Our People

Meet the Board

Non-executive Director
Board

Ruth Busby

Non-executive Director
Board

Ruth Busby, is the HR Director at Great Western Railway (GWR), leading the people agenda with a focus on engagement, kindness, inclusion and diversity, and health and wellbeing.  Ruth is involved in a number of industry wide activities including Rail Wellbeing Live and the Women in Rail and RIA Equality Diversity and Inclusion Charter.  She is also co-Chair of Women in Rail South.

Ruth joined GWR in March 2018, from the Atomic Weapons Establishment, and held leadership roles in Higher Education, and the Civil Service, where she started her career in policy development.  A qualified coach, Ruth has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in employee relations, inclusion and diversity, leading organisational change, policy and employee reward.

Non-executive Director
Board

Julia Cleverdon

Non-executive Director
Board

Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE is a lifetime campaigner who has worked tirelessly to promote opportunities for disadvantaged young people. As  Co-founder of the #iwill campaign, Vice Patron of Teach First and Vice President of Business in the Community, she encourages collaboration among senior leaders from business, government, education and the most disadvantaged communities to build a more robust and sustainable civil society.

Non-executive Director
Board

Joel Davis

Non-executive Director
Board

Joel Davis is the CEO of Tutors United; a social enterprise that hires, trains and pays university students and provides affordable tutoring to primary school pupils who need it the most. Joel is a trustee of the multi-national charity School for Social Entrepreneurs and has been a key advisor in helping UK wide funders develop their offer to engage and support young people in social entrepreneurship.

Non-executive Director
Board

Tony Hawkhead

Non-executive Director
Board

Sir Tony Hawkhead is currently Lay Vice-Chair of the new NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a former Non-executive Director at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). He has held several high-profile charity positions including CEO at Groundwork UK and Action for Children. He is soon to take up his position as Chair of trustees at Cruse Bereavement Care.

Joe Montgomery

Chair
Board

As Chair, Joe leads our non-executive board and is responsible for setting the strategy and governing of YFF's social purpose. He served as the government's Director General for Places and Communities and previously led the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit under the same title. He holds several other non-executive roles and has been a Civil Service Commissioner since June 2017.

Non-executive Director
Board

Alex Morawski

Non-executive Director
Board

Alex is a graduate from the University of Warwick where he studied Politics and International Studies. He became passionate about issues of social mobility and inequality after seeing the underrepresentation of working class and state educated people at university. Alex volunteers as a tutor with the Refugee Council in Barnsley to provide English classes to help refugees integrate into the local community.

Non-executive Director
Board

Kris Murali

Non-executive Director
Board

Kris is an established senior leader with a breadth of financial, commercial and management experience spanning both the private sector and not-for-profit organisations. As Scouts Director of Finance and Resources he is responsible for the finance, HR, governance and legal teams. His oversight ensures appropriate financial control, people policies and governance so that Scouts can deliver its strategy to prepare more young people with skills for life.

Before Scouts, Kris served as Deputy CEO of the disability charity, Sense. He led the corporate support services including governance and the trading portfolio of 115 charity shops. He also served on the Board of Sense International, overseeing their operations in eight countries.

Kris has held Board positions in the UK and in the US, and is currently non-executive director at Youth Futures Foundation and Taekwondo Organisation Limited in the UK. He also serves as a Trustee at Sense Scotland and is on the finance committee of University of West London.

Non-executive Director
Board

Jenny North

Non-executive Director
Board

Jenny North is currently the Deputy CEO at Dartington Service Design Lab. Previously Director of Policy and Strategy at Impetus, she has also held positions at Relate, the Maternity Alliance, New Policy Institute and the Home Office.

Non-executive Director
Board

Laura-Jane Rawlings

Non-executive Director
Board

Laura-Jane Rawlings is the CEO of Youth Employment UK, the leading voice and expert on youth employment issues in the UK. Laura-Jane is a champion for youth employment and ensures the voices of young people are heard, providing insight and expertise to many groups such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Employment, she sits on two ESF National Sub-Committees; Employment, Skills and Social Inclusion and Equality and Diversity.

Non-executive Director
Board

Carla Rossini

Non-executive Director
Board

Carla Rossini is the Director of Global Operations at The Leading Edge Alliance, and a former Finance Director at Johnson Matthey Plc. She is passionate about collaboration between businesses and communities.

Non-executive Director
Board

Simon Woolley

Non-executive Director
Board

Lord Simon Woolley is a political and equalities activist. He is the Founder and Director of Operation Black Vote, the Chair of the Advisory Group to the Race Disparity Audit and is a former Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Simon was knighted in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to race equality. He was made a life peer in October 2019.

