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Friday 10 December 2021

Introducing our seven new trustees

We are delighted to announce that seven new trustees have been appointed to the boards of Ambitious about Autism, and our Schools Trust.  

The new trustees have been appointed through a rigorous recruitment process, supported by an external recruitment consultancy and with extensive promotion and search through a variety of networks. They come from a range of backgrounds, bringing new skills, experience and perspectives to our board, including lived experience of autism, finance and education. They will support us through the exciting next phase of our development, as we implement our Time for Ambition strategy.  

Our new trustees are Helen Jeffries, Andy Forbes, Jack Welch, Eduardo Gutierrez-Garcia, Laura Palmer, Kumar Tangri and Deborah Brooks (who will start in March).  

Helen Jeffries currently works in the Covid Task Force in the Cabinet Office. Helen was diagnosed autistic four years ago and is an active campaigner in the public sector for more understanding of autism and acceptance of autistic colleagues. 

Helen said: “Ever since I was diagnosed with autism myself a few years ago, I've realised not only why I was finding life so difficult, but also that there are an awful lot of autistic people working in senior positions.  I hope we truly can lead the next generation to be more ambitious about the careers and options open to them as autistic young people.”  

Jack Welch is an autistic advocate with roles across the charity and health sectors for over a decade. He was a former co-chair of Ambitious about Autism’s Youth Council.  

He said: “It’s hugely exciting to be bringing another perspective as an autistic adult on the board. I very much want to see young people, whether that be learners at the school or those in the participation projects, be at the centre of driving the new strategy forward."  

Andy Forbes has spent his working life in education and training. As principal of the College of Haringey Enfield and North East London (CONEL) he was involved in the partnership which established the first Ambitious College campus.   

He said: “As someone involved in vocational education, I’m thrilled to be invited to join the board of Ambitious about Autism. Their work is groundbreaking and offers new hope for autistic students, not just to get a great education but to get into good jobs afterwards.” 

Eduardo Gutierrez-Garcia is a chartered accountant and senior partner at DPI LLP a leading private equity firm. He has four children one of whom is autistic and has learning difficulties. 

“As the father of an autistic child I am very pleased to be able to support, as a trustee, the important work that Ambitious about Autism does,” he said.  

Laura Palmer and Kumar Tangri have been appointed to the Schools Trust board. Laura is head of service in education for a local authority, leading on issues such as education placements, school attendance and preventing exclusions. Laura is also the parent of an autistic son who attends The Rise School. 

She said: “The Trust has been hugely instrumental in improving my son’s educational outcomes and social development. I look forward to working to further broaden their reach for children, young people and their families.” 

Kumar Tangri is a chartered accountant and holds a number of professional banking qualifications. Kumar is father to an autistic son who is currently moving from school into adulthood.  

He said: “As the father of an autistic child and by virtue of my career in financial services I am very pleased to be able to contribute as a trustee to the wellbeing of autistic children and young people.” 
Read more about our Ambitious about Autism board of trustees
Read more about our Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust board of trustees