Our Board of Trustees

Alison Jones (Founder and Chief Executive)

I am a teacher/trainer and education consultant with extensive experience in schools, colleges as well as training education and social work staff. it was clear to me that there was a significant group of (mainly ethnic minority) youngsters failing to succeed – despite the efforts of schools – due to their economic, social and ‘life’ circumstances. I founded The Stepladder Foundation (a UK registered charity) initially as a ‘not for profit’ organisation in 2000. Working with disadvantaged young people in North East London and later across the UK, with Saturday sessions and on-going, individually tailored ‘wrap around’ provision after school – to motivate, coach and support those who really need it, Stepladder evolved exciting new and effective ways to raise aspirations and achievement. Our great track record speaks for itself!

Oliver Dunn (Chair)

I am an advisory teacher working for a London local authority. I graduated from The University of Greenwich with a first-class honours in Sociology and gained a PGCE at the Institute of Education. I enjoy music, meditation and travelling. I was on the very first Stepladder programme – graduating in 2002 and following this, I had the chance to work on the programme to support the next generation. I have been working to support our activities ever since. I am very clear in my assertion that I would never have made it to university without the support of The Stepladder Foundation – in particular Alison, our CEO. Knowing the difference this programme can make to the lives of individuals is what keeps me involved. I am immensely proud to be the current chair of trustees and thoroughly excited about growing the reach of our work.

Louise Francis (Secretary)

I’m a junior doctor who graduated from Brighton and Sussex Medical School in 2020 and is now working in Nottingham. My background may be in the medical sciences, but I also enjoy writing short films, learning new languages and fitness. Though I completed the Stepladder programme in 2012, I’m proud to say that the traits I developed are ones that are instilled in me to this day. Over the course of the two years I was on the programme, I learned about the importance of leadership, teamwork, self-worth, honesty – the list is endless and while I was taught all of this by my parents first, it was Stepladder that gave me the real-life instances to practise and enhance these skills. I want as many young people as possible to feel what Stepladder made me feel: special, important and capable of great things.

Saher Shah (Trustee)

I am a Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist. I studied at the University of Hertfordshire graduating in 2012, and currently at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I am also an actor and writer and enjoy collaborating with other creatives on projects. I graduated from the Stepladder programme in 2006 and still carry the lessons learnt and skills acquired, with me to this day. The focus on building my confidence, and understanding that my voice, and others like me were important have been so important in the steps I have taken to build myself throughout my life. Empowering young people to be able to reach their true potential despite the many hurdles they are likely to face, is something I feel very strongly about. Stepladder provides this support in ways I have not seen elsewhere, and I am honoured to be a part of such an important organisation.

Anneliese Amoah (Trustee)

I am a Paralegal, currently working in-house for a digital communications agency. I graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2017 having studied Law and enjoy street dancing and writing poetry in my spare time. I took part in the 2010/11 Stepladder programme. Stepladder helped to shape not just the person I am today, but the decisions I have made and actions I have taken over the years. My confidence is a particular area that the programme really helped me with and has equipped me for many public speaking events that I have taken part in. I could not recommend the programme enough to young people. It is great to have an organisation that strives to help young ethnic minorities in any way that they can and provide them with skills that will not only be useful in the school environment but also outside of that and beyond for future years ahead. I am so glad to be a part of The Stepladder Foundation.

Melis Baysal (Trustee)

I am an actuarial trainee at a firm called Isio. I graduated from The University of Leicester in 2018 with a first class honours in Mathematics. I also did a year in industry at another actuarial firm called Aon doing the same role as I do now.  I enjoy playing hockey and watching NBA basketball (I am a Golden State fan). I was a part of the 2010/11 Stepladder programme. My parents and older brother stopped education after GCSE’s; so being a high achieving student I had to work things out for myself – until I got to Stepladder! I always did well in school and as a result struggled with motivation and focus. The drive and focus I have today, which are primary reasons for what I have been able to achieve, is due to the lessons I learned at Stepladder. The impact of Stepladder is hard to quantify but is invaluable for a young person’s future prospects. I am so grateful to have been a part of the programme and to now be a Trustee to pay forward to other young people!