No team members match

Meet the Youth Reference Group

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Nyasha Duri

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Occupation: Contractor - varied roles mainly within civic and big tech, Founder of Your Career Site, Writer, Creative, Trustee, Non-Executive Director

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
I joined the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group because I believe in doing as much as we can to make things better for our generation and the next with effective solutions to challenges. I love the respective missions of the Youth Futures Foundation and BBC Children in Need, plus their shared goal with Inspiring Futures to support young people to achieve their potential on their journey towards employment. I care about this because I have seen several others seriously affected, and experienced myself how difficult the job market often is. This is an unparalleled opportunity for important change ensuring all can thrive no matter their background.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
A highlight of being on the YRG so far has been being inspired by getting to dive into everything further: whether through engaging discussions with insightful fellow members on which actions move the needle, excellent facilitation thanks to experts from Cordis Bright + beyond, learning about Monitoring & Evaluation and more.

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Louise Chandler

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  19
Location: Buckinghamshire
Occupation: I have currently been on a gap year where I have been volunteering as a youth colleague at Barnardo’s and sat on the Youth Voice Steering Group at the British Youth Council. In September, I am going to be studying Education Studies at Buckinghamshire New University. 

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
Being a part of the Youth Reference Group (YRG) will allow me to shape the direction of the evaluation process of the Inspiring Futures Programme, whilst allowing me to develop industry-specific skills such as digital, research and evaluation. I am excited to gain invaluable experience and broaden my knowledge in this field, to transition into a policy orientated role in the future.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
I had a limited understanding of evaluation before sitting on the advisory board, the YRG introduced me to how evaluation operates in practice. We brainstormed ideas on how to improve a variety of research questions that could be addressed. This narrowed our focus and gave us a better understanding of what research approach to take. Some methods included interviews and creating videos to explore the contribution made by the programme. I am excited for the future and keen to conclude whether young people were supported during the pandemic.

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Katie Douglas

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  19
Location: Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Occupation: I go to tech and I’m studying to get my Maths and English essentials skills

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
I joined the reference group because I think I would help disabled young people to get their thoughts and opinions across. As I have experienced bad moments living with a physical disability.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
My highlight has been getting to know everyone and being part of the team.

Youth Reference Group Member
Youth Reference Group

Josh Campbell

Youth Reference Group Member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  24
Location: Sunderland
Occupation: Trainee Solicitor

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
I saw this as an opportunity to share my experiences for the benefit of organisations who support young people gain employment. I have spent long periods unemployed and have had countless job rejections, so hopefully my insight can be useful.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
Sharing meaningful ideas with my colleagues who I would not have got to meet had I not been a member!

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Fahmida Yasmin

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  22
Location: Kent
Occupation: Third year student in the study of society and the communities which inhabit them

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
I initially joined the Future Youths Reference Group in hopes to gain an insight on what issues currently exist surrounding youth employment and to understand what is being done to better the situation of those affected.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
Meeting everyone else in the group and hearing their perspectives based on personal experiences and opinions has definitely been the highlight of this opportunity! I thoroughly enjoy the group discussions. This is because I leave each of our sessions with a new outlook and in turn this role has had a positive impact on the way I engage with the material within my degree.

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Caroline Appleton

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  25
Location: Loughborough, East Midlands
Occupation: PhD researcher

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
To learn new skills and to support the work of some great charities.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
Discussing how to make research findings interesting and accessible to young people

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Anisha Rahman

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  20
Location: London
Occupation: Student studying History, Politics and Economics BA at UCL

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
Being a part of the Youth Reference Group (YRG) will allow me to shape the direction of the evaluation process of the Inspiring Futures Programme, whilst allowing me to develop industry-specific skills such as digital, research and evaluation. I am excited to gain invaluable experience and broaden my knowledge in this field, to transition into a policy orientated role in the future.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
I had a limited understanding of evaluation before sitting on the advisory board, the YRG introduced me to how evaluation operates in practice. We brainstormed ideas on how to improve a variety of research questions that could be addressed. This narrowed our focus and gave us a better understanding of what research approach to take. Some methods included interviews and creating videos to explore the contribution made by the programme. I am excited for the future and keen to conclude whether young people were supported during the pandemic.

No team members match

Meet the Team

Directorate:
Head of Finance and Operations
Operations

Felix Adenaike

Head of Finance and Operations
Operations

Felix has worked in a variety of roles in the further education sector. He has been responsible for financial management, planning, audit and the wider corporate services. Felix has been involved in new business start-ups in the education and commercial sectors. He is passionate about lifelong learning.

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Matthew Armstrong

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Matthew supports the delivery of our Impact and Development grant programme. He has almost 10 years of working in the grant making environment working with people and communities to overcome challenges and realise their aspirations. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation he worked as a Grants & Awards Manager at the British Heart Foundation, and the National Lottery Community Fund in a number of roles across the grant lifecycle.

Analysis Manager
Impact and Evidence

Andrea Barry

Analysis Manager
Impact and Evidence

Andrea is an enthusiastic analyst, interested in improving data infrastructure on underserved communities. Before this, Andrea was a Senior Analyst at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She has finished a PhD in Economics at the University of York.

In July 2020, Andrea gave evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee on the unequal impact of coronavirus on ethnic minorities. Andrea has also appeared on EuroNews, Bloomberg Radio, and in print to discuss issues related to employment and groups.

Head of Evidence and Evaluation
Impact and Evidence

Jane Colechin

Head of Evidence and Evaluation
Impact and Evidence

Dr Jane Colechin is a social researcher with a decade of experience working on high profile labour market, education and welfare reform evaluations and studies. Jane has particular expertise in theory-led evaluations and ensuring co-design is part of evaluation and programme delivery and ensures that rigorous and youth-informed principles are used in all of YFF’s evaluation and evidence processes.

Head of Strategy and Partnerships
Strategy and Innovation

Anna Darnell

Head of Strategy and Partnerships
Strategy and Innovation

Anna shapes and delivers our organisational strategy by leading our stakeholder management and connecting insights to find solutions to drive systemic change. Key to this is developing our relationships with youth and youth employment organisations, public bodies, Government departments and employers. Anna is also driving forward Youth Voice, ensuring young people are at the heart of everything we do. Prior to Youth Futures, Anna worked in youth policy for central government, as well as in a range of frontline, policy and research roles in the charity and voluntary sector. Anna has been involved in youth and community initiatives from a young age, and outside of work she volunteers to support children and young people.

Strategy Officer Apprentice
Strategy and Innovation

Deuvaunn Darroux

Strategy Officer Apprentice
Strategy and Innovation

Deuvaunn began his career with the Montserrat Legislative Assembly, going on to volunteer with Youth Employment UK and serve as a member of Lambeth Youth Council and the London Youth Assembly. Deuvaunn passionately believes that young people should be involved in decisions that affect them. As our Strategy Officer Apprentice, he is responsible for leading our youth participation strategy and embedding it across the organisation.

Chief Operating Officer
Operations

James Endean

Chief Operating Officer
Operations

James was one of the initial team working with our Chair, Joe Montgomery, creating Youth Futures Foundation's governance, operational systems and policies, and leading the preparation work for Youth Futures to pass its “strategic & operational readiness” assessment by DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund. James is now responsible for Finance, IT, Legal and HR functions, supports the CEO and the Board on governance matters and is responsible for the operation of the Board’s Audit, Finance & Investment and Organisational Development committees. James has a background in company and business unit start-ups, building on his general management and finance experience at Unilever.

Research Manager
Impact and Evidence

Catherine Fitzgerald

Research Manager
Impact and Evidence

Catherine Fitzgerald commissions and manages research studies within the Research team and is currently leading the organisations research agenda on systems change. She is passionate about participatory research approaches and co-design and has specialist research interest in racial and intersectional inequalities in the labour market and mental health. She is an active member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group. She has over six years’ experience working for an international funder, Comic Relief, in the research and policy teams and an MSc Social Policy (Research).

Policy and Public Affairs Officer
Strategy and Innovation

Angel Fletcher

Policy and Public Affairs Officer
Strategy and Innovation

Angel is a Policy and Public Affairs Officer who is passionate about widening access and equal opportunity. She supports the delivery of our policy strategy and works with other youth employment organisations and young people to champion breaking down barriers to education, training and work. Before joining Youth Futures Foundation, Angel supported policy, research and communications at the Sutton Trust, most notably in collecting data for the Social Mobility Commission’s Elitist Britain 2019 report and leading on social media campaigns. Most recently, she supported young people from low- and middle-income backgrounds to explore American higher education at the US-UK Fulbright Commission. Breaking down the barriers marginalised young people face accessing education, training and employment is a matter close to Angel’s heart. Outside of work, she loves musical theatre and mentoring.

