Meet our people

Tessa Ayson


If you’re looking for the best bagels in New York, baklava in Istanbul, or a tasty tagine in Morocco, then Tessa is the lady to talk to. With a map in one hand and a menu in the other, she follows her nose around any new city to hunt out the best spots to eat. It helps that she already boasts a career that has taken her to places with plenty of gastronomic delights to choose from - including New York, Madrid, Germany, Istanbul, Morocco, Shanghai, Florence and New Zealand. If she had to pick a favourite it would be Istanbul, where she spent time during her undergraduate studies - a stand out for its unique demographic, stunning scenery and interesting history.

When she’s not trying new fare, reading a book, or petting strangers’ dogs, she’s an Associate here at Partners in Performance, where she has worked for the last year and a half. Tessa gained a BA (Hons) from New York University Abu Dhabi, including a thesis on the effect of risk on giving decisions. With experience in economic, behavioural and public policy research, Tessa is now helping organisations optimise their processes and operations, having already undertaken several significant engagements at Partners in Performance.

Career snapshot

  • Design of 2030 operating model for a state police service in Australia: Carried out a detailed operating model design for a police org of ~15k employees. This included detailed demand forecast for future crime, detailed supply analysis of police officer time, complete redesign of org structure and physical footprint, identifying technology and process improvements, and rewiring the entire organisation to deliver better outcomes to the community, victims and offenders.
  • Headcount reduction diagnostic for an industry-leading FMCG provider in Melbourne, Australia: Carried out an org-wide headcount analysis to find $28m of headcount savings. Worked in detail on optimising sales and marketing functions, identifying $5.2m of opportunities through specific initiatives such as aligning to benchmarks, adjusting spans and layers, rationalising roles across product categories, and changing marketing methodology to Agile to create a Leaner org structure.
  • Customer service diagnostic for a steel manufacturer in Auckland, NZ: Completed a diagnostic for a client who wanted to hone their lead/delivery times to match the competition. The final recommendation was a significant production and storage overhaul, taking into account a detailed financial viability analysis, and the required size of the final storage space for inventory based on incoming/outgoing product, production constraints, and the holdings required to meet target lead times.
  • Maintenance review for a renewable energy provider in Hamilton, NZ: Completed a two-week review of the client’s outsourced maintenance organisation, including financial modelling of four distinct future scenarios and cost modelling for the maintenance provider.
  • Diagnostic for gold mine in QLD, Australia: Focused on two workstreams - an inventory analysis focused on freeing up cash/capital (client’s mine was end-of-life), and a budget analysis where individual line items were benchmarked against comparable mines in order to identify cost reduction opportunities.
  • CI engagement for large pulp and paper manufacturer in Bay of Plenty, NZ: Based full-time at one of the client mills, staffed on operations and maintenance workstream. Helped to deliver targeted $20m improvement for the mill, derived from increase in production tonnes as well as cost reduction. Included working closely with maintenance org (mill reliability, planning, contractor cost usage, visual boards, maintenance KPIs) and operations (kappa/strike rate control, power boiler optimisation, campaigns, recovery boiler optimisation).
  • Undergraduate thesis at NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE: Completed thesis on the influence of risk on fairness perceptions in experimental game situations, comprising thorough literature review, coding the experiment from scratch, recruiting and testing ~50 subjects for the experimental sessions and carrying out data analysis of results.
  • Public policy research in RAK, UAE: Completed a thorough literature review on education reform policy across disciplines such as education policy, child psychology, economic incentives and efficacy of policy-making. The end product was presented to HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, the Sheikh of Ras al-Khaimah, in order to facilitate and inform policy-making in RAK’s education system.
  • Psychoeconomics research in Friedrichschafen, Germany: Completed thorough research of literature on mindset, decision-making and eye-tracking technology. Attended a post-doctorate workshop on Psychoeconomics in Köln, Germany and an international conference for doctorate Social Psychology students at Zeppelin University. 


  • BA (Hons) from New York University Abu Dhabi, including a thesis on the effect of risk on giving decisions