More new trustees join AQA

Published: Wednesday 1 Sep 2021

We’ve recently welcomed three new members to AQA’s board of trustees, they are Lara Martini, Deirdre O'Donoghue and Dr Ali Hadawi CBE.

Lara is a Senior Director at Salesforce, the US software firm providing customer relationship management solutions, leading Sales Enablement across Europe and has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and Africa, Europe, and both North and South America. Lara is passionate about innovation and the power of technology to foster opportunity and social inclusion, and has extensive experience coaching youth and young entrepreneurs.

Deirdre has over 30 years' marketing and brand strategy experience in large multinational companies, Nestlé and Mars, ensuring that their strategies aligned with their corporate social responsibilities, including marketing responsibly to children, ensuring the sustainability of the firms' brands (through manufacturing, packaging and the supply chain), diversity and inclusion. Between 2017 and 2020, she taught marketing strategy to students at Sheffield Hallam University and since 2019 has been a volunteer with The Prince's Trust as an advisor to young people in start-up businesses, and more recently advising young people on how to progress a career in social care. Deirdre has left full-time employment in order to use her experience to help young people find their path to study and work.

Ali has a wealth of experience in education. He has been Principal and Chief Executive at Central Bedfordshire College since 2011, where a large proportion of the students come from what are described as deprived post codes. One of their main goals is to help young people and the wider community understand the benefits of education on their life chances and their futures.

He is also Vice-Chair of the UK-Iraq Further Education TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) Strategic Partnership, during which time he received a CBE in 2011 for the successful partnership with FE colleges in Iraq to deliver education and training.

Chair of the Board, Justin Van Wijngaarden, welcomed the new Trustees saying:

"Ali, Deirdre and Lara are great appointments to the Board and we very much look forward to working with them to help shape our strategy.

"They each have wonderful skills and experiences as well as being aligned to our charitable purpose and values, which combined will be invaluable as we navigate the many changes ahead."

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