Our Story


“I first experienced mindfulness practice at the age of ten when my family went to a retreat led by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) and the Plum Village community. My mom had read several books by Thay, who is an internationally renowned scholar and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. After this retreat we started going as a family on a yearly basis, which allowed us to develop a common language for handling strong emotions and conflict. My mom worked as a guest artist in schools and I would often help her facilitate sessions on communication and conflict resolution with teachers, students and parents.” - Elli


“My first contact with mindfulness was at university. At the time I was navigating my way through business school, and while I was learning a lot, there seemed to be something missing from my education. Both of my parents were teachers and encouraged me to take a diversity of classes, so I decided to enroll in a psychology course focused on meditation. The class was a breath of fresh air, and supported me exploring more of my inner world at a time when there was a lot of pressure to compete and a tendency to look to the future for satisfaction. We read a book by Thich Nhat Hanh in the class and I was delighted that he taught practical ways to bring the practice into everyday life.” – Brandon


“Experiencing mindfulness at a young age made me curious about its translation into day to day life. I went on to get an undergraduate degree in Film Production and work in the film industry as a Producer and Assistant Director. After several years of enjoying this work, I realized that I missed my earlier work and experience in the field of mindfulness and well-being. I decided to pursue a master’s degree at York University’s Environmental Studies Faculty focused on the application of mindfulness based practices in educational settings.” – Elli


“After university I worked as a management consultant in Dubai, which basically meant I worked around the clock and got to travel around the world in the process. It was a great gig for a young 20-something, and I learned a tremendous amount as I faced many new personal and professional challenges outside of my comfort zone. In my work I gravitated towards projects that involved training and capability building. In my personal life I was practicing mindfulness more regularly and wondered whether there was a way to bridge these worlds that seemed so distant on the surface.” - Brandon


“Brandon and I first met during the “US East Coast Wake Up Tour”, which was comprised of a dozen monastics from Plum Village and several lay practitioners travelling to Universities on the East Coast to offer mindfulness workshops. We went to Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Columbia and Brown to name a few.” – Elli


"Right before the tour I had decided to take a leave of absence from my consulting job. I had just gotten promoted to Senior Consultant, but felt it was time to explore integrating my background in business with my passion for mindfulness. At the beginning of my leave I went on a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community, and the next thing I knew, I found myself invited on the US East Coast Wake Up Tour." – Brandon


“One day near the beginning of the tour Brandon and I were put in the same car for a 5 hour drive, and that’s when we discovered we wanted to change the world together!” - Elli


“Since that tour Elli and I have worked together on various projects with the Plum Village community. We’ve helped facilitate retreats and workshops for various audiences and served as the program coordinators for two of Plum Villages’ primary initiatives, Wake Up and Wake Up Schools.” – Brandon “During this time we have both grown as facilitators, as practitioners, and as friends.” – Elli


“In starting this company we aspire to not only offer mindfulness workshops and trainings to others, but to create a work environment and structure that supports our own deepening of personal practice.” – Brandon


“Thich Nhat Hanh has a concept of “Right Livelihood”, meaning that our work reflects our personal aspirations and ethics. Through Partners in Mindfulness we are excited to begin to lay the foundations for this path.” – Elli