Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
Virgin Pulse, part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, designs technology that cultivates good lifestyle habits for your employees. Configured to complement your culture, our technology, and the overall well-being experience we deliver, drives superior outcomes for your people and your business.
Virgin – one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands – is known for creating unrivaled consumer experiences. Conceived in 1970 by Branson, the brand believes in insatiable curiosity, smart disruption, heartfelt service, and delightful experiences.
We take those values to heart at Virgin Pulse. We drive more meaningful habits, for more employees, than anyone else. And we’re proud to say we’re changing lives.
What drives our company’s success? Our people, of course. We have a top-notch team – some of the best in the industry – who carry out our mission every day. Meet our fearless leaders:
Chris Boyce is an accomplished technology entrepreneur who brings more than 20 years of consumer loyalty, enterprise, and consumer software experience to Virgin Pulse. He joined the company in 2006 as EVP, Product, Marketing, and Business Development. Soon after, Chris became Virgin Pulse’s CEO and joined the company’s board of directors. Leveraging Virgin’s philosophy that business should be a force for good, Chris’ leadership has been instrumental in guiding Virgin Pulse’s development of market-leading, technology-based products and services that help employers improve workforce health, boost employee engagement, and enhance corporate culture.
Chris has a deep background in corporate and consumer loyalty programs – he was the co-founder and former VP of Business Development at Upromise, a 13 million-member online loyalty coalition and college savings account business. There, he built a business development team that now boasts the largest and most comprehensive partner coalition of any loyalty program in the U.S. Before founding Upromise, Chris founded and served as director of the health care business unit at Trilogy Development Group in Austin, Texas.
Chris has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
David Osborne is a seasoned business technology leader with more than 20 years’ experience in global sales, operations, transformation planning, execution and M&A. He brings deep experience in operations, strategic growth, and executive management and a proven record of helping organizations successfully integrate, operationalize, and scale their businesses.
As President and COO of Virgin Pulse, Dave is responsible for streamlining, optimizing, and scaling Virgin Pulse as the company continues its aggressive growth strategy and solidifies its position as the largest workplace wellbeing company in the world.
A former NCAA Division I golfer, Dave has seen and experienced, firsthand, that investing in building healthy habits and skills pays significant dividends in driving performance and long term success, personally and professionally. He is a firm believer in Virgin Pulse’s ability to help organizations drive business outcomes that matter by empowering and supporting employees across all aspects of their personal and professional wellbeing.
Prior to joining Virgin Pulse, Osborne was the COO at Drillinginfo, which provides data software to the oil and gas industry, where he was instrumental in developing the company’s operating model and product growth strategy. Prior to Drillinginfo, Osborne served as Managing Director of Vista Consulting Group, where he helped Vista portfolio companies develop strategies to drive growth and improve operations while accelerating business outcomes. During his tenure he helped acquire, transform, and integrate over 30 companies.
Dave holds an an MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business and an undergraduate degree in Finance.
Derek Ransom is a seasoned finance executive with deep experience in driving great growth in start-up technology businesses. In 2010, Derek became Virgin Pulse’s CFO and joined the company’s board of directors. Derek applies Virgin’s ‘screw business as usual’ philosophy to accelerate the company’s growth and drive shareholder value. Derek not only looks after all finance activities, he also oversees anything legal and HR-related. He keeps the company in compliance and ensures Virgin Pulse is a great place to work.
Before joining Virgin Pulse, Derek was instrumental in leading several major transactions, including the acquisition of Logoworks by Hewlett Packard and the sale of Upromise to SallieMae. At Logoworks, Derek served as VP of Finance. There, he worked with some leading bankers such as Benchmark Capital and Shasta Ventures on the Logoworks acquisition. After that transaction, Derek joined Hewlett Packard to continue driving the growth and success of Logoworks. Derek also served as Director, Financial Planning & Analysis at Upromise. There, he helped the company become profitable and grow to over $100 million in annual revenue.
Derek has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As President and Chief Medical Officer at Virgin Pulse, Dr. Rajiv Kumar’s responsibilities include overseeing the Virgin Pulse Institute, which is comprised of our Science Advisory Board and the organization’s internal analytics team. The Virgin Pulse Institute provides our clients with cutting-edge Value-on-Investment (VOI) studies and promotes research on health, wellbeing and employee engagement.
Dr. Kumar joined Virgin Pulse in 2016, following the company’s acquisition of ShapeUp, an employee wellbeing company that he founded in 2006. As CEO of ShapeUp, he led the growth of the company from a two-person, dorm-room startup to a global company with over 100 employees, 800 customers, and 2 million participants around the world. During his time at ShapeUp, he pioneered new approaches to leveraging social connections to enhance employee health and wellbeing and co-authored several peer-reviewed studies on the relationship between social networks and healthy behavior.
Dr. Kumar earned his medical degree from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and has focused his career on prevention, public health, and innovation in health care. He also received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics from Brown University.
As President of Virgin Pulse International, Tom is responsible for driving Virgin Pulse’s global growth and expansion across organizations that share our values and passion for inspiring employees towards meaningful, sustainable health and behavior change. Tom knows, based on research and experience, that engaging employees directly in improving their health is key to strengthening corporate cultures, building employment brands and helping organizations develop high-performing organizations that drive meaningful and measurable business outcomes.
Prior to Virgin Pulse, Tom served as CEO of Global Corporate Challenge (GCC), which merged with Virgin Pulse in 2016. At GCC, he was responsible for guiding the organization towards its goal of changing the lives of a million people in a single year
Tom’s leadership draws on seven years in senior management at Nestle, the world’s largest food and nutrition company, and his understanding of what drives consumers’ choices on what they put in their bodies.
His passionate dedication to Virgin Pulse’s mission is built on his degree in biological sciences from Oxford University.
A father of two and keen runner, Tom is motivated by the vision of a world that understands that the keys to health and happiness are the little choices we make, not the pills or potions we take.
David Coppins brings a depth of consumer experience to the Virgin Pulse management team. In 2012, David became Virgin Pulse’s President, Client Services and Member Engagement, and joined the company’s board of directors. Leveraging Virgin’s “consumer champion” roots, David oversees the integration of client services and member engagement to ensure both employers and employees reach their goals. David’s group leads the application of innovative consumer marketing best practices to drive sustained member engagement and impactful business results for clients.
David joined Virgin Pulse from Upromise, a 13 million-member college savings reward program, where he served as co-founder and President. There, David led the launch of key programs rooted in new consumer-driven technologies, like social media and mobile, to drive member engagement. He also started Upromise’s online business, which quickly became the organization’s top-performing source of revenue. Before Upromise, David served as Principal at Monitor Clipper Partners, a middle-market private equity firm, where he partnered with management teams to help build successful business during key growth stages. Prior to Monitor Clipper Partners, David was a business strategy consultant with Monitor Group.
David has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Brigham Young University.
Wendy is an accomplished marketing leader, bringing more than 20 years of experience developing, leading and executing growth-focused marketing strategies for a diverse range of technology, B2B and SaaS software companies, from startup to IPO, mid-market to $1 billion+. She joined Virgin Pulse in 2015 as Chief Marketing Officer and is responsible for accelerating the company’s growth, expanding Virgin Pulse’s brand awareness, driving demand for the company’s personalized health, wellbeing and engagement solutions, and connecting the touch points with Virgin Pulse customers and users to ensure a consistent and positive experience. She leads overall marketing initiatives and operations, including demand generation, field marketing, corporate communications, brand and product marketing.
Prior to Virgin Pulse, Wendy served as Vice President of Global Marketing at SumTotal Systems, a leading human resources (HR) and talent management software provider, where she was responsible for elevating SumTotal’s brand and scaling the company’s global marketing strategy prior to its acquisition by Skillsoft. She brings extensive experience implementing marketing strategies that have propelled impressive growth for a number of market leading enterprise software companies, including Metastorm (OpenText), Plateau Systems (SuccessFactors/SAP), Appian, and webMethods (Software AG), which today remains one of the most successful software IPOs in NASDAQ history.
Wendy earned a Bachelor of Arts from the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
Joe is an accomplished sales professional with over 20 years experience and a deep knowledge of HR technology. He joined Virgin Pulse in 2015 as Senior Vice President of Global Sales. In his role, Joe is responsible for expanding Virgin Pulse’s sales coverage, targeting strategic alliances, and aggressive sales growth in the dynamic wellness and well being technology space.
Prior to Virgin Pulse, Joe was Division Vice President at Automatic Data Processing Inc., where he was involved in sales integrations of Workscape Inc. and The Right Thing Recruit Inc., both of which were critical to ADP’s HCM Strategy. Joe has held various positions throughout his career, most recently leading ADP’s HCM new business sales, Talent Management, Global RPO, and Strategic Alliances.
Joe is a graduate of Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business. He currently resides in Westwood, Ma with his wife and three children. He can be found on most weekends in various rinks, gyms, and on fields throughout New England coaching or watching his kids.
Ron Hildebrandt brings over 13 years’ experience building and marketing SaaS software products that improve employee productivity and well-being. Ron joined Virgin Pulse in 2013. As SVP, Products, Ron is responsible for the product strategy and delivery of Virgin Pulse’s enterprise wellness products, including its SaaS portal, mobile apps, and personal tracking devices.
Ron came to Virgin Pulse from Enkata, a successful, venture-backed Bay Area analytics and performance management company that he co-founded in 2001. There, Ron served as EVP and oversaw all product and customer-facing functions and led Enkata’s rapid growth. Ron has extensive experience bringing innovative products to market and ensuring that they solve mission-critical problems. Ron is passionate about increasing the competitiveness of companies by improving the brainpower and the health of their employees.
Ron has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Richard Boylan has spent more than 15 years in technology leadership roles. He joined Virgin Pulse as a member of the founding leadership team in 2004. As Virgin Pulse’s SVP, Product Development & Technology, Richard oversees product and technical development, build, implementation, and operations for all Virgin Pulse’s products.
Richard’s been with the Virgin Group for more than a decade, and he’s worked on a number of Web-centric, technology-focused start-ups for various Virgin businesses. He led IT and Operations for Virgin Cars and Bikes, a UK-based car, truck, and bike retailer, which quickly became the largest online vehicle retailer in Europe. He also developed an operational and technical strategy for a Virgin-branded, pan-European car rental business, and planned and implemented a group-wide telecom and data strategy. Before joining the Virgin Group, Richard served as European Infrastructure and Database Manager for RL Polk.
Richard has an honors degree in business studies and information management from Liverpool University in the UK.
Melissa Frieswick brings more than 15 years’ experience in the employee health and productivity, benefits, and consulting industries to the Virgin Pulse’s leadership team. Melissa joined Virgin Pulse in 2013 and has since had direct accountability for the growth of our existing client partnerships.
Before Virgin Pulse, Melissa served as a Business Leader and Senior Consultant at Dominium Benefits. There, she led the development of Dominium’s health and productivity practice and was instrumental in the firm’s market expansion and growth strategy. Prior to Dominium, Melissa spent more than 13 years at Cigna Healthcare in various leadership roles within the account management, business development, and financial underwriting teams. Melissa’s expertise spans wellness, medical, pharmacy, dental, life, disability, and voluntary benefits. Throughout her career, Melissa has worked with some of the nation’s largest, most forward-thinking employers and the industry’s subject-matter experts.
Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics from Providence College.
Jamie McLeod’s an accomplished sales professional and early-stage business creation architect. Jamie’s been a member of Virgin Pulse’s founding management team since 2004. As the company’s SVP, Business Development & Sales, Jamie oversees Virgin Pulse’s rapid sales growth and leads all business development and channel partnerships. Previously, Jamie served as the company’s VP, Business Development.
Before Virgin Pulse, Jamie served as Director of both Business Development and Procurement for the easyGroup UK, and launched new Web-based consumer businesses within financial services, entertainment, and transportation sectors. There, Jamie established international partnerships to drive cost efficiencies that benefitted the group’s rapidly scaling businesses. Prior to easyGroup, Jamie was Director of Corporate Finance and Procurement for start-up Vine Telecoms Network Limited. Jamie was also AVP at UBS Investment Bank.
Jamie has a master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh and served as 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Marines.
Sarah Weatherhead brings to Virgin Pulse more than 15 years’ experience at both law firms and technology companies as in-house legal counsel. She joined the company in 2013 and is responsible for the company’s worldwide legal matters, including commercial negotiations, intellectual property, corporate compliance, privacy matters, and litigation.
