Amanda Ford

Amanda Ford | West College Scotland

I returned to education after having my children and gained my undergraduate degree in Computing before moving on to undertake my PhD focusing on Games based learning in particular investigating the use of constructing games as a method for children to learn in primary school, which is almost complete. I have always had an interest in technology and gaming with Super Mario being my first ever game that I completed and throughout the years have always had gaming consoles of one variety or another. Moving into studying computing was natural move as previously when working I had done a lot of I.T work and thought that it would be a good career move. I am a games lecturer in FE at present and teach a variety of subjects though have a keen interest in 3D modelling, Games Design and Virtual Reality. I enjoy using new technologies with my students where possible - for my 3D modelling class I use a mixed reality and virtual reality to show the students their own work in a new way.

Sumanjit Gill

Sumanjit Gill | UCL & NHS

I completed my training in general medicine, stroke and geriatrics in 2013 and have been working as a consultant in stroke medicine since then. I went to medical school at Barts and the London Medical School and did the majority of my training in North East London. I am also a committed educator and have recently been award an MA in Clinical Education from UCL. 3 years ago I took on the role of teaching fellow at UCL where I have designed and developed a Stroke Msc programme which is aimed at the multidisciplinary team. The majority of the students are from international backgrounds and it is my hope that they will be able to go on and have an impact on the stroke burden in countries in the developing world. I have also published a book of case studies, the proceeds of which I donate to a Sikh charity to help build schools in India. I have recently become an ambassador in the City Sikhs organisation which I hope to use as a vehicle to help young Sikhs into higher education. I am also a mentor with the Refugee Support Organisation mentoring unaccompanied children to the UK obtain qualifications in English and Maths.

Imani Shola Jeffers

Imani Shola | Student


My name is Imani, which means faith in Swahili, and my story is definitely one of faith: in myself, in others, and in the endlessly rewarding process of empowering those around me and giving back.

Academically, my career to date has been one punctuated with success, for which I am very grateful. I am a 21-year-old, third-year undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, currently on my Year Abroad in Paris interning at Deloitte in Finance. I am studying Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Spanish).

I was raised in a single-parent family home in North London, by my Mum, and am of Caribbean descent (and proud!). My Mum is my inspiration and role model.

After achieving 12A*s at GCSE in 2013, I was awarded Diane Abbott MP and House of Commons' London Schools and the Black Child Awards for my results. Those same results secured me a place at a top sixth form (The Henrietta Barnett School) in London.
I loved my time at Henrietta Barnett, and was determined to give back to the community, founding the Christian Union society at the school, and going on to secure 3A*s in my A-Levels and win a place at Cambridge. I was one of 23 black female students (one of 38 black students) accepted into the University in my year.

The University saw my potential, and after a rigorous interview process, awarded me their Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Scholarship so that I could study there despite coming from a less advantaged financial background. I went on to achieve a First Class in my first year, with a distinction in Spoken French—but the truly stellar experience for me that year was spending 2 months volunteering in Tanzania with fellow Cambridge students and Tanzanian students, to better the quality of education for secondary school students in Dar Es Salaam. Our initiatives made national news, and I made precious friends.

I also started a YouTube channel, in my first year, where to this day I give back and pass on my knowledge (this is my passion) to 9,000 loyal, 18-25-year-old subscribers, and on which I share with them how to ace their exams, get top grades, and succeed. I use my platform to empower people; to give academic and pastoral advice; to encourage a diverse range of students to apply to Cambridge—but also to share my love of singing and songwriting. My passion for diversity in high places won me the prestigious Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarship in October 2016, and the Powerlist Foundation’s Future Leaders Award in September 2017.

In my second year, I was elected Welfare Officer for Cambridge University African Caribbean society and served on the executive committee. I saw that depression in my generation (millennials) is rife, and so—mental illness also being close to my heart because of my father—I wrote a book at age 20, while studying full-time, of self-care poetry and affirmations (‘Heart Shards and Lip Balm’) to help other young people manage and process their emotions. ‘Lip Balm’ became an Amazon Bestseller in January 2018, ranked 70 in US poetry. I was blessed to be interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, by Business Insider, by the Enfield Independent, and by Pride Magazine as a result. The book has been bought in countries I’ve never been to before; readers span Africa, the States and even Australia, and the buzz I feel when they send me a selfie with their copy is indescribable!

