Let us introduce our amazing people
Director of Social Enterprise
Bachelor of Health Science (TCM) UTS
Bachelor of Art with Hons in Performance Studies USYD
As a passionate acupuncturist, Kristina noticed there was a need not being met. She was seeing more and more younger patients in her clinic presenting with anxiety. These patients had the knowledge to look after their physical bodies but seemed at a loss as to what they could do for their minds. Also a mother of two, Kristina went on a mission to explore clever and engaging ways to teach her her children and patients about their mental health and ways to look after it. Kristina wanted to create an offering for her family, her patients and for others around the world to slow down, be more present, ponder joy, connect and practice the ingredients that develop resilience. One day at her children’s school she got talking to Alice and was captivated by the stories she was using in schools to do just this. The rest as they say is history…
Director of Education
NSW Accredited Primary School Teacher
Masters of International Public Health USYD
Being slightly obsessed with wellbeing and working as a primary school teacher, Alice knew she had the concept of a story: animals that represent the brain as a playful way to teach children about their mental health. With her background in public health, positive psychology and mindfulness Alice could see, not just in the world of research, but within the classroom she taught in, that the students with emotional regulation skills and an ability to bounce back were thriving. Alice now designs the content for the school program, delivers teacher wellbeing workshops and writes stories and blogs that aim to bring what it means to be and feel mentally healthy to life in both homes and schools.
CONTENT & CURRICULUM MANAGER
Bachelor of Education USYD
NSW Accredited Primary School Teacher
Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Sports Administration (UCAN)
The newest member of the team, Julia, is excited to motivate people of all ages to prioritise their mental health. Julia is a passionate wellbeing champion, who is excited to empower the next generation through evidence based research. Julia is an accomplished education & training practitioner, who spent 10 years in the primary school classroom before changing to work in HR, training, mentoring & wellbeing in the corporate space.
Julia joins the team to support Grow Your Mind to deliver our professional development workshops and creates innovative and meaningful content for educators to use.
GUESS WHO PLAYDOUGH ARTIST
Emma jumped at the chance to join forces with Grow Your Mind to spotlight incredible people through the Guess Who series. Em creates faces of amazing people out of playdough, Alice then gives a video lesson sharing their story & asking students to identify their character strengths.
Em is passionate about encouraging calm creative play as a tool for positive mental health and wellbeing.Suffering from anxiety herself, Em realised, to minimise the symptoms, she needed to prioritise creativity. When her hands were happy- making and creating, so was her heart. Making time for yourself to make and create can be hard but Em soon realised that playdough was a perfect medium to get her creative groove on that her young children could also get involved in because it’s suitable for all ages and all abilities.
Check out her amazing business she runs from her home in Bendigo, Victoria Happy Hands Happy Heart.
Lisa recorded, made edits and helped produce Grow Your Mind’s first ever podcast. It features kids talking about hope, kindness, resilience, movement and more. Lisa forgo being paid throughout the podcast in order to ensure we could produce a high quality, educational offering for any student in the world to access.
Lisa’s podcast experience began at her son’s school where she was surrounded by kids with big ideas and incredible opinions. After several years teaching primary ethics at her sons’ school, the seed was planted for ‘The Pod Squad’, a podcast-making workshop for school kids.
Lisa is also a communications specialist with a passion for creating well-crafted messaging. She thrives in new social situations and loves bringing people together with purpose. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Sarah McKay is a neuroscientist and science communicator who specialises in translating brain science research into simple, actionable strategies for peak performance, creativity, health and wellbeing.
Sarah grew up in New Zealand where she completed BSc(Hons) at Otago University, then headed to Oxford University for her PhD. She sums up her thesis with the words, ‘Nature, Nurture or ‘Neuroplasticity’. After five years of postdoctoral research, Sarah hung up her lab coat to pursue a career in science communications.
Sarah is the author of The Women’s Brain Book—The neuroscience of health, hormones and happiness, and the director of The Neuroscience Academy, which offers professional development program in applied neuroscience and brain health. In 2019, Sarah hosted an episode of ABC Catalyst exploring brain health, bio-hacking and longevity.
Sarah lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her Irish husband and together they are raising two surfer dudes.
Sarah has an effervescent mix of enthusiasm and experience. Having the privilege of growing up in rural NSW, she went on to train as an Occupational Therapist (OT) at the University of Sydney, and has now been working with young people for 16 years within both the education and health sectors, in Australia and abroad. During this time, Sarah also completed an MBA at RMIT, Melbourne and a social enterprise scholarship program through the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), Melbourne.
Combining her newly acquired business skills with her passion for youth wellbeing, she then took on the role of Business Manager for Mittagundi – a youth-led not-for-profit aimed at building connection, self-worth and resilience, with the Victorian high country as the natural setting.
Her appetite for improving the wellbeing of our young folk led her to join the team at Smiling Mind, facilitating workshops in both their corporate and education arms. Sarah now divides her time between her OT practice Tread Brightly, the family vineyard, and a variety of dorky dancing routines with her five-year-old daughter Penny.
PRIMARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
IP & COMMERCIAL LAWYER
IMPACT DIRECTOR OPENSC
Kate is a NSW accredited primary school teacher. She has been working with children in various capacities for 15 years, including Outside of School Hours Care, tutoring and classroom teaching. Kate comes from a family of teachers and lifelong learners and is passionate about providing her students with meaningful learning experiences. She lived and taught in London for three years, in mostly low socio-economic areas, cementing her belief in the need for an inclusive classroom environment with a focus on mental health and well-being.
Since coming back to Sydney, Kate has become increasingly more involved with Grow Your Mind, firstly through working with Alice in her classroom and now, by helping to write units and create content. She is thrilled to be involved with Grow Your Mind and facilitate teachers and students to develop the toolkit required to look after their mental health.
Hannah is a NSW accredited early childhood and primary school teacher who has taught students from a diverse range of socio-cultural backgrounds since 2013. She seeks to intellectually engage students in an inclusive learning environment where they feel safe, supported, challenged and where they envisage their learning as lifelong.
Hannah is passionate about introducing students to Grow Your Mind practises from a young age as it equips them with the skills, knowledge and understanding to take care of their mental health. She is delighted to be involved with Grow Your Mind.
Annabelle is an NSW accredited primary school teacher. During her first two years of teaching, Grow Your Mind was brought into the school she was working at. Annabelle also participated in the NESA accredited teacher and school wellbeing course. She loved the concept behind it and saw it’s amazing potential. Having a keen interest in health and wellness, Annabelle was excited about bringing Grow Your Mind into her classroom to develop her students’ awareness of their mental health in a fun and playful way. Annabelle ran the first preschool pilot program for Grow Your Mind.
Annabelle continues to work as an accredited primary school teacher but is also thrilled to become a part of the Grow Your Mind team and continue to promote joy and wellness throughout school communities.
Janey is a NSW accredited primary school teacher who has worked with children by tutoring, working in a refugee kindergarten and in a primary school classroom setting since a young age. She has worked with Alice in her classroom and actively creates content and units of work that embed Grow Your Mind philosophy into everyday teaching. Janey passionately advocates mental health by bringing awareness to wellbeing- teaching practical strategies that builds resilience, acknowledges awe and gratitude, and creates a focus on mindfulness. Janey promotes tools which enable students to savour the ordinary days and their magic.
Janey seeks to build a safe, supportive, inclusive learning environment where each individual is nurtured. So much so, that she is currently furthering her studies by completing a Masters of Special and Inclusive Education, to ensure the future generation is supported. Janey is delighted to be involved with Grow Your Mind, taking care of her students’ souls and equipping them with a future that prioritises wellbeing in a fun and engaging manner.
TEACHER & LECTURER
Rachel is a NSW accredited primary school teacher, university lecturer and writer. She taught in the public, Catholic and independent systems for the past 15 years where she was proud to implement Grow Your Mind into her classrooms.
Now, as a mother of two young children, she is acutely aware of the importance of good mental health for all ages and enjoys reading up on the latest research regarding children and mental health.Rachel is thrilled to be an ambassador for Grow Your Mind and is constantly looking for ways to connect with her new community on the Central Coast to promote good mental health and wellbeing. Her daily practices include writing poetry and documenting ‘three good things’ as a form of gratitude.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
In 2022 Grow Your Mind was one of 38 female owned and founded businesses successful in securing $325,000 from the Federal Government as part of the Boosting Female Founders grant initiative. This grant was awarded to support the scaling of the Grow Your Mind schools program across Australia and begin inroads into international markets
Grow Your Mind was awarded a Growth Grant in 2022, to support us to secure investment capital to scale our social impact.
In 2021 Grow Your Mind was one of 8 Social Enterprises chosen for Social Impact Hub’s Scaling Impact accelerator, to support the growth of the business and prepare for future impact investment.
Grow Your Mind was chosen as one of the inaugural Australian SheEO Ventures. This means we were voted by this radically generous community of women, as a venture they wanted to support to achieve its impact. We have enjoyed financial support via an interest free loan, as well as continued invaluable mentorship.
In 2019 Grow Your Mind was awarded a grant to be able to gift 100 Grow Your Mind kits to schools and to train some of the Atlassian staff to volunteer in introducing the kits to these schools. This grant also enabled us to deliver a teacher wellbeing program to teachers representing 10 different schools.
In 2018 Grow Your Mind was chosen as one of 10 Social Ventures to be part of the Kickstarter business mentoring program and we were awarded one of 2 $15,000 grants at the end of the program.
WE ARE PROUD TO PARTNER WITH:
In 2021 Grow Your Mind partnered with the Department of Psychology at the University of Wollongong to conduct an external evaluation of the Grow Your Mind Schools program.
Participants were 32 teachers and 657 students across 25 classrooms from three schools. Classes were matched and then randomly assigned to either participate in the Grow Your Mind program or continue with their routine practice.
Students’ responses to validated surveys broadly indicated positive impacts for those whose class teachers participated in the Grow Your Mind program.
These included a – reduction in negative affect, – positive gains in physical and psychological wellbeing- quality of the child’s interactions with others, sense of connection, belonging and engagement.
In partnership with their Social Entrepreneurship students we have run several projects looking into a range of business areas, including Social Impact measurement.
In July 2019, Grow Your Mind joined forces with social enterprise, Avenue. As part of the Fighting Chance enterprise model, Avenue is a co-working space where people of all abilities are supported to work, socialise and develop their individual skills, regardless of their support needs. This is a really meaningful partnership for us. We know the importance of connection, of belonging, of feeling of value, especially when it comes to enduring good mental health.
The fabulous teams at Avenue Botany and Parramatta now pack all our kits and fulfil all our online orders. So when you order from Grow Your Mind, you now know you are not only supporting us and mental health education, but also other women and men to be able to enjoy meaningful employment, develop further skills and feel part of our society.
Grow Your Mind have been a certified B Corporation since November 2019. This means we are part of a community that is working toward reducing inequality, lowering levels of poverty, creating a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose.