The buzz about the Brain Exchange


One cold January day back in 2013 I was chatting to a business colleague about the joys of self employment after years of working for large organisations. 

“But do you know what I don’t like about running my own business?” I said.  “It’s that there is no one to talk to when I need to make a big decision or when I am thinking through a new idea or problem. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get access to some peer group support once a month, where we can do some ‘thinking aloud’ with other business people?” 

As we talked, it became clear that my complaint was quite common among people who were either self-employed or running small enterprises.  And we realised that, although there are many business groups and networks in existence, none of them addressed this particular problem.  And that is how the Brain Exchange started.    

Today the Brain Exchange is a regular fixture in Central London attended by growing numbers of people from different walks of life and backgrounds.  Here’s how it works….

What is the Brain Exchange?

The Brain Exchange is a unique forum for business professionals to share experiences, exchange knowledge and find inspiration within a confidential and supportive environment.  It’s not just a network or a talking shop – each meeting of the Brain Exchange is professionally facilitated to ensure that discussions are structured and focused on achieving results.

Who is it for?

Brain Exchange members are senior professionals working in a diverse range of roles and sectors.  Current members include CEOs, entrepreneurs, social enterprises, freelancers, small business owners and senior managers.

How does it work?

Meetings of the Brain Exchange are held monthly in London from 18.30 to 20.30.  There are eight spaces available at each meeting and places are reserved on a first come first served basis. 

With direction from a professional facilitator, the group spends one hour exploring an issue presented by a group member who volunteers for the ‘hot seat’.  The discussion follows an agreed structure to encourage full participation and the consideration of all view points.  The final part of the discussion is focused on drawing conclusions from the discussion and identifying possible actions.   The formal part of the meeting is followed by drinks and networking.

All discussions are strictly confidential so that members can be completely and honest about the problems that keep them awake at night. 

What are the benefits?

If you’re in the ‘hot seat’ you benefit from what is in effect an hour of business coaching.  But everyone benefits from being part of the discussion.  All participants get:

  • Eight different perspectives on an idea or problem
  • New ideas for your business and new approaches to business problems. 
  • The opportunity to step back and reflect on your situation, your business and the future
  • Access to support from fellow professionals in a confidential environment.
  • New networks  and business connections
  • The opportunity to learn from others with different skills, knowledge and areas of expertise

What are people saying about the Brain Exchange?

“It’s like having a ready-made super-professional Advisory Board”

“The meetings are professional and focused – you get real value in less than two hours.”

“For my family-run business it’s a way of tapping into expertise and experience that we don’t have inside the company.”

I gained a lot from being in the hot seat – I came away with solutions and ideas for re-energising my business.”

 “Knowing that other people experience the same problems is so reassuring.”

 “It’s like business-coaching but with added benefits!”

How can I join?

Membership of the Brain Exchange is by invitation only.  You can be introduced by an existing member or apply direct to the Brain Exchange by contacting Jeanette Purcell.  You should ideally have senior level business experience, be willing to share your experiences and ideas and be a good listener.

What’s the buzz?  It’s the Brain Exchange.

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