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Aron Fulton

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Aron supports our grant holders with the delivery of their grants, enabling them to deliver high quality, impactful projects. He manages a varied portfolio of grant holders, with a particular focus on the Infrastructure programme. Aron began his career in Accounting and Finance, before moving to grant making with Leeds Community Foundation.

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Shivonne Gates

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Dr Shivonne M. Gates is a mixed-methods social researcher, with over eight years’ experience conducting and managing research projects and evaluations. Her areas of expertise include youth studies, education policy, language and ethnicity, sociolinguistics and critical race theory. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, Shivonne was a Senior Researcher in the Children and Families team at NatCen Social Research and a Doctoral Researcher in Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London.

Director of Impact and Evidence
Impact and Evidence

Chris Goulden

Director of Impact and Evidence
Impact and Evidence

Chris leads our Impact and Evidence team. Previously he was Deputy Director of Evidence and Impact at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, where he has worked as Head and Deputy Director of Policy and Research, since joining the organisation as Poverty Programme Manager in 2003. He previously served as a policy analyst with the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and Senior Research Officer at the Home Office. He is a current member of the Social Security Advisory Committee.

Finance Officer Apprentice
Operations

Charlie Howard

Finance Officer Apprentice
Operations

Charlie is involved in the operations and every day running of the business to help support with the processing of transactions in the company to ensure that we meet our financial obligations as a charity. He helps support the management of accurate data including the grants sector to ensure that we are in-line with our predictions mentioned in our business plan and are on track with the budgets set out each year. Charlie is also involved in a steering group with partnerships for young London – supporting many aspects of careleavers – including employment.

Strategy Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Ryan Howsham

Strategy Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Ryan supports the development and delivery of our organisational strategy to transform youth employment and is responsible for turning complex information into meaningful options to achieve systemic change. Ryan previously worked in local government, most recently focusing on developing approaches to deliver sustainable economic growth in Greater Cambridge, including responding to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Claire Jackson

Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Claire supports our grant holders with their YFF-funded projects, enabling them to get the most out of their funding journey with us. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, she was a Funding Officer at The National Lottery Community Fund and a project co-ordinator in academia and the charity sector. She is particularly passionate about improving outcomes for disabled young people and in bridging the North-South divide.

Executive Assistant
CEO Office

Charlotte Kelsall

Executive Assistant
CEO Office

Charlotte is Executive Assistant to the Anna Smee (CEO) and Joe Montgomery (Chair) and has been in the role since August 2020. Charlotte’s main role is to provide effective business support to the Board, CEO and Senior Leadership Team. Charlotte has 10 years EA/PA experience, working mainly within the public sector and Higher Education. Charlotte is passionate about Youth Future’s vision, her career as an Executive Assistant, and her role as a PA Mentor, coach and networker. Charlotte cycles in the Yorkshire dales in her spare time, enjoys cooking and loves listening to music.

Head of Marketing and Communications
Strategy and Innovation

Helen Knox

Head of Marketing and Communications
Strategy and Innovation

Helen leads the creation and delivery of our marketing and communications strategy to grow our organisational influence and impact. Previously, Helen worked at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority as Head of Marketing. Her recent work includes coordinating the #4sparks campaign to attract Channel 4’s National HQ to Leeds, and marketing FutureGoals, the region’s flagship careers inspiration and support initiative.

Senior Evidence and Evaluation Officer
Impact and Evidence

Amanda Mackey

Senior Evidence and Evaluation Officer
Impact and Evidence

Dr Amanda Mackey is an evaluation researcher with experience in qualitative and mixed-methods research. She has particular interest in questionnaire design and focus groups. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, she worked with STEM Learning on evaluating the STEM Ambassadors programme, and with Family Fund, a charity that supports families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. Her doctoral work focused on evaluating the goals and milestones of gender equality in English cathedral choirs. Outside of work, Amanda is a hospital volunteer with the Royal Voluntary Service, and a roller derby on-skates referee.

Partnerships Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Annum Mahmood

Partnerships Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Annum is a Partnerships Manager with an interest in stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Annum supports the delivery of our Youth Futures Foundation Strategy with a particular focus on developing relationships with youth employment organisations, public bodies, employers, Government departments and young people. Prior to joining the Youth Futures Foundation, Annum worked on key initiatives such as Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps helping to shape and deliver programmes, projects and partnerships. Annum has a passion for breaking down barriers that exist in marginalised young people accessing educational and employment opportunities and outside of work actively volunteers for local charities and community organisations.

