Core Team

 

 

Photo of Ruth Ormston

Ruth Ormston, Co-Director (Operations and External Affairs)

Ruth spent much of her career as a solicitor, but set up her own mindfulness business in 2015. Ruth is a founding member of the Mindfulness in Law group, which puts on mindfulness events and support for those working in the legal profession. She also writes regularly on mindfulness and wellbeing. Ruth joined the Mindfulness Initiative as Deputy Director in 2020 and become Co-Director in 2021.

 

Jamie Bristow, Co-Director (Research and Policy)

Jamie was one of the volunteers and experts who formed the Mindfulness Initiative and helped MPs and Peers in the British Parliament to establish the UK Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group in 2014, conducting a 12-month policy inquiry and publishing the seminal Mindful Nation UK policy report the following year. As sole Director from 2015-2021, he established the Mindfulness Initiative as a globally recognised leader in the theory and advocacy of mindfulness and compassion training in politics and public life. Jamie has helped politicians around the world to introduce mindfulness training to a further 10 national parliaments and make capacities of mind and heart serious considerations of public policy. He is the author of several publications including Mindfulness: Developing Agency in Urgent Times and the Fieldbook for Mindfulness Innovators.

Jamie was formerly Business Development Director for Headspace and has a background in climate change campaign communications and advertising. He is also a teacher-in-training in the Insight Meditation tradition that’s associated with Gaia House, IMS and Spirit Rock retreat centres. His teachers and mentors have included Stephen Batchelor, Rob Burbea and Christina Feldman.

 

Photo of Eileen Clark
Eileen Clark, Operations Manager

Eileen’s background is in ethical trade; she spent fifteen years working with organic supply chains, fair trade certifications, and farmers around the world. Her enthusiasm for mindfulness as a tool to support resilience, and to nurture the development of compassionate solutions to global problems, led her to join the team as Operations Manager in 2022. 

   

Chris Cullen, Parliamentary Liaison (pro bono)

Chris Cullen is a teacher at the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre. He leads mindfulness courses for MPs and Peers in the Houses of Parliament, for musicians and actors at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and students at Oxford University. He is co-founder of Mindfulness in Schools, and also has a psychotherapy practice.

 

Chris Tamdjidi, Financial Director (pro bono)

Chris is the co-founder and Director of the Kalapa Academy and Kalapa Hotels. He has spent the last 10 years focusing on leadership development especially in the fields of mindfulness, authentic leadership and personal transformation. He is currently leading the world’s largest study on mindfulness in working life.

 

Policy Area Leads

Vishvapani Blomfield, Wales Lead

Vishvapani Blomfield lives in Cardiff and represents The Mindfulness Initiative to The Welsh Government, which is developing an integrated mindfulness strategy. He teaches widely and is a leader in developing mindfulness in Criminal Justice settings and, as a Buddhist writer and teacher, he contributes regularly to Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4.

   

Jenny Edwards CBE FRSA FFP, Health Policy Lead

After stepping down from a successful four years as Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, Jenny is working part-time on a number of projects including leading the development of a health policy strategy for the Mindfulness Initiative.

   

Picture of Cathy-Mae Karelse

Dr. Cathy-Mae Karelse, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy Lead

Dr Cathy-Mae Karelse is a mindfulness teacher, trainer and thought-leader. With a PHD from SOAS, Cathy-Mae has 20+ years expertise in deep systems change, social transformation, leveraging diversity, embodying justice and creating belonging. She has undertaken key policy and strategy work for national and global institutions, and joins the Mindfulness Initiative to help grow and embed policy work exploring the relationship between mindfulness and compassion-based approaches and diversity, equity and inclusion.

   

Byron Lee, Criminal Justice Policy Lead & EDI Advisor

Byron Lee is a mindfulness teacher and Director of training at the Happy City Initiative in Bristol. His work also involves mindful leadership, compassionate inclusion and transformative change.

   

Andrew McNeill, Workplace Policy Lead

Andrew is a mindfulness trainer and programme delivery consultant. He was previously a senior leader in the Civil Service for over 15 years where brought mindfulness into his leadership roles. Most recently Andrew was a Director in the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.

   

Chris Ruane, International Lead

Chris was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Clwyd North West up until 2019. Chris founded the All Party Parliamentary Group in 2014 and was Co-Chair for four of the six years up to 2019. He is now its Honorary President. Chris leads on developing the Mindfulness Initiative's relationships with politicians and mindfulness advocates in legislatures across the globe, and regularly speaks about mindfulness in politics and the experience of the UK parliament at events and conferences on behalf of the Mindfulness Initiative.

  

Katherine Weare, Education Policy Lead

Katherine Weare is Emeritus Professor at the University of Southampton and is known internationally for her work on cultivating well-being, mental health, social and emotional learning and mindfulness in education. She has published widely in the field, developing both theory and the evidence base and advising policy makers and governments such as the UK government, EU and WHO. She has led programmes across most European countries including the UK’s Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme, and the European Network of Health Promoting Schools. Her most recent book, ‘Happy Teachers Change The World: a guide to cultivating mindfulness in education’, was co-written with Thich Nhat Hanh. Katherine is also principal investigator of the Community of Contemplative Education at Mind & Life Europe.

Watch Katherine's new series with Mind & Life Europe on contemplative education here.

  

 
 
Banner photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash