Abdi Omar is a motivational speaker, YouTuber, entrepreneur, disability and Cerebral Palsy campaigner.
“There are millions of people with disabilities around the world that are dreaming for opportunity to get what I have. Therefore since 2012 I have been using my voice to inspire & motivate people. I use my disability as my biggest motivation to achieve the impossible. I love to overcome the odds and change people’s perceptions about disability.”
Akvile Terminaite - Freelance Educator Facilitator & Creative Content Designer
As an educator with a background in art & design and science communication, Akvile is excited to contribute to iOi’s mission of bringing engaging STEAM learning experiences to disadvantaged and marginalised communities across England. As a passionate tinkerer, she believes in creating more spaces for imagination and creativity.
A serial entrepreneur, with a track record of building and scaling digital businesses, globally, Alan was previously Head of Higher Education EMEA, then Director Apple Education China/AsiaPAC. He led the team who built Education Podcasting, project managed the launch of iTunes U throughout UK, Europe then China, worked on the development of Apple Education mobile strategy and iOS Education APPs. He has built a CSR partnerships titled SEED, a collaboration between Apple, Foxconn and Pearson that remains a key part of Apple CSR. Currently a Senior External Advisor to McKinsey&Co. on Health Tech and Education, Venture Partner at EDT&Partners an education sector consultancy. Alan retains executive and non-executive roles with portfolio of business in education, health, blockchain and digital, worldwide.
Comic Relief, former Senior Director
Amandeep Hoonjan - Partnerships & Philanthropy Manager (P/T)
What first drew me to the iOi was their values which resonate and reflect my own personal values. In a world that is becoming more volatile, uncertain and divided, we need to ensure we are lifting up, making space and creating opportunities for children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. As a parent myself, it’s heartening to see that the iOi focuses it support not only on the child but their who learning ecosystem – from parents, teachers to communities and wider touchpoints. Since joining, I have had the privilege of working with a group of people who have a vision of a better world, a world that does not exist yet but one that will be created by our children.
Andi Oliver is a British chef, television and radio presenter.
“I love the work of the iOi and the organisation’s values really resonated with me. Imagination has been crucial for me in my life and career, and I am passionate about giving children the opportunity to continue using their imagination for their future. The iOi Schools Programme is essential in developing life skills such as the ability to think creatively, problem solve and build resilience and I’m very happy to be supporting such a progressive organisation working hard to support the education outcomes of many children.”
Basil Demeroutis - Chair
Basil is Founder and Managing Partner of FORE Partnership, a real estate investment firm. Previously a partner at Capricorn Investment Group, a significant single-family office focused on driving investment returns through a values-based, impact-oriented approach.
Bethany is an entrepreneur working at the intersection of design and digital technologies. She is the Founder and Chief Executive of Tech Will Save Us, a company with a mission to give 4-12 year old children experiences building with technology that are fun and develop learning advantages.
Hodder Education, Director of Digital Change
Carrie Anne Philbin MBE - Director of Learning
Carrie Anne Philbin MBE is an award-winning educator, computing teacher, author, YouTuber, and podcast host who is passionate about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and how imagination and creativity are interwoven within these and other subjects. In 2020, she was awarded an MBE for services to STEM education. Carrie Anne strives to support students, parents, and educators around the world in creative and critical thinking learning experiences. Alongside her work in formal education in the UK, Carrie Anne also hosts a Computer Science series on popular educational YouTube channel Crash Course and creates technology tutorials on her own channel the Geek Gurl Diaries.
Catherine Lambert - Director of Marketing & Communications
Catherine has worked in marketing across the creative industries for over 15 years focussing mostly on bringing creative content and engagement opportunities to children, families and schools through the arts, theatre and education.
Catherine is passionate about giving children opportunities to develop their curiosity and creative thinking, build the skills needed for resilience and problem solving for their future, especially children in underserved communities.
Charlie worked in banking and investment management at JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs and was CEO at two boutique firms. He is now a non-executive director and on advisory boards of various investment related businesses. Charlie is currently a Trustee of the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund and is a former Trustee of Bloodwise.
Claire is a senior digital and media advisor. In addition to being a Trustee of the Institute of Imagination, she is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Charity Digital and sits on the Board of Directors of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). She is an Advisor-In-Residence with media consulting collective PXI, a start-up mentor for investment firm Ascension Ventures and part of the experts network for global consultancy Arthur D. Little.
An experienced C-level executive and board member, Claire has spent the last twenty years building and growing creatively and commercially successful content and digital businesses globally. She pioneered the use of digital media in the content industry, working with global TV brands from American Idol to Peppa Pig. She was Global Head of Digital for Fremantle for 12 years and has worked extensively with all the major content and digital media giants. She has won multiple awards for her work.
