Skip to main content

Executive Team

Through the Chief Executive, the Executive Leadership Team reports to the Board of Trustees.

Jolanta Lasota profile image

Jolanta Lasota

Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism

Jolanta is Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, including the School Trust. She Chairs two sector infrastructure bodies - Autism Education Trust and the Autism Alliance. She is a Trustee of UK Youth. Her career includes Director roles in national voluntary sector organisations, including I CAN and the Governance Hub (a national body set up to support the governance of the third sector).

Vivienne Berkeley profile image

Vivienne Berkeley

Director of Education

Viv joined Ambitious about Autism in May 2014. She has spent the last 22 years working in the further education (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). Viv is motivated by social justice, social inclusion and equality and always works from this value base. 

Paul Breckell Ambitious about Autism

Paul Breckell

Deputy Chief Executive

Paul is the Deputy Chief Executive at Ambitious about Autism. Prior to this, he was the Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss from 2012-2018. He is the Honorary Treasurer of NCVO and a past Chair of the Disability Charities Consortium and of Charity Finance Group. He is a passionate advocate for volunteering and social change.

Claire Thomson, Director of National Services

Claire Thomson

Director of National Services

Claire is the Director of National Services at Ambitious about Autism and joined in November 2022 having worked in the Education, SEND and Safeguarding sector for over 23 years across the private, public and third sector. She has experience working in Leadership within mainstream and specialist provision, with Local Authorities, Ofsted, The Department of Education, CQC and NHS England. Claire is the Vice Chair of the Autism Education Programme Trust Board and Inspects for Ofsted. She is passionate about inclusion and ensuring that all children and young people get the opportunity to achieve and thrive. 

Danae Leaman-Hill

Danae Leaman-Hill

Director of External Affairs and Development

Danae joined Ambitious about Autism in September 2017 as Director of Fundraising. She is responsible for delivering our ambitious strategy, leading the fundraising team and helping to develop our highest level partnerships to achieve even greater impact and guide our fundraising to new heights. 

Louise Honeysett - Director of Finance and Planning

Louise Honeysett

Director of Finance and Planning and Company Secretary

Louise joined Ambitious about Autism in early 2022 and is responsible for the finance, planning and governance functions at the charity. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, having qualified as a chartered accountant with audit firm BDO LLP. She has spent the last 13 years working in the voluntary sector, most recently as Director of Finance and Resources at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. She is a firm believer in business partnering and empowering colleagues to grow and develop within their roles.

Louise has been an active volunteer throughout her professional life working with children’s charities, disability charities and charities with a focus on supporting refugees and homeless people. Prior to a relocation she was a Trustee at Croydon Mencap. She is currently a Beaver Scout Leader, and is passionate about providing equitable access to scouting for all young people.

Mark Ospedale

Mark Ospedale

Director of People and Culture

Mark is the Director of People and Culture at Ambitious about Autism. Prior to this, Mark has been in the charity and not for profit health and social care sector since 2006 and was the Director of Corporate Services at United Response, Director of HR at Certitude and Deputy Director of HR at Action for Children. Mark also has worked with the NHS and the RAF as well as the private sector. He is passionate about people having opportunities to do well in their life.

Michael Michaelides

Michael Michaelides

Director of Property and Information Technology

Michael joined Ambitious about Autism in October 2023 as the Director of Property and Information Technology (IT) and is responsible for Property, IT, Health and Safety and Sustainability for the charity. He is an experienced education professional and has spent the last 21 years working in the further education sector, mainly for London-based colleges.

Throughout his career, Michael has held a variety of senior leadership roles and has a breadth of experience within resources and front-facing learner services. He is a member of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management and is also a qualified PRINCE2 project manager. Michael is passionate about learning, inclusivity and helping others to achieve their goals and aspirations.