Jon Downing

I’m seasoned innovation, service and technology leader, with over 25 years experience successfully delivering business & technology services to global financial companies – including Visa, J P Morgan and American Express, where I rose to become the Vice President of Technologies Operations for the Global Travel division and designed and implemented a new technology support organisation for Amex’s European travel business.

I have been passionate about mentoring and helping people achieve their full business potential for all my working life– and have willingly and enthusiastically volunteered my time to worthwhile causes and people to provide service and contribution to others.

I was a volunteer business mentor with the Prince’s Trust for over ten years, and worked with a number of passionate and ambitious entrepreneurs to help them develop their business ideas and plans from the germ of an idea through the first three years of business life. I loved the experience and learnt as much from these entrepreneurs as I hope they did from me. I always listened to my mentees and tailored my advice and council to their specific needs and challenges.

Of-course I didn’t have all the answers to their questions, far from it, but rather I knew who I could call on for help – the extended network of Prince’s Trust business mentors, all with their different areas of skills and expertise (from Accounting to Marketing to Client Management and every other business discipline).

I then was invited to become a Trustee of an award winning charity in Brighton, called the Whitehawk Inn, whose purpose was to provide training, advice and career’s development to their clients (most of whom were living in a deprived area of East Brighton). I subsequently became the Chair of Trustees for this important charity and loved working closely with the trustees, Director and other key stakeholders to develop a strategy to provide a long term future for the centre and its important work.

Throughout this period I continued to develop and grow my business leadership career working in senior technology roles at a number of global companies – building and leading high performing teams all over the world.

Out of all these roles, my favourite was being part of the founding team at Visa responsible for setting up and running a new innovation centre in Europe, tasked with exploring the future technologies and businesses which would positively impact the wider payments eco-system. During this time I led the first Proof of Concept work at Visa’s innovation lab – building a prototype Contactless Charity Collection ‘tin’ in collaboration with CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) and Save the Children.

I then became Visa Europe’s lead expert on Blockchain technology- and developed a strategy for Visa Europe and ran a number of Proof of Concept tests evaluating this transformative new technology.

Bringing my career and business interests up to date, I left Visa at the start of 2017 – thanks to the financial independence created through building my property portfolio- and am now working with Founders and CEOs of a number of early stage businesses including an award winning new Technology Social Enterprise called Cancer Central whose mission is to be the ultimate source of easy to access trusted information for cancer sufferers, friends and family.

I am also the Business Development Director of a leading innovation service consultancy called business mix, a leading collaboration network and consultancy. business mix works with both large corporates seeking to innovate and start-up and scale-up companies, helping them to grow operationally.

All this work and volunteering experience has given me a set of unique insights and experiences into the domain of both start-up, charities and large global organisations.