Dame Mary Marsh
Dame Mary Marsh is an educator and entrepreneur. She began her career as a Geography teacher, before taking on the roles of Deputy Head and Headteacher. Following this, she was the CEO of the NSPCC from 2000-08, and is now a Board member of Teach First, HSBC, and London Business School.
Damian Griffiths - Director of Finance & Enterprise (P/T)
Since qualifying as a Chartered Accountant at the London office of EY, Damian spent over 10 years as a director of innovation firm, New Solutions. Following this, he engaged with a number of growing businesses in the creative and consulting sectors, taking a particular interest in organisations with a purpose beyond profit.
Diana is one of the Institute of Imagination’s co-Founders. Professionally, she has been dedicated to innovation in childcare and family support, providing consultancy for organisations such as Work/Family Directions in Boston.
Emma Brand - Freelance Educator Facilitator
I’ve always loved creative activities, especially writing and performing. But I’ve also loved disappearing into imaginary worlds through reading, and stretching my imagination to picture future worlds, other worlds, other ways of living. iOi workshops combine arts with science in order to show young people just what their imaginations can achieve, and what they can aspire to do later in life. iOi offers an opportunity to think differently about the world, and an opportunity to test, explore, fail, and try again. As a performer and facilitator, this is an ethos that comes into all my work, and I feel privileged to be part of a team that creates these opportunities for young people to learn by playing, exploring and creating.
Emma Callow - Creative & Content Lead
Emma is an insatiably curious learning designer, presenter, tinkerer and producer. Emma is highly experienced in designing engaging spaces for teachers, children and their families to play and learn together, where they can find out new things about the world around them and each other.
Emma has 17 years of experience working with schools and marginalised communities, and is committed to inclusive learning, especially for neurodivergent communities. She is passionate about developing innovative blended learning experiences and pedagogical approaches that inspire us all to go mind-wandering and be in a state of awe and wonder. Her goal is to encourage everyone to go on their own journeys of curiosity in the world of STEM and imagination.
Fernand Frimpong Jnr - Freelance Educator Facilitator
I’m thrilled to be part of an organisation where the power of imagination and creativity is celebrated. I’ve always relied on and found power in my imagination from a young age, and at the Institute of Imagination I take great pleasure in inspiring the next generation to do just that. With my experience working in schools and with young people, seeing faces light up and come up with innovative creative solutions to modern problems is really the best feeling. Plus, the Institute of Imagination – what an inspiring and exciting name!
James Brown - Production Manager
James has worked with SEND children and their families across a variety of initiatives and organisations for several years. He has a background working with children with additional needs through experiential therapies and sensory play. His expertise helps the iOi team ensure that SEND children are able to have their strengths recognised and nurtured. Alongside his work with children and families, James makes excellent use of a background in property development to meticulously manage events, keep the Imagination Lab running smoothly and ensure our tech is tip top.
Jennifer Luk - Projects Development Lead
I love working at iOi as I am driven by getting every child, regardless of their background to feel empowered not only to build the best life for themselves but also inspired to play a key role in building the world they want to grow up in.
My background is in developing and delivering innovative projects for families from marginalised communities for national charities such as BookTrust. My passion is making sure these children’s voices are heard throughout our design and delivery processes so that we know it will really meet their needs.
Jess Joyson - Programmes Lead (Maternity Leave)
Joining us from Teach First, Jess has ample experience in child and adult education. Prior to Teach First, Jess was a secondary school teacher and a learning assistant in a cultural organisation. She champions educational equality both in and out of the classroom, and is currently studying for her Masters in Leadership in Education at UCL Institute of Education.
Jonathan Godsi - Freelance Educator Facilitator
As a trained actor and writer, creativity has always been my passion, and at the heart of everything I do. Creativity is something that comes so naturally to so many children, and as we say, it truly is their superpower. I’m so excited to be part of a team working to nurture those instincts, and help children use that superpower to change the world!
Laura is an expert Visitor Experience Consultant, having worked across top UK attractions including holding the role of Visitor Experience Director at the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour during concept design and development for their opening in 2012.
Maia Abayomi - Digital & Marketing Officer
From a young age, creativity and imagination have been of great interest to me. Growing up, I knew that working in education was paramount for me, and my experiences teaching in a school previously made this concrete. At the Institute of Imagination, our vision of a world where every child has the equal opportunity and skills to imagine and achieve their fullest potential resonates greatly with me. I’m proud to be part of a team that is working together to champion imagination and creativity to make this happen!
Mark Wallinger is an artist and Turner Prize winner.
“How are we developing our imaginations in this increasingly mediated, screen-based sedentary world, where play is a button to press? Our aim is to restore a sense of wonder at life’s possibilities; enabling people to discover things about themselves that they wouldn’t find in any other way.”
Martin Allen Morales - CEO
Creativity with a purpose to positively serve people and Mother Nature has been the connecting thread in some way in all of my work for over 30 years.
