing, get dirty… I think we could solve half the world problems by allowing children to be children. We’d create better leaders in all areas of society.”
Tuesday 6th October 2020, 2pm BST

Kevin Braddock

Long-time Abracademy friend and collaborator, Kevin is a writer, editor and storyteller.

He set up Torchlight Systems, using storytelling for recovery. He’s also author of “Everything Begins With Asking For Help” and creator of Practice Cards – making a game out of getting better. Busy man!

Kevin and Rubens talked about the importance of asking for help and the power of practice to get better. Our favourite quote from Kevin, “the massive importance of love in life”. 💖

Tuesday 29th September 2020
Tuesday 15th September

Jax Quinn

Jax is a relentless activist for LGBT+, race and gender equality and founder of The Worth Place – an empowerment and mindset coaching company. She is on a mission to shine the beauty, talent and brilliance back into people’s lives. She is passionate about sharing her story and struggle with body image, sexuality and imposter syndrome. “When we start from the place that your worthiness was never up for debate, we can free ourselves from labels and limitations.

Tuesday 8th September

Elisabeth Hahnke

Elisabeth is founder and CEO of Rock Your Life!, one of Germany’s largest mentoring networks. Their mission is to empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds; they’re dedicated to fostering positive social change. Elisabeth believes that change starts with individuals. She’s committed to uncovering people’s true potential. We talked to her about generosity, limiting beliefs and the power of connection.

Tuesday 1st September

Anna Gullstrand

Anna is VP People at Mentimeter. The role of VP People is about enabling all co-workers to do their magic. It is about collaboration, learning, performance, wellbeing, and engagement. Creating and nurturing a flourishing culture together, where both people and business will grow.

Anna, like us, believes in unleashing the full potential of humans and we’ll be talking to her about her approach to this.

– How can we nurture the relations that help each other to flourish?
– What role do companies play in these ecosystems?
– What are her ingredients for success?

Tuesday 25th August

Tim Leberecht

Tim is co-founder and curator of the House of Beautiful Business. Their mission is to humanise business in the age of machines. HoBB is a global think tank and community. Each year they gather leaders and change makers in Lisbon for an inspiring and surprising week.

A humanist in Silicon Valley, Tim argues that AI, big data and the quantification of everything, means we’re losing sight of the important emotional and social aspects of work.

Tuesday 4th August

Simon Devereux

Simon has over 15 years creative industry experience having previously worked as part of talent and learning teams in commercial radio, television and visual effects. Simon dedicates his time to both his current role at PlayStation and as Founder and Director of ACCESS: VFX. Simon’s mission is to pursue inclusion, diversity, awareness and opportunity within the UK VFX and creative industries.

We explored his role as an advocate and ally and the impact true inclusion makes to the creative industry.

Tuesday 28th July

Laila Von Alvensleben

Laila is Head of Culture & Collaboration at Mural. She is a champion for the “remote first” approach to collaboration, empowering MURAL’s rapidly growing team to successfully work from anywhere. We talked with Laila about the secrets of digital connection, zoom fatigue and how to engage online.

Together we experiences some awesome examples of creative energisers that can help bring your team to the next level! With so many of us working online and experiencing zoom fatigue, it’s important to consider laugher and how to make things more human!

Tuesday 21st July

Erica Neve

Erica’s super power is bringing diverse people together to solve problems. She is passionate about learning and community design and does this every day for clients ranging from ethical start-ups to global tech giants.

Erica believes in the importance of learning from everyone, talked to her about the importance of the beginners mind and what this means. We also explored what we mean by a learning environment and how we can create this at work.

Tuesday 7th July

Tiu De Haan

Tiu is a creative facilitator and a ritual designer. Through her work, she shifts perspectives so that we can see the magic in the mundane. She has worked with a range of clients, from Google and the UN, to soulful entrepreneurs, quantum scientists, artists and writers.

We talked to her about creativity and how to connect with the mystery and magic of the creative process – as well as how to deliberately create the optimum conditions for inspiration.

