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.

Teresa Cameron

Treasurer

A Qualified Corporate Treasurer with over 20 years’ experience Leading Finance Teams across Financial Services, Media, Not for Profit and FinTech industries.  Also Treasurer for a local Scouts group who have recently completed a Hut Redevelopment project after securing finance through Fundraising and Grants.

Having a son Joe, now 16, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 9 after a very long diagnostic process I am passionate about helping Children and Families with early intervention and support by being part of this exciting new charity.

When I am not working I like to spend time with my husband, 2 teenagers & 3 pugs and running in 10k & ½ Marathon events.

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.

Cyrielle Fleurance

Strategy & Improvement Director

Cyrielle brings a wealth of business experience - specifically in digital organisation transformation and leadership. Through the Strategy and improvement role, Cyrielle will be looking to further solidify the charity strategy, identify optimisation and improvement opportunities as well as enable volunteering teams to bring these to life.

When not working Cyrielle enjoys spending time with her husband and friends, running and swimming and will soon start preparing for a triathlon in September. But before that is about to become a first-time mum in the soon future.

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.

To Be Appointed

Delivery Director, 

Outreach Director

Marketing

Marty Hayes

Digital Marketing

Coming Soon

Tanvi Chaturvedi

Digital Marketing

Coming Soon

Fiona Keating

Web-Editor

Coming Soon

Helen Tang

Campaigns

Helen is a senior marketing professional with 20 years experience in the fast-moving consumer goods and retail sectors in Australia.


Since relocating to Switzerland she has been working on several pro bono marketing consulting projects and enjoys using her skills and experience to make positive contributions to various non-profit organisations.

Amanda Sampson

Campaigns

Amanda has worked in marketing and communications for many years for a broad range of industries including the third sector (The Dogs Trust, HFMA) as well as global organisations (Virgin, Axa) and currently enjoying a specialist customer experience role within the energy industry.  Amanda is really proud to be offering all the skills and experience gained from her career to date to support Transforming Autism make a difference and flourish.

Aicha Kassoul

Campaigns

Aicha has worked in Communications for over 10 years, working for a range of organisations including housing, education and financial regulation. Her main areas of specialism are corporate and employee engagement, strategy, change management and internal communications. She is keen to use her skills to help make a difference and raise awareness of the importance of early intervention.

David Maher

Communications

Coming Soon

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.

Despina Biri

Researcher

Despina is a researcher and editor. She has worked at UCL, King's College London, and as a consultant at the World Health Organization. As a freelancer, she supports effective public engagement for academia, policy, and charities.

An experienced academic and literary translator, she speaks Greek, Dutch, German and French, in addition to English. Her role in Transforming Autism is to gather evidence on early intervention,and to help raise awareness of emerging approaches to the treatment of autism.

Ruth Moyer

Research & Market Insight

Coming Soon

Projects (Mifne & Hub)

Claudio de Soussa

Therapist

I am a child/young person’s counsellor, specialist educator and trainer in autism and special needs with 27 years experience working in schools (from primary to further education), charities and privately.

I am passionate about facilitating a therapeutic process for healing and positively changing the lives of autistic people and their families to discover the great potential within themselves.  In therapy I work integrative and creatively, the main media of exploration and experience of healing is done with the use of the Arts.  I am also skilled in managing ‘challenging behaviour’ and in non-verbal requirements,

Jessica Olive

Therapist

Jessica is training as an Integrative Child Psychotherapist and working towards UKCP registration through study and a clinical placement within a North London based primary school.  Jessica is currently working with a number of children with ASD diagnosis and will be specialising in this area upon completing her studies.

She is passionate about helping children and their families to bear the pain that can result when children are in distress and need support in understanding and managing overwhelming emotions.

Jessica works using the arts to facilitate expression of emotion and to deepen understanding.  Her work extends beyond individual sessions to working closely with parents, the school and external agencies to provide a holistic approach to supporting each child.

Ruth Israel

Therapist

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

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

Morwenna McNeil

Volunteer Manager

Morwenna has worked in charities as an employee and volunteer for over ten years. After graduating from Cambridge, she completed an internship at The Stroke Association and a traineeship in Marketing & Administration. Morwenna ran her own business for two years, tutoring and mentoring young people.

In 2016 she began work at Teenage Cancer Trust delivering motivating and inspiring presentations on cancer awareness in schools and to professional audiences. Morwenna is an experienced stake-holder manager and builds and maintains supporter networks.

At TAP, Morwenna helps us work better as a team, delivering internal communications and constantly looking for new ways to support volunteers as our charity grows.

Dani Giles

Recruitment Lead

Dani is an experienced recruitment operations manager who has worked within the welfare to work sector and with private and public sector clients.

Dani has over 10 years recruitment experience and specialises is:

  • 360 recruitment process
  • Attraction and campaign management
  • Engagement & selection process
  • Headhunting
  • Relationship Management
  • Strategic planning and budgeting

Dani has a passion for working with non profit organisations.

Elliott Rawstron

Recruiter

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.

Maddy McAndrew

Senior Recruitment Coordinator

Maddy has several years’ experience in the charitiable, financial services and technology industries.  She has managed and coordinated recruitment administration alongside delivering small HR projects and providing executive assistance at director level. She is committed to using her extensive skills and experience to support others and make valuable contributions to non-profit organisations.

Outside work, Maddy likes to keep active at the gym and as a qualified massage therapist, she enjoys helping people relax from the stresses of everyday life.

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.

Andrew Bourke

Employment HR Consultant

Absolutely HR have a passion for protecting our clients, and ensuring that they get the best possible advice whatever the employee issues, on anything that impacts HR or Employment Law. We are business people in the people business.

We provide our clients with 24/7 HR and Employment Law support and advice, and where possible, we are onsite to help and assist with the issues at hand.

We offer a free initial HR Healthcheck to any potential client, which includes a review of their Contracts of Employment and Company Handbook.

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