Senior team

ASDAN's senior team is responsible for strategy and operations at ASDAN and has extensive experience of education and charity sectors. The team is led by our CEO, Jenny Williams, who has over 25 years’ experience of connecting policy and professional practice in further and vocational education at local, regional and national level.

Jenny has 25 years experience of in connecting policy and professional practice in further and vocational education at local, regional and national levels. In 2012-13, she led the national Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning and authored its report ‘It’s about work…’.

Before joining ASDAN in September 2016, Jenny was Director of Vocational Education and Training at the Education and Training Foundation. She also secured a PGDip in Practitioner Research from UCL Institute of Education, looking at how students are equipped for work. Between 2008 and 2010, she managed the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning at NIACE and authored its supplementary paper on learning and work.

Jenny led the development of Southampton City Council’s plans for lifelong learning and community schools within the newly formed unitary authority in the early 2000s, having started her career working on education and business links in Dorset in the 1990s. During that time, she was involved in an ASDAN project on recording core skills. To be leading ASDAN is a dream come true.

Head and shoulders photograph of James Foyle

James has over 15 years of experience working within local authorities and the charity sector. Most recently, he has worked for the UK’s foremost fostering charity, leading a department for education funded programme on the recruitment and retention of foster carers utilising a psychographic profiling tool and incorporating core marketing principles. He has also transformed a membership service, uniting teams and implementing new operational models and working with partners from across the business sector. James also has experience working with organisations across Europe and Asia keen to develop and utilise the skills and knowledge honed in the UK.

James is committed to helping ASDAN achieve its mission to engage, elevate and empower young people in greatest need.

Head and shoulders photograph of Gillian Palmer

Gillian has held either Resources Director or Chief Financial Officer roles in a wide range of organisations for over 20 years. She has successfully brought strategic and financial clarity to those organisations in very uncertain times. She has held an international role as well as UK roles, working with many education providers in different countries to ensure that they have access to the resources to allow all their learners to discover their abilities and develop their vocational skills.

Gillian is a KPMG-trained Chartered Accountant and holds an MBA and a master's degree in Strategic HR Management. She has undertaken several vocational courses and qualifications throughout her life, and so has first-hand experience of the kind of value that ASDAN’s vocational learning courses and qualifications can bring to a learner’s career, both alongside and complementing their academic achievements.

Zoë has extensive experience in teaching, leadership and curriculum design, drawn from working in and with schools, government, Multi Academy Trusts, universities and local authorities for over 25 years.

Her experience working with practitioners is grounded in her roles as a middle and senior leader in schools and as a local authority senior school improvement adviser. She has designed and led school improvement programmes, establishing action research networks for practitioners working with learners from diverse contexts.

Throughout her career, Zoë has worked with executive senior leadership teams and practitioners in primary, special and secondary school settings as an Advanced Skills Teacher, LA adviser and senior leader.

Most recently, she completed her PhD whilst working as the research officer on a Welsh Government school improvement and professional learning project. Before this, she worked as the Director of Education and Director of Curriculum Design and Professional Learning in a multi academy trust.

Zoë is committed to ASDAN’s work in creating powerful professional learning for leaders and practitioners through which they can collaboratively design evidence-informed teaching approaches and learner-centred assessment strategies that engage, elevate and empower all learners.