Our Advisory Panel

The IntoUniversity Advisory Panel is made up of representatives of the charity’s stakeholders, including former students. They meet three times a year with the IntoUniversity Trustees to discuss topics of concern and interest to the charity. The Panel also provides advice and guidance to the Senior Leadership Team of the charity.

The Panel


Adetayo Akinyemi was previously a student at our Hackney South centre. He joined our Advisory Panel in May 2016 and later that year began studying Maths and Spanish at Queen Mary, University of London.

Dr David Alleyne left school at 16 and completed his studies to BSc level part-time. He is currently the CEO of Guided Ultrasonics Ltd (“GUL”), a company he founded in 1998 to exploit the technology he developed during his research at Imperial College London. An important by-product of GUL’s technology was the company ethos and its social objective to provide formal training and opportunities to thousands of technicians, mostly young, all over the world. David is committed to expanding opportunities for young people through education and self-realisation and has been mentoring through a variety of programmes, offering engineering apprenticeships, internships and providing work experience and scholarships throughout his 20+ years in the industry, while being a foster carer for over 10 years.

Tom Arbuthnott oversees Eton College’s work within the educational commonwealth, with a focus on widening access, on multiple and diverse partners including IntoUniversity, and on student volunteering. He taught English in inner city state schools, particularly in Birmingham, before building his career developing cross-sector partnerships both in Birmingham and Berkshire.

Gary Attle has over 30 years’ experience as a Solicitor in private practice and has advised universities and colleges for most of his career on a wide range of legal issues. He gave notice in 2023 to retire from the partnership at Mills & Reeve LLP where he had been Sector Leader for the firm’s work in the Higher Education and Research Sector for over 20 years. He was recognised for many years in the legal directories (Legal 500 and Chambers) as a leading adviser on the law relating to higher education. Gary was the first in his family to go to university and the first from his comprehensive school in Suffolk to be awarded a degree from Oxford University.

Maria Bentley has over 35 years experience in the financial services sector, specialising in fixed income and Human Resources. She currently is a non-executive director of Nomura Europe Holdings plc and Picton Property Income Limited, in addition to providing advisory services on HR.

Nils Blythe is a communications consultant and was Director of Communications at the Bank of England from 2011 to 2014. Before joining the Bank, he had a long career in journalism, including 22 years at the BBC as a correspondent and presenter on television and radio.

Lady Deborah Buffini chairs the Buffini Chao Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation which she and her husband Sir Damon established in 2005 to support education and opportunities for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Debbie is currently a Board member of the English National Ballet and prior to this was on the Board of Eastside Young Leaders Academy, a charity based in Newham, East London. Debbie’s earlier career was as a solicitor, specialising in ship finance.

Nicholas Bull is a trustee of CET, the multi academy trust, and for nine years was a member of Council of the University of Exeter. He is a trustee of the Design Museum and a past Master of the Tallow Chandlers livery Company. Following a career in the City, he is currently the Senior Independent Director of global thread manufacturer, Coats Group plc.

Simon Cairns recently retired as Chair of the Charities Aid Foundation. He has also been chair of the Commonwealth Development Corporation, the Overseas Development Institute, Voluntary Service Overseas and is currently a board member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

Clare Carolan is an independent consultant with particular expertise in strategic communications, marketing and business planning. Her experience spans both the commercial and third sectors in a range of areas including health, education, media, conservation and social enterprise.

Jess Cecil is a Trustee of the University of Bristol, and chairs the Board Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is a former Director of the BBC, where she founded and led the international alliance fighting disinformation, made up of leading tech companies and news organisations – the Trusted News Initiative. She led the major initiative to inspire a new generation to get creative with digital technology, resulting in the development of a codeable computer, the micro:bit, now used by 25 million children worldwide. She was Chief of Staff to four BBC Director-Generals. She is an Emmy-nominated programme maker and senior journalist, and was Assistant Editor of Newsnight. She is a Governor of Westminster School.  She is on the advisory body of Rand Europe, is on the International Council of the Wallace Collection and is a member of Adjunct Faculty at Chatham House.

Victoria Corcoran was the Senior Vice President and Worldwide Client Service Director at Ogilvy and Mather Advertising. She has had a 15-year career in advertising, based in 3 different offices – Ogilvy New York, Sydney and London – working with international clients such as American Express, Kraft/General Foods, Unilever, Kimberly-Clark, Hallmark Cards and Duracell, and a range of pro bono clients such as Amnesty International, World Wildlife Fund. Victoria is currently Director of The Corcoran Foundation, a small family charitable foundation, and a community volunteer.

Meeta Dave has been teaching and in school leadership for the last 30 years and a headteacher since 2011. Her experience and passion has always been to work in and support inner-city Primary schools in order to empower pupils to bring about positive changes for themselves and their communities.

Patrick Derham was a trustee of IntoUniversity from 2007 to 2020 and served on a number of committees and was Vice Chair of the Board during this time. He served as Headmaster of Westminster School from 2014 to 2020, and previously as Headmaster of Rugby School where he developed the Arnold Foundation Bursary programme.

Adele Eastman is a solicitor at Farrer & Co., where she specialises in child protection. Adele was formerly a Senior Policy Specialist at the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), where she spent two years on secondment at the charity Kids Company. Adele was a founding Trustee of the Tom ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Fund.

Roger Enock spent 33 years as a solicitor specialising in commercial litigation at Freshfields and US firm Covington and Burling. He retired in 2016 and is currently taking a Masters at the London School of Economics in International History.

Cortland Fransella is an Anglican priest and former member of H M Diplomatic Service. After nearly 15 years of parish ministry in North London, he is now the Assistant Priest at the Chapels Royal in H M Tower of London and also works for the Archbishop of Canterbury as the Lambeth Awards Officer. He is a keen proponent of life-long learning and has been an IU volunteer in Secondary Academic Support at the Haringey North centre since January 2011.

Perdita Fraser is a board member of the National Lottery Community Fund and of the University of Edinburgh. She has been involved for over 20 years with youth education and social mobility charities including Rugby Portobello Trust (P3) and Access Aspiration. Perdita has spent the last 20 years working in the cleantech industry in the UK and the US as a director, investor and consultant, following a decade in finance.

Katrin Henkel is a specialist in Old Master drawings. She has been a Director of Colnaghi in London since 2002, and also serves on a number of museum and other committees.

Mouhssin Ismail is the first Principal at the Newham Collegiate Sixth form which was set up in 2014 to support young people from the second most deprived borough in London access the most competitive universities in the UK and abroad. He was born and grew up in East London so has understanding and appreciation of the challenges young people from these communities face.  Following his school and university studies, Mouhssin became a banking and finance lawyer for a City law firm before re-training to become a teacher.  He is committed to advancing social mobility and sees education as the vehicle by which to make this change and is working with a range of stakeholders to advance social justice.

Denise Jagger was a corporate finance lawyer in the City before assuming executive roles in retail and professional services. Until recently she was Chair of the University of York through which she has taken a keen interest in the establishment of IntoUniversity centres in the East of England. She is currently a non executive director of Reach plc, Topps Tiles plc and a Trustee of the National Trust.

Fiona Laffan is Global Head of Corporate Affairs at ICG. Prior to this, Fiona spent 10 years in-house, running communications for Goldman Sachs for EMEA, and as Corporate Communications Director at Lloyds Banking Group. She has also held senior roles in consultancy, as Managing Director of the London business for Prosek Partners, and as a Partner at Brunswick Group. Fiona started her career in investment banking as an equity analyst. Fiona graduated from the University of Oxford with a first class MA in Modern History.

James Lambert is a founder investor in and Deputy Chairman of Value Retail, which developed and operates Bicester Village and ten sister villages throughout Europe and in China. He served as Chair of Trustees for IntoUniversity between 2009 and 2018.

Paywast Lateef is a recent first-class law graduate currently studying the post-graduate Legal Practice Course combined with a master’s degree at the University of Law. Her experience spans both the legal and commercial sectors such as business, communications, sales and advisory. She has been a member of the Student Advisory Panel at IntoUniversity since its inception in 2019. As a former student of the charity, Paywast also has participated in a wide range of opportunities, including Big City Bright Future, Academy of Enterprise, and a summer placement with Aramco Europe.

Tim Lee is CEO of the online recipe box service, Mindful Chef. Tim was previously Head of Strategic Planning for food at Marks & Spencer and spent fifteen years at Tesco in senior roles in the UK and internationally. Tim was a founder and former Trustee of the Sara Lee Trust and is married with two children.

Janet Legrand KC (Hon) is the former Senior Partner and Global Co-Chair of DLA Piper. She chairs The Children’s Society’s Trustee Board, is  Senior Lay member of Court at the University of Edinburgh. Janet was a founding Board member of PRIME, the legal profession’s commitment to improving access to the profession, and led Break into Law, her firm’s global widening participation programme, for 10 years.

