Jeffrey Defries (Chair)

Jeffrey Defries was the founder and chief executive of icould, an online careers charity. Formerly chief executive of the specialist careers and research charity CRAC, Jeffrey started his career in university administration, before taking roles at the Institute of Cancer Research as deputy secretary then secretary. He then joined the Science Museum as assistant director, moving on to the London Business School as deputy dean and secretary, and later the NHS University (NHSU) as director of corporate services. CPFA qualified, Jeffrey has held a number of not-for-profit and charity board positions in the UK. He has also acted as senior advisor to the European Foundation for Management Development. Now retired from paid work, Jeffrey is also a trustee of Success Club.

Steven Artist (Deputy Chair)

Steven Artist has significant leadership and operational management experience. He has held several senior global positions for a large multinational bank, including COO, CRAO and Business Head roles. In his current role, Steven leads a global Credit focused domain with a team of c.2,500 people across 35 markets around the world. Steven has a had a long-standing relationship with The Children’s Literacy Charity as a supporter and adviser prior to talking up his role on as Trustee.

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin has 28 years’ experience working in education. His career began with teaching in the UK, Pakistan and Belgium and from there he became part of the national steering group for the NCSL, (Now NCTL) creating and launching the first national programme for middle leaders. In 2009 Andrew formed his own company and has worked nationally, supporting schools, academies, dioceses and Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) as an advisor, mentor, project director and director of business. He spent three years as academy advisor for the Church of England Education Office, supporting and engaging with their schools and dioceses and helping to shape national policy. Andrew continues to work with The Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership on their national MAT Steering Group, MAT CEO development programme and network activity.

Neal Lodhia

Neal Lodhia is a qualified lawyer and hedge fund professional holding three degrees in law from prestigious universities, specifically targeted on commercial law. Neal is a serial investor in a range of businesses within the United Kingdom, and dedicated supporter of charitable projects.

Jenny Thomson

Dr Jenny Thomson is a senior academic at the University of Sheffield, having previously worked at the University of Cambridge, UK and Harvard University, USA.  A speech and language therapist by training, Jenny’s teaching and research focuses on the links between spoken and written language difficulties, as well as digital literacy.