Our Team


Trustees

John Barrett

Chair of the Board of Trustees

John was a key member of the team that set up and developed the Small Charities Coalition; an organisation supporting and advocating the UK small charity sector. He was CEO at the charity from 2014-17.

John has over 10 years experience in all aspects of charity management, operations and leadership.  In this - his first Chair role - he is relishing the opportunity to further develop his skills and support the setting up and growth of this exciting and important start-up.

Gilles Pelenc

Founder, Trustee

In 2007-8, both Gilles’ sons were diagnosed with Autism (at 2 years and 18 months respectively). As a family, they decided to do everything they could to provide the boys early professional and specialist intervention at all cost.  Both boys went to a private pre-school ASD specialist nursery and went on to be admitted to an ASD specific state school at Reception.  Alongside having to deal with a double dose of the usual every day Autism challenges - on virtually zero sleep for the first 5 years - Gilles' and his wife went on to become a school governor in an ASD school and to take on the local authorities in an successful attempt to a change of setting. They also embarked on a never-ending research for positive therapies that could help the boys with their development.

Having built a great network of resources and an even greater circle of influence within the world of Autism, it has now become a mission, to  bring this experience to bear to help and support as many families as possible so their battles become easier, their limited resources can be optimised and their children's lives are improved beyond what would otherwise be possible.

Guided by this passion, he brings with him a pioneering vision for a comprehensive online hub that will act as a one-stop shop of high-quality resources and recommendations for any parent needing support for their autistic child in any area, and which will be one of the cornerstones of The Transforming Autism Project.

Leadership

Guy Shahar

Founder, CEO

Guy grew up in Wolverhampton in the 1980s.  As a child and young adult, he had many undiagnosed autistic traits, especially affecting his social awareness and understanding.  This continued into his 20s, but after he began practising Heartfulness meditation aged 27, many of the adverse effects of these traits began to recede and he gained more command of his life and direction.

Now married with his own son of 8 years, who himself has autism, he has worked as a radio broadcaster, a TEFL teacher and teacher trainer, and most recently as a project manager in IT, a role he left in 2016 to establish this charity.

Early in 2016, he unexpectedly found himself writing a book, (Transforming Autism), which describes his family’s remarkable quest to support his son and transform his quality of life.  Through this quest, they found some truly remarkable therapies, which have opened their eyes to the true nature of autism and to effective ways to behave towards autistic children – especially young ones – to be able to bring out the best in them.

The book was written in little more than 6 weeks, and shortly following its completion, Guy launched the Transforming Autism Project as a means of raising awareness of the true potential inherent in autism and equipping parents and carers with the tools to bring out the best in their autistic children.  A major step forward in this will be taken with the establishment of a UK Mifne Clinic by 2020.

As well as meditation, Guy loves to write, and as well as his 2 books (the other - a collection of short stories - is called Leaving Town), he has also written a 6-part TV comedy series and 2 films.  He also enjoys music, playing the piano (and formerly the guitar), though not to any level of technical mastery, and only his own compositions.

Louise Dearnley

Strategy & Improvement

With over 20 years experience in international business, Louise has led teams at companies including Metro, GE and IBM. Her main areas of expertise are strategy, risk management and sustainability.

Louise is deeply committed to enabling everyone to fulfil their potential. She has extensive experience in developing and facilitating leadership programs, coaching young people and designing experiential learning modules.   

Louise has a PPE degree from Oxford University and was a Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Martin Ogden

Outreach Director

Bio Coming Soon

Liz Rowe

Operations Director

I have extensive senior leadership experience in shaping and delivering children’s services and working for local charities, local authority and a national charity.

I like to focus energy on being child centred, ensuring that children and their families are at the heart of decision-making and planning for services, to ensure outcomes are positive and people feel empowered by the experiences.  This is why I feel hugely proud to be part of the Transforming Autism project.

When not working, Liz lives on the coast with her husband, three children and Deefer the dog enjoying the environment and the outdoors.

Marketing

Mig Berry

Marketing Lead (Digital)

Mig is an entrepreneur who launched her own business in the late 90s shortly after the birth of her first son. Her degree in Engineering from Imperial College provided the foundation for developing an online company which traded at an international level.

