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Panel: Brigade & Beyond Food, Tony’s Chocolonely, Interface

Book talk by the author


Networking, drinks & canapés

24 January 2024 | 6-8PM

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139 Tooley Street, London Bridge, SE1 2HZ

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Spaces are limited, please register for a press pass.

Thanks, your pass is on its way!

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* Press pass includes: 

   Drinks, canapés, signed copy of the book (RRP £27).


4 Reasons to join

  1. Discover the secrets behind leading sustainability practices. Learn profound insights and tools derived from award-winning research, how to achieve a 200-400% better impact return,  superior growth, brand value and productivity.

  2. We will bring you exemplars of global leadership in tackling our most pressing sustainability challenges. From climate change, pollution, poverty, social exclusion, child labour, to rising inequality, you will hear from the best in the world.

  3. Be the first to receive a copy of the book LEAD LIKE A GENIUS and uncover how to shape a better future powerfully. 

  4.  And last but not least, you will be in great company while indulging in exquisite canapés, courtesy of Brigade Bar & Bistro.

Watch the trailer

Read more
The book

Geniuses like Mozart, Einstein, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Da Vinci share one common trait that sets them apart from their peers. And it’s not their talent or a high IQ.

What if you could apply this secret to create a 200-400% higher impact return, outgrow your competitors, improve brand value, productivity and resilience? And at the same time to genuinely transform our world for the better?

LEAD LIKE A GENIUS takes the reader on an inspirational journey past genius examples from around the globe. Initiatives that tackle climate change, the marine plastic crisis, pollution, poverty, inequality and social exclusion exceptionally well.

The book reveals why these achieve far better results than most. It provides thought-leading insights on avoiding common sustainability pitfalls and how to tackle our global issues for a far better return.

The step-by-step guide is based on award-winning research nominated by the Social Innovation Research Director at Cambridge University. While simple to apply, it underpins our world’s most successful impact strategies.

Once you have read LEAD LIKE A GENIUS you will see the genius behind genuinely effective sustainable leadership. And you will have a powerful tool to guide you in achieving the best outcomes. The best outcomes that boost business growth. And the best outcomes that truly transform our world.

About the book

Spaces are limited




Simon Boyle, Founder & CEO Brigade and Beyond Food

Be inspired how you can create synergies between a successful business and transforming lives. Discover the key factors behind the success of Brigade and Beyond Food as a business and their impact, with a 300-400% higher success rate than similar initiatives.

​Simon Boyle is a multi-award-winning chef and Brigade & Beyond Food Founder, with partners PwC and Searcys.

Simon and his team spark aspiration in individuals unravelling and battling mental health, addiction, exclusion, reintegration and possible homelessness. They use great food as a catalyst to break down barriers and help people with an arm around the shoulder and a purposeful poke in the ribs. By empowering individuals with apprenticeships and employment, many are now on a journey toward independence, acceptance and happiness!

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Becky Gordon, Regional Sustainability Manager UK, Ireland & Middle East, Interface

The award-winning documentary film ‘Beyond Zero’ features the inspirational story of Interface, the global modular flooring producer who lead the way in sustainability.

Get insights into the ‘behind the scenes’ of Interface's journey. This began in 1994 when Interface's Founder Ray Anderson felt like he was hit by a 'spear in the chest' when he realised the damage his business caused to our planet.

As a key advocate for Interface’s Climate Take Back mission, Becky Gordon focuses on the commercialisation of sustainability in the built environment, connecting and collaborating with customers and employees on climate change, the circular economy and regenerative business.

Discover how Interface is now going beyond Net Zero. And how leading on impact enables them to outgrow their competitors by attracting and retaining talent, investors and customers.


Ben Greensmith, UK Country Manager Tony's Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely’s story began with reporter Teun van de Keuken visiting the cocoa plantations in West Africa to report on illegal child labour.

Ben has been working for Tony’s since September 2018 as employee number 1 and is responsible for the UK and Ireland. His official job title is Lord Chocolonely III.

