Brandon and Elli are the co-founders of Partners in Mindfulness, a platform designed to help connect interested communities and organizations to mindfulness based workshops and practices.
They first met in 2011 on a mindfulness teaching tour. They were invited on tour by monastic students of Zen Master and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh to offer mindfulness workshops on college campuses. Together they visited various universities, including Harvard, Yale and Columbia, sharing practices with over a thousand students.
Since this first meeting they have embarked on many mindfulness adventures together, spending time working, practicing and traveling around the world with Thich Nhat Hanh and his community, collectively known as "Plum Village". This work has taken them to such diverse spaces as the World Bank, Google headquarters, and youth centers in Bhutan and India.
Co-Founder | Based in Toronto, Canada
Elli holds a Master’s degree from York University’s Environmental Studies program, focused on the practical use and implementation of mindfulness in education.
Elli recently spent a year as the International Program Coordinator for Wake Up Schools, a global initiative to cultivate mindfulness in education, initiated by Thich Nhat Hanh. Her ongoing work with Plum Village focuses on a holistic approach to education, working simultaneously with teachers, students, parents and administrators to build sustainable inclusive communities.
In 2014 Elli joined the faculty at the University of Toronto, in the Applied Mindfulness Meditation certificate program, AMM-MIND. In 2015 she join the program's advisory board.
She has organized retreats and facilitated workshops in Bhutan, India, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Elli has also designed mindfulness workshops for business environments, including a six week introductory course for managers and directors at the organization Me to We.
She recently worked within the Toronto District School Board to offer mindfulness workshops for elementary students as part of a wellness week initiative, and has also given guest lectures for teacher candidates at the University of Toronto and York University.
Prior to focusing on her work in mindfulness, she worked as a freelance producer in the film industry, and has used this experience to create several short documentary films exploring mindfulness as a secular tool to combat issues of work-place burnout and stress.
She is honoured to be a grant-making advisor for the Pollination Project, a foundation that gives seed grants to individual change-makers all over the world.
Elli began attending retreats at the age of 10, taking the Five Mindfulness Trainings at age 14. Experiencing this practice with Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community at such a young age ignited her interest in its translation and application into all sectors of society. She is also an ordained member of the Order of Interbeing, the core community of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Co-Founder | Based in San Francisco, United States
A management consultant by trade, Brandon was a senior consultant for the Oliver Wyman Group before transitioning to spend a few years residing and practicing within the Plum Village mindfulness community. He is now integrating his background in business with his training in mindfulness.
Brandon recently served as Program Coordinator for Wake Up, a global mindfulness initiative for young adults established by Thich Nhat Hanh. In this role he facilitated communication among over 100 mindfulness communities worldwide to build relationships, share best practices, and inspire collaboration. He also served as an advisor for Wake Up Schools when it first launched, helping with the initial strategic planning and outreach.
He was recently selected to receive training as a facilitator of Search Inside Yourself, a leading mindfulness and emotional intelligence program designed by and offered at Google, that is now being implemented at major organizations such as Ford Motor Company, Scotiabank and Comcast.
During his career at Oliver Wyman, Brandon worked across industry verticals on a range of strategic initiatives. His work focused on capability building and facilitating change in large organizations, and included projects leading the development of operational metrics to aid CEO-decision-making as well as projects defining strategic approaches for entering new markets. He worked for both public and private enterprises primarily in the Middle East & Africa.
Brandon is an ordained member of the Order of Interbeing, the core community of Thich Nhat Hanh, which entails helping organize and facilitate retreats for various populations. He has participated in several 3-month meditation retreats, and his time in contemplative environments deeply informs his work out in the world.
Brandon finds himself traveling frequently, having visited over 40 countries throughout the past five years. Cherished experiences include teaching English to refugees in Nepal, residing with a permaculturist in Swaziland, riding a bicycle through Amsterdam, and exploring the gardens of Kyoto, Japan.