Our Team


Leadership

Guy Shahar

Founder, CEO

Guy grew up in Wolverhampton in the 1980s.  As a child and young adult, he had many undiagnosed autistic traits, especially affecting his social awareness and understanding.  This continued into his 20s, but after he began practising Heartfulness meditation aged 27, many of the adverse effects of these traits began to recede and he gained more command of his life and direction.

Now married with his own son of 7 years, who himself has autism, he has worked as a radio broadcaster, a TEFL teacher and teacher trainer, and most recently as a project manager in IT, a role he left in 2016 to establish this charity.

Early in 2016, he unexpectedly found himself writing a book, (Transforming Autism), which describes his family’s remarkable quest to support his son and transform his quality of life.  Through this quest, they found some truly remarkable therapies, which have opened their eyes to the true nature of autism and to effective ways to behave towards autistic children – especially young ones – to be able to bring out the best in them.

The book was written in little more than 6 weeks, and shortly following its completion, Guy launched the Transforming Autism Project as a means of raising awareness of the true potential inherent in autism and equipping parents and carers with the tools to bring out the best in their autistic children.  A major step forward in this will be taken with the establishment of a UK Mifne Clinic in 2019 or 2020.

As well as meditation, Guy loves to write, and as well as his 2 books, he has also written a 6-part TV comedy series and 2 films.  He also enjoys music, playing the piano (and formerly the guitar), though not to any level of technical mastery, and only his own compositions.

Gilles Pelenc

Founder, Executive Trustee

In 2007-8, both Gilles’ sons were diagnosed with Autism (at 2 years and 18 months respectively). As a family, they decided to do everything they could to provide the boys early professional and specialist intervention at all cost.  Both boys went to a private pre-school ASD specialist nursery and went on to be admitted to an ASD specific state school at Reception.  Alongside having to deal with a double dose of the usual every day Autism challenges - on virtually zero sleep for the first 5 years - Gilles' and his wife went on to become a school governor in an ASD school and to take on the local authorities in an successful attempt to a change of setting. They also embarked on a never-ending research for positive therapies that could help the boys with their development.

Having built a great network of resources and an even greater circle of influence within the world of Autism, it has now become a mission, to  bring this experience to bear to help and support as many families as possible so their battles become easier, their limited resources can be optimised and their children's lives are improved beyond what would otherwise be possible.

Guided by this passion, they bring with them a pioneering vision for a comprehensive online hub that will act as a one-stop shop of high-quality resources and recommendations for any parent needing support for their autistic child in any area, and which will be one of the cornerstones of The Transforming Autism Project.

Jessica Storer

Trustee, Fundraising Director

Jessica has over 15 years’ charity fundraising experience and has been Head of Fundraising at MHA since 2015 leading a team of 12.

She previously worked for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) for 7 years organising Regional Fundraising Events, and for Parkinson’s UK for 6.5 years as a Regional Fundraiser and then as a Regional Fundraising Manager, overseeing a more than doubling of income to £1.2m in 2 years.

Jessica holds a degree in Tourism Business Management and more recently attained the Diploma in Fundraising from the Institute of Fundraising in 2015. Jessica also completed the Institute of Fundraising Future Leaders Programme in 2016.

Ravi Suchak

Trustee, Legal

Bio Coming Soon

Volunteers

Louise Dearnley

Strategy

With over 20 years experience in international business, Louise has led teams at companies including Metro, GE and IBM. Her main areas of expertise are strategy, risk management and sustainability.

Louise is deeply committed to enabling everyone to fulfil their potential. She has extensive experience in developing and facilitating leadership programs, coaching young people and designing experiential learning modules.   

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Louise has a PPE degree from Oxford University and was a Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Ben Cook

External Affairs

Ben is a public affairs and policy professional with ten years' experience both in consultancy and in-house roles. He is experienced in producing policy briefings and managing stakeholder relations, with a thorough knowledge of the workings of Westminster and Whitehall. He provides strategic advice, support and research to the early intervention awareness raising phase of the Transforming Autism Project.

Ben is volunteering with a number of local charities. This includes the Be-Enriched charity which provide community engagement and low-cost meals across South London for local people including anyone on a low income or in need of company. He has also recently completed four years with the Wandsworth Age UK Befriending Scheme.

Jonathan Hindle

Marketing

Jon has over 30 years of experience working in the technology sector. Starting life as a Software and Systems Engineer before moving in to Sales and then Marketing. Over the past 15 years he has led teams around the world to create and execute marketing programmes and campaigns that bring together all aspects of the marketing mix.

Technology has evolved dramatically. requiring the translation of complex concepts into clear value propositions. The world of Autism is similarly complex, but by focusing on the benefits of Early Intervention we hope to enable families and health professionals to help young people.

Jon has a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering from Coventry University.

Pamela Thompson

Marketing

Pamela Thompson has over 25 years experience in developing brands through her energy and enthusiasm for people. Having spent the majority of her career in scientific, engineering and technology sectors Pamela has seen how different thinking can change the world.
 