Head of Policy
Strategy and Innovation

Harriet McCann

Head of Policy
Strategy and Innovation

Harriet leads our policy strategy and works in coalition with other youth employment organisations to champion evidence-based policies to drive systemic change. Previously, she was Head of Policy and Local Campaigns at the National Literacy Trust and also taught History in two secondary schools in Birmingham.

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Hannah Murphy

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Hannah manages evaluations of our funded programmes to provide evidence of effective approaches to support young people into meaningful work. She is a social researcher with experience in theory-led evaluation and participatory approaches. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, Hannah was a Research Manager at Learning and Work Institute where she conducted research and evaluation projects spanning labour market, welfare reform and skills policy.

Head of Grants
Grants and Investment

Lekan Ojumu

Head of Grants
Grants and Investment

Lekan oversees the delivery of our ‘What Works’ grant programmes. His career, prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, includes experience within a leading social investment fund, grant giving with a focus on young people and capacity building support. In his spare time Lekan has held charity Board positions and is currently involved as a trustee for a local youth focused organisation based in London.

Business Support Executive
Operations

Charlene Orr

Business Support Executive
Operations

Charlene is working as the Business Support Executive, providing operational support to the whole Youth Futures Foundation Team. Prior to this, she worked in the charity and non-profit sector and has experience in office management, executive support and human resources. Outside of work, Charlene practices music and art and volunteers at a local church.

Director of Grants and Investments
Grants and Investment

Matthew Poole

Director of Grants and Investments
Grants and Investment

Matthew leads the development and delivery of our grant making programmes. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise having built his career on working with people and communities with the National Lottery Community Fund and establishing Talent Match. Outside of the office, Matthew is committed to supporting and coaching young people and is heavily involved with local youth work in the West Midlands.

Senior Evidence and Evaluation Officer
Impact and Evidence

Emily Preston-Jones

Senior Evidence and Evaluation Officer
Impact and Evidence

Emily sits within the Impact and Evidence team, managing evaluations of our funded projects and examining what works to support young people into employment. She is driven by the goal of equal opportunity and is especially interested in what keeps young people in meaningful work, ensuring that workplaces are inclusive for all. Emily has a wide range of research and evaluation experience, from working with food redistribution charities through to people living with Dementia, she gravitates towards projects that have a positive impact on society.

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Louise Rands

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Louise supports the development and delivery of Youth Futures Foundation’s grant making programmes. She has been working within the not-for-profit sector in Birmingham for almost 10 years, most recently working at a local infrastructure organisation. Her roles included contract and strategic relationship management for various programmes including a £6million Ageing Better programme and a strategic support and development programme for civil society organisations in Birmingham.

CEO
CEO Office

Anna Smee

CEO
CEO Office

Anna joined the Youth Futures Foundation as CEO in November 2019.  Before this, Anna was Chief Executive of the national charity UK Youth, supporting young people from diverse backgrounds to develop life skills through youth work. Prior to that she was Director of Ventures at The Young Foundation, harnessing social enterprise and investment to tackle inequality. Her work has seen her emerge as one of the leading voices for youth opportunities and employment in the UK. Anna has a BSc in Economics from Southampton University, the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) and an MBA from London Business School. In her early career she worked in finance in the UK and Australia, building her reputation within leading corporates EY, Allianz, Aviva and Suncorp before setting up and leading a boutique strategy consulting firm. In addition to her CEO role at Youth Futures, Anna is co-founder and co-chair of the Youth Employment Group (YEG), which was established to mobilise a cross sector response to rising youth unemployment in the wake of Covid19, and a mentor to a number of young people entering the world of work.

Marketing and Communications Executive
Strategy and Innovation

Reena Staves

Marketing and Communications Executive
Strategy and Innovation

Reena is a communications creative with an interest in developing accessible content. She supports the delivery of our marketing and communications strategy. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, Reena worked to influence mental health policy, welfare support and wellbeing initiatives in Scotland and England; as part of the Scottish Government’s flagship campaign ‘Think Positive’, and as Sheffield Students’ Union’s Welfare Officer. She also has an interest in audio production and has an unmatched knowledge of Desert Island Discs.

Head of Grants
Grants and Investment

Dilys Winterkorn

Head of Grants
Grants and Investment

Dilys heads the development and delivery of Youth Futures Foundation’s grant making programmes. She brings a wealth of experience having built her career working with charities and philanthropists in the UK and overseas. She has led international partnerships, multi-country programmes, and generated millions for charities. Dilys conducts research in African Philanthropy at SOAS, University of London.

No team members match