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 Williams, Chief Executive

Jenