Katie Matthews

Katie Matthews is a 30-year-old, multi-award-winning, disabled entrepreneur, educator, speaker, trauma-informed practitioner, coach, mentor and global mental health trainer. She has 13 years of lived/living experience with mental illness, with eclectic passions including supporting other’s mental health, inclusive entrepreneurship, female leadership, community development, growth mindset development and supporting young people. She has founded four businesses and two voluntary organisations and was honoured to be listed on Belfast Telegraph’s NI 30 Under 30 list 2022, the Diverse In’s “130 Women Who Break the Bias” List 2022, and the f:entrepreneur UK Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs list 2022.

Tell us about your life before the venture/leading up to your venture? 

I was diagnosed with Depression aged 17, moved to Northern Ireland when I was 19 to start a degree in English with Linguistics at Queen’s University Belfast which I loved, but unfortunately experienced a traumatic event in my final year, leading to the development of Generalised Anxiety Disorder aged 22, experienced frequent panic attacks and was unable to leave the house for months at a time. I am pleased to say I’ve been on the road to recovery for the last five years but definitely still have work to do, and am always learning, growing and healing.

Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?

The Mind Tribe UK facilitates mindfulness, growth mindset and resilience workshops for children, both as public courses and also workshops in schools and nurseries. Additionally, I run training courses and workshops for parents, educators, charities and businesses, as well as guest speaking engagements. I facilitate free community workshops for mothers and parents in my local community and provide free online support for any parents needing support with their children’s well-being or mental health. I am delighted to be Northern Ireland’s first and only Growth Mindset Trainer and Course provider. 

Having battled with severe depression and anxiety for the last 13 years, as well as a chronic physical illness, I truly understand the importance of positive mental health, educating others around mental health and continuing to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. My aim is to accelerate the world’s transition to happiness, fulfilment, kindness and mindfulness. There are three main values that underpin all the work I do: Passion, Positivity and Purpose.

What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?

Absolutely overwhelming! Due to the pandemic, I adapted the business to operate on a mostly digital basis with a membership site and virtual services, a community for parents, educators and young people, and resources to support others. We also provide face-to-face services, having directly trained over 8000 people, with over 500 others having accessed the online resources. I have worked with Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, The Prince’s Trust UK, Staffline Ireland, Belfast Met, SRC, Youth Forum NI and The British International School, Greece. 

Some career highlights include:


– Winner | Global Start-Up | National Start-Up Awards

– Winner | NI Young Business Person of the Year | Belfast Telegraph Business Awards

– #ialso UK Top 100 female entrepreneurs | Small Business Britain

– NI 30 Under 30 List | Belfast Telegraph

– UK Director | Global Entrepreneurship Week UK | GEN UK


– Winner | NI Young Business Person of the Year | Belfast Telegraph Business Awards

– UK Young Businesswoman of the Year Awards | Finalist

– 146 Inspiring Women Leaders List | Diverse In – Global Diversity & Inclusion Embassy

What’s a leadership lesson that you’ve learnt that’s unique to being a female leader?

Leadership can be tough enough, but add to that the additional challenges of being a female leader, it can be difficult to keep yourself motivated and moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, there can come assumptions from others about your ability, experience or capacity to deliver based on gender. 

Female leaders are passionate, full of vigour, creativity, resilience, dynamism and flexibility, with a thirst for knowledge and growth. Female leaders also demonstrate how dichotomies can be embodied and utilised to bring forth significant and tangible change, for example female leaders are able to embody both strength and kindness, assertiveness and empathy, and logic and creativity. This drive and hunger makes for tenacious, innovative female leaders who contribute to the economy, are able to navigate the ever-changing world of business and utilise their plethora of skills to co-create a better world.

Give a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.

  • Ask for help- consciously and actively build your network, nurturing authentic relationships with others and developing a trusted circle. Get a coach or mentor and ask yourself, “Who are my role models?
  • Don’t let others’ limiting beliefs of you, dictate or diminish the belief you have in yourself. Your life is your own, and you have the power to choose what you do with your life.
  • Self-Awareness- It’s absolutely vital to develop your self-awareness, combined with emotional intelligence and the ability to effectively self-regulate. This is where things like mindfulness practice can be extremely beneficial.
  • Be Kind- to everyone, including yourself! The only voice you can never escape is the one inside your head, so treat yourself with the same compassion you show others. 
  • Look for opportunities – and if they don’t exist, create them! If there’s a change that you want to see in the world, a project you want to run, a business you want to set-up, go and seek it out, visualise it, work hard for it. If the opportunity you’re seeking doesn’t already exist, create it!