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Sorry we missed you

On behalf of Chris, Angelique, Jillian, Sandra and Ian, we are sorry we missed you during the Monkey Money Mind Artis After Hours Experience! However, we have put together a recap of some of the event’s highlights. On this page you will find the following:

  • About Monkey Money Mind
  • Key takeaways
  • Photos of the event
  • General information about The Gorilla Organization
  • Highlights Rwanda and Uganda visit
  • Excerpts from Monkey Money Mind contributors


Not only do Chris and Angelique share over a decade and a half in the financial services industry and a passion for technology, they also both come from humble beginnings and experienced financial stress when growing up. They wanted to understand on a psychological level why irrationality and logic are constantly at war within the mind, and wanted to help make sense of why exactly people do what they do with their cents.

Their goal was to provide a real book. A book that explores instead of tells you what to do. A book that provides insights so that readers can understand why we stop thinking when we start spending and decide for themselves what to do. A book aimed to trigger people in the financial services industry to not only focus on the rational side, but also on the emotional and psychological side of supporting their customers.

Chris and Angelique both love nature and both support the protection of the environment and wildlife. When writing the Monkey Money Mind, they knew they wanted to donate proceeds of the book to a charity: The Gorilla Organization. ​


The question of the night was ‘Why do we stop thinking when we start spending?’ Below are some of the key takeaways  in how customers – but also you and I – handle money matters, based on Monkey Money Mind and our presentation:

  • The less we understand, the more irrational we behave: We all process information differently, financials can anticipate and support customers in better understanding by offering different ways to absorb/process information
  • The Decision Paralysis effect: If we are provided with too many choices and information we do not understand, we will make the wrong decision (or none at all)
  • Status Quo Bias: When given a standard option, we are inclined to take it. We forget to look at what suits us best
  • The weird way we spend windfalls: Instead of allocating windfalls over the different categories within our mental ranking system, we spend most of it (and fast)
  • The pain of paying: No matter what we’re buying, spending our money hurts. With the increased accessibility and ease of payment, we start missing information, for example: we don’t keep track of our spending behavior, fail to see when subscriptions increase prices automatically, etc.

All in all, we just need a little help to understand our Monkey Money Mind a bit better and determine if and how we need support based on how we process information.



Let us fill you in on what you missed out on. We’d love to share more about Monkey Money Mind, with key insights on how to better understand the psychology behind how your customers handle their finances. Simply reply to our email or reach out via the contact details on our contact page. We’ll make sure to bring the book with us as well.

Let's Meet


Buy the Monkey Money Mind book for your family, friends or colleagues. By doing this, you are supporting a good cause, as all proceeds will go to charity. And, the more people that read the book, hopefully the more people can explore insights that can support them to make better financial decisions. You can buy the book on Amazon or

Buy the Book


We are great supporters of financial literacy. You can help too and join in spreading the word about why we stop thinking when we start spending. How? Simply by including sections of the Monkey Money Mind book in presentations you give. Alternatively, we can come and speak at your internal or external events.

Book us as speakers


The Gorilla Organization

The Gorilla Organization is a conservation charity established in 1989 to secure the survival of the world’s last remaining gorillas in Africa. As pioneers of community-led conservation, they partner with communities surrounding the gorillas’ natural habitat. As well as safeguarding gorillas with anti-poaching patrols, The Gorilla Organization provides innovative and award-winning sustainable initiatives to support the local people by developing their entrepreneurial and organic farming skills, thereby reducing their dependence of the forest and mitigating climate change. The Gorilla Organization is a UK Registered Charity 1117131 and a member of Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB).


“To my relief, Mountain Gorillas were this year reclassified from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘endangered’. It shows that given the will and enough resources, conservation works.”

Jillian Miller (Executive Director TGO) has been working for more than 30 years leading The Gorilla Organization. She is the founder of its award-winning, community-led conservation. Jillian coordinated Angelique’s visit and accompanied her to Rwanda and Uganda.


“Mountain gorillas do very well on their own. They don’t breed in captivity so the only way to safeguard their existence is to leave them alone.”

Sandra Bakker is a proud patron of The Gorilla Organization. Former bass guitarist for a punk band, she decided to leave that behind to later become a successful businesswoman and philanthropist. She has been a long-time supporter of TGO, ever since 2001.


“The future of gorillas is more than just the survival of an interesting species; they are keystone species in forests that are essential for climate stability.”

Dr. Ian Redmond (Chairman TGO) has over four decades of experience in gorilla conservation efforts. He worked as Dian Fossey’s research assistant and was a consultant in the movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’. He has participated in over 100 documentaries with the BBC, Nat Geo and Discovery Channel.


It’s popular to see humans as destroyers not creators. But the data shows a much more nuanced story. Protected areas and National parks, increased from 8% in 1990 to 15% in 2014. That’s an area twice the size of the United states. Marine conervation areas doubled to 12% of the world’s oceans. We can argue it’s not enough in the light of the outrageous havoc we’re wreaking on the oceans now. But we are going forward and not backward. Thanks to scientific conservation albatross, condors, manatees, oryxes, pandas, possibly rhinos, Tasmanian devils, lionhaired tamarinds and some tigers have been snatched from the jaws of extinction.

