The Team

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, Daniel, and their life-changing visit to the Mifne Clinic in Israel. This turned Daniel's life around and opened Guy's eyes to the true nature of autism and to the most helpful and effective ways to bring out the best in young autistic children.

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 to make this treatment available to families here.

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.

 

Jessica Badley

HR Lead

Jessica has worked in the charity, education and voluntary sectors for over 15 years, and has a strong commitment to improving the lives and experiences of young people, especially those from disadvantaged and challenging backgrounds. She is MCIPD qualified and has particular interests in volunteer engagement and wellbeing as well as building organisational culture.  Outside of work, Jessica is an independent expert workplace verifier for the London Healthy Workplace Award, and enjoys travelling, playing netball and dancing. She is excited to be joining the Transforming Autism Project on its journey to unlock potential through early intervention.

 

Chi Azubike

Finance Manager

Chi a Fellow of Chartered Association of Certified Accountants – (FCCA) has 20 years post qualification experience in corporate finance, eleven of which were spent in the BBC and five in Capita.  Chi’s extensive finance experience cut across statutory, management, project and contract accounting.  Most of all, she is motivated both by the values shared within Transforming Autism Project team as well as a keen desire to contribute towards improving the lives and wellbeing of children with autism and their families.

 

Gilles Pelenc

Co-Founder

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 AS specialist nursery and went on to be admitted to an AS 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.

Currently Seeking: 

Trustees, COO, Delivery Leaders, Fundraising Leaders, Marketing Lead, External Affairs LeadIT Lead

Marketing

Amanda Sampson

Assistant Marketing Lead

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.

Natalie Tack

Digital Content Manager

Natalie is an experienced Content Manager who loves to read, write and edit. She has qualifications in Creative Writing, Journalism and Fashion Management (MSc), and
has previously held positions at Amazon and Samsung.

The passionate content creator is driven by the desire to develop new creative ideas and fluent in thinking outside the box.

Natalie believes that we are not limited to one path or audience; we simply need to tell stories that connect.

Currently seeking:

Web-Developer, Communications, Crowdfunding, Digital Marketing Co-ordinator, Assistant Marketing Leads

 

Therapists

Andrew Shahan

Therapist

Andrew Shahan, MA has spent the last 30 years working with and learning from children with autism and their families in early intervention programs, healthcare organizations, schools and university-based research programs.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from San Francisco State University and served on the first California State Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.

Andrew’s years of direct work with children and adolescents with challenging behavior inspired him to learn everything he possibly could about child development, autism and intervention from leading experts. Recognizing the widening gap between research and practice, Andrew focused his work on coaching parents and professionals to use simple strategies to promote children’s communication, social and emotional development.  Andrew is incredibly excited to bring his knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and deep trust in the power of families to impact their children’s development to The Transforming Autism Project.

 

Kendall Cygan

Therapist

Kendall has been working with children with an autism diagnosis since 2016. She is passionate about working and helping children and their families. She started as a therapeutic teacher for a preschool in the USA where she worked with children who had multiple behavioural and developmental issues. Her primary role as their teacher was to teach the young children coping skills, help them understand their emotions, and engage in free play with them.

Kendall currently works to help children with autism achieve their highest potential. Her job is something that she feels such a great reward from doing and so she chose to expand her expertise and begin working as a counsellor for families and parents who have children with an ASD diagnosis. She strongly believes in developing the entirety of the child and to do this, she ensures that the child along with the family are being fully supported.

With her two master degrees, Kendall hopes to pursue a doctorate degree in the near future to help extend autism awareness worldwide. She believes that each child deserves the best possible care, regardless of their financial status. Kendall has seen first hand the impact of therapeutic work with children and is a true supporter of providing early interventions to children with autism.

 

Zuzana Camm

Supporting Therapist

Zuzana Camm, MA, is a therapeutic play coach and child psychotherapist. Zuzana is passionate about sharing her knowledge about the therapeutic potential of child-led and developmentally sensitive play.

Zuzana sees play as a wonderful tool for cultivating personal and interpersonal wellbeing and more satisfying functioning in everyday life. Her work is anchored in over 20 years of experience of supporting children from 0 – 16 years old in a variety of care, educational and therapeutic settings and also in homes.

She has been mentored by senior psychotherapists and occupational therapists to deepen and widen her understanding of the fascinating connection between the emotions and sensory integration. Zuzana’s enthusiasm for her work is fuelled by witnessing the growing connection between the children and their parents as the therapeutic process unfolds.

 

Currently seeking

Child therapists with an interest in autism.

 

Delivery

Currently seeking

Project Managers and Delivery Leaders to oversee and drive our activities.

IT

Randy Perkins-Smart

Assistant IT Lead, Team Support

Randy is Interim IT Lead for The Transforming Autism Project.

He is an accomplished Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist / Professional, BCS Chartered IT Professional and Prince 2 Practitioner specialising in SharePoint and web based information systems. He has over 15 years’ experience working in and managing teams within various sectors.

 

Ato Abraham

IT Support

Ato has over ten years working in the IT industry, in multiple industry sectors, since graduating from Kingston University where he has gained experience performing a number of technical and project based roles. He is Microsoft, CompTIA and ITIL V3 certified.  Outside of IT he enjoys travelling, watching movies, sport and learning new languages.

 

Currently seeking:

IT Lead, Infrastructure, Website Management

 

Human Resources

Richard Riche

Culture & Engagement

Richard is an MBA qualified Communication, Culture & Engagement specialist. He has been helping people communicate more effectively for more than 20 years. He is passionate about helping positively change the culture of organisations, building high performance teams and creating great places to work.

Richard is a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) and through Toastmasters discovered the joy in helping people grow and become more confident.

As a husband and father Richard wants to help make the world a better place for his family. In his spare time he loves reading, baking with his daughter, cooking and is a die-hard Terry Pratchett fan. Richard is delighted to be part of the Transforming Autism team.

Rakhi Sen

Culture & Engagement

Rakhi has worked as a HR professional in the FMCG and Tech sectors for 7 years with an interest in developing organisational culture and leadership.

She is CIPD qualified and in her spare time enjoys spending time with family and friends, fitness and learning languages.

She is thrilled to be joining the Transforming Autism Project and raising awareness about Autism.

Katarzyna Sikorska

Culture & Engagement

Bio coming soon

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon Siqueira

Recruiter

Sharon is an experienced HR professional and recruiter. Her interest also lies in the area of career counselling.

She is excited to join and support the Transforming Autism Project.

 

Derek Sims

HR Governance

Derek, an experienced HR specialist initially worked in the private sector but the majority of his experience has been in the public sector with the NHS and the charitable sector with Oxfam.

Derek's initial experience was with Learning and Development before enjoying a comprehensive role as a HR Director. Finally with Oxfam Derek developed a major enthusiasm for volunteering and its power to change peoples lives.

For many years Derek has been aware of the inadequate services available for autistic children and their families and is delighted to have an opportunity to work with the Transforming Autism Project.

Currently seeking:

Recruiters, Recruitment Lead, Recruitment Admin, Culture & Engagement Specialists

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