Get inspired how to lead on impact across supply chains effectively. Learn how you can tackle the root cause of poverty, inequality and child labour. And how to customer loyalty and referral figures for phenomenal growth.



the author

Melanie van de Velde, PhD, MBA, MSc


The 9-year-old Melanie van de Velde was asked what problem she would like to solve when she grew up. She answered that she wanted to help people who were living in poverty. At the time, she had yet to see severe deprivation first-hand. But in the years since, she’s travelled extensively. The suffering she’s witnessed has only strengthened her ambition in childhood.

Dr Van de Velde was awarded the Adam Smith Prize for PhD Excellence at the University of Glasgow. Nominated for the prize by the Research Director at the Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge University, her thesis was the source of many insights in this book.

Her other academic achievements include an MBA with Distinction at the Adam Smith Business School, and an MSc in Industrial Engineering.

Melanie has managed Asia Pacific markets at a multi-billion dollar tech company. She’s worked in senior management at IT start-ups. And she’s run a fashion business to empower young women without an education in a Nairobi slum.


Raised in a small town in the Netherlands, she now lives with her partner and children in Scotland’s largest city.

A captivating, page-turning book. I learned more from reading this book than I did from completing an entire sustainability business strategy course at Harvard Business School.

That course at Harvard was awesome. This book is better. Everybody should read this.”

Matt Deasy,

Business Sustainability Consultant,



Melanie’s MPACT Wheel simplifies this immensely complex topic that we want to tackle together. It really helped to structure our thinking and which areas of the wheel we want to focus on.  

Jules Prick, Co-Founder Koos Service Design,
The Netherlands

Finally, a tool to help identify effective impact initiatives. The imperative to make a positive impact and deliver profits may seem paradoxical, but it is possible.  Melanie has solved this with her simple, easy-to-adopt methodology to help businesses create powerful impact strategies.

Mark Fallows,
Founder Fabrica Collective &
The Impossible Network,
Amazing insights, this is the need of the hour.
Inir Pinhiero, Founder Grassroutes,
Melanie van de Velde has inspired me with her evidence based work how to balance people, planet and profit. I love the key insight not to forget the GOOD profit drivers!
Robert van der Laan, PwC Corporate Responsibility Leader EMEA,
The Netherlands

What I like the most is the IMPACT Wheel. Because with the IMPACT Wheel it all comes together. 

It is a great tool to see what you can do in your business.

Gert Eilander,
CEO Multiweld & Impact Chair Entrepreneurship Organisation

Dr van de Velde’s doctoral thesis is outstanding and a worthy winner of the Adam Smith Prize for PhD Excellence.

Dr Haugh, Director Social Innovation Research Centre,
Cambridge University,

Reading the book is like having a cosy cup of tea with Mel as she shares her insights and expertise, gleaned from years of working on the front line of social and sustainable business and her academic research.
Thom Kenrick, Head of Social Strategy and Impact at NatWest Group,
This book is an absolute must read for everyone who wants to make their purpose count. To make the necessary step of 'doing good' to actually changing the world for the better.
Sandra Ballij, CEO Ctalents,
The Netherlands
A timely and thought-provoking book packed with insightful examples that is relevant to all business people.
Sarah Deas, Trustee, Wellbeing Economy Alliance,

I've read a ton of books on this topic and this is by far my favourite! 

Matt Deasy, Business Sustainability Consultant,


Van de Velde's key insights for successful impact strategies offer a concrete roadmap to break away from extrapolating the present and choosing wisely for a more vibrant and justice world.

Eduardo Balarezo, Adjunct Professor, Founder Lonesome George & Co,
United States

Melanie's IMPACT Wheel is a great tool we will be using for all projects in the future. I also love the case studies from around the world to trigger further ideas of what we can do here.
Daniela Jimenez Chavez,
Head of Sustainability Menorca Inversiones,


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