Our projects around the gorilla habitat empower local people to protect the environment through farming, bee keeping, small business initiatives, alternative livelihoods for former poachers and support for landless indigenous people. And we’ve planted more than 2 million trees  to relieve pressure on the gorilla habitat and help mitigate climate change. There’s a certain level of income whereby people can pay attention to their environment. And do. In our case, the word is out. The people we work with are not the demon destroyers of the gorillas’ forest. They are proud farmers, rangers, student conservationists.


When Sandra first met Jillian and Ian she had some money to donate. After having done her research it turned out that The Gorilla Organization perfectly matched all the goals Sandra wanted to reach with her donation: children, women, environment, conservation – and all this done through projects that give people the opportunity to take control of their own lives. If you are a woman in the Congo, you don’t want to be relying on the government because there is nobody to turn to. And, the thing about The Gorilla Organization that stood out the most is that they take care of the whole chain themselves. It is one of the very few charities that not only raises their own funds but also set up an execute their own projects, all done by local people who know what they are talking about.

All the projects have that in common: they all keep the people out of the forests. No bush-meat hunting, no transmitting diseases like tuberculosis and Ebola. Of course, we also need to keep out the palm oil plantations, oil riggers and so on because if their habitat disappears so will the mountain gorilla. We are not and will never be done fighting against invasions of the forests. But so far so good: gorilla numbers are on the rise. From 800, 10 years ago, to over a 1.000 at the moment.


In order to know more about The Gorilla Organization’s projects, we flew to Rwanda and Uganda. They kindly created a jam-packed schedule that allowed Ohpen to meet their team, visit all their main projects and of course, treks to admire the gorillas couldn’t be missed. One trek took place in Rwanda, where we visited Volcanoes National Park; the other took place in Uganda, where we visited Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. As Congo was not safe to travel to, Henry Cirhuza,  TGO’s project manager in Congo crossed the border to Rwanda and briefed us on the highlights of The Gorilla Organization projects in Goma.

Trek 1: Mafunzo group (Rwanda)

The first trek on the schedule was to visit the Mafunzo family in Rwanda. It took the team 9,5 hours to get up to an altitude of 10.600 feet (3.200 meter) and back down, covering over 18 km under the guidance of local guides and Dr. Ian Redmond. This area was his home when he worked with Dian Fossey.  It was an unbelievable feeling to see the impressive Silverback, Mafunzo and his family. The Ohpen team made it back just after dark thanks to the experienced trackers, rangers and porters who were with them all the way.

Trek 2: Nshongi group (Uganda)

The second trek was in Uganda and we set out to meet the Nshongi group in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is a special group for The Gorilla Organization as donors can adopt gorillas of this group via its website. The trek took about 5 hours, but what was a striking difference from the previous trek was the vegetation. It seemed to be much more diverse compared to Rwanda.  During his presentation at Artis, Ian talked during about the importance of large animals in the forest. Well, that is one of the big differences between Rwanda and Uganda. There are no more forest elephants in Rwanda, so no large animals ‘planting trees’ with big seeds via their dung.

Creating income

In both countries, we experienced professional people. Something that stood out to us was a comment made by the porters who assisted us during our treks; they all used to live inside of the parks but in order to create an income that did not depend on poaching or taking wood from the forest, they are on a rotating schedule where once a month, they aid tourists who visit the gorillas. They are given $15/$20 per person for helping out one day. That money supports the porters for an entire month.

The Gorilla Organization has an unique approach to conservation: it does not give money, it does not set up short-term projects; instead, the organization supports the community around the parks where gorillas live so that they can create a sustainable income to breach through poverty. Under the guidance of The Gorilla Organization, the Ohpen team visited numerous projects:

  • Sustainable beekeeping
  • Reformed poachers
  • Supporting school girls
  • Sustainable organic farming

All projects have in common that the focus is about creating an income.

Thank you

On behalf of all of us at Ohpen and The Gorilla Organization, we are sorry you weren’t able to join us during the Monkey Money Mind Artis After Hours Experience. As several of our guests were moved by it and requested that we share it, we would like to wrap it up with a video featuring a group of students supported by The Gorilla Organization, who prepared a powerful dance number for us.

Excerpts from select Monkey Money Mind contributors

“The object of life is not to be rich when you die, it’s to live well.”

Dr. Harry Markowitz, Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences

“I was twenty-five years old [when] I finally realized how poor my financial state was. I realized there’s much more I want to do with my life, and I needed credit to do it, and I turned everything around.”

Carla MooreSenior executive at HBO and bestselling author

“I found myself unemployed at thirty-nine years old and paying rent out of my savings. What is your life going to be like when you can’t work? Put some cash away, man!”

Osher Günsberg, TV personality and host of the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, Australia 

(Image courtesy of Steve Baccon)

“Thanks to an advisor, I invested for years in a worthless swamp. I learned a good lesson: it is better to look at what you are buying first.”

Frederique van der Wal, Victoria’s Secret model and businesswoman

“Love should never be an excuse to break the bank.”

Pat Williams, NBA’s Orlando Magic founder