Poignantly for me, I was able to go and give back to the very same school where I achieved my GCSEs; the school invited me to give a keynote speech to encourage the girls to excel in their studies. Dozens of students and staff (including my English Teachers, who inspired my love of writing, and gave nostalgic press interviews about my antics during English classes!) purchased copies of the book that day.

Now, I find myself, at age 21, balancing being a published author, a black female Cambridge student, a YouTube personality and a full-time intern in Paris. The 9-5 routine is new, exciting, dynamic - and mine boasts a hint of Parisian flair! Having won a place on the Lazard Spring internship in Financial Advisory in April 2017, I went onto secure an internship for my Year Abroad at Deloitte in Paris, which is where I am currently. What I love most about my job is sitting down with top executive bankers and Partners, often twice my age and undoubtedly far more knowledgeable than me, and walking them through the Past Perfect and Imperfect tense conjugations of the English of Language, so that they are empowered to do their financial expertise justice when conveying it in English to potential clients. I get to be a languages nerd, a mentor and an apprentice all at once!

To conclude: for me, the ultimate joy is giving back—be it to readers across the globe, schoolchildren in the UK or abroad, or subscribers around the world. It is empowering others—be they executive bankers who only speak French, or GCSE students trying to learn French—and helping them flourish. Success to me is nothing if I am not helping those around me to taste it, too. I hope my story has shown this.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Tina McDonald

Tina McDonald | Avalanche Coaching

During my 14 years as a Claims Manager I was introduced to Coaching and became fully qualified to support the companies vision of being a coaching culture. I was seconded over a 4 year period to run the intake training for the companies new trainees, each intake was approx 6 people and there was 2- 3 per year.

I have worked with graduates straight out of university and guided professional progression throughout my career to ensure my team members moved upwards in their careers and understood their opportunities. Providing learning opportunities and career advice and support to the team members who wanted to progress and performance management to those who were not performing in their roles so I could keep them my team and them not be lost.

After a car accident meant I was unable to return to work full-time in the role I was in, I decided to set up Avalanche Coaching and provide businesses with training in Leadership and soft skills and provide career advice, so I could continue what I enjoyed doing and ensure I was able to manage my health too. I have worked with students to help them see their abilities differently and find careers not just jobs and believe they have positive futures, regardless of the grades they get.

Susie Wolstenholme

Susie Wolstenholme | London South Bank University

I arrived at my current position by an unusual route having left school at sixteen with few academic qualifications. I worked as an Accounts Junior in a fabrication company and experienced a company going down. It was this company that gave me the opportunity to redeem my poor school performance and gave me day release to the college where I later taught. Discovering that I enjoyed learning if under my control I embarked on a full time degree in Business Information Technology, and in my third year took the opportunity to spend 15 months working in China. This gave me an exceptional opportunity to discover my potential at a young age and I ended the year as a successful manager where I lead, managed and trained a thriving team of Chinese staff in the front office of a large five star tourist hotel in Xian. On graduation I took a training job with a publicly funded private training company in the East End of London where alongside a team of four developed a set of NVQ programmes in IT for unemployed adults from ethnic minority backgrounds, with the long-term strategic aim of providing access and employability to a disadvantaged sector of the London community. On discovering I enjoying teaching and was good at it I then qualified to become a Lecturer in Further Education, where I conducted my second teaching practice at a School and University in Budapest, Hungary and on return became a Lecturer in an FE College. Since that time I have worked in two FE Colleges teaching FE and HE where I developed and managed a series of GNVQ / degrees courses and worked with employers to develop their NVQ provision. In my current role as a Senior Lecturer in MIS I wear a number of hats which include my role as Course Director across a number of UG and PG programmes in Business and Management, Dissertation Co-ordinator, Placement Lead, Erasmus and Study Abroad Co-ordinator and organiser of a series of extra-curricular activities across the School to ensure that our students are graduate career ready, with a breadth of experience and can compete against students from traditional universities.