Nina Hinton

Nina Hinton | Open Awards

Nina is the Development and Marketing Manager at Open Awards, an awarding body and charity whose vision is to change lives through learning. With a background in supporting young people with disabilities and/or learning difficulties to gain meaningful paid employment and live independent lives in their communities, Nina is a values-driven individual who believes that everybody should have the opportunity to achieve their aspirations.

Her role at Open Awards includes the development of meaningful qualifications across vocational sectors and Nina works closely with education providers, learners and employers across England to develop curriculum that meets the individual needs of learners and support progression and achievement of aspirations.

Nina offers support to education providers across England to review and improve curriculum, keeping learner outcomes at the heart of everything she does. This includes Further Education Colleges, schools, private training providers, offender learning providers and the third sector. With a strong passion for the third sector and the important role it plays locally and nationally, Nina leads on funding applications and program developments with partner organist ions to implement the delivery of high-quality education programs that  support Open Awards’ vision of changing lives through learning.

Nina also runs a disability social club for young people aged 16-25 with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The social club aims to promote independence and choices, and offers and informal and safe environment for young people to learn new skills, improve their confidence in their abilities and to have fun. Nina volunteers her time for other charities, including supporting the management of an SEN Parents Group and providing support with job applications and interview coaching for long-term unemployed adults.

Anna Howard

Anna Howard | London South Bank University

Born in 1983, Anna’s formative years were spent in Devon and, after achieving a first class honours degree in Accounting and Finance from London South Bank University, Anna went on to complete ACCA professional exams while working in practice. After several years working as a fully qualified accountant she completed an MSc in Accounting with Finance before joining London South Bank University as a part-time lecturer in management accounting in 2009. She obtained a full-time post in 2011 and over the next five years achieved remarkable success in being promoted rapidly first to Senior lecturer and then to Associate Professor of Enterprise Education in 2016. She is currently also the Associate Head of the Division of Business and Enterprise, one of the three divisions that make up the School of Business.

Anna’s transition from management accounting to enterprise education has been remarkably successful and her teaching and research activities now reflect this new and developing academic focus. Within the School of Business she has responsibility for leading on student enterprise. This includes managing all aspects of student enterprise including developing enterprise within the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, enterprise accreditation and developing enterprise opportunities for students with external agencies and SMEs. She has completed the International Entrepreneurship Educators Programme and is the lead academic in the development of the Business Solutions Centre – an innovative student-led business consultancy. She is also currently undertaking doctoral research in skills development for the accounting professional.

During her short time at London South Bank University Anna has won a number of awards and prizes and the enterprise activities undertaken by Anna and her colleagues in other schools and departments contributed to the University being named Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2016.

laura kirsop

Laura Kirsop | FutureLearn

Laura Kirsop is a former teacher and teacher educator who is now a Senior Product Manager at FutureLearn. Her main passion lies in increasing opportunities for young people in STEM.

For seven years she worked as a primary school teacher, coordinated ICT and mentored trainee teachers. She led a number of initiatives to improve digital skills, including getting students blogging and coding.

This work led to her getting involved in Code Club, a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs. In her role as Head of Code Club UK she oversaw curriculum design, evaluation, partnerships and community management. She worked closely with funders such as Google, Nesta and Samsung on a number of high-profile projects.

She then moved on to become a Senior Product Manager at FutureLearn, a social learning network that has over 5 million users worldwide. Here she leads the Learner Experience team - an interdisciplinary team focussed on increasing learner participation and improving pedagogical tools.

In her spare time she trains teachers to deliver the new Computing curriculum and produces and co-hosts an edtech podcast called Book Smart. She also volunteers for charities that improve the digital skills of young people.

Sophie Gould

Sophie Gould | LexisNexis UK

I believe strongly in supporting and mentoring young (and not so young) people to help them identify their interests and passions in life and support them to develop the skills and competencies they need to succeed. I am a qualified solicitor who has worked in both private practice and in-house and has now moved into a commercial role. My current position is at LexisNexis UK where I lead our engagement with the legal in-house community. My role is to support the creation and development of innovative products for the in-house legal community based on a deep understanding of customer insight and changing market needs. My role covers product development and management, building and running community forums to enable the sharing of insights and best practice and supporting marketing and sales. Previous to this role I researched and developed a suite of risk and compliance e-learning courses. I started my professional life as a trainee in a City Law firm specialising in entertainment law, qualifying in to the Company and Commercial department. One of my memorable cases was supporting The Bay City Rollers in their claim against their ex lead singer in relation to the use of their band name. I moved in-house to Virgin Communications, the head office of the media businesses, and was head hunted to set up the legal department for Ginger Media Group (Chris Evans’ company to run his TV and radio businesses) while on maternity leave with my first child. I live on the South Coast with my husband and 3 teenage sons.

naomi thompson

Naomi Thompson | Goldsmiths, University of London

I grew up in a family of 5 children where our parents were determined we would all have the opportunity to go to university. My father died when I was 17 and I went to university in Durham a year later to study youth and community work. I became a parent during my third year of university as well as gaining my first youth worker post for a local authority. I graduated with first class honours and worked as a youth and community worker for several years following, whilst also teaching for the Open University and gaining my MA in Education with them. I studied my PhD in faith-based youth work from 2008 - 2013 and have worked full-time in academia since. During my academic career so far I have worked for YMCA George Williams College (2011-2015), which specialises in youth and community work training at undergraduate and postgraduate level, worked as a research fellow in social work at Middlesex University (2015-2016) before securing a permanent lectureship in youth and community work at Goldsmiths last year. During this time I have taught trainee youth and community workers and social workers. I have also developed my research profile, with specialisms in young people, youth work, religion and crime.

