Neil started his career as an Investment Banker in 1990 and spent 13 years at the forefront of Capital Markets with NatWest Markets, PaineWebber and HVB Group in London, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In October 2002, he co-founded Sense of Touch, a boutique day spa on Hollywood Road in Hong Kong. After 12 years of operation and multiple international and regional awards, Sense of Touch Group which includes the Sense of Touch Day Spa, Capelli Hair Salon and Beauty Nest Dry Bar brands has ten branches in Hong Kong employing approximately 100 staff and a customer base of over 30,000 expatriate and local professionals.
Neil has been involved in presenting and public speaking since the age of 16 when he was sponsored by the Royal Air Force through College and later through University. He has spoken at conferences and investment road shows on a wide range of topics including Asset Securitisation, Collateralised Debt Obligations, Voice-Data Convergence, Entrepreneurial Management, Spa Branding and Marketing, Sales and Negotiation Theory, Communication Skills, Body language, NLP Applications in Mediation, Psychometric Profiling and Persuasion Psychology. Neil is a regular on the Hong Kong presentation circuit having presented multiple times for the British Chamber of Commerce, as well as the American Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, The Internet Professionals Association, and the Entrepreneurs Club.
Neil is a certified Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Time Line Therapy (TM) and Hypnosis, having studied with Tad James, one of the most respected NLP trainers in the world. Neil has studied negotiation at the Harvard Negotiation Institute and Persuasion Psychology with world renowned expert Dr. Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University. He holds a BSc (hons) degree in Accountancy and Financial Analysis from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is the Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce Angel Investment Programme in Hong Kong. In November 2013 Neil was awarded the position of Visiting Teaching Fellow at Edinburgh Napier University. Neil has completed multiple ultra marathons including the Marathon des Sables, a 250km race in the Sahara, and the Gobi March, a 250km ultramarathon in the Gobi desert, and has raised over US$50,000 in the process for community projects and cancer research.
Raphael is a French entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in Fast Moving Consumer Goods and Services within start-ups and multinational companies. Based in Asia for the last 15 years, he developed a deep knowledge of most Asia-Pacific markets and cultures.
Raphael started his career in 1994 in Marketing at Honda in the European Automotive Division. Fast-paced like the cars he likes so much, he quickly oversaw the brand’s product range for France before moving to Sales, taking the regional responsibility of 18 dealerships.
His entrepreneurial spirit led him to take his first step out of the Corporate world, co-founding his first start-up, Square Internet. After selling it to foreign investors, he set up his first consulting company, Avila Consulting. Here he specialised in managing mandates on behalf of investors in ailing internet companies, including an automotive portal and a pharmaceutical B2B marketplace. Raphael successfully exited this company when it was acquired by a Venture Capital Fund and moved on to his next enterprise.
Whilst traveling the world and looking at opportunities in various countries, he fell in love with Asia and especially with Hong Kong. Fuelled by the local dynamism and its anything-is-possible spirit, he partnered with fellow French entrepreneur Eric Noyel, and together they built a regional Consumer Goods Manufacturing and Distribution group spanning 9 countries and employing more than 1,000 associates. The factory became the world’s second largest in its field and the house ware brand they created challenged the most established players in most regional markets through global retailers.
Excelling in negotiation and always challenging the status-quo through an acute ability to think out of the box, Raphael co-led this company until being acquired by the world leader - from Germany - in this sector in 2011. He then ensured a smooth transition after this acquisition by taking a leading regional corporate position for the new owning multinational group for three years before moving to his next entrepreneurial project.
Complementing his independent business consulting activities, Raphael has been trained and certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and other Business Applied Psychology disciplines by Evolution-U since 2010. A natural people’s person, it was a logical step that he shares his extensive experience and train and teach others looking forward to improving themselves, and in particular, those with an interest in business and how the topics of Persuasion, Influence, Negotiation and Communication can help achieve success.
Raphael holds an MBA from the Institut Superieur de Gestion in Paris, France. He is a founding member of Mettā, a global network of entrepreneurs, connecting the dots between start-ups, industry experts and investors, driving tangible business value for the stakeholders in its community.
Raphael is passionate about cars and motorbikes and used to race them before becoming the father of two beautiful children. He is also an eclectic sports enthusiast with his biggest interests in ski, tennis, football and golf. As an extensive world traveler, he visited over 70 countries to date for business or pleasure, or both.
Shirley Adrain is an executive coach who trains and coaches corporate and individual client’s around effective career management. She draws on over 20 years of Financial Services experience spent in a variety of leadership roles with global financial institutions. She brings particular expertise around diversity and in helping women return to the workplace.
