Meet the team

"I’m all about seeing the light bulb moment when someone I’m working with has a breakthrough"

"I love seeing the difference an incredible customer experience can make"

"Our clients are amazing and I love learning about all the things they do to make the world a better place"

"I love releasing human potential and instilling a strong sense of initiative, responsibility and accountability"

"I enjoy the fresh challenge that comes with each new piece of work and the relationships we form"

"I love developing leaders and helping them become the best they can be"

Peter Grist

Peter Grist

Managing Director

Peter likes to get things done. His action-oriented mindset is one of the reasons clients love working with him, and his preference for solving problems and making a difference to the lives of people he works with has kept him with GRIST for over 12 years. He’s always been fascinated by how businesses work, and relishes the variety that comes with being a consultant. He’s a big believer that the work we do is often not that complicated, but that to do it consistently well over time takes real commitment. He most enjoys working with clients who are similarly committed to delivering exceptional outcomes for customers, and are open to doing things better. When he’s not leading the GRIST team, you can find him honing his coaching and development skills with the junior sports teams his three kids are involved in.

Chris Gourley

Chris Gourley

Managing Partner | New Zealand

Sales leadership gun and all-round good guy Chris heads up GRIST’s newly-minted New Zealand office. Following a successful career in banking, Chris embarked on a consulting career to transform how organisations work to create high-performing sales cultures. As someone highly motivated to achieve results and a firm believer that ‘what gets measured, gets done’, Chris was particularly drawn to GRIST’s data-driven approach to behaviour change. Chris combines strategic thinking with pragmatism to design and deliver sales and leadership programs with an impact. Instinctively innovative, Chris wows our clients by coming up with the answers to questions not yet asked.

Mike Dunn

Mike Dunn

Director

We have a running joke here at GRIST that if anyone could start a cult, it’d be Mike. Fortunately – and as anyone who’s worked with him will attest – Mike would only ever use his powers of influence for good. He is a dynamic and truly motivating change facilitator who loves helping people learn, and gets a real buzz when they experience that light bulb moment. Prior to joining GRIST 14 years ago, Mike was recognised as a high-performing sales consultant and leader, and it’s this firsthand experience combined with his love of psychology that makes him so relatable to the people he develops. Mike’s approach to life is to treat it as one great adventure full of experience and he loves working with clients who share his optimism and who are as interested in understanding what makes people tick as he is.

 

 

Brad Thomas

Brad Thomas

Director

Brad gets a kick out of working with clients who are open to trying new methods and technologies, and that are willing to roll up their sleeves with us, get into the trenches and have some fun along the way. 11 years ago, Brad worked with a client of ours, liked what he saw and so hit us up for a job. He’s stayed with us because of our team; the flexibility and variety that comes with consulting, and the buzz he gets from seeing people light up when they’ve developed a new skill. Brad knows life is too important to be taken seriously and can always be relied on to inject some hilarity into the day. He is the brainchild behind YakTrak and now spends a fair amount of his time getting his head around coding and startup jargon.

David McQueen

David McQueen

Senior Partner - Sales

A true all-rounder, David combines an authentic, down-to-earth consulting style with loads of program design experience and effective adult learning methodologies to redefine our client’s sales and leadership cultures. He is inspired by people who strive to be better at what they do and came to work with GRIST because of this like-minded focus on continual improvement and our ability to distil complex concepts into simple practices. David knows sales inside out and practices what he preaches by putting clients at the centre of everything he does. Not satisfied with change for change’s sake, David is very results-driven and ensures the solutions he provides clients deliver them bottom-line revenue results. A multi-faceted man, David is equally at home refining his whiskey palate as he is spending hours in the art studio with his kids, or diligently studying all things AFL.

Lisa Farrugia

Lisa Farrugia

Senior Partner - Finance

A woman of many talents, Lisa began her career as a registered psychologist, and now takes care of GRIST’s finances and HR. She is the stylish glue that holds GRIST’s Melbourne office together and can be relied upon to keep the lights on, share hilarious family anecdotes and dispense solid life advice. She loves that she gets to work with people who are passionate about what they do and is glad to be part of a growing business where she can really make an impact. Outside of GRIST she’s busy raising three children, keeping fit, reading everything and anything and working with PANDA – a not-for-profit that assists new parents struggling with depression and anxiety.

 

Caitlin Ziegler

Caitlin Ziegler

Learning Design & Strategy

Caitlin loves to be thrown in the deep-end and usually comes up swimming. With a varied background across design, publishing, project management and events, she is a natural problem-solver with an eye for detail. A self-confessed grammar nerd, she is continually refining her editing skills and relishes the opportunity to expound on the history of the ampersand, or how good kerning can pave the way to ultimate happiness. In GRIST, Caitlin has found a bunch of like-minded people who are passionate about the human experience and want to see great customer service in sales and service industries become the rule, not the exception. When she isn’t designing world-class learning strategies and engaging content, Caitlin writes, reads and illustrates. She is a terrible gardener.

Ross Hastings

Ross Hastings

Operations Manager

Ross is GRIST’s project and people wrangler who uses his cool, calm, collected demeanour to great effect to keep the GRIST engine running smoothly and in the right direction. He is fascinated with the enduring question of ‘what makes a good life?’ and – given his academic pursuits and all-round joie de vivre – is well-placed to crack the code. He is on the cutting edge of positive psychology, coaching psychology and learning, and skilfully applies this knowledge to enrich and refine the GRIST methodology, helping provide our clients with proven, research-backed programs that get results. As someone who epitomises the GRIST mindset, Ross clicks with his teammates’ optimism, openness to change and genuine commitment to being better. Originally from Scotland, Ross remains fiercely patriotic and loves watching the national teams lose (unfortunately on a regular basis). He grew up playing rugby and skiing, and will try his hands (and legs) at any team sport that pushes him to keep learning.

Kate Goldby

Kate Goldby

Senior Behavioural Benchmark Analyst

Kate has been with GRIST for eight years, honing her ability to pick up on the most nuanced conversation behaviours. She spends the bulk of her week eavesdropping on customer-consultant interactions to identify how organisations can deliver the experience that customers deserve. When Kate isn’t forging ahead with the customer experience revolution she’s shooting music videos for local Melbourne bands, and may or may not be known to rock out on a fabulously pastel pink bass guitar. Kate is the GRIST team member most likely to be asked to help with something outside her remit, and it’s her ever-obliging, can-do attitude that makes her such a valued part of the GRIST team.

 

 

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Jayshree Matam

Jayshree Matam

Senior Behavioural Benchmark Analyst

Jayshree is a GRIST stalwart and has spent many years tirelessly analysing thousands of customer and leadership conversations. Jayshree’s ability to define and assess the specific behaviours that make up great conversations, coupled with her intuitive understanding of human behavior, makes her an A-grade analyst. Having studied economics, she has great insight into the business drivers that guide our client’s efforts, and her extensive customer service experience gives her firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing sales and service teams. Jayshree loves experimenting in the kitchen and occasionally (although not often enough!) treats her GRIST colleagues to a home cooked breakfast or lunch. Despite being a quintessential introvert, Jayshree’s surprise, oft-forgotten talent is singing in the Hindustani classical style.

Stacey Makshakova

Stacey Makshakova

Behavioural Benchmark Analyst

Stacey is an accomplished (and multi-lingual) analyst who brings an intuitive understanding of the human mind along with a robust intellectual curiosity. She is an accomplished researcher with qualifications in Commerce and Psychology and extensive market research experience. Stacey loves working with clients who courageously challenge the status quo while still placing their customers at the heart of everything they do. She is a big believer that sales is all about building long-term relationships with customers, and loves analysing the conversations of people who take this approach. When not making the most of Melbourne’s extraordinary dining scene, Stacey is an avid traveller who aims for an immersive experience – rather than the usual tourist traps. She is next headed to Austria. Watch this space for what’s next…

Jess Aghdam

Jess Aghdam

Senior Partner - Consultant

Jess is an intuitive, people-centric leader who leverages sky-high emotional intelligence with a genuine desire to help people be their best. She’s a big fan of continuous improvement – both for herself and clients – and has spent many years leading, training and developing large groups of people. She’s previously run GRIST’s behavioural analytics department, where she led our close-knit team of analysts and transformed reams of data into actionable insights to help our clients improve both leadership and frontline capability. This experience in translating outputs to inputs, or strategy to micro-behaviour, grounds her work and makes the solutions she creates for clients all the more relevant and impactful. Jess spends her time away from GRIST studying psychology – with particular focus on social psychology and the psychology of learning – and is well on her way to clinical qualifications.

Sebastian Cox

Sebastian Cox

Partner - Consultant

Seb is an expert facilitator whose ultimate reason for being is to trigger that ‘Ah ha!’ moment. He loves empowering people to develop their skills, build self-confidence and overcome challenges, and is proud to be improving the sales landscape, one conversation at a time. He understands that to deliver an amazing sales experience, the customer must be placed front and centre, and that it’s the sales people who act in their own self-interest that give sales a bad name. It’s his ‘people first approach’ that drew him to GRIST, which is proving the perfect home for someone with Seb’s brand of intuition, intelligence and sense of fun. When he’s not delivering engaging workshops or coaching leaders, Seb – who knows a thing or two about both Grenache and ganache – is likely to be found in the kitchen, ambitiously crafting something magnificent. Like a lot of the best people, Seb works hard to provide a good life for his sassy, four-legged fur-child.

