Our People

We are a dedicated team who are passionate about what we do. Find out more about us, where we’ve come from and what we do at Future First.

Our Team

Christine Gilbert

Executive Chair


christine@futurefirst.org

Alex Shapland-Howes

Managing Director


alex@futurefirst.org.uk

Melanie Robinson

Director of Operations


melanie@futurefirst.org.uk

Chloe Halpin

Director of Programmes


chloe@futurefirst.org.uk

Amy Finch

Head of Innovation and Development


amy@futurefirst.org.uk

Anna Darling

Senior Communications and Policy Officer


anna@futurefirst.org.uk

Katie Isbell

Regional Lead - London and South


katie@futurefirst.org.uk

Laura Underwood

Regional Lead - London and South


laura.underwood@futurefirst.org.uk

Sarah McCammon

Regional Lead - South West


sarah@futurefirst.org.uk

Georgian-Sorin Maxim

Lead Software Engineer


georgian@futurefirst.org.uk

Sue Crabtree

Press and Publicity Officer


sue@futurefirst.org.uk

David Knoll

Developer


david@futurefirst.org.uk

Alex Bailey

Alumni Officer


alex.bailey@futurefirst.org.uk

Elizabeth Logan

Alumni Officer


elizabeth@futurefirst.org.uk

Emma Fay

Alumni Officer


emma@futurefirst.org.uk

Sanaz Begum

Alumni Officer


sanaz@futurefirst.org.uk

Shruti Shiani

Alumni Officer


shruti@futurefirst.org.uk

Daniel Chow

Project Manager- employer partners


daniel@futurefirst.org.uk

Shanade Johnson

In-House Programme Officer


shanade@futurefirst.org.uk

Lucy Wooldridge

Programme Officer - Devon and Somerset


lucy@futurefirst.org.uk

Rhiannon Downer

Programme Officer - Cornwall


rhiannon@futurefirst.org.uk

Andy Jessop

Alumni Assistant


andy@futurefirst.org.uk

Jess Black

Alumni Assistant


jess@futurefirst.org.uk

Our Trustees

Deji Davies

Trustee


Sonny Leong

Trustee


Robin Tombs

Trustee


Sally Nelson

Trustee


Our Advisory Council

Chloe Smith

Conservative MP for Norwich North


Fiona Millar

Education Campaigner and Journalist


David Laws

Former Schools' Minister


Baroness Estelle Morris

Former Secretary of State for Education


Dr Sarabajaya Kumar

Teaching Fellow at LSE


Christine Gilbert

Executive Chair


christine@futurefirst.org

As Executive Chair, Christine leads the Future First board and supports the senior leadership team to ensure Future First has maximum impact on schools and colleges across the country. Christine is probably best known for her role as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector at Ofsted. However, she has also been a teacher, headteacher, director of education and local authority chief executive. Christine received a CBE in 2006 for services to education and local government.

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Alex Shapland-Howes

Managing Director


alex@futurefirst.org.uk

Alex joined Future First after spending several years teaching Maths in schools across London, first as part of Teach First and then progressing to be Head of Year at the London Academy Edgware. Most recently, Alex was Head of Maths at the Petchey Academy in Hackney where he was one of the youngest heads of department in London. Alex has also served as a trustee of Teach First so brings with him a passion for and knowledge of how to drive change and improvement in the sector. Having studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Warwick, Alex is on Secondment for 2015/16 having received the prestigious Skoll Scholarship to undertake a MBA at Oxford Said Business School.

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Melanie Robinson

Director of Operations


melanie@futurefirst.org.uk

Melanie became part of the Future First team in January 2015 as our Director of Operations, joining from Project Oracle where she supported youth organisations to develop their impact evaluation. She has over ten years’ experience across the social, public and private sectors. Her experience includes five years working with the education charity MyBnk. She joined the organisation at the start-up phase and led its expansion to work with over 400 schools and youth organisations across the UK and initiating similar organisations around the world. Prior to joining MyBnk she trained as an Actuary, and has a degree in Economics from the University of Nottingham.

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Chloe Halpin

Director of Programmes


chloe@futurefirst.org.uk

Chloe joined Future First in July 2015 as Director of Programmes, leading the programmes team to ensure excellent delivery across our member schools and colleges.