Tuesday 30th June

Sarah Gregersen

Sarah works as Program Director and Learning Designer at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and also runs a company called Genius of Life. Genius of Life brings sustainability strategies to life inspired by solutions evolved by nature over 3.8 billion years.

The core areas we explored were:

✨ How can the magic of nature inspire us to change?
✨ The pandemic’s impact on the planet and how we can apply these learnings to the workplace.
✨ How can we activate an ecological consciousness in teams, leaders and organisational eco-systems?

Tuesday 23rd June

Emilios Lemoniatis

Dr Emilios Lemoniatis is a Consultant Child Psychiatrist with over ten years experience of working in mental health. He combines his interest in Design Thinking and Innovation to help develop the mental well-being products of the future utilising the skills of the NHS and industry.

Together we explored the answers to some important questions:

✨ What does justice mean to him and how does he channel it through his work?
✨ Does the NHS need more magic and how can we achieve this?
✨ How can we harness the energy we’ve experienced during this time, of people coming together to help across all situations and areas?

Tuesday 2nd June

Geoff McDonald

Geoff McDonald is a global advocate, campaigner & consultant, passionate about addressing the stigma of mental ill health in the workplace. He co-founded Minds at Work who’s purpose is to inspire and equip individuals to eradicate the stigma of mental illness and create workplaces that are life enhancing.

We’ll be talking about mental health during the time of this pandemic, how to have difficult conversations and work toward breaking the taboo.

Tuesday 26th May

Tracy Wise

Tracy is a master storyteller and experienced writer. She is also a magician, member of the magic circle and a member of The British Society of Mystery Entertainers.

We will be talking about storytelling, creative processes and mystery. What is mystery? How can we create it? How can we enhance it?

Tuesday 19th May

Family magic show!

This was for the big and little kids! With many working from home, alone or with the family, juggling multiple roles as parent, teacher, employee and new-found fitness fanatic… we invited everyone to experience magic with us :sparkles:

Tuesday 12th May

Matt Pritchard

What is this elusive feeling called Wonder? How is it related to curiosity? How can we cultivate it? How can it support us to cope with the moment we are living now? Join Dr Matt Pritchard and Rubens for another magical conversation.

Matt is a scientist, a curator of wonder and he also runs an online interview site delving deeper into conversations of curiosity and wonder with bishops, philosophers and astronauts. Last year he spoke at TEDxBrum and was featured in the Huffington Post. Creative at the core and passionate about simplifying the complex, Matt works with organisations such as the Science Museum Group, Big Bang fairs and is an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle.

Tuesday 5th May

Liam Forde, The Zone London

Liam is a TEDx speaker, Executive Coach, and Founder of The Zone. The Zone are guides, coaches, facilitators and trainers, partnering businesses on the journey to unlock happiness and high performance. Be better, do better.

Liam believes that high performing culture, game changing innovation and winning strategies are unlocked by organisations that balance people, profit, purpose, potential, performance and planet. We’ll be delving a little deeper to find out his magic potion for creating great energy in businesses?

Tuesday 28th April

Gustav Kuhn, Goldsmiths University of London

Gustav is the Director of MAGIC-Lab and Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths University of London. Together we’ll be delving into the world of magic and discussing how it can further the understanding of human cognition. Together we will contemplate free will, perception and consciousness.

Tuesday 21st April

Nathalie Trutmann, former CEO of Hyper Island,

What does it actually mean to be a ‘learning organisation’ and how can we cultivate the habits that go beyond what we can get from formal training? Rubens was in conversation with Nathalie Trutmann, discovering the answers to these questions. They discussed the practices and processes that help individuals to grow and in turn, support their colleagues to grow.

Nathalie advocates less focus on productivity and more focus on joy!

Wednesday 15th April

Jason Leddington, Bucknell University’s Associate Professor of Philosophy

Jason lead us into a world of wonder and curiosity. We questioned the science behind wonder, how it affects us and how we can harness its magical powers. Building on the conversation, we considered new ways to confront the current crisis with renewed imagination.

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