Roberta Fairbairn

Roberta Fairbairn

Senior Partner - Consultant

Composed, thoughtful and observant, Roberta is a highly sought after change consultant for good reason. She has a wealth of global experience in senior learning and development roles across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors where she refined her organisational know-how and insight into what motivates people to change their behaviour. With her understated sense of humour and ability to connect with people almost instantly, Roberta is an exceptional facilitator and coach who can really get people thinking and inspired to try out new ways of doing things in a fun-filled environment. She works with GRIST because she has a genuine passion for helping people be the best they can be and loves delivering methodologies that are proven to get results. An avid traveller, yoga devotee and – best of all – dog owner, Roberta fills her days soaking up life’s simple pleasures.

Sheila Harloe

Sheila Harloe

Senior Partner - Consultant

One of Sheila’s driving values is to make a difference, which shows in the dedicated and diligent way she works with people – nudging them out of their comfort zones to help them realise their potential. Sheila’s enthusiasm is infectious and her super sunny disposition the real deal. She harnesses this energy to deliver world-class workshops that leave people excited to make a change, and thrives on helping people make those small, incremental changes that add up to big results over time. Leading by example, Sheila role models all the attributes she aims to inspire in others: accountability, dedication and initiative. Her authentic consulting style is supported by formal qualifications in psychology, accreditation as a master coach, and rounded out by many years spent working with a wide range of customer-facing organisations.

Debbie Merkenhof

Debbie Merkenhof

Senior Partner - Consultant

Debbie loves developing leaders and helping them be the best they can be. A supportive and inspiring mentor and coach, Debbie plays an integral role in our client’s organisations, expertly guiding them through the process of moving to where they need to be. She has been with GRIST for 14 years and is driven by the satisfaction that comes from seeing people grow, sharing their successes and making a real difference to sales and service organisations. With a knack for business, Debbie keeps her eye firmly on the prize and loves to see the organisations she works with achieve solid financial results alongside the cultural ones. When not working, Debbie is anything but idle and fills her time hiking, practicing yoga or on overseas adventures.

Adrienne Smith

Adrienne Smith

Senior Partner - Consultant

Adrienne first experienced GRIST as a client of ours, and found it invigorating to see how a new approach and set of thinking could make such a difference to a traditional sales culture. Adrienne loves working with leaders who share her special blend of optimism and realism, and who take what they do seriously but not themselves. She’s all about helping people have more respectful, meaningful and interesting conversations and works to develop people to do the same. A natural problem solver, Adrienne brings a pragmatic viewpoint to help clients achieve better outcomes. It is her considered, intuitive and switched-on approach to getting to know our clients that makes her so effective. She’s inspired every day to help organisations question the status quo, seek out feedback and ultimately become better at what they do.

 

 

Mimi Wong

Mimi Wong

Senior Partner - Consultant

Mimi became a champion of GRIST’s work after participating in a leadership program many moons ago and experiencing firsthand a total culture shift and uplift in sales. Mimi told us she would one day work with GRIST, and true to her word she made it happen. Mimi is a sales and leadership powerhouse! Disarmingly down-to-earth, Mimi’s facilitation style makes participants connect with her instantly – paving the way for the engaging, high-impact workshops for which she’s renowned. Having run her own consultancy following an impressive sales leadership career, Mimi is well-versed in the unique challenges facing today’s sales organisations. Her informed perspective resonates with frontline consultants and senior managers alike. Not one to sit on the sidelines she is right into CrossFit (yes, one of those!), hot yoga and hiking. Personifying a growth mindset, she’s equally at home, head down, studying for her MBA.

Greg Zimbulis

Greg Zimbulis

Senior Partner - Consultant

Greg has a knack for cutting through the noise and getting straight to the heart of the issue. He draws from a life well-lived and diverse experience in the media, publishing and technology industries to provide clients with a fresh perspective on how to get the most from their people. He values the process of getting to know a business inside out and helping clients realise what needs to be achieved. In it for the long haul, he sees the biggest rewards being the long-term connections he’s maintained with clients throughout his 12 years with GRIST – providing ongoing support and observing their sustained improvements over time. An enigmatic sort of guy, Greg is our go-to for a wry story with a punchline no one ever sees coming!

Jane Andrews

Jane Andrews

Project Manager - Graphic Design

Jane is GRIST’s creative spark. With an eye for design, an intuitive approach to problem-solving and a very client-centric mindset, Jane can always be relied on to get the job done – often at the last minute, and always in a seemingly effortless way. Our clients walk away from working with her feeling equal parts impressed and relieved that she’s managed to make their lives that much easier. Jane has been with GRIST for five years and in that time has worked on a host of projects in a variety of roles – it’s this variety that keeps her engaged, and her skills fresh. Jane loves life drawing and photography, and may or may not be the most unlikely person to ride a motorbike. A bit of a dark horse, that Jane!

 

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