Chloe brings with her significant experience of developing youth engagement programmes in both the not-for-profit and private sectors. Chloe has worked for the Prince’s Trust designing and delivering pre-employment training programmes for NEET young people, in addition to developing in-house apprenticeship and graduate schemes in the construction sector. Chloe recently completed an Executive MBA at Henley Business School and is now studying for an Msc in Charity Accounting and Financial Management at Cass Business School.

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Amy Finch

Head of Innovation and Development


amy@futurefirst.org.uk

Amy leads Future First’s innovation hub, set up to design targeted interventions which use alumni to address common problems in education. Amy also manages Future First’s employer partnerships and core curriculum.

Amy joined Future First from the BBC, where she worked as a research assistant in Policy and Strategy. Prior to this, Amy taught History at a school in Southall, West London. Amy is a guide leader and governor at Hillbrook Primary School in Tooting. She has a BA in History from Pembroke College, Cambridge.

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Anna Darling

Senior Communications and Policy Officer


anna@futurefirst.org.uk

As our Senior Communications and Policy Officer, Anna takes a leading role in the development and implementation of Future First’s communications strategy.

Before joining Future First, Anna worked as the Advocacy and Research Officer at the Consortium for Street Children, after spending several years volunteering in youth based organisations in both the UK and South Africa. She completed a Masters in International Child's Rights from King’s College London where she developed her interest and passion for education and youth empowerment. Anna has a first class honours degree in Politics and International Development from the University of Glasgow.

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Katie Isbell

Regional Lead - London and South


katie@futurefirst.org.uk

Katie joined Future First in August 2013 to work with schools and colleges across the South East and lead a team of Alumni Officers.

Prior to this she worked for a television production company in Brighton, after completing a degree in Media Practice and Theory at the University of Sussex. It was here that she first became involved with the Widening Participation programme, by acting as a student mentor for a group of local college students interested in studying arts-based courses. She has been involved in various community projects in Cornwall, Brighton and most recently London and has been an in-person mentor for the HEAPS programme for the past two years.

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Laura Underwood

Regional Lead - London and South


laura.underwood@futurefirst.org.uk

Laura joined Future First in August 2015 to work with schools and colleges across the South West and lead a team of Programme and Alumni Officers.

Prior to that, she worked for an education trade body in various roles, from finance to HR, through to marketing and events, working directly with both private English language schools and further education colleges. She has recently completed a Master’s in Education, Gender and International Development at the Institute of Education, where her interest in education grew and she decided to look for opportunities within the state education system. Laura has a BA in French and Linguistics from the University of Manchester.

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Sarah McCammon

Regional Lead - South West


sarah@futurefirst.org.uk

Sarah joined Future First in June 2016 as the Regional Lead for our Sustainable Alumni Communities project in the South West.

Sarah’s previous role was as Chief Executive for a charity striving to provide purposeful days and a more meaningful future for young adults with severe learning disabilities. Prior to this Sarah was employed by the local authority to provide training and development opportunities to the health and social care workforce in Worcestershire.

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Georgian-Sorin Maxim

Lead Software Engineer


georgian@futurefirst.org.uk

As our Lead Software Engineer, Georgian takes a leading role in maintaining and developing Future First’s alumni platform. Georgian joined Future First in August 2016, after finishing his Master degree while working as a Software Developer in Denmark. His interest in education developed while he was an AIESEC Denmark volunteer. He completed a Masters in Computer Engineering from Aarhus University where he focused on software engineering. He has BSc in Information and Communication Technology from VIA University College.

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Sue Crabtree

Press and Publicity Officer


sue@futurefirst.org.uk

Sue joined Future First in spring 2012 as our Press and Publicity Officer.

Sue has significant experience in print and TV. She’s worked in front of the camera and behind the scenes, newsreading, reporting on and presenting half hour documentaries on social, economic and political issues in Britain and abroad for broadcasters including BBC and ITV. Through bringing up three daughters, Sue’s helped with literacy in schools and developed an interest in education, specifically special needs and children in care. She’s written for The Daily Mail, Daily Express, Sunday Telegraph and Observer. She has a BA in Communication Arts and Media from Leeds University.

