Who we are

Biography – Dr Tracy Johnson

Brainbox is me, Tracy Johnson, coach, yoga teacher, fitness instructor, career consultant, Integrative Nutrition health coach, lecturer, writer & self-protection instructor, with a few key partners when I need them. Coaching is the best job I have ever had – nothing gives me greater satisfaction than seeing a shy person make a great presentation, helping someone get their dream career, or watching people grow in confidence right in front of me when learning self-defence! I coach holistically, believing that you need a healthy mind in a healthy body if you want to get where you want to go, and I take this seriously myself, training regularly, eating a healthy diet and practising yoga and mindfulness meditation. Some of my most exciting work in the last couple of years has included working with the University of Bristol’s High Performance athletes, including some of the 2012 Olympic finalists! I have also been a Brand Ambassador for the women’s sportswear chain Sweaty Betty from 2012-13 and was very excited to be a face for this fantastic brand.

Experience and qualifications

I worked for about 17 years in higher education as a lecturer, professional skills trainer and careers adviser after completing my PhD in English in 2000, and have now made the transition into coaching, health & wellness, fitness and yoga. I was certified as a health & nutrition coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2013, am a registered 200 hour yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance UK and recently joined the teacher training team at Sally Parkes Yoga . I am also an instructor registered with the British Combat Association, hold a diploma in the instruction of unarmed combat, and have qualifications in teaching and careers guidance.

I am a regular speaker at conferences and in the corporate world on professional development, coaching and wellbeing issues, specialising in confidence and assertiveness for the workplace. I also write articles for careers, wellness, yoga and education publications (see a list on my LinkedIn profile) and my first book, Working in Science: A Practical Guide to Science Careers for Graduates (Trotman Education) came out in December 2013.  I co-authored The Coaching Gurus for the Professional Women’s Network in 2014 and am a regular blogger for yoga and wellness site Movement for Modern Life.

I developed a keen interest in fitness, health and nutrition after recovering from chronic fatigue syndrome and learning to live with a severe gluten intolerance. I spent six years training in Lau Gar kung fu, achieving my brown sash, and enjoy weight training as well as yoga. In my spare time, I am an avid reader and film goer, as well as a keen cook and baker.


I am delighted to have been featured in and written for OM Yoga Magazine, the Guardian, the Bristol Post, Body Fit Magazine (now Your Fitness), Movement for Modern Life, Happiness+Wellbeing, Globe of Love, MindBodyGreen and to have struck a yoga pose for the cover of Cardiff Life!


Conference and Seminar Presentations

  • ‘Women in leadership’, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, November 2015
  • Keynote speaker at South West Universities conference, ‘Mature Students – increasing participating & supporting success’, Exeter, December 2013
  • ‘Get Set for HE’ workshop on study skills, University of the West of England, September 2013
  • ‘Return to Learning’ mature student induction day led by Brainbox on confidence building and academic skills, Bath Spa University, September 2012
  • ‘Get Set for HE’ workshop on critical thinking, reading and writing, University of the West of England, September 2012
  • Access to Higher Education Student Conference, speaking on developing study skills, University of the West of England, January 2012
  • Access to Higher Education Student Conference, speaking on developing study skills, Bath Spa University, February 2012
  • ‘Career Management & Continuing Professional Development’, Fast-track professional development programme for audiologists, Zhejiang Medical University, China, September 2010
  • ‘The employability question’, invited speaker at An Introduction to HE – A Programme for New Managers & Administrators, The Leadership Foundation, Durham, March 2010
  • ‘Skills for a new curriculum: professionalising students through learning and teaching’, invited speaker at An Introduction to HE – A Programme for New Managers & Administrators, The Leadership Foundation, University of Warwick, January 2010
  • ‘Coaching-led approaches to PDP and employability development’, SEDA 14th Annual Conference, Birmingham, November 2009
  • ‘Coaching for employability: devising a framework’, The Power of Two – Career Management and Development: making the most of Personal Development Planning (PDP), University of Leicester/Centre for Recording Achievement, July 2009
  • ‘Developing students’ professional skills using PDP and self-coaching techniques’, Learning to be Professional conference, University of Surrey, March 2009
  • ‘Developing academic skills with a diverse student body’, University of the West of England, invited speaker at a seminar series on academic literacy, December 2008
  • ‘Eli Roth and the Morality of Torture Porn’, New Nightmares: Issues and Themes in Contemporary Horror Cinema, Manchester Metropolitan University, April 2008
  • ‘Constructive re-alignment: meeting the expectations of international students’ SEDA Engaging With Student Expectations Conference, London, May 2008
  • ‘How do international students engage with learning about study skills in British Higher Education?’ University of Bournemouth, 4th LDHEN Symposium, April 2007
  • ‘Who is the expert here? Exploring the relationship between educational developers and academics in supporting Personal Development Planning (PDP), SEDA IIth Annual Conference, Birmingham, November 2006
  • Personal Development Planning: Innovation or just accommodation?’ University of Belfast, SEDA Inspiring Learning Conference, May 2005
  • ‘The Mechanics of Collaboration: Selling Employability to a Traditional University’, University of Staffordshire, Selling Employability conference, January 2003.
  • ‘The Fear Industry: Women, Gothic and Crime Writing’, International Women’s Day Conference, invited speaker, Centre Universitaire, Luxembourg, March 2001.
  • ‘Always just outside: nationality and abjection in Radclyffe Hall’s Adam’s Breed’, TextPorts Conference, Liverpool Hope University College, April 2000.

Postgraduate students at the universities of Bristol, Bath & Exeter can access a tool called Researcher Development Online, where you can see Dr Tracy Johnson speaking on how write your thesis.