THE PLANT-BASED COMMUNITY COOKERY SCHOOL
Chair of Trustees
Jean is an associate chartered management accountant who for the last 10 years has been an independent consultant for financial and professional FTSE 250 firms to support large change and transformation programmes.
Growing up in Ireland, Jean came to the UK to read a BA in Economics at the University of Manchester and remaining in the UK; recently returned to education for an Executive MBA at London Business School.
Due to dietary health issues growing up, Jean developed a strong interest in healthy eating as a teenager. Becoming vegan 5 years ago; Jean delighted in attending the Holistic Caribbean Cruise in 2016, reaffirming her interest in whole food plant based diet, hearing speakers such as Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Michael Greger.
Jean enjoys cooking for friends and family and on recently moving to Wimbledon, has returned to gardening, bring back childhood memories of gardening with her late father.
Irina is a real estate finance professional specialising in acquisition, due diligence, bank financing and execution as well as overall asset management including finance and process streamlining. She has been with Queensway Group for over 7 years and grew strong relationship with the main JV partners Wellcome Trust, developing and operating 10 hotels under the Point A Hotel brand; and Clearbell in the Sloane Club Private Members club venture.
Previously Irina focused on real estate structured finance at Banca Imi investment bank following the completion of SDA Bocconi MBA. She started her career as Senior Analyst at Hilton Hotels Corporation with strong foundation in excel financial modelling after graduating Cum Laude in economics and accounting from University of California Los Angeles.
Growing up in California she has always been food and health conscious. Outside of work she is passionate about yoga, travel, photography and nutritious meals for the family.
Yasmin started out in International Development and her interest in sustainable global food systems combined with a touch of cosmic intervention led her to become one of Made in Hackney’s first Project Coordinators when the kitchen opened. With a heavy heart, she left in 2013 to complete her teacher training. She is currently Head of Government & Politics and Teacher of History at a school in East London. Her ongoing professional interest is in holistic education and Learning Outside the Classroom. She still loves cooking and learning more about ethical food choices. When she’s not teaching, she likes to stay active with yoga, swimming and travel, and has just started salsa lessons!
Tara is a Hackney resident originally from New York. She is currently a senior associate at Ashurst LLP, advising clients on a range of corporate and financing transactions, with a focus on the digital economy. She earned her Master of Laws in European Law from Paris II - Pantheon-Assas and her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law. Tara also volunteers at the Toynbee Hall Free Legal Advice Clinic.
Tara is passionate about music, dance, art and food. She is an avid street art collector and enjoys cooking and travelling.
Tara Sukumar is originally from Toronto and a proud resident of Hackney. Tara started her career as a management consultant working in the Middle East, North and South Africa. After 4 years, she decided to pursue her MBA and make a career shift into the tech industry. She has been with BT for four years and set up the ‘Internet of Things’ Strategic Programme within BT Global Services. She is one of the key IoT Thinkers in BT Group, responsible for proposition development and strategic partnerships.
Tara stays connected her friends all over the world, and serves as Alumni Class Secretary for her MBA class at Dartmouth. An avid music lover, she dabbles in techno as an amateur DJ. With a passion for charitable giving, she has raised over £4000, cycling from London to Paris and Amsterdam, respectively.
Tara’s passion is sustainable living and she hopes to learn from and contribute to Made in Hackney.
Rowena is an independent consultant bringing over 15 years’ experience of tendering, managing and implementing international development and CSR projects in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Specifically Rowena provides strategic advice to organisations wishing to diversify and grow funding, and technical assistance to youth entrepreneurship and economic empowerment programmes.
Rowena is also a Certified Trainer with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and takes a keen interest in the growth and development of the plant-based food sector.
Rebecca has a passion for numbers and has been following an actuarial path for the last 12 years. She is a consultant actuary who specialises in financial modelling for life assurance, and has worked for a number of large banks, insurance and reinsurance companies. She also has a passion for food and health. She is a trained Ashtanga and AcroYoga teacher which supports her health focus. She is also a vegan and is passionate about educating people about a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Damien has spent the last decade primarily working on social change projects for some of the UK’s biggest NGO’s and brands. He is the co-founder of Vevolution an events and media startup showcasing the world's most inspiring plant-based thinkers. He is also a widely published writer whose work can be found on the Guardian and Huffington Post and Vegan Life Magazine. In 2016 he co-created SWINE, a short film exposing the rise of antibiotic resistance in factory farms.
Outside of work Damien likes to play guitar and read, he has ran two marathons and keeps threatening to run a third.
Ashley is a food sector specialist who currently leads the food team at Ayming, an R&D and Innovation consultancy based in London. She chose a path in food to positively influence the way that people eat and is passionate about people and their overall wellbeing.
After getting her BSc in Food Science and beginning her career in Food Product Development in Cape Town, South Africa, Ashley moved into exciting Innovation roles in the UK at both Lily’s Kitchen and the Belazu Ingredient Company. Ashley has worked on both private label and branded products across several food sectors, including Mediterranean ingredients, baking and pantry, herbs and spices, pet food as well as food packaging.
Ashley first encountered Made in Hackney when she moved to London in 2015 and lived in Hackney, attending a cooking class. She feels at home in the kitchen and when she’s not cooking for friends, she can be found running the parks and streets of London, doing yoga, reading books about food, enjoying wines of the world or exploring London’s vibrant food scene.
Anna is a Chartered Health Psychologist experienced in public health research, policy and commissioning. Currently, she works at Public Health England managing a programme of work to improve health outcomes across maternity and the early years. Her prior roles include commissioning mental health services for children and families in Camden, national childhood obesity prevention and developing the early years health services in Hackney. Additionally, a range of research roles have focused on maternal and childhood obesity including at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has specialist knowledge of behaviour change techniques and evaluating lifestyle interventions.
Anna has a passion for finding innovative ways to enable people to take control over, and improve, their health and wellbeing whilst endeavouring to make healthy living fun and appealing to everyone. She has enjoyed living in and around Hackney for nearly ten years, appreciating its vibrancy, creativeness, outdoor spaces, canals and live performances.
Amar is a partner in Agilia - a strategic and commercial consultancy supporting major infrastructure projects. He has spent 20 years developing and delivering infrastructure projects. In his previous roles, as Major Projects Director for Thames Water, he oversaw the delivery of over one billion pounds of capital investment. Prior to that, as Commercial Director for the Thames Tideway Tunnel, he led the team developing the innovative and ground breaking delivery model. He also led the procurement of the main construction contracts – the largest contacts to be let in the water sector.
He started his career in the City, with Allen & Overy, advising banks and sponsors on UK and international projects. He has also worked for HM Treasury where his role included was responsibility for developing and delivering the commercial and contractual framework for a £10billion programme of investment in waste infrastructure.