Sir Alasdair Macdonald was Headteacher of Morpeth School in Tower Hamlets for 20 years. He has also taught in Malawi and Papua New Guinea. He is currently working for the Institute of Education on developing school partnerships, for several Local Authorities on school improvement and as a Headteacher mentor.

Davina Mallinckrodt is the founder and CEO of a communications and public relations agency, specialising in the field of design and decorative arts, based in London.  She is a Patron of The Design Fund for the V&A and sits on the Curatorial Committee of The Design Museum. Davina actively supports a number of charities and is married with two young sons

Rosemary O’Mahoney was a partner with Accenture in Chicago and Paris and specialised in implementing Information Technology applications for global clients. Since her retirement in 2006, she has focused on using her professional experience to help a number of charities in the UK and France, including Camfed, Youth Business International and 1001fontaines.

Adil Mehmood has been involved with IntoUniversity since 2012 as a student, taking part in a variety of programmes, including the Big City Bright Future programme. He has been a member of the Student Advisory Panel, and is currently a volunteer and mentor at the Nottingham Central Centre. After completing his BSc in Economics, Adil spent a short period of time at Schroders as a Graduate Analyst. Thereafter, he moved back to Nottingham where he is currently an ESL tutor at Catch22 along with heading up the enrichment programme and Duke of Edinburgh award at the college. Adil is very keen to continue supporting young people within his local community and beyond.

Priscilla Mensah is a passionate advocate of social mobility through education who works in international development policy. Whilst at the University of Cambridge for her undergraduate degree in Politics and Sociology (2012-2015), Priscilla focused on widening participation and the experience of black minority ethnic students, leading the first university-wide survey on race relations, off the back of which the University established a working group on racism and the student experience. Priscilla went on to become the first black woman to be elected president of the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) in 2015. During her tenure, Priscilla established the first ‘Black Students’ Open Day’ and expanded the reach of ‘Fly’ (the University’s BME women’s network), which she co-founded in 2013.

Lucy Morris is a Trustee of CHK Charities and a volunteer at IntoUniversity. She also helps with fundraising.

Harlem Nguyen is a trainee teacher currently studying at the University of Cambridge, and recently graduated from Durham University with a BA in History and English Literature. She attended IntoUniversity Lambeth for ten years whilst at school and participated in a range of programmes during this time. Her interactions with IntoUniversity have fostered a love of education and played a fundamental role in her decision to pursue a career in teaching.

Solomon Pervez is a Financial Analyst at BGC Group where he works in the Strategic Investments Group covering in house M&A. He previously worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at Barclays Investment Bank. He graduated from UCL in 2020 with a BSc in Biochemistry. He first engaged with IntoUniversity in 2016 and has worked on the Student Advisory Panel, partaken in academic mentoring and has a volunteered extensively at partner events.

Hilai Qahari has recently graduated from Brunel University with a law degree and is now studying the Legal Practice Course at University of Law, in order to qualify as a solicitor. She was previously a member of the Student Advisory Panel. Hilai attended the IntoUniversity Brent centre and has been with IntoUniversity for a decade, having first attended a Primary FOCUS Week and is now a member of the Advisory Panel.

Steve Rafferty has recently left BlackRock where he was the Global COO for Fixed Income. He is a co-founder of Big City Bright Future, a BlackRock-led initiative which provides 120 students from IntoUniversity with a three week placement across 17 city firms in London. Steve continues to work on developing the Big City Bright Future program in quality and number of students and partner firms.

Alec Rattray has worked in strategic communications for 25 years, with a particular focus on branding. Since 2008, Alec has operated as an independent consultant, helping clients to think about and articulate their strategic purpose, market positioning and brand personality.

Caspar Rock is Chief Investment Officer of Cazenove Capital, one of the U.K’s leading Charity and Private Wealth Managers, and has overall responsibility for their investment strategy. He is a Trustee of Chance to Shine, the national charity on a mission to spread the power of cricket through schools and communities.  He is also a non-executive director of Geoffrey Faber Holdings, the holding Company for publishers Faber & Faber, and Faber Music.

Samaira Saleem graduated with a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Nottingham in 2020 and joined the Civil Service as a Policy Officer shortly after. She was a member of the Student Advisory Panel during her time at university and subsequently joined the Advisory Panel after graduation. She has participated in a number of IntoUniversity programmes during her time at school, and looks forward to continuing her support of the charity.

