Rob McMenemy, Chair of Trustees

Rob is an experienced business leader and Board Director, with a career spanning more than 30 years, largely in the media industry. He started his career at Capital Radio in 1983, quickly moving on to television (Grampian TV) in a variety of research & marketing roles. He then joined Newspaper Publishing plc as their founding Marketing Manager for their newspapers, The
Independent and The Independent on Sunday. (1986-1992).

Following completion of the Sloan Fellowship Programme at London Business School in 1992, Rob joined the Egmont Group, a Danish media conglomerate, where he managed a number of their publishing businesses around the world, culminating in the role of International CEO for Egmont Publishing.

Rob is now an independent management consultant, Board Director and coach.


Selman Ansari

Selman is a public and regulatory law specialist and a Senior Consultant in the Public Law Department at Bindmans LLP.
He provides advice and representation to a variety of not for profit and commercial organisations, regulated clients, public authorities and individuals on all matters of public law and regulation. His particular expertise is in advising not for profit entities and he regularly advises on charity law. As part of his practice, Selman advises and regularly comments on all aspects of the law and regulation affecting skills qualifications and their providers, including technical qualifications and apprenticeships. He is also the trustee of a large, not for profit social care provider.
Before joining Bindmans, Selman qualified as a barrister in public law chambers and was latterly a partner at a large charity law firm. He attended a comprehensive school in North London and went on to study at the London School of Economics.


Jeffrey Defries

Jeffrey Defries is the founder of the charity icould, an online resource of 1200 video career stories told by real people; the site attracts over 130,000 unique users per month.  He was Chief Executive of CRAC, the specialist career and research charity, from 2006 to 2012.

After early appointments in university administration, Jeffrey joined the Institute of Cancer Research in 1977, first as Deputy Secretary and then as Secretary. He was Assistant Director of the Science Museum between 1988 and 1998 before moving to London Business School where he held the post of Deputy Dean and Secretary from 1998 to 2001 He was Director of Corporate Services of NHSU from 2002 – 2005.

CPFA qualified, Jeffrey has held a number of not-for-profit and charity board positions in the UK and Europe. For several years he maintained a role as Senior Advisor to EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development). He is a Fellow of the RSA. Recently, he has been appointed Chairman of HEAN (Higher Education Access Network) and also a trustee of the charity Springboard (children’s literacy).

Natalie Perera

Natalie is currently Executive Director and Head of Research at the Education Policy Institute, and worked in the Department for Education from 2002 to 2014. She helped to deliver the 2005 Childcare Act through Parliament, leading on the delivery of a new duty on local authorities to secure sufficient childcare. Natalie also led on research and policy interventions to narrow the gap between disadvantaged children and the rest in the early years.

After leading on the Department’s spending review bid for children and family services in 2010, Natalie then took up post as the Head of the School Funding Reform Unit where she led on the design of a new national funding formula, allocation of the Pupil Premium, reform of academies funding and funding for universal free school meals. During this time, Natalie led a radical series of reforms to simplify school funding and improve transparency between local areas.Between 2014 and 2015, Natalie was seconded to the Cabinet Office where she worked in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office.

Natalie is the principal author of the EPI reports Education in England: Annual Report 2016, and The implications of the National Funding Formula for schools. Natalie is also a Director of a Multi-Academy Trust in South London.

Dr Mattia Romani

Dr Mattia Romani is Managing Director for Economics, Policy and Governance at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He is also Senior Visiting Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. Before joining the EBRD in 2014, he was the Deputy Director General and Chief Economist of the Global Green Growth Institute, an international organization based in South Korea created to support developing and emerging countries on their green growth plans.

He was previously with McKinsey and Company, where he worked as a senior expert since 2009. He served as Lord Nicholas Stern’s deputy on the UN Secretary General High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Finance in 2010. Between 2007 and 2009, he worked as the lead economist on the Stern Review team in the UK Government. He was previously at Shell International working on long-term scenarios. Between 1999 and 2003 he worked at the World Bank in Washington DC, Abidjan and Antananarivo. He holds a doctorate (D.Phil.) in economics from the University of Oxford and a M.Sc. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.


Natalie Whitty

Natalie is Group Head of External Communications at RSA Insurance Group, leading their corporate and product communications and media relations, social responsibility strategy and programmes, government relations and advocacy efforts. Prior to this she held senior communications, brand and strategy roles at the Post Office, Pearson and Teach First.