Shirley started her career with JP Morgan in London and subsequently New York. She has also worked for Citigroup, Barclays, Merrill Lynch and Société Générale in a variety of leadership roles across London, Singapore and Hong Kong. This global and diverse experience has allowed Shirley to appreciate the complex and often political environment in which her clients operate. During her Banking career, Shirley developed a passion for coaching individuals and teams, finding this the best way to create an environment of collaboration, teamwork and common ground where people are empowered, accountable and engaged. She implemented a coaching programme for leaders at Citigroup and was inspired by the positive impact on both the leaders themselves and their teams. She has also designed and implemented several international leadership development programmes and Global Career Frameworks.
Shirley has always been a strong advocate for the advancement of women, sponsoring and developing a Coaching for Success Programme at Citigroup to support and enable the progression of women in the organisation. She also contributed to the critically acclaimed book, “Your Loss: How to Win Back your Female Talent” to help prevent the female “brain drain” that is all too prevalent in most major industries today.
In 2012, Shirley decided to change career emphasis and become formally certified as a coach. Shirley is founder and CEO of "Career Catalyst Group Ltd" where she focuses on Executive Coaching, training and consulting. Her main clients are global banks and law firms. Her clients appreciate her deep knowledge of their environment and understanding of the challenges they face. She also developed and runs very interactive workshops on Gender Bias for where her experiences from her Banking career allow her to enliven and challenge senior leaders to overcome their biases and promote more senior women leaders.
In 2017, Shirley took over as Managing Director at “Back to Work HK”, working with individuals and organisations to help them retain female talent and also develop returner programmes to tap into this talent pool.
Shirley is an Accredited Executive Coach and trainer with the Association for Coaching (AC), with over 400 hours coaching experience. In 2018, she became a Certified Clean Coach with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and uses this methodology to get to the root cause of problems that have been holding her clients back. In 2002, Shirley became a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Business Practitioner. Shirley has been applying these learnings to her working life, helping individuals, teams and organisations to get more of the results they want.
Outside of work, Shirley has two young children and is an accomplished singer, with concerts in Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre and in Hong Kong this year. She is also a keen hiker and is currently training for the 100k “Just Challenge” South Africa in 2019. As a proud Scot in Hong Kong, Shirley was Chieftain of the HK Cricket Club for 5 years, organising and hosting the annual Burns Supper.
Shirley holds an MA in Psychology from Glasgow University and an MSc in Business IT Systems from Strathclyde University.
With a strong corporate and entrepreneurial business background, Nikitta is an ICF accredited Associate Certified Coach, Certified Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Conversational Intelligence® Coach.
Originally from Hong Kong and having lived in UK, Taiwan and Shanghai, Nikitta is trilingual in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Nikitta’s first entrepreneurial venture was in 2007 when she co-founded Rocky Mountain English Consultancy in Taipei. The company offered a range of customized and professional English improvement services for corporations, institutions and individuals and was sold in May 2011.
Nikitta then moved to Shanghai where she lived for 4 years until 2015. During her time in Shanghai she worked as a Human Capital Consultant for Mercer, the world's largest Human Resources Consulting firm. At Mercer, Nikitta worked for both Chinese and multinational clients on Business and Human Capital Strategy Alignment, Leadership Assessment and Development, Performance Management, Talent Management, Training & Development Program Design and Training & Focus Group Facilitation. Her clients ranged from Banking and Finance to Health & Hospitality, Pharmaceuticals to Automotive and Service Industries including InterContinental Hotels, Schaeffler Group, Pfizer, Qoros Auto Co., BNP Paribas and HSBC.
After 20 years of living abroad, Nikitta moved back to HK in 2015 to study Conversational Intelligence® with Prof. Judith E. Glaser, one of the world’s leading experts and authors in the field. She holds a Master Degree in Work & Organisational Psychology from the University of Nottingham and a Bachelor Degree in Business from the University of Durham. She has also received Certificates of Competence in Occupational Testing Levels A & B from The British Psychological Society. After graduation she worked with the Bristol Youth Offending Team, where she built partnerships, developed and assisted in the implementation of a 5-year Criminal Justice “Prevent & Deter” strategy plan for youths of age 8-17.
Nikitta's life passion is in communication and understanding the behaviours of people across cultures and professions. This led to her untiring efforts in the studies of personality profiling and self-development, gaining her the certified right to practice her expertise of Multiple Intelligences in Dermatoglyphics within China and Hong Kong, concurrently having close affiliations with WBECS (World Business and Executive Coach Summit) and IDRDC (International Dermatoglyphics Research & Development Center). Being a multi-talented lifelong learner exposed to both Western and Asian cultures, and with a vision for herself and those she works with, Nikitta strives to engage in roles that allow her to improve the well-being and development of others.