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.
Alumni Programme Manager
Akeem joined Future First after 4 years of working in Higher Education at Russell Group Universities.
They graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2014 in Film & Television, during their degree they focused on LGBT issues in the media and progressed on to an MA in Screen Industries researching Transgender teenagers on television.
Through their career in Higher Education, Akeem spent time visiting UCAS and recruitment fairs for teenagers and young adults considering their options post-GCSE and post-A level, it was this aspect of their roles that sparked their passion for helping young people achieve their potential, especially those from lower income backgrounds and minority groups who they have encouraged and supported to achieve great things.
Akeem's passion for working with young people comes from understanding the struggles of being in a marginalised demographic whilst working towards goals that are more easily obtainable by children raised in more privileged backgrounds. In their role, Akeem hopes to inspire young people to do great things and to never let their background or circumstance hold them back.
Alumni Engagement Assistant
Alaya studied History at King’s College London, graduating in the summer of 2020.
During her time at university, Alaya volunteered for several projects and charities that focused on justice within education, especially amongst people from a migrant and refugee background.
From her personal experiences, relying on social-mobility organisations and also from her voluntary experiences. Alaya felt naturally inclined to work for justice in education and social mobility.
Alaya hopes to build young people’s resilience and confidence. People from a so-called low socio-economic background may have to work twice as hard as the rest. But, to be aware that there are lots of organisations open to supporting them. Alaya hopes to inspire young people to recognise the different pathways that are open to them and to go out and achieve everything they set their minds to.
Alumni Programme Manager
Alex studied Combined Social Sciences at Durham University before going on to gain a PGCE at the Institute of Education. Having taught for three years in a secondary school in West London as part of the Teach First Leadership Development Programme, Alex developed a passion for improving the outcomes and opportunities of young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Most recently, Alex has obtained a Master’s in Educational Leadership and School Improvement from the University of Cambridge, including research that focused on leadership for social mobility of disadvantaged students in the UK. Alex is a strong advocate for initiatives championing social justice in education and strives to embed these values in her work to support students and schools to maximise the benefit of their alumni networks.
Charlie joined Future First in October 2018 to work with schools and colleges across the North and Midlands and to lead a team of Alumni Programme Officers in this region.
Having taught English for three years as part of the Teach First Leadership Development Programme, Charlie developed an interest in social mobility and widening participation. Before joining Future First, Charlie worked at The Brilliant Club developing their teacher training and widening access programmes and has also worked with The Girls’ Network delivering mentoring programmes and encouraging employer engagement in education. Charlie has a degree in History and Politics from Lancaster University.
Dave joined the team in April 2014 as a Developer. He works on all aspects of Future First’s tech offering, particularly Meteor and Salesforce, preferring ‘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.
Jade joined Future First in January 2021 as a Product Manager. Jade has over a decade of experience creating award-winning digital products for the BBC, including games, an Amazon Alexa skill, a preschool learning app, and a live streaming tool used by BBC News and Sport. Much of her work focuses on entertainment and educational content for children and young people. Jade also volunteers with children and young people, and by supporting girls and women in STEM careers.
Katy joined Future First in September 2018 after graduating from the University of Manchester with a degree in Politics and International Relations. Prior to joining us, Katy worked in primary and secondary schools (both SEND and mainstream) and developed a passion for improving the life chances of young people across the country.
After two busy years and a countless number of workshops as an Alumni Programme Officer, Katy is now excited to move into our partnerships team from September 2020 where she will help to move forward new and existing partnerships and oversee our work in primary schools.
Laura joined Future First in December 2020. She has completed a BA in Sociology, where she developed her interests in social structures and social mobility. Laura has a background in the charity and public health sectors, having worked for a leading charity for older people and for the NHS for a number of years.
Business Services Director
Laura joined Future First in August 2015 to work with schools and colleges across London and the South West and lead a team of Alumni Programme Officers. In 2017, Laura moved into Future First's operations team as Head of Digital, working with the tech team on the development of the alumni portal to ensure it meets user needs. In 2019, Laura became Business Services Director.
Prior to joining Future First, she worked for an education trade body in various roles, from finance and HR through to marketing and events. She has a Master’s in Education, Gender and International Development from the Institute of Education and a BA in French and Linguistics from the University of Manchester.
Programme Innovations Director
Leon was born and raised in Grimsby. He joined Future First in 2021 as our first Programme Innovations Director. He joined us from Speakers for Schools where he was Head of Wales. Prior to that he was Programme Manager, Wales and the West of England for First Give; growing the charity outside of London into Wales and then latterly into the West of England.
Leon is also Deputy Chair of Brook Young People; the UK's largest young people's sexual health and relationships charity. He also wrote the inaugural Young Trustees Guide in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation.
Lorraine joins Future First having worked with us as an interim.
Her career spans the private and public sectors, including local and central government, where she held Board level positions in 4 London Boroughs and spent 7 years working at Ofsted, including as the Chief Operating Officer and right hand person to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector. In the private sector she established a successful Joint Venture Company providing communications and management consultancy support to a wide range of clients, including charities.
Melina studied International Media and Communications at the University of Nottingham. While in her final year at university, Melina became the owner and founder of her brand MJ Expression, whereby she developed her own passion into a business. After graduating from university Melina continued to develop MJ Expression, through which she encouraged young adults to freely express themselves by creating abstract artwork and merchandise.
Melina furthered her marketing skills through a variety of experiences such as virtual internships with the Bright Network, completing online courses with Google, as well as work experience in consultancy branding and marketing with small businesses.
Melina joined Future First in April 2021 via the government's Kickstarter scheme.
Public Relations Officer
Milly joined Future First in 2020 to manage the organisation's public relations. Milly worked for a number of years as a university Study Skills Tutor and SEND support worker before moving into Marketing & Communications in the third sector. Having detoured into the education sector as a Communications Manager for a Private School, Milly returned to the third sector in 2018.
Milly has a BA in English Literature and Film Studies and M.Phil advanced postgraduate degree in Media Legislation and Cultural Linguistics.
Regional Programme Manager
Naomi studied Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at King’s College London before gaining a PGCE at the University of Exeter and teaching on the Isle of Wight. As a member of the Teach First Leadership Development Programme she particularly focused on supporting students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and is passionate about improving the life outcomes of young people. Most recently she has completed an MA in Sociology at the University of Warwick, including a dissertation on the impact of the Fundamental British Values policy in schools.
As 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.
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.
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.
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.
Sally is Chief People Office at Fidelity International (FIL) with responsibility for global human resources and corporate affairs. She has been with the firm for 19 years. Prior to this, Sally worked at PwC in Human Resources for 12 years. Sally is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and is also a qualified secondary school teacher of English language and literature.
Amy Finch is Head of Learning and Impact at Spirit of 2012, a Big Lottery devolved trust that funds projects across the UK. She is particularly interested well-being, connectedness and social capital. Amy was a staff member at Future First between 2013-2016. She applied to be a Trustee in 2018 because she believes the organisation offers a rare opportunity to level the playing field by delivering system-wide change. Amy is a former History teacher and has previously served as a Vice-chair of governors and Girl Guide leader.
Conservative MP for Norwich North
Education Campaigner and Journalist
Former Schools' Minister
Baroness Estelle Morris
Former Secretary of State for Education
Dr Sarabajaya Kumar
Teaching Fellow at UCL