Sarah came to Virgin Pulse from Jive Software. There, she was Senior Corporate Counsel, responsible for commercial transactions in both the U.S. and Europe, as well as IP and marketing issues. Prior to Jive, Sarah was with Art Technology Group before its acquisition by Oracle.
Sarah has a law degree from Fordham University of Law.
We’ve brought together the best and brightest minds across key fields that impact well-being. Our Science Advisory Board helps ensure our technology and overall well-being experiences are rooted in the most relevant scientific evidence and best practices.
Meet our internationally recognized academics, experts, and professionals:
Department of Sociology
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Medicine
Yale Institute for Network Science
Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician who conducts research in the areas of biosocial science, network science, and behavior genetics. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He is the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, appointed in the Departments of Sociology, Medicine, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Bioengineering at Yale University. Dr. Christakis received his BS from Yale University in 1984, his MD from Harvard Medical School and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1989, and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010. He began his career at the University of Chicago in 1995, where he was appointed as a Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Medicine. He moved his lab to Harvard University in 2001, where he was again appointed as a Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Medicine. While at Harvard, he also served as the Master of Pforzheimer House in Harvard College. In 2013, he moved his lab to Yale University. His current research focuses on health and social networks, and especially with how ill health, disability, health behavior, health care, and death in one person can influence the same phenomena in others in a person’s social network. This work involves the application of network science and mathematical models to understand the dynamics of health in longitudinally evolving networks. This body of work has also engaged the spread of emotional states such as happiness, depression, and loneliness within social networks. Other recent work has used experiments to examine the spread of altruism (here and here) in social networks and the genetic (here and here) and evolutionary determinants of social network structure. Along with his long-time collaborator, James H. Fowler, Dr. Christakis had authored a book on social networks, published in 2009, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. This book has been translated into nearly 20 foreign languages, and it has been widely reviewed. Dr. Christakis’ past work was focused on topics related to end-of-life care, such as hospice care, widowhood and caregiver burden, ICU decision-making, and the role of prognostication in medicine (about which he has written three books, including clinical textbooks). In 2009, Christakis was named by Time magazine to their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2009 and in 2010, he was listed by Foreign Policy magazine in their annual list of Top 100 Global Thinkers.
Eric A. Finkelstein, Ph.D., M.H.A. is Executive Center Director of Lien Centre for Palliative Care and Professor of the Signature Research Program in Health Services and Systems Research at the Duke‐National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School and Research Professor at Duke University Global Health Institute. He received his BA in Mathematics/Economics from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in economics and Masters in Health Administration from the University of Washington.
Over the past ten years Professor Finkelstein has established himself as a leading international health economist doing research in the economics of health behaviors. His research focuses on economic incentives, behavioral economics, the economics of obesity, discrete choice analysis, economic evaluation, burden of illness analysis and cost effectiveness analyses. He has published over 120 peer‐reviewed manuscripts and book chapters in these areas. He also has experience as a Principal or Co‐Investigator on research projects funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Behavior Change & Habit Formation
BJ Fogg, PhD, directs the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University. A behavior scientist and innovator, Fogg conducted the first-ever series of experiments on how computers can influence people. His research was awarded Stanford’s Maccoby Prize and spawned an annual international conference.
Each year Fogg creates a new course to teach at Stanford, with topics ranging from mobile persuasion to health habits. His students have gone on to create successful digital products, including Instagram, that millions of people use every day.
Fogg’s breakthrough models and methods for changing behavior led to new field called Behavior Design. Industry innovators learn to apply Fogg’s methods in his two-day “Behavior Design Boot Camp.”
He is the author of Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do, the first book to explain how technology can be designed to influence people. Fortune selected Fogg as one of 10 “New Gurus You Should Know.”
In the past 4 years Fogg has personally coached over 30,000 in his behavior change method called “Tiny Habits.”
