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Motivational Monday: The Performance Curve

Our latest Motivational Monday is with neuroscientist and leadership consultant, alumna Dr Laura Watkins.

Laura (class of 1992) has recently published a book, The Performance Curve, on how neuroscience and psychology can help bring out the best of us.  Laura studied Science at South Hampstead and always had a particularly strong interest in the brain. “I loved Biology, Chemistry and Physics…. It was fun to get kitted up in a lab coat and mix up chemicals in test tubes, or make light bulb circuits. I still have the project I did on a cherry tree in our back garden at home. When the experiments went (safely) wrong, it was also fun!”

South Hampstead helped me to develop a lifelong love of learning and taught me valuable study skills.

After school, Laura went onto study Psychology and Physiology at Oxford University. “I read my first book on psychology and the brain when I was 16 and I was hooked. There have been a few twists and turns in my career, but the brain has always been the common thread. It is immensely complex and I found learning about it fascinating.” Following her undergraduate degree, Laura studied for a doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience, looking at patients with different neurological conditions.

After her doctorate, Laura spent a few years working at strategy consultancy McKinsey & Co. She then decided to become an entrepreneur and has since co-founded two leadership and organisation development firms. “Now I work in companies, helping people to get the most out of their brains, so they can perform and thrive at work and in life. I feel privileged that our clients share their personal challenges so openly and put their trust in us. I also love the freedom and responsibility that comes with being an entrepreneur.”

When she looks back at how her time at school helped her career, Laura says, “South Hampstead helped me to develop a lifelong love of learning and taught me valuable study skills. I learnt not to be afraid of work and how to ask the right questions. Perhaps, most importantly, the friendships I made at South Hampstead were a model for the relationships I have built as an adult, at work and beyond.”

Her advice to South Hampstead students and alumnae today is: “Take chances, go for things and don’t hold yourself back. I have a few regrets of things I didn’t do, usually when I wasn’t feeling courageous enough. I have almost no regrets about things I did do.” 


Laura recently spoke to students about her work for British Science Week.

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