Executive Leadership Team

The Executive Leadership Team is led by the Chief Executive and is responsible for the delivery of Ambitious about Autism’s strategy. Through the Chief Executive, the Executive Leadership Team reports to the Board of Trustees.

Jolanta Lasota - Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism

Jolanta Lasota - Chief Executive

Jolanta is passionate about enabling children, young people and families affected by disability to live the life they choose. She previously worked for a number of leading voluntary sector organisations including Turn2us, Shelter, I CAN and the Governance Hub. Jolanta is a Trustee of the charity Contact a Family, which supports families of disabled children.

Vivienne Berkeley

Vivienne Berkeley - Principal of Ambitious College

Viv  joined Ambitious about Autism in May 2014. She has spent the last 22 years working in the FE sector in various guises - volunteer,  lecturer, coordinator, manager and  Head of Department. Her experience is across the sector – FE colleges, Local Authorities, Universities and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). At NIACE Viv worked on the Equalities Team advocating for disabled learners in a policy arena and managing,  at a strategic level, a range of development activities and project work. At LSIS she led on Safeguarding and Learning Support and managed the DfE FE contract supporting providers consider the implications and impact of the Children and Families Act. Viv is motivated by social justice, social inclusion and equality and always works from this value base. She is a Governor at Hereward College, Coventry and also sits on their Quality and Standards Committee.

Ann Casey - Interim Director of Finance

Ann Joined Ambitious about Autism in June 2014. She has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over twelve years, mostly as finance director in both permanent and interim roles. Ann has worked in a variety of organisations from small charities through medium sized charities to a large NHS Hospital. Bringing a sense of humour and patience, Ann has an enthusiasm for simplifying and demystifying finance to enable colleagues to deal with the figures and get on with what they do best – the activities of the charity.

Rachel Dufton

Rachel Dufton - Director of External Affairs

Rachel joined Ambitious about Autism in January 2014. She was previously Head of External Affairs and Member Communications for the Royal College of Nursing, the largest professional trade union for nurses in the world. Rachel started her career in media relations, working for a number of charities representing the interests of children and young people, including the NSPCC, Children’s Society and Brook.

Becky Jones - Headteacher at TreeHouse School

Becky Jones - Headteacher at TreeHouse School

Becky has 14 years’ experience working with children, young people and adults with learning difficulties. Her work has covered various settings, including respite care centres, residential homes for children with autism, holiday camps and family homes. A qualified teacher, she has previously worked in mainstream schools. Becky's past roles have included Humanities and English teacher, Nurture Group Teacher (meeting special educational needs within a mainstream setting) and Special Educational Needs Coordinator.

Anne Shinkwin

Anne Shinkwin - Director of Fundraising

Anne joined Ambitious about Autism in October 2011 having spent many years working in corporate fundraising. Anne was previously Head of Corporate Partnerships at UNICEF UK for five years and led an ambitious strategy which doubled income in four years. She previously worked for the British Red Cross managing key corporate partnerships and securing new partners. Anne’s career started in the private sector working for Kimberly-Clark. Anne has been involved in voluntary work with young people with disabilities since her youth.

Zoe Weaver - Director of People

Zoe Weaver - Director of Resources

Zoe joined Ambitious about Autism in September 2008 and was responsible for leading the people strategy and plan. In April 2012 she took over responsibility for leading and managing all of the charity's resources activities including finance, business planning, people,  IT, property, facilities and legal. She previously worked across the private, public and third sectors in a range of leadership roles having started her career in education. She is currently a Trustee for the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and has recently retired as a Trustee from the Arts Pension Fund. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.