Victoria is a newspaper columnist, author, broadcaster and host of the BBC quiz “Only Connect”. Formerly a professional poker player, amassing over $2.4m in prize money, and the only person to have won two titles on the European Poker Tour, Victoria is a personal friend of James’ and loved the CG concept from conception.
Jo Ankier is a television personality and ESPN reporter based in LA. She is a former British steeplechase athlete and national record-holder, a skilled pianist and cellist and majored in physics.
British mnemonist and an author of memory-related books. He is the eight time World Memory Champion and works as a trainer for Peak Performance Training.
Emma is the youngest person ever to take a business public, IPOing on the London Stock Exchange at 29. Awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship in 2016, she currently co-leads software company EnterpriseAlumni, powering the corporate alumni networks of large companies. A UNICEF advisor since 2014, she last year conceived and launched UNICEF’s first crowd fund to roll out innovation labs in refugee camps.
Joumanna is a London-based reporter for CNCB, covering company and geopolitical news. A dual national with UK and Lebanese citizenship she worked in Fixed Income sales for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup for over a decade.
Muhammed was a former fund manager at York Capital, SAC and Carmignac before starting his own fund, based around AI strategies. He has been so successful, especially in trading Bitcoin that his fund now donates the majority of profits to charitable causes.
David is the author of Nuclear Iran, a contributing editor at the Daily Beast, a writer for Politico and his latest book “War in 140 Characters: How social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century” has gotten rave reviews across The Guardian, Financial Times and Wall St Journal.
Dara gained a BA and MA, from Harvard University in Architecture and founded DH Liberty in 2013. Prior to DHL, she worked at Herzog de Meuron in Switzerland and Foster + Partners in London. Her designs have contributed to skyscraper, 56 Leonard Street, in New York City and The Tate Modern II Museum in London. Exhibitions include: the Somerset House and the 2016 Venice Biennale.
Paulo discovered the DeRose Method at 17 in Brazil and came to London to teach, opening the Ady DeRose Centre in Soho. Paulo and his team are creating a modified version of DeRose for CG, focusing on meditation and breathing practises.
Lucy is the founder/director of Divas & Scholars. She is passionate about opera; a fascination fuelled by a few years spent living in Vienna. On returning to London she began organising recitals for rising star opera singers in her home and later developed a successful programme of lecture-recitals and master classes at the prestigious Cadogan Hall, London.
A choral singer herself, Lucy has a deep respect for the art of the opera singer. Keen to promote emerging talent as well as to share her love of the genre, she has created these unique opera appreciation events with specialist lecturers and opera singers.
Michael Mellor has a background leading postgraduate seminars and reading groups as well as teaching creative writing courses. He completed his MA in Literature at University College London and received his PhD from King’s College London.
His areas of academic expertise include British and American Modernism and Postmodernism, Surrealism, Magic Realism and Gothic Fiction of the 19th Century.
Michael has reviewed for The Observer and the Times Literary Supplement and has been commissioned by Manchester University Press to write a monograph on William T. Vollmann, one of the most critically acclaimed and prolific living U.S. authors.
Dr Ho-Lan Liang is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, with over a decade of experience in child psychiatry practice and research.
She came to the UK from Taiwan aged three and went on to study Medicine and Experimental Psychology at Cambridge.
A mother of two, she blogs about her experiences of parenting at shrinkgrowskids and is the author of “Inside Out Parenting”, which was awarded silver prize for Best Parenting Book of 2017.
Sulayman Van Ael was named in The Muslim 500 as one of the 25 biggest Muslim influencers in the category of social issues. Converting to Islam at 18, he gained a BA in Theology from Rotterdam University and an MSc in Counseling and Mental Care, now working as a counselor at LSE, Imperial, and SOAS. His published books include “Successful Stress Management” and “Communication Techniques”.
Sulayman was the first European ever to be employed by the Ministry of Islamic affairs of Jordan to deliver talks and speeches and has been covered by CNN, Al-Jazeera America, and Norwegian television.
He can recite the entire Quran in English, Dutch, French, and Arabic.
Hayley trained at The London School of Massage and worked as a freelance massage therapist for 7 years before starting her own company “Aureus Dea”. She is a part-time actress too, so the perfect combination for her and her team to run the “curated podcast/massage and chill” room.
Formerly in recruitment, transitioning to become a full-time poker pro, Nik now combines his people and poker skills to organise and run games at the Ritz and Palm Beach casinos. He is warm, affable and people are relaxed and have a great time whenever he is around. The perfect host for Cerebral Gym’s games room.
David became the youngest ever British chess Grandmaster at 16 and is currently ranked number 2 in the UK and 61 in the world. Whilst intense over the board, he is the most affable, laid-back, friendly guy when you meet him and can teach all levels of players.
David is widely regarded as the best bridge player in the country. His victories are too numerous to mention. A natural player who also makes the game seem easy when he teaches. In conjunction with CG we are working on a version of mini-bridge to get people playing within three hours of starting.
Katherine is a magician and mentalist that had her own show “Mind Games”. You could call it magic, illusioneering, mentalism, but you will remain speechless and in disbelief all the same.
Rants gives his opinions on everything from sport to politics and incites passionate, authentic dialogue with fellow fans. His “Chat Shit Get Elected” videos gained over a million views on YouTube, cementing his reputation as a vocal representative of modern Britain.
Lucinda is a singer-songwriter and harpist. Her music is a portal into a seductive and anachronistic world where jazz, sould, gypsy, blues and reggae merge into her unique sound. An incredible live performer with her band, she will be showcasing her latest sound “jazzical”.
Iran born Aref Alipour’s interest in backgammon began when he was 9 years old. Seeing his father playing backgammon with other siblings left Aref with no choice but to learn the game. After many years spent perfecting his game, Aref was crowned London Open champion for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016.
Not only has he had success in UK tournaments, but also on the international circuit; winning in Gibraltar, Cyprus, Copenhagen and Istanbul.
An engineering consultant by day, he is passionate enough about the game to pass on his knowledge at night.
James Vogl, 37, is a former professional backgammon and poker player. He won a World Series of Poker bracelet at the age of 23 in 2004.
He went on to trade equities and credit at Goldman Sachs, before becoming a proprietary trader at Manro-Haydan commodities, then joining Moore Capital as a macro portfolio manager. He became a partner of Graham Capital LLP in May 2012 where he had sole responsibility for running a portfolio of over $1 billion.
In September 2017 he left to set-up Cerebral Gym full-time, an idea he first conceived of six years ago when he challenged his gym personal trainer to become conversational in Mandarin, rather than complete an Ironman the following year. James was delighted to lose the bet.