Leah Jones

Foundation Lead, The Early Careers Foundation

Leah leads The Early Careers Foundation and believes that anyone should be able to reach their professional potential, regardless of their start in life.

With a background in nonprofit management, Leah’s expertise lies in designing, developing and scaling youth development programmes that support young people from a variety of backgrounds. She has worked internationally, across the South Pacific, South Asia and Europe and genuinely believes that diverse teams lead to increased innovation, understanding and growth.

Leah attended the University of Bristol and has a BSc in Experimental Psychology, forming the basis of her curiosity about people and the experiences that make up the full scope of an individual.

Catherine Adam (Chair)

Director, Alchemy Consultants

Cath is lucky enough to divide her time between things that she finds interesting, important and enjoyable – so when asked to be the Chair of the Early Careers Foundation, which ticked all three of those boxes, she jumped at the opportunity.

Cath has spent her career dedicated to all things ‘people’, starting off in Recruitment and HR and then moving into consultancy at The Chemistry Group and individual coaching. She has had the opportunity to watch, advise and learn from the directors and board members she is lucky enough to work with, including the BBC, Just Eat, Principality Building Society, the Co-Op and many others.

At home, Cath has two adopted sons, one with brain damage that leads to behavioural and learning disabilities. This has given her the chance to learn about neurodiversity and social opportunities first-hand, and has led to a strong desire to give as much as possible to those who need a little more support to get their opportunity to succeed.

Barbara Ball

Managing Director, ASEND

Barbara has worked for over 40 years, in the UK and globally, as a consultant, senior manager and specialist teacher in the field of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). In 2011, Barbara set up ASEND, providing SEND services to Local Authorities and educational institutions.

Prior to this, she worked in a wide range of settings – including mainstream, as well as special needs schools, local authorities and the voluntary sector.

Her passion has always been around levelling the playing field for young people with diverse strengths and needs, ensuring that they get the support they need to become productive members of society.

Jamie Corbridge

Group Talent Director, Just Eat

Jamie is passionate about people. With 20 years in HR, he currently works as the Group Talent Director at Just Eat

He joined JET in 2019 following 10 years at Bupa, a global health and wellbeing firm. He is driven by his personal mission to help people have fulfilling careers, where everybody has an opportunity to succeed.

Having studied Law and Diplomacy at University, he stumbled into the world of HR by accident, but has built a career across all HR disciplines, working internationally for most of it.

He is passionate about finding simple, pragmatic ways to help organisations and their people reach their potential.

Christine Alexander

Ex-Headteacher & Educational Consultant

Christine has dedicated her professional life to primary education. Beginning her career working for an East London authority, Christine went on to become Head Teacher for two primary schools across the span of twenty-three years.

During her time as a Head, Christine saw firsthand how a commitment to raising standards of attainment and achievement, via strong leadership and the highest standards of teaching, can provide the foundation for success for all students, whatever their background.

Since then, Christine has continued to work across a variety of roles within education, including school inspections, school reviews, curriculum development, school governance and other improvement roles.

With now over 45 years in the education sector, Christine retains her determination to make a difference for all and the excitement for working with students, families, teachers and educational leaders.

Sim Riordan

Employer Partnerships | Head of Sales, Octopus MoneyCoach

Sim brings a people-centric, commercial background to her role as Trustee at The Early Careers Foundation.

Sim heads up Employer Partnerships at Octopus MoneyCoach, a scale-up that’s making financial wellbeing and inclusive support a reality in every UK workplace. Sim is a passionate believer in the role that corporates play in unlocking the potential of young people and adults and has seen first-hand the positive impact that mentorship and sponsorship can have on both confidence and attainment.

She is a vocal advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, and is at her happiest when coaching and supporting others to achieve goals that they did not think possible. Sim has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and alongside her work, she is currently completing her Executive MBA with Imperial Business School and Imperial College London.

Charlotte Bamford

Head of HR Beauty, PZ Cussons

As a trustee of The Early Careers Foundation, Charlotte brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for people, evidenced by her career in Human Resources & Early Talent.

With over 10 years of experience in the cosmetics and FMCG industry, Charlotte led the emerging talent programmes at L’Oreal through tough market climates for both graduates and apprentices, digitalising the onboarding and assessment processes.

Now the Head of HR Beauty at PZ Cussons, she believes in changing the perceptions around emerging talent and the return you can get in investing in talent at a grass-roots level. Charlotte never shies away from voicing her thoughts and brings a strong voice of creativity and innovation to the Board and definitely keeps us on our toes!

Elizabeth Shingler

Retired Children’s Services Manager

Elizabeth qualified as a social worker in 1980 and has worked for over forty years in Children’s Social Care Services in several Local Authorities and the voluntary sector.

She has a wealth of experience working with children from low-income backgrounds in both community and care settings, with Safeguarding and Children in Care as the focus of her professional life. She has also worked as a tutor, a trustee of an innovative charity working with substance-abusing young people and their families and been a Local Authority appointed School Governor.

Elizabeth retired from full-time work in 2017 and now works part-time as an independent auditor and complaint investigator, commissioned by the Local Authorities. In every one of these roles, Elizabeth has witnessed the limitations placed on so many young people by a lack of information and exposure to the possibilities of the world of work.

The phrase “you can’t be what you can’t see” rings true in her experience, with young people’s aspirations often limited not only by their imaginations, but also by the imaginations of others. She is delighted to be a trustee of ECF, imagining a different future for talented young people, whatever their background.

Daniel Ball

Founder & CEO, The Early Careers Company

Dan is the Founder of The Early Careers Group, CEO of The Early Careers Company and Trustee of The Early Careers Foundation.

Safe to say, he knows a thing or two about early careers and talent! Dan grew up in North London, and attended his local state school. While he was always studious and hardworking, he was not entirely sold on entering into Higher Education, despite being offered a place to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge.

At the age of 18, he joined a recruitment and marketing agency, Wiser, and worked his way up from Gap Year Intern to Associate Director with his own team over a period of six years. Although this was a valuable experience, Dan felt that the early careers industry was missing an element of social purpose.

In January 2021, he founded The Early Careers Group, spanning the Company and Foundation – to fill that very gap.


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