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The How Do I? Blog

The How Do I? Blog

#TakeFiveWith Leyla Okhai

Take Five With Leyla Okhai - pictured is a closeup of Leyla smiling into the camera, wearing a black and red striped blazer

Take Five With Leyla Okhai - pictured is a closeup of Leyla smiling into the camera, wearing a black and red striped blazer

Could you tell us about yourself and your job role? And one hobby/fun fact?

My name is Leyla and I am the CEO and Director of Diverse Minds UK. My business creates happy, mentally healthy and equal workplaces through speaking, coaching, training and consultancy. My current focus in terms of hobbies has been reading.

What is a typical day like for you?

A great question, as there is no typical day for me! If I am delivering training then it's an early start, travelling to the client's location to deliver the session they have requested. If I am not training, then it will be breakfast at 08.00 AM, while I check social media and read the latest news. Then I work and take phone calls at my desk until 18.00. I try to get out and meet friends, go for a walk or go to a fitness class to give my brain a rest.

Could you tell us how you got into your role?

I worked in higher education in Oxford and Imperial College London for 14 years in equality and widening participation. I developed mental health and wellbeing initiatives when I worked at Imperial College, which seemed to resonate with a lot of other organisations. I kept getting asked to deliver training and then thought, hmmm there's clearly something in this. I created my own business Diverse Minds in 2016.


What motivates you to do a good job?

Knowing that I can give people the skills to support others in the workplace and to have open conversations about mental health. Also meeting and working with a range of people and making new connections.


How do you learn at work?

I feel like I am always learning from delegates on my courses. While running my own business I do listen to a lot of podcasts, online courses and am part of membership groups.


What are your aims for the next year? For example, if you work in accessibility do you have any plans to help make workplaces more inclusive? If you work in Learning and Development how are you going to promote workplace learning?

I have recently published and launched an e-book called the Mentally Healthy Leading Manager. There is an accompanying course and coaching package for managers. I am going to be looking to promote this in workplaces so managers can manage the mental health of their teams and themselves.


Diverse Minds UK website:

Diverse Minds UK Twitter Account: @diversemindsuk


Would you like to share your story or raise awareness about the work you’re doing? Do you know someone in the tech, design, accessibility, inclusion or learning and development sector who would like to tell their story in the #TakeFiveWith series? Contact Zeinab at