Bringing her marketing strategy, communications and event experience to the project, Pamela hopes to tell the powerful story of early intervention to many more families, decision makers and ultimately those who can make a difference in unlocking potential.
 
Pamela has degrees in business and marketing, as well as being a Fellow of the RSA.

Mig Berry

Marketing

Mig is an entrepreneur who launched her own business in the late 90s shortly after the birth of her first son. Her degree in Engineering from Imperial College provided the foundation for developing an online company which traded at an international level.

She brings eCommerce and Digital Marketing experience to the team. Having worked in the Baby Product Sector she also has detailed knowledge of the parent and baby world. As a mother of a teenager on the Spectrum she wants to help facilitate the spread of knowledge and information to other parents who are just starting out on this particular journey.

Ruth Israel

Therapist and Volunteer

Ruth has been working as a psychotherapist since 2009. She is an avid supporter of "the earlier the better" when working therapeutically with autism; as  real change can occur when children's brains are developing.

Ruth works as a therapist with children and young people in schools, charities and privately. Her work is very diverse and she is passionate about working to help children, young people and families to feel better about themselves and in relation to others and the outside world.  This is done in the context of an empathic therapeutic relationship: in a safe, caring and confidential space. She works using image, metaphor, play, the arts, the body and more, to facilitate self-awareness and healing in children and young people with various issues. She is UKCP registered and a member of BACP.

Kim Walsh

HR Consultant

Kim’s career in HR has spanned over 23 years working in various sectors including, Financial Services, Pharma Retail, FMCG Manufacturing and the Oil and Gas Industry.

Until August 2014 she was Human Resources Director for Europe for a global Financial Services Company.  Since then she has established her own HR Consultancy, specialising in Management, Leadership and Executive Development.

Kim believes passionately that great leaders are both visible and approachable and her mission is to help aspiring leaders become the very best version of themselves.

Sabrina Nelson

HR

Coming Soon

Ashley Oulton

Events Organiser

Ashley is an Events professional with over 20 years’ experience. He has set up two event businesses and has developed a broad range of skills including fundraising through corporate sponsorship, online and offline marketing, PR, budgeting and event management.

He has a creative mind and enjoys coming up with innovative ideas for events and sponsorship opportunities, whether it be a cocktail party on the London Eye, dinner on a ship on the Thames, a chance to ask Stephen Hawking a question in person, or a conference for 2000 people.

Ashley has personal experience of the importance of early intervention and support for children with autism, and understands just how important that support is to families who are going through such an emotional roller coaster.

Ashley is relishing the opportunity to be able to use the skills, knowledge and experience that he has built up over the years for such an incredibly worthwhile cause.

www.linkedin.com/in/ashleyoulton

Reema Mahajan

General Volunteer

Coming Soon

Sonny Hawkins

The Hub and IT Support

Sonny was diagnosed with high functioning Autism (Aspergers) at 22, and is also physically disabled.  He has much experience and training within Mental Health and Autism, and likes to use his disabilities as a positive to help awareness of those without a voice.

He has 10 years’ wide-ranging professional experience in IT across many industries.  He is a chartered Systems Engineer, with two IT degrees and various certifications.

Sonny is a Trustee for Clearly Speaking and is currently starting his own charity, AMHA, to raise much needed awareness & resources and create a large community network to help and support those with Autism and Mental Health issues, and to battle the stigma attached to them through real life stories, and experiences.

Stephanie Barrett

Graphic Designer

A graduate of the University of the Arts London. I am Currently Employed as Graphic Designer for Fine Jewellery Company, Banneya London and am Freelancing for large beauty brands such as Shavata as well as other companies in the spare time I have left.

I have previously worked as a designer in a child orientated environment which is why I found volunteering for Transforming Autism so important, I want to use my skills to help others as much as possible and why I recognised Guy & Gilles' passion.

With wide-ranging experience in digital and print, including design, social media, posters, websites, illustrations and high-quality photo re-touching, I really do love my work and am always keen to take on new challenges and work with new people.

Organisational Support

Jess Coles 

Business Support

Jess Coles has over 20 year’s experience in improving business financial performance, working alongside operational, marketing and sales teams in corporates through to SMEs business across a number of sectors. Jess has also built several businesses from scratch, including his current venture Emerson Nash. Jess is a keen investor and undertakes pro bono work for charities and educational bodies. Jess is a Chartered Accountant and associate member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Andy Sharma

Business Coach

Andy is a business and Executive coach, helping business owners increase their sales, make more profits and building better teams. Over last 25 years, Andy has not only managed large successful businesses but also started, ran and sold businesses successfully. His first hand business experience and knowledge provides an excellent base to help other business owners succeed and achieve their business and personal goals. Andy has a MBA in Strategy and Finance. Andy’s expertise include Business Planning, Sales & Marketing, Business Systemisation, Employee Engagement and Team Building.

Andy’s mission is to help business owners get more time, build better teams and improve profit margins with the help of proven strategies. Andy is looking for businesses with the potential to improve and grow and help them reach the next level. He is focussed on creating world abundance through business re-education.