Previously known as The Transformation Trust

Amy Leonard MBE

Chief Executive

 

 

Amy set up The Talent Foundry, (previously known as the Transformation Trust) in early 2009 and is the driving force behind achievements including the establishment of Rock Assembly as an annual end-of-term futures fair and pop concert for over 10,000 young people at Wembley Arena. Alongside her role as CEO, Amy is a consultant advising a range of organisations on their communications and positioning. In the 2020 New Year Honours List, Amy was awarded an MBE in recognition of her establishing the charity and for services to young people and education.

Susannah French

Operations Director and Company Sectretary

 

Before joining the team in January 2016, Susannah worked as a Business Manager in a school. Prior to that she was a Business Manager for the Local Authority as part of their School Improvement team. She also worked as a Programme Leader working as part of the 14-19 Team to manage a large programme of Flexible Learning for KS4 students across the Borough. She has a first-class degree in Law, 12 years experience as a school governor and has extensive experience in the Financial and Education sectors.

Cate Smith

Head of Programmes

 

 

Cate joined the team in August 2017 after working in Beirut for five years. While in Lebanon, she worked at the United Nations (UNRWA) coordinating an EU-funded employability project, before moving on to manage humanitarian relief and development programmes, including an emergency maternal health project funded by the UN's Syria Emergency Relief Fund. Cate sits on the Editorial Board of Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, a peer-reviewed, inter-disciplinary academic journal. She is also the Chair of the Barclays Lifeskills Youth Advisory Council (LYAC). Cate holds a first-class honours degree in International Relations from the University of Leeds.

Tom Owen

Programme Manager

 

Tom joined the team in January 2019 as Programme Coordinator. After completing his LLB in Law at Durham University, Tom worked in communication and events for a US-UK start-up, before moving into the third sector. He is passionate about removing inequality in education and wider society. He previously volunteered in Cambodia on an inclusive education programme aimed at improving engagement between pupils and their community, and more recently as an online mentor to help young people make confident and informed decisions about their future.

Lizzy Jones

Programme Manager

 

Lizzy joined team in August 2021. Transitioning from a background in professional services early talent recruitment, Lizzy established her passion for social mobility through implementing a variety of initiatives to improve young people’s access to the accounting profession. Lizzy has volunteered for Young Women’s Trust, helping improve the employment prospects of young women. Supporting young people to understand their career options and successfully make the transition from education to employment is at the core of her work to date.

Vikki Barber

Finance Officer

 

Vikki joined the team in April 2019 as a Finance Officer Maternity Cover, to work alongside the Operations Director.

Vikki has over 20 years’ experience in Marketing and Business Development in a range of industries from luxury brands, construction and, most recently, education. She also has extensive experience in customer relations and events organising.

Jordan Konda

Schools Liaison Officer

 

Jordan joined the team in September 2019. After completing sixth form, Jordan worked for a local education charity. Since joining us, Jordan has worked on a wide range of programmes, providing vital support to both schools and colleagues. He is particularly passionate about working with and helping disadvantaged students. Jordan is currently studying for a BA is in Politics, Philosophy and History at Birkbeck, University of London.

Our Core Team

Robyn Cummings

Schools Liaison Officer

 

Robyn joined the team in January 2021. She graduated with a BA in American and Modern History from the University of East Anglia, and went on to work as a Cultural Representative at Walt Disney World. Before joining The Talent Foundry, Robyn trained to teach English as a foreign language, as well as volunteering for a  number of fundraising and outreach projects which honed her passion for educational equality.

Maria Matei

Programme Admin Officer

 

Maria joined the team in June 2021. Maria graduated with a first-class honours degree in Media Arts from Royal Holloway, University of London, and worked as a freelance short-film producer. Alongside this, she worked for a local tuition centre and passionately volunteered at food banks and with animal welfare charities. More recently, she volunteered with Mind, where she created, coordinated, and presented a series of Anger Management and Awareness workshops for young people.

Aron Tennant

Schools Liaison Officer

 

Aron joined the team in September 2021. Originally from South Yorkshire, he graduated with a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Sheffield before relocating to obtain an MA in Play and Screenwriting from City, University of London. Before joining The Talent Foundry he worked as a manager for another not-for-profit organisation, supporting school leavers and students. He now strives to minimise the gap in educational inequality and also spends time working on his own creative play and screen projects.

Isabel Philpott

Schools Liaison Officer

 

Isabel joined the team in September 2021, having graduated in the summer with a first class honours degree in Geography from the University of Sussex. Alongside her studies, she worked as a Student Ambassador for the university and completed a remote internship for an agritech company based in Singapore. Throughout her degree, she gained a particular passion for social geography and tackling inequalities within society, and strives to apply this within her role at The Talent Foundry.

Washington Ali

Schools Liaison Officer

 

Washington joined the team in November 2021. He has an LLB Law degree which he obtained from Canterbury Christchurch University. Before obtaining his law degree, Washington was involved in projects to bring awareness to mental health and mental resilience. He has also trained teams from Metro Bank Plc and Story House Chester in diversity and inclusion to help shape company cultures that are psychologically safe workplaces for people of all backgrounds. 

Jasmine Phull

Programme Admin Officer

 

Jasmine joined the team in January 2022. She graduated with a first class honours degree in Politics and Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, where she also participated in a number of access projects, which supported students from disadvantaged backgrounds with applications to Oxbridge. She has since worked in policy research with a small think tank, with a particular focus on women’s reproductive rights.

Gemma Hellawell

Programme Manager

 

Gemma joined the core team in December 2021 having worked as a facilitator for The Talent Foundry for the previous 12 months. Gemma has over 10 years’ experience working in education in a broad range of roles. After working as an English teacher in London secondary schools, Gemma went on to take the role of Training Director at start-up education to employment charity 2nd Chance where she managed the education programme for the organisation. After this Gemma tutored GCSE English alongside managing and facilitating courses from creative writing to mental wellbeing for teenage girls, before starting work with The Talent Foundry. At the heart of the work that Gemma does is a desire to help young people understand their value and potential in order to thrive.