SOMA was founded by the Cambridge grad team, Dr. Theodoros Koutroukides and Jennifer Hersch who met while he was completing his PhD in biotechnology and she was finishing her MPhil in Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit. They couldn’t find a space to train themselves as they had combined experience across competitive sports, dance, science, hot yoga and more. So they created SOMA HOUSE as a sanctuary to do intelligent cross-training in an organic space without pretence; a place that feels like coming home; a place you could train at day in and day out. “Members step right into a Swiss ski lodge from the City,” says Hersch. “We call it honest luxury.”
Theo is a biotech scientist turned entrepreneur with a focus on health and people development. He holds a doctorate in neuropsychiatric disorders from Cambridge University. He was part of the Cambridge team that developed the world’s first diagnostic blood test for Schizophrenia. His fascination for mental health was inspired by his cancer research in the US. Theo witnessed how therapeutics were enhanced when combining physical, mental and social health. While at the cancer research hospital, he admitted both his parents. He helped plan and deliver their cancer treatment, from surgery and radiotherapy to hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Both of his parents are cancer-free today.
Theo diversified academically as a graduate of Imperial College London (UK); Cambridge University (UK); Singularity University (NASA, Silicon Valley); Trinity College London for Music (UK); Yoga College of India (LA, USA). His medical curiosity extended from the micromolecular level in the US to large animal ecosystems working with great white sharks in South Africa. His core belief is that science is a team game like his other two biggest passions: business and sports.
His first leadership role dates back to 1998 in Cyprus military as one of only 6 officers to complete military police training under special forces. Over two decades, he sat on boards of health and academic startups while founding tech and wellbeing ventures.
Since 1994, Theo raced in international competitive rowing and UCI professional cycling in the US under Olympic coaching in preparation for Beijing 2008. While qualifying for the Olympics, he suffered cycling injuries leaving him unable to walk for months requiring spine surgery.
Over the next decade, he rehabilitated his body to a sustainably stronger version. Through this healing journey, he developed with his soulmate wife a unique cross-training method marrying sports, yoga and science into a unified mindbody discipline they have coached for more than a decade.
Many ventures faced disappointments and cultural challenges. This motivated Theo to understand group behaviour and how to elevate a team to cross a threshold of responsibility bigger than each individual. His mission today is to help transform people environments to be both humane and performance driven.
Such framework requires a healthy life-work balance. Theo’s unconditional dedication to his daughter and yellow lab Obree is driving his inexhaustible energy and purpose in life. Other passions are music composition, filmmaking, skydiving and open-source software development for DAO’s.
At 47, Jennifer hails from NYC where she spent more than 40 years dancing in classical ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, musical theatre and flamenco. She studied at leading schools and won awards for ballet choreography.
After graduating from Cambridge, she served as the Head of the MBA programme for Cambridge University and was a founding director of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Columbia Business School. Other work spans across the Whitney Museum of American Art, Carnegie Hall and Pearson Publishers.
While in Cambridge, she co-founded Cambridge Contemporary Dance where she served as Artistic Director, dancer and choreographer. She created, “Light Matter,” the first dance performance to be given permission in the Senate House at Cambridge University for its 800th Anniversary collaborating with world-class visual artists, musicians and other choreographers.
Jennifer is a co-founder of SOMA HOUSE, a leading luxury boutique studio in London named one of the best places for classes by Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Time Out. She has been voted as a top London instructor and established teacher training programmes to create elite instructors internationally over the last decade.
She received her MPhil in Indian Philosophy/Sanskrit at Cambridge University with work on yoga research as well as Mahayana Buddhism and the limits of thought. She holds certifications in executive management and evolutionary genetics from Cambridge and an Honours BA in Comparative Literature with work on film and colonial discourse.
Jennifer has been fortunate to practise her passion in teaching dance and other movement for more than 20 years and is also a mother so understands people who struggle to find time.