Vice President, Consulting and Applied Research Truven Health Analytics
Analytics and Research
Ron Goetzel wears two hats. He is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (IHPS) at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Vice President of Consulting and Applied Research for Truven Health Analytics. The mission of the IHPS is to bridge the gap between academia, the business community, and the healthcare policy world – bringing academic resources into policy debates and day-to-day business decisions, and bringing health and productivity management issues into academia. Before moving to Johns Hopkins, Dr. Goetzel was on the faculty at Emory and Cornell Universities. Dr. Goetzel is responsible for leading innovative research projects for healthcare purchaser, managed care, government, and pharmaceutical clients interested in conducting cutting-edge research focused on the relationship between health and well-being, medical costs, and work-related productivity. He is a nationally recognized and widely published expert in health and productivity management (HPM), return-on-investment (ROI), program evaluation, and outcomes research. Dr. Goetzel has published well over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and frequently presents at international business and scientific forums.
Dr. Goetzel served as principal investigator (PI) for a project sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) focused on obesity prevention at the workplace. He was PI for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Senior Risk Reduction Demonstration, New Opportunities for Healthy Aging in Medicare initiatives, and other demonstrations focused on Cancer Prevention and Treatment for Ethnic and Racial Minorities, Chiropractic Care, Vision Rehabilitation, and Health Improvement Incentive Structures for Medicaid Beneficiaries. He also served as PI for the Federal Employee Worksite Health and Wellness Initiative administered by the Office of Personnel Management. For the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Goetzel was PI for a New York City-based project supporting collaboration between the private and public sectors directed at employer health promotion programs. He was PI on a CDC Cooperative Agreement focused on promoting health policy and disease prevention, with a specific task related to estimating the cost burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in adults (Zoster).
As PI for a study funded by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and with close cooperation of the CDC, Dr. Goetzel identified the characteristics of promising practices in workplace health and productivity management programs. He also worked with the Department of Defense (DoD) on two health promotion and resilience training demonstrations for the U.S. Army and Air Force. He is now supporting the Office of the Secretary of Defense in measuring the impact of the Healthy Base Initiative focused on managing obesity and tobacco use in the military.
Director, Sleep and Patient Safety Program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Christopher P. Landrigan, MD, MPH is Director of the Sleep and Patient Safety Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Research Director of Inpatient Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a practicing pediatric hospitalist. A major focus of his work has been evaluating the effects of health care provider sleep deprivation on patient and provider safety, and the effects of interventions to reduce these risks. Along with other members of the Harvard Work Hours, Health, and Safety Group, he has also evaluated sleep deprivation in police officers, firefighters, and others, and has studied the effects of Massachusetts legislation for junior operators on rates of MVCs due to drowsy driving and other factors.
In addition to his work on sleep deprivation and safety, Dr. Landrigan has led a series of projects rigorously evaluating the effects of handoff interventions designed to improve physician and nurse transitions of care (handoffs). He has studied quality and efficiency of care in pediatric hospitalist vs. traditional care systems; variation in the use of evidence-based therapies in hospitals; statewide temporal trends in rates of medical errors and adverse events; the effects of the ACGME duty hour standards on safety, education, and resident physician quality of life; the effects of computerized order entry systems on patient safety; and the relationship between house staff depression, burn out, and patient safety. From this research, he has authored or co-authored over 100 articles in the medical literature, including publications in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, BMJ, Pediatrics, JAMA Pediatrics, and other leading journals. In addition, Dr. Landrigan was the founding chair and is currently an Executive Council Member of the Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings (PRIS) Network, a collaboration of over 100 pediatric hospitals studying quality and variation in the care of hospitalized children, with the goal of developing and disseminating improvements.
Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Dr. Lee is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She received her medical degree from the National University of Singapore, a master’s degree in public health and a doctoral degree in epidemiology, both from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research primarily focuses on the role of physical activity in preventing chronic diseases and enhancing longevity, and in women’s health; she has more than 320 scientific publications. She has served on national expert panels addressing physical activity and health, including the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, and international panels, including the expert panel for the 2010 WHO Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. She was a member of the Lifestyle Workgroup writing the 2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk. Dr. Lee is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.
She is principal investigator of the Harvard Alumni Health Study, a long-standing prospective cohort study of 33,000 Harvard alumni begun by Professor Ralph Paffenbarger in the 1960’s that primarily focuses on the relations of physical activity with health outcomes. She also is principal investigator of a study using Women’s Health Study participants that will objectively measure 7 days of physical activity with accelerometers in ~18,000 women and relate these measures to long-term health outcomes.