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David Knoll

Developer


david@futurefirst.org.uk

Dave joined the team in April 2014 as a Developer. He works on all aspects of Future First’s tech offering, but prefers ‘back-end’ aspects such as database work.

He has previously worked in IT support and IT recycling/refurbishment, and has volunteered for a charity which sends refurbished computers to schools and community projects in Africa. In his spare time, David designs, builds and programs small computers based on 1980s-era processors.

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Alex Bailey

Alumni Officer


alex.bailey@futurefirst.org.uk

Alex joined Future First as an Alumni Officer in 2015 to work with schools across Greater London.

He joined from Quest4Change in Brighton, where he worked as a volunteer coordinator, sending teams of young people overseas. Over the last five years, Alex has been involved in a number of voluntary and paid projects, using his skills as an English teacher. He worked on a pilot scheme in rural Kenya and became self-employed in São Paulo, where he learned Portuguese. Prior to his teaching career, Alex went to Nigeria with Voluntary Service Overseas and worked with asylum seekers and refugees in Sheffield. He as a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Sheffield.

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Elizabeth Logan

Alumni Officer


elizabeth@futurefirst.org.uk

Elizabeth comes to us from working at the Young Advisors Charity in Manchester as a development and training officer, working with 25 teams of young people across the country who show community leaders how to engage young people in community life, local decision-making and improving services. She has worked with young people from a range of backgrounds through roles in teaching Sociology in an FE college to working within schools across the North West for the NCS programme. She has a degree in Cultural Studies and through both her academic and professional life has developed a passion for social mobility and working with young people.

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Emma Fay

Alumni Officer


emma@futurefirst.org.uk

Emma joined Future First as an Alumni Officer in August 2016. Prior to that, she was an English teacher for three years in East London and Essex. She has been a Widening Participation Advocate for King’s College London, improving social mobility for students living in deprived areas and has led numerous youth groups which campaign for human rights. Emma has a PGCE in Secondary English from King’s College London and a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford.

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Sanaz Begum

Alumni Officer


sanaz@futurefirst.org.uk

Sanaz joined Future First in 2016 as an Alumni Officer to work with schools across Greater London and Essex.

Before joining Future First, Sanaz worked for Toynbee Hall, a small charity in East London, as a Community Organiser. This involved building relationships and engaging with communities by undertaking research and empowering local residents to work collectively towards social and political change. As well as this, she has facilitated projects for young people from diverse community backgrounds to socialise, gain independence and support them on their academic pursuits. Her interests in education developed when she started teaching English to adult learners. She has a degree in Criminology and Sociology from City University, London.

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Shruti Shiani

Alumni Officer


shruti@futurefirst.org.uk

Shruti joined Future First as an Alumni Officer to work with schools across London and Essex.

Prior to this, she worked for The Girls’ Network, a charity that matches girls from the least advantaged backgrounds to professional female mentors. As a Network Manager and Programme Administrator, she provided leadership and management of the mentoring programme within the Portsmouth region, by recruiting and training mentors, managing school relationships and coordinating successful and inspiring events for young people. Shruti has also previously volunteered for Action for Children, where she provided home-based mentoring support for two families. She has a degree in Sociology from Anglia Ruskin University.

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Daniel Chow

Project Manager- employer partners


daniel@futurefirst.org.uk

Daniel joined Future First in September 2015 as a Programme Officer and now manages projects run in partnership with our employer partners.

Prior to this, he taught Maths and Statistics at an East London Girl’s school as part of the Teach First Programme. Daniel also has significant experience of working with young people outside the classroom as a tutor, mentor and through working with his local council on summer youth programmes. Daniel has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of York.

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Shanade Johnson

In-House Programme Officer


shanade@futurefirst.org.uk

Shanade joined Future First to lead our in-House pilot in six schools across the South East.

She has experience of working with young people in various settings from being a Senior Mentor at the Challenge Network’s NCS summer programme to her most recent role as an English Teacher at Highgate Wood School, North London. Shanade is committed to helping disadvantaged young people realise their potential. She has a degree in English Literature and Media Studies and a PGCE from UCL Institute of Education.