As I grew up, I was guided by some treasured educators, mentors and leaders over the years. As a result I was blessed with the curiosity to seek the space, tools, and opportunities for my creativity to thrive and I believe every child should have that same chance.
Imagination is the starting point of creativity and so if we can nurture our imagination then we can help society and our natural world, not just ourselves. I’d like to help achieve that for as many children as possible, especially those which suffer from a poverty of opportunity and I can’t think of a better place to do that in than at the iOi.
Max August - Fundraising Officer
Following his graduation in 2021, Max worked at Citizen’s Advice, assessing and advising client issues. His role later expanded to research into the delays of Personal Independence Payment entitlements in his home county. After a period in financial technology recruitment, Max is now utilising his experience within the FinTech sector, and commitment to social impact to support the Institute of Imagination’s goals for our major fundraising campaign.
Michael Morpurgo OBE
Michael Morpurgo is an author, playwright and former Children’s Laureate.
“Encouraging young people to believe in themselves and find their own voice whether it’s through writing, drama or art is so important in giving young people a sense of self-worth.”
Michelle Dorion - Vice Chair
A former banker, Michelle oversees a family office with interests in renewable energy, finance, insurance and real estate. A former member of the Board of Directors of Bacardi Ltd, Michelle is one of the Institute of Imagination’s co-Founders.
Nordorf Robbins, former Trustee and Treasurer
Nadeem Din-Gabisi - Freelance Educator Facilitator
As an artist, creativity and imagination have always been at the forefront of my work. During my time as a youth and play worker, this understanding became even more apparent. I have sought many ways to merge my artistic practice and my passion for working with young people and the Institute of Imagination has proven to be the perfect place to do just that. The Institute of Imaginations vision of an equitable world where every child has the opportunity to imagine and achieve resonates with me deeply. Working at the Institute of Imagination gives me the opportunity to contribute to children’s growth and development through creativity and that is a joy and a pleasure!
Nileema Yesmin - Programmes & Content Manager (P/T)
Nileema has been working across arts and culture, in Heritage, Research and Film and TV. She loves engaging diverse audiences and bringing them together for shared learning experiences and knowledge exchange that supports creative learning and growth. She is excited to contribute towards Newham’s evolution as a hub of diversity, creativity and innovation. As a native and local, she is delighted to bring her experiences and imagination Home to Newham.
Managing Partner, Joelson
Poppy Parry - Programme Manager (Maternity Cover)
Poppy is an artist and educator with twelve years’ experience working for cultural organisations and charities across London. Deeply passionate about the importance of community, access and education, Poppy is delighted to join the iOi to oversee its communities programme and support its mission to empower all children to build a better tomorrow.
Professor Alison Gopnik - Founding Patron
Alison Gopnik is a Professor of Psychology and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, USA
Professor Alison Gopnik delivered the inaugural Institute of Imagination lecture: watch the lecture on YouTube.
Sarah Coia - HR Consultant (Freelance)
Sarah has 20 year’s experience in advising charities, social enterprises, owner-managed businesses, SMEs and blue chip clients on HR policies and procedures. She supports us in all our HR needs, helps us to keep abreast of constantly evolving HR legislation and advised us on integrating good practice into our day to day operations.
Sarah Stein Lubrano
School of Life, former Head of Content
Simon has over 20 years senior finance, operations and risk management experience, with the last decade spent in c-suite roles within the financial services sector. He brings experience as the Chair of Audit and Risk committee at his local Mind. He is currently the CFO at Social and Sustainable Capital LLP which is one of UK’s first social investment funds focused on social impact through investing in organisations that provide lasting solutions to social challenges.
Tanisha Reid - Bookkeeper (Freelance)
Tanisha has worked in finance teams across different industries over the past 10 years. Recently, she has been working within the creative industries with emerging businesses and is now supporting the iOi delivery team and Finance Director. She is originally from Newham and is excited to be a part of a team dedicated to contributing to the evolution of the future of Newham.
Tom Doust - Associate Director
Tom is passionate about the power of imagination. Through his career he has designed opportunities for people, particularly children and young people, to embrace and apply their imagination in creative, tactile and expressive ways. In order for the learner to be fully engaged, Tom believes education and learning must be playful and immersive. He draws inspiration from concepts like rapid prototyping and pedagogies like the maker movement. He is committed to social good and has only worked in the non-for-profit sector alongside stakeholders, exploring ways in which people can feel empowered to make a difference to the world around them. The iOi brings all of Tom’s passions under one roof: creativity; experimentation, design, technology and real world and interdisciplinary learning.
Tracey is a senior partner at IBM Consulting, with over 25 year’s experience of leading technology enabled transformation across several industries. For two years, Tracey led IBM iX, IBM’s digital and design business.
She co-founded KidsConnect, a tech start-up which won a Design Council award in 2014. In 2020 Traceywas named as a Power Part-Timer on the Timewise Power List and is a finalist in the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022.
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