janice st john-matthews

Janice St John-Matthews | University of the West of England

#Hellomyname is Janice St. John-Matthews. I am the Associate Head of Department for the Allied Health Professions at the University of the West of England, Bristol. I am a registered diagnostic radiographer. When I was 18 I left my home in Ireland and moved to the UK to peruse my dream career. After spending a decade working clinically and in industry I joined academia. I currently oversee five radiography programmes consisting of three pre-registration and two post-registration courses alongside standalone continuing professional development activities for all allied health professions.

I am passionate about working at the University of the West of England due to its ethos of inclusivity. As someone who comes from a widening participation background I know first-hand how education can empower and the difference equality in expectation can make.   As an individual with dyslexia I also appreciate how a supportive environment can ensure every learner achieves their potential. Each year I work with extraordinary students, who have joined higher education through non-traditional education routes. Those studying radiography leave as a credit to both the University and the profession. I am proud to be part of this.

Evidence from the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education has highlighted the lack of women in senior posts in academia for various reasons. For me this is being a mum to a small child with minimal extended family support. I was finding networking, collaborating and publishing difficult to balance with caring responsibilities. To address these challenges, I started to use social media outlets to raise the profile of the radiography profession, to write frankly about the challenges of dyslexia and to share my experiences as a part-time Doctoral candidate. Subsequently I have been able to connect with individuals across the world and this has led to opportunities to present and publish nationally and internationally.


Isla Macneil | Ingenues Ltd

In the past year I have started Ingenues, a not-for-profit company working to inspire young children and in particular girls to look at a wide range of potential careers. These work by showcasing inspirational women by showing them women from a variety of backgrounds who have achieved feats in their industries.

Prior to this, I have a background in widening participation, working as an Assessor of Study Needs for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and completing workshops in the wider community both through Ingenues and in the past. working with a refugee community group.

On a personal basis I am also a mother and step-mother to three children.

benny bonsu

Benny Bonsu | Girls in Sport Foundation

North London based Benny Bonsu is the first Afro-British an award-winning NBA Sideline broadcaster and international TV producer and the founder and director of Girls In Sport Foundation.  She is also a Media teacher and a future leader currently completing her NPQSL as part of the Harris Academy Greenwich secondary school in Eltham, South East London. Benny created the Girls In Sport Foundation supported by Fusion LifeStyle and Women In Football because she wanted to provide opportunities for women and girls to access any and every sports available and inspire them to think or pursue sports as a career women and girls excel in, while using the spotlight and the real life stories of leading women in sport. Benny has toured over 50 schools in London and toured internationally with her project inspiring a new change and build positive attitudes towards women and girls in sport. Benny has been a community activist for sports and community since the age of 13yrs old and she is still going.

natalie scott

Natalie Scott | St Joan of Arc School

Natalie has always been passionate about education, she has taught secondary English for 16 years now, in recent years as an Advanced Skills Teacher, Lead Practitioner, Specialist Leader of Education and more recently leading on whole school T&L. She has been part of leadership teams lifting schools out of special measures and has taught in the illegal refugee camps of Northern France, and thoroughly relished both of these challenges.

Her career had been defined by her work in the classroom with teenagers, in a variety of school contexts, and in school leadership. She believed passionately in the training and supporting of her colleagues- until she  made the heartbreakingly difficult decision to quit education, unable to align her ethos to the school she found herself in. After losing her way and pondering on next steps, she was offered the opportunity to volunteer with Edlumino, a charity providing education to the children living in the refugee camps of Europe. It was in some of these camps that Natalie re-found her passion for teaching, blogged of her experiences and rediscovered the true power of education. She saw her students’ lives changing and felt her own life change too. She has since returned to the English education sector and is now is back teaching full time, very happily, in a school in Hertfordshire, England.

Jaspreet Sangha

Jaspreet Sangha | St Marylebone School

Jaspreet Kaur, better known as Behind the Netra for her poetry is a spoken word artist from East London focused on sharing her thoughts on gender issues, historical topics and taboo subjects both in the Asian community and wider society. By day, she is a History teacher at a secondary school in central London, with an academic background in both History and Gender Studies. Her work aims to tackle issues related to gender discrimination, mental health stigma, decolonisation and more. As well as performing poetry, Behind the Netra also provides workshops and motivational talks for all ages.

Over the last year she has performed at different shows around London including Box Park Shoreditch, Theatre Royal London, Oxford University, SOAS Uni, Paul Robinson Theatre, City Hall and shows for charity events for women's issues and charities such as What You Do Matters, Newhams Asian Women's project, Billion Women and others. More recently she performed at the NHS annual conference and spoke at TEDxUCLWomen. It's been an incredible year for Behind the Netra, being in the national #thriveon advert with Idris Elba, working with the UN on the HeforShe campaign and being nominated for the BAME Inspiration of the Year Award for her work in poetry and teaching. The end of 2016 brought Behind the Netra the title of one of the Top 10 Inspirational Sikh Women in the UK.