The Team

The Helix Consultancy Ltd founded by Steve Read in 2003, is based in Cambridge, and ideally located for London. The Helix team draws on many years of experience in training, management, and leadership development.


Steve Read – Managing Director

After a first career in hotels where Steve spent much of his time developing the capability and people skills of staff, he made the move and now has more than 20 years of experience as a leadership consultant, coach, and trainer.

Steve is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He holds a Diploma in Performance Coaching and an Advanced Diploma in Employment Law.

For 12 years Steve worked with Professor John Adair, as CEO of Adair International the custodian of Action centred Leadership (ACL).

Steve enjoys live music, tries to compete with his son’s guitar playing and plays infrequently and badly with pop-up band The Pinkertons as ‘Three Chord Pinkerton.’


Rachel Read – Director

Rachel’s first career was in the food industry, developing new products for a variety of food manufacturers. This evolved into more commercial roles in new product and service development and marketing. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. 

Rachel manages the day-to-day operations of Helix, coordinating training and liaising with clients, participants, and facilitators.

Rachel enjoys yoga, cooks for (easy to please) friends and reads books that she instantly forgets.


David Minchin – Trainer

David spent 25 years working for the AA / Centrica in service delivery and operations. This experience led him to a role running management development programmes. David is an experienced facilitator, coach, and trainer, specialising in Action Centred Leadership and is renowned for his pragmatic and practical approach.

David loves improving his negotiation skills to deal with his grandchildren. He also has a long-held passion for Mansfield Town FC and is a season ticket holder – 40+ years of hurt! He tells people he can cook and does a bit of gardening.


Mike Udin – Trainer and Coach

Mike is a qualified teacher and spent his early career working as a customs officer. As a leadership specialist he has worked with a variety of private and public sector organisations, throughout the UK and Europe.

Mike is a skilled facilitator of team events specialising in outdoor, practical activities. He was a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is a licensed user of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Step I and II and an Accredited ACL Trainer.

Mike plays badminton and volleyball. He sings and plays guitar in Cambridge’s Moses Carter Band. He has more guitars than he needs. With Steve, he also plays in the pop-up band The Pinkertons as ‘Mad Mike Pinkerton.’


Gareth James – Personal Development, Trainer, and Coach

Gareth has been a Human Resources consultant and advisor since 1993 following an 18-year career as an HR generalist in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors latterly as International HR Director for a sector of Rhone Poulenc.

Gareth provides HR services to public and private sector clients and specialises in facilitation and executive coaching. To develop individuals and teams he uses psychometrics and 360° feedback tools to improve decisions by and about people.

Gareth has studied Business and Personnel Management in Bristol, General Management at INSEAD, France and has completed programmes in advanced psychometrics, assessment techniques and 360° feedback. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 

Gareth is a keen traveller and has a passion for music and theatre all shared in his culture and travel blog.


Philip Banfield – Trainer and Coach

Phil specialises in elevating people through team and personal development, and businesses through strategic marketing and commercial leadership. Phil has over 30 years of operational sales and marketing experience in food and clothing retail, food manufacturing, publishing and health and beauty industries.

Phil has a pragmatic and personable approach and a questioning and motivating style. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Law and Advanced Certificates in Marketing, Business Coaching and Digital Marketing. Phil is a Mountain Leader, qualified to lead groups in the Mountains of the UK.


Jane Townsend – Trainer and Coach

Jane has over 20 years of experience as a trainer and coach. She focusses on supporting managers to optimise their capability and confidence in communication and influencing. With a background in linguistics and communication, Jane initially worked with organisations on embedding brand values and behaviours in their leadership and management communities.

She has worked with diverse range of workplace cultures from professional services, healthcare, and retail to manufacturing and telecommunications. Jane is also an experienced and fully accredited NLP trainer, leadership coach and coach supervisor.

Jane enjoys spending time outdoors, long distance walking and taking care of her allotment. She is a community befriender and enjoys the occasional glass of wine!

Phil Gilling

Phil Gilling – Trainer

Phil Gilling is an experienced leader and manager with skills in safety leadership, leadership training, Human Factors and managing critical risks. He spent 32 years in the Royal Air Force as a front-line helicopter pilot that included many demanding, high-tempo operational roles. Later he led an officer cadet training squadron at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, becoming the unit’s deputy commander then finishing his RAF career as the Air Safety Manager for The Red Arrows.

Phil is a Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, holds an MSc in Leadership and Management, is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management and a is a Chartered Manager Fellow with the Chartered Management Institute.

Phil’s passion is developing individuals to better understand others, and to lead in an authentic and courageous way. This develops trust and openness which improves psychological safety which in turn improves innovation, productivity, wellbeing, and staff retention.

Phil enjoys working on home improvements and restoring his old Fiat sports car, but mostly he and his partner love spending time with their cocker spaniel.


Matt Holmes – Finance Specialist

Matt has a degree in Accounting and Finance and is Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He is an Associate Director at Azets managing their Cambridge office and he works with a broad range of owner managed businesses, charities, and academies.

Matt has a down to earth approach to finance training, believing in plain English and plenty of participation.

Matt has a young son with whom he enjoys spending his free time. He enjoys socialising, running and a bit of DIY.