About Us

I’m Ellie Yell; founder of DEMO:U.  I’m a mother of two, step mother of three, travel, sport and food fanatic.  I’ve over 10 years experience in assessing and developing individuals, ranging from people starting their careers, right through to leaders at the most senior levels. This experience also includes designing, delivering and developing projects such as assessment centres and competency models for organisations. I’ve worked with individuals and organisations nationally and internationally, and across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. This includes global banks, telecoms, manufacturing, health, local and central Government.  I’m a member of The British Psychological Society and have an MSc with Distinction in Occupational Psychology from the University of Wales, Cardiff.

The initial concept of DEMO:U started to form in my mind as a direct result of a mismatch between what individual job seekers get from, and bring to organisations, and what organisations give to and expect in return. Numerous articles I read pointed to a lack of meaningful support and feedback that people receive following interviews and assessment centres (particularly with regards to ‘soft’ and ‘employability’ skills); whilst on the other hand there are ‘calls to action’ from employers to get people better prepared for the world of work.

DEMO:U as an idea gained even greater momentum when I dug further and found poor or under-funded careers support and the continuing struggles of some groups in society to get equal access to careers, and to mechanisms that help them get there. It’s fair to say that I had a bit of a ‘bee in my bonnet’ about it.  And with soft-skills, cognitive capability and potential being widely regarded as more important than ‘technical skills’ for most jobs, I decided to act. So I set forth with a bold ambition to prepare and support everyone to get the job they want.

Something was also niggling me at the other end of the career spectrum. How do we as a society better support and effectively utilise an aging workforce and a generation of retirees who want to continue to add value and have a clear sense of purpose? So I decided to do something about that too!

DEMO:U is therefore underpinned by two key social goals…..

1: improving equal access to support and employment
2: providing fulfilling work to an aging workforce and ‘Retirement Activists’

Our aim is to have a positive impact on…..
… outcomes: a demonstrable link between our ‘experiences’ and improved self-belief, confidence, preparedness, employability and job success
… society: we ensure everyone can access our support, no matter what their background
…. our people: we provide fulfilling work for ‘Retirement Activists’, Associate Mentors and our staff
…. progress in research: we are committed to contributing to industry and societal discussions through insightful data; continuing to bridge the gap between research and practice.

Get in touch for more information on the different services available.

Here are two examples of our retirement activists

Mike Mathias

My career has been in the IT and management consulting fields, and I’ve worked for both large global organisations and small start ups. Much of my time has been spent on building new businesses; integral to my success has been the ability to recruit, develop and lead good people. Since retiring I’ve worked with start-ups, and I’m a Director and Trustee of a cancer charity and have worked in the refugee camp in Calais.

What’s one thing you wished you knew at the start of your career?

If I had my time again I’d spend more time being inquisitive, asking questions, getting to know people and building relationships. The business world mirrors life and what is most important are our relationships.

David Jones

I’ve spent much of my career in IT in sales, marketing and executive leadership for global software and consulting companies such as Accenture, KPMG, Oracle and IBM. I’ve recruited and developed hundreds of individuals from diverse backgrounds across a very broad range of job functions; to me an individual’s career and future holds huge importance. Helping people find, and shine in the right role is extremely rewarding. To help this, I’ve taken training in psychometrics, recruitment assessment and development, and joined Prince’s Trust development events.

What’s one thing you wished you knew at the start of your career?

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Prepare diligently and be completely satisfied that you gave your best.

Here are a few of our current associate mentors

Emma Reed

I’ve worked extensively with individuals at all levels to help them to develop and transform themselves and their organisations. In the early part of my career I worked in business change / technology roles for Thames Water and Ford Motor Company; this is where I discovered a passion for the people side of change. I joined a global people consultancy in 2001 and consulted across a variety of sectors and people disciplines including HR strategy, leadership assessment and development, and competency design.  I then set up my own Leadership and Talent consultancy, specialising in Leadership Assessment, Development and Coaching, across a range of sectors.

 What’s one thing you wished you knew at the start of your career?

“That it is ok ‘not to know’; seeking out help is not a sign of weakness and asking questions is the fastest way to learn.”

Kelly Evans

I’m an independent talent and leadership specialist, running my own consultancy. I support individuals to be the ‘best versions of themselves’, and help organisations to create the right conditions to help their people develop, grow and perform at their highest level. I’ve been consulting for many years, in both the public and private sectors supporting people starting out in their first positions right through to board level.

 What’s one thing you wished you knew at the start of your career?

To have understood what really motivates me. At the start of my career I made a lot of decisions based on my qualifications and the qualifications I thought I needed to progress.  More recently I have worked with some exceptional coaches, business psychologists and psychometric tools and I focus on work that really energises me.


Richard Waddell

I help individuals, teams and organisations to increase performance, through assessment, leadership development and by providing people expertise to business leaders. I run my own business after several years with a global consultancy. My expertise spans private and public sectors and includes assessment, leadership development, identifying and nurturing high potential, talent and performance management. I served for seven years as a Commissioned Army Officer, having trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, leading up to 90 soldiers on three operational tours. I’m accredited in coaching and a range of psychometric and personality diagnostics, and a Member of the Chartered Management Institute.

What’s one thing you wished you knew at the start of your career?

Spend more time building relationships and focusing on people, rather than simply ‘getting the job done’.


  • Preparing everyone to get the job they want.
  • Maximising your chances of success
  • For organisations: creating a level playing field
  • For the education sector: improving student outcomes

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