She brings eCommerce and Digital Marketing experience to the team. Having worked in the Baby Product Sector she also has detailed knowledge of the parent and baby world. As a mother of a teenager on the Spectrum she wants to help facilitate the spread of knowledge and information to other parents who are just starting out on this particular journey.

Beth Lowes

Communications

Beth is a communications consultant who wants to help people feel more in control of their health and wellbeing. A personal connection to Autism led her to The Transforming Autism Project, as a way to contribute her skills to a cause she’s passionate about. Her brother Joe, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, says she’s cool even though she knows very little about 90’s WWE.

A graduate of Aston Business School, she began her career in corporate communications at GSK. Beth now works  at a specialist health consultancy, ROAD Communications. Her main areas of expertise are communications planning, stakeholder engagement, and media relations.

beth.lowes@outlook.com

Richard Excell

Graphic Design & Branding

Richard has run his own company, Excell Design & Marketing, since 2005 helping SMEs to plan and implement marketing and visual communications. He has also worked closely with several charities, including Grassroots Suicide Prevention creating their branding and several successful campaigns.

With wide-ranging experience in creating organisations' identities, websites, advertising and digital campaigns, exhibition and event, as well as marketing strategy and planning, Richard is passionate about his work and the results for his clients.

Having a family member with Aspergers, he recognises and champions the importance of raising awareness of The Transforming Autism Project and promoting its goals as a charity.

studio@excelldesign.co.ukwww.excelldesign.co.uk

External Affairs

Ben Cook

External Affairs Lead

Ben is a public affairs and policy professional with ten years' experience both in consultancy and in-house roles. He is experienced in producing policy briefings and managing stakeholder relations, with a thorough knowledge of the workings of Westminster and Whitehall. He provides strategic advice, support and research to the early intervention awareness raising phase of the Transforming Autism Project.

Ben is volunteering with a number of local charities. This includes the Be-Enriched charity which provide community engagement and low-cost meals across South London for local people including anyone on a low income or in need of company. He has also recently completed four years with the Wandsworth Age UK Befriending Scheme.

Petra Jedlickova

Researcher

Petra has several years of administrative and project coordination experience from the Czech Republic and the UK. She joins the Transforming Autism Project charity as an Administrator while building her own business as a Virtual Student Administrator. She provides a remote organisational and administrative support for businesses serving international students, aims to reduce stress at workplace and enjoys engaging with the students. She believes in early intervention in autism and is proud to support Guy and Gilles in their work.

Projects (Mifne & Hub)

Naomi Lyons

Project Manager

An experienced Agile project manager and certified Scrum Master with a software engineering background, Naomi has lead development teams for 10 years for leading brands in Retail, E-commerce and Digital.  A team player, skilled in influencing people at all levels to promote better ways of working, with an excellent ability to remove obstacles and communicate across teams. A strong determination to succeed, and a collaborative working style that can help support teams with the most challenging goals.

Outside work, I like to spend time with my family, children, and closest friends.  My biggest passions are running, music and travel; these allow me to rest, relax and enjoy life.

Ruth Israel

Therapist and Volunteer

Ruth has been working as a psychotherapist since 2009. She is an avid supporter of "the earlier the better" when working therapeutically with autism; as  real change can occur when children's brains are developing.

Ruth works as a therapist with children and young people in schools, charities and privately. Her work is very diverse and she is passionate about working to help children, young people and families to feel better about themselves and in relation to others and the outside world.  This is done in the context of an empathic therapeutic relationship: in a safe, caring and confidential space. She works using image, metaphor, play, the arts, the body and more, to facilitate self-awareness and healing in children and young people with various issues. She is UKCP registered and a member of BACP.

Rob Baillie

Clinical Advisor

Coming Soon

Richard Lyne

Legal Advisor

Coming Soon

IT

Roland Baber

IT Lead

Roland is Technology lead for The Transforming Autism Project spanning infrastructure, technical services, web development, Hub platform and security. He has spent the majority of his career in the online learning sector in Information Technology, management and technical roles. Roland has led the development of class leading and award winning Learning platforms for both consumers and high profile clients including Google, the Royal Foundation and the International Olympic Committee.

