The Performance Nerds Story


he foundations of Performance Nerds came about in 2014 when co-founders, Brian Downes and John McNamara, were introduced to each other. The subsequent conversations uncovered shared values and philosophies on the world of work, leadership and performance – a partnership was born. The Performance Nerds have since worked with some of the biggest names in the corporate world such as PayPal, Salesforce, Uber, CNP Santander, Symantec & Zimmer Biomet to name a few.

Our approach to working with people is different to many in our field. While we take our work very seriously, we are informal, relaxed and conversational. We want to bring people into the conversation and have discussions about things that matter.

Both Brian and John are certified executive coaches, master trainers, established speakers and performance consultants. They have extensive experience in leadership positions across a range of industries and draw also from their experiences in sport and extensive travel around the world.

What you can expect from us


hen engaging with clients and potential clients, we are solution focused. Our goal is to provide a solution to a challenge or a point of development for our client. We pride ourselves on being thorough, asking good questions and seeking to understand, as fully as possible, the challenge and the needs. Once this is understood, we work with our clients to develop a solution. Context matters as every company is different, so working with our clients and their existing norms, we will tailor a solution that is for you and your circumstances. Our style and approach in general, is informal. We love the work that we do and do our best to bring an element of fun when it is appropriate.

Our Mission


ur mission is to create highly engaging cultures and work environments that will directly and positively impact the results of the individual, team and organisation.

Performance Nerds design & deliver performance and leadership development solutions for organisations that put their people to the forefront of driving business results. We do this based on our 4 pillars – performance, leadership, communication & TEAM/Talent.

Values & Philosophy

We live by 5 core values.

  • Passion for Excellence – In the quality of our work and our relationships with those that we work with.
  • Creating Deep Connections – We strive to connect on a human level and create valuable relationships with everyone that we work with.
  • Courageous Curiosity – The courage to ask the questions that need to be asked, to delve deeper, to embrace uncertainty, for the purpose of growing performance.
  • Openness – For relationships to thrive trust, transparency, honesty and integrity are vital.
  • Informality – We take our work seriously and our approach is appropriately informal and practical.

Our philosophy is to approach our work through 4 lenses:

  • Understanding – the aspirations & challenges of our clients
  • Collaboration – with leadership and all stakeholders in the organisation
  • Engagement – as a key motivator
  • Outcomes/Goals – for the business, the teams and the individuals

Brian Downes

Since childhood, Brian has been fascinated by people and ferociously curious about why we do what we do, about what makes us tick. For more than 25 years Brian has been grappling with the issues of leadership, being human and developing performance. Through a career in industries as diverse as logistics, construction, commodity brokerage and tropical agribusiness, across the globe, he has learned and experienced a lot.  Based on a belief that leadership is, too often, broken, he is working with leaders to create high performance cultures that are transparent, accountable and share a common language from top to bottom.

Brian has come a long way since starting his first business at 18 while in college. This experience in business, in sport and in life are integral to how he works. While he started out studying accountancy, Brian is now a certified coach, a trainer, a master trainer, certified in a variety of psychometric tools, neurolinguistics (to master trainer level) and behaviours. Since 2011 his sole professional focus has been developing performance and how to lead it well.

For fun, Brian loves to climb big mountains, adventure travel and spending time with his family.

John McNamara

John’s passion for people and human excellence shines through in everything he does. He is deeply curious and brings huge energy and enthusiasm to his work. As co-founder of Performance Nerds he gets to work with many amazing organisations and people across Ireland and the UK.

He is an accredited executive coach, with a QQI Diploma as well as an Advanced Diploma in Coaching with Neuroscience. John is accredited by the International Coach Federation (PCC) who are the global standard bearers in coaching and is a WIN PRO Coach with the World Association of Coaching with Neuroscience (WACN). John is an accredited trainer and practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming from John Grinder.

John graduated from Limerick Institute of Technology with a BA in business. Post college he spent 10 years in corporate, progressing to senior sales positions with the Smurfit Group and Symantec Corporation.  John has spent the last 11 years immersed in all areas of human performance and development.

In his spare time John is an ultra-endurance runner.

Are you ready to explore how a partnership with the Performance Nerds can benefit your organisation?

Talk to us!