Founder and Principal

Neil Jacobs

Neil is the Founder and Principal of MindsOpen, where he routinely coaches CEOs and C-Suite executives and works with leadership teams to improve performance, shift culture, and drive change. He plays a pivotal role in helping leaders and teams unlock new insights in order to take big strides forward.

He achieves this through his relational style, being unafraid to ask the tough questions, and opening minds to new and different possibilities. Other areas of specialism include leadership development, organizational development, and leveraging relationships.


A business psychologist and executive coach, Neil has over 29 years of global experience working with boards, leaders, teams, and organizations from a wide range of industries including media, luxury and beauty, investment and commercial banking, private equity, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, professional services, energy, and logistics. He has worked across the spectrum of Fortune 500s, high-growth start-ups, non-profits, and government organizations.

Prior to founding MindsOpen, Neil was a Managing Director at YSC, the prestigious global leadership consulting firm. As well as leading and setting the vision for the Americas business, his client work included coaching, succession planning, executive assessment, and team development.

Neil began his career in the UK working for the British Military, where he found his niche profiling officers for specialist roles. He then joined Scotland Yard, the police service for London, and was soon appointed Head of Psychology. He led a range of high-profile assignments including debriefing the UK police response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His last role at Scotland Yard was Director of Security Strategy for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He lives in Boston with his husband and cat, Rupert. Through the ups and downs, he remains a dedicated supporter of Leeds United, his hometown soccer team. Neil enjoys contemporary art, modern design, film, and travel, having visited 56 countries and counting.


JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds Banking Group, Bain Capital, Apax Partners, Estée Lauder, Burberry, Heineken, Mars, Diageo, Virgin, TikTok, IPG, Dentsu Aegis, Siegel + Gale, Condé Nast, GlaxoSmithKline, Astra Zeneca, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Thomson Reuters, Sony Music, BP, Shell, National Grid, Baker McKenzie, K&L Gates, Bakkavor, RB, Hertz, Loews Corporation, Christie’s, JUST Capital, Dress for Success.

  • M.Sc. Organizational Psychology, University of Hull, UK
  • B.A. Psychology, University of Newcastle, UK
  • Associate Fellow, British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Full chartered member of the Division of Coaching Psychology (BPS)
  • Fulbright Scholar
  • International Advisory Board Member, Nijmegen School of Management, Netherlands
  • North American Advisory Board Member, Newcastle University Business School, UK
  • Ally mentor, Blacks in I/O Psychology
  • Coaching MasterProcess
  • Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching, The Corporate and Executive Coaching Organisation
  • OPQ32, 16PF, LSI, FIRO-B, TKI, Hogan Assessments

Neil's work with individuals, teams and our organization has had and continues to add tremendous value and real impact. He listens and understands, has a keen and nuanced sense of people, issues and solutions. Like the warm and caring person he is, he is able and willing to adapt himself to the diverse needs of clients, drawing on a deep reservoir of techniques, with practical and actionable steps that raise the quality of outcomes. His time with us has consistently provided essential support to each of us individually and collectively to help move us forward together toward becoming a fitter, healthier and higher functioning team. Having experienced many such engagements, his comparative and absolute value is beyond compare. Worth every dime and minute of investment, I will and have recommended him to others without reservation.

M.S., Chief Operating Officer, Financial Services

Neil has been an amazing partner. In every project - from facilitating teams to designing a framework for creative talent to executive assessment - he has brought deep expertise and a collaborative way of working that engages the team. It's coaching at the core and he does it masterfully, enabling us to create work that is more widely adopted and tailored to our organizational needs.

Kate B, now VP, Culture and Engagement, S&P Global

Neil changed my life. He guided me to ways to grow I didn’t think were possible. I’ve worked with Neil in individual and group settings and my time spent with him is always incredibly valuable. He helped me expand outside of my comfort zone, but also come to my own conclusions on how to grow. He asked the tough questions, but always with an underlying sense of understanding and care. I’ve been to countless leadership and team building seminars, but the work I did with Neil is far more valuable. He gives deep, tailored, actionable insights. As a direct response to my work with Neil I feel more authentic as a leader, my work has more meaning, my team is more engaged, and I am happier.

Frank Amorese, Marketing Executive, Alcoholic Beverage Industry

I have worked with Neil on several highly visible and high stakes projects in the leadership development and executive team effectiveness areas. Neil has a complete focus on the client. He listens incredibly well and provides candid and direct feedback but does so with empathy and a solution focus. Neil is also amazingly insightful, whether it is assessing an individual’s leadership potential, diagnosing the root causes of ineffective team behaviors, or helping a coaching client reframe an issue for productive action. With other leadership development consultants it is not uncommon to have predictable or tried and true solutions played back to you. With Neil I have experienced unique insight and novel ideas that are suited to the organization’s context. Most of all Neil is a pleasure to work with. He is a dedicated professional who models the leadership behaviors that he seeks to help others develop and a valued asset who works seamlessly with our team.

L.S., SVP Talent Management, Finance Sector

Neil and I have worked together on a number of organizational and talent-related projects, including coaching, leadership development strategy, executive assessment for culture ‘fit’, and team engagement facilitation. Neil is a fantastic thought partner, coach and facilitator who brings business acumen, a razor-sharp intellect, a keen curiosity, and a high degree of integrity to all of his engagements – this coupled with his rich global experience. A wonderful listener, he always takes the time to get below the surface and tune in to what’s really important. He is never afraid to challenge and is skilled in helping clients see things from different perspectives and think creatively about the optimal solution. It’s always a privilege to partner with Neil, and I would not hesitate to recommend him for consultancy work in the Talent, Leadership and Organizational Development / Organizational Strategy space.

J.T. VP, Global Talent, Estee Lauder Companies

The breadth and depth of Neil's executive coaching capabilities far exceeded my expectations of our engagement. Throughout, Neil was practiced and effective at adapting to changing professional situations. Neil's approach was highly focused, highly personalized, and architected to drive both learning and unlearning of skills and behaviors that shaped my leadership style and career path. He provided valuable, relevant frameworks to employ in today's dynamic workplace, as well as trends and insights on modern leadership that were fresh, innovative, and incredibly relevant. Neil's warm and genuine manner was ever present and his guidance was incredibly bespoke and thus easy to apply. Working with Neil was a journey and lesson in shaping and building my leadership brand as much as it was about real, personal growth. It was my privilege to work with Neil and I welcome doing so again in the future.

Khartoon Weiss, now Head of Global Agency and Accounts, Tik Tok