Human Resources

Kim Walsh

HR Lead

Kim’s career in HR has spanned over 23 years working in various sectors including, Financial Services, Pharma Retail, FMCG Manufacturing and the Oil and Gas Industry.

Until August 2014 she was Human Resources Director for Europe for a global Financial Services Company.  Since then she has established her own HR Consultancy, specialising in Management, Leadership and Executive Development.

Kim believes passionately that great leaders are both visible and approachable and her mission is to help aspiring leaders become the very best version of themselves.

Ayomi  Soremekun

Recruitment Lead

A values-led, engaging and determined ‘people-hunter’, with cross-industry, full cycle recruitment experience, spanning Graduate to Executive hire. Specialties:

  • Full Cycle Delivery
  • Direct/Web-based Search and Sourcing
  • Candidate Experience Management
  • Stakeholder Relationship Management
  • Attraction, Assessment and Selection
  • Interviewing & Assessment Centre Management and Design
  • Vendor Management
  • End-to-end Recruitment Strategy Development

Elliott Rawstron

Recruitment

Elliott has recruited into the not for profit sector for 6 years, working with a range of businesses across a number of specialisms.

Joining the graduate scheme of one of the leading public and not for profit recruitment firms in 2011 he had 3½ successful years recruiting senior marketing, communications and fundraising professionals into the sector.

In 2015 he moved to a specialist marcomms recruitment business to set up the not for profit team and now leads on the contract and permanent recruitment of marketing, digital and communications professionals across a wide range of clients within the not for profit and public sectors.

Kaylea Bowker

Recruitment

Bio Coming Soon

Linda Litherland

Learning & Development

Bio Coming Soon

Consultant Support

Luke Osborne

Recruitment (Group Development Director, Compass Holding Group)

Luke specialises in executive search and brings a wealth of experience & extensive knowledge of the health and social care sector.

Prior to healthcare, Luke specialised in the placement of Director and Partner level hires with major consulting firms in the Europe and Middle Eastern markets.

Luke joined Compass Executives in 2015, where he focuses on Chair, CXO and Senior Managers in the independent sector (Private/NFP/VCs and PE Houses). In 2017 he was promoted to Group Development Director of Compass Holding Group, the biggest provider of permanent recruitment services in the health and social care sector, winning the ‘Recruiter of the Year’ Award at the HealthInvestor Awards this year.

Andy Sharma

Business Coach

Andy is a business and Executive coach, helping business owners increase their sales, make more profits and building better teams. Over last 25 years, Andy has had first-hand experience of starting, running and selling large businesses successfully, providing an excellent base to help other business owners succeed. Andy has a MBA in Strategy and Finance and has expertise in Planning, Sales & Marketing, Systemisation, Employee Engagement and Team Building.

Andy’s mission is to help business owners get more time, build better teams and improve profit margins with the help of proven strategies. Andy is looking for businesses with the potential to improve and grow and help them reach the next level. He is focussed on creating world abundance through business re-education.

Jess Coles 

Business Support

Jess Coles has over 20 year’s experience in improving business financial performance, working alongside operational, marketing and sales teams in corporates through to SMEs business across a number of sectors. Jess has also built several businesses from scratch, including his current venture Emerson Nash. Jess is a keen investor and undertakes pro bono work for charities and educational bodies. Jess is a Chartered Accountant and associate member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Stephanie Barrett

Graphic Designer

A graduate of the University of the Arts London. and Graphic Designer for the Fine Jewellery Company.  Stephanie also freelances for large beauty brands such as Shavata.

Having worked in a child orientated environment, she found volunteering for Transforming Autism so important:  She wanted to use her skills to help others as much as possible and so she recognised Guy & Gilles' passion.

With wide-ranging experience in digital and print, including design, social media, posters, websites, illustrations and high-quality photo re-touching, Stephanie loves her work and is always keen to take on new challenges and work with new people.

www.stephaniebarrettdesigns.wordpress.com