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Lucy Wooldridge

Programme Officer - Devon and Somerset


lucy@futurefirst.org.uk

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Rhiannon Downer

Programme Officer - Cornwall


rhiannon@futurefirst.org.uk

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Andy Jessop

Alumni Assistant


andy@futurefirst.org.uk

Andy joined Future First as an Alumni Assistant to support deliver our programme in schools and colleges.

Andy previously worked for a school governor recruitment charity where his passion for improving the lives of young people grew.

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Jess Black

Alumni Assistant


jess@futurefirst.org.uk

Jess joined Future First as an Alumni Assistant to help deliver our programme in schools and colleges.

Prior to this, she volunteered in events, communications and fundraising at an animal conservation charity and worked as a receptionist and PA. Jess has a BA in Journalism from City University London. During her degree she explored and wrote about issues relating to social mobility, interviewing inspiring people across London and in her hometown of Cambridge.

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Deji Davies

Trustee


Deji is the Executive Director at J.P. Morgan, working on the European Loan Trading desk. A supporter of Future First since he joined the alumni network at in his old school in 2008, Deji joined the board in 2010. Deji is the founder of a mentoring programme between J.P. Morgan and South Camden Community School, encouraging City workers to engage with and support young people at the school. He has a degree from Oxford University in Economics and Management.

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Sonny Leong

Trustee


Sonny is currently Chief Executive of Civil Service College and Executive Chairman of Academy for Parliamentary & Policy Studies. He has over 30 years of publishing experience, having worked in various academic and professional publishing houses. He founded Cavendish Publishing and developed it to be the largest independent academic law publisher in the UK before it was acquired by Informa PLC. He was formerly the Chairman and now Hon President of the Independent Publishers Guild, former Chair of International Division and Council member of the Publishers Association in the UK. He is a Treasurer of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, a parliament based NGO. He was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014.

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Robin Tombs

Trustee


Robin studied at Bristol University and worked at PwC to hone his financial accounting and business skills between 1993-97, before working alongside Noel Hayden in IDM. IDM was sold to Gameplay in 1999 and in 2001 Robin co-founded Gamesys alongside Andrew Dixon and Noel Hayden. Outside Gamesys, Robin invests in start-ups and is a trustee of Zing, a charity which supports charities helping young people to realise their potential. Robin is married, with 3 kids and enjoys playing and watching lots of sports.

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Michael Ter-berg

Trustee


Michael’s background is managing and investing in global education services (careers information, international schools and colleges) and risk based information software businesses. He is actively involved in the commercialisation of University technologies. He chairs the Commercial Board at the University of Liverpool and manages two spin out companies at City University London. Prior to this he was CEO of an investment group investing in education and CEO of one of the UK’s most successful University spin outs (UCL). Michael has an MSc and Sloan Fellowship from London Business School.

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Lindsey McMurray

Trustee


Lindsey founded Pollen Street Capital in 2013 after leading the spin out from RBS. She has been a private equity investor for more than 15 years with a particular focus on the financial services sector. Since 2005 she has led the team managing the RBS Special Opportunities Fund. Prior to RBS, Lindsey spent six years at Cabot Square Capital, Ltd., a London-based private equity firm where she was a Partner, focusing on operating investments in real estate and other asset backed investments, together with investments in the financial services sector. Lindsey has a First Class Honours degree in Accounting and Finance and studied for an MPhil in Finance from Strathclyde University

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Sally Nelson

Trustee


Sally is Chief of Staff at Fidelity International (FIL) with responsibility for global human resources, corporate affairs, corporate property services and the FIL Foundations. Prior to this, Sally was FIL's Global Head of Human Resources and responsible for performance evaluation, compensation and benefits, recruitment and senior search, employee relations and succession planning. Sally joined FIL in 1999, first as a Senior HR Executive Director in 2004. Prior to this, Sally worked at PwC in Human Resources. Sally is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

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Chloe Smith

Conservative MP for Norwich North


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Fiona Millar

Education Campaigner and Journalist


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David Laws

Former Schools' Minister


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Baroness Estelle Morris

Former Secretary of State for Education


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Dr Sarabajaya Kumar

Teaching Fellow at LSE


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