Nitin Sharma is a Portfolio Manager at BlackRock. He is co-founder of Big City Bright Future,  a BlackRock-led initiative which provided 120 students from IntoUniversity with a three-week placement across 17 city firms in London. Nitin continues to work on expanding this programme.

Mary Ann Sieghart spent 19 years as an Assistant Editor and columnist on The Times before leaving to pursue other interests. She presents documentaries on Radio 4, chairs the Social Market Foundation think tank, sits on several boards, and is currently a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, writing a book about women’s authority.

Nat Sloane is a successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist and investor. Nat is the England Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund and the founding chair of Social and Sustainable Capital-one of the largest social investment fund managers in the United Kingdom. He is also the Chair of Pause, an innovative charity working to support women to reduce the number of children taken into care and is the co-founder of Impetus Trust, the first venture philanthropy trust fund in the UK. Nat is a founder trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation, the UK’s largest What Works Centre.

Dr Ros Smith is a Founder Director of Student Information Services which provides the website BestCourse4me.com, a free-to-use website providing information to help students choose university courses, and is a Trustee of a grant-awarding trust specialising in education.  Prior to this, she was Operations Director of a software business.

Dami Solebo is currently the CEO of ClementJames an organisation that strives to improve the lives of marginalised people in North Kensington, and the sister charity of IntoUniversity. Dami was previously a director of Finding Rhythms, a charity delivering creative interventions in prisons and community settings and worked with Voyage Youth, an organisation providing mentoring and education support to young BAME people at risk of social exclusion. Dami is involved with a number of educational and social enterprises as an advisor including Comic Relief and the Youth Endowment Fund and is a Trustee for Khulisa and Maths on Toast. He also brings skills and experience from his career in the financial sector to the governance and finance of the charity.

Chris Stephens is Emeritus Professor of Medical Education at the University of Southampton. Prior to his retirement he worked as a General Practitioner and was Associate Dean for Education in the Medical Faculty. He has always been interested in widening participation and led the team that developed BM6, an innovative widening access to Medicine programme.

Amelia Sussman recently stepped down from Impetus Private Equity Foundation, where she was an Investment Director for 11 years, working closely with many of the portfolio charities and with the private equity community.  Prior to that, she was COO at Common Purpose. She is currently on the Board of the Capital City College Group and Chairs the City and Islington College Advisory Group.

Colin Tyler leads the Technology and Media Practice at OC&C Strategy Consultants, a global advisory firm. He was recently named by The Sunday Times, as one of the 10 most influential Britons for his work in the technology space. OC&C and Colin have supported IntoUniversity since 2008 through a series of pro-bono consulting engagements – most recently leading the initial analysis on the Geography of Need.

Tim Webb is the Global Head of Fixed Income at BlackRock, the world’s largest investment management firm. Tim has over 24 years of experience covering a wide range of senior investment management roles.

Eric Wilkinson is a highly experienced senior executive, having had significant success as a private equity and venture capital investor and co-founding Top Golf Inc in the US. He has sat on numerous boards, and is currently a non-executive director of Vaughan Lighting Limited, CEED Limited, Smart TMS Limited and LEO Limited. Eric is also Chairman of the Advisory Board of 8 Hours Ahead, and a member of the advisory board of Committed Capital LLC.

Nick Wright is Vice-Chair, Social Impact and Philanthropy at UBS. He has over 30 years’ experience in financial services with expertise in fixed income and community investment. He has overseen the development of UBS’s award-winning Community Affairs programme which has a focus upon social mobility. He is a=Chair of Governors of The Bridge Academy, Hackney and a Trustee of UBS’s Donor Advised Foundation. Nick has a BA in History.

Abdullahi Yussuf has been involved with IntoUniversity since 2016 as a member of the Student Advisory Panel, a summer intern, student, mentor and ambassador. He works closely with the Hackney South Centre. Abdullahi is currently studying MSc Human Rights at LSE. He has recently been involved in the Royal Albert Hall’s Young Producer Programme, where he produced an event called Licence To DV8. He also volunteers at Coram, a youth-focused charity, We Belong, as a podcaster and young migrants’ rights campaigner, and has multiple roles in justice, immigration, advocacy and translator at Hackney Migrant Centre (HMC). He also centres his advocacy on disability rights, as he’s a person living with the physical disability of Cerebral Palsy with left hemiplegia. He recently co-published an academic journal article titled ‘Breaking the Refugee Mould Through Curation’, highlighting how migrants utilise celebratory festivals to express themselves and showcase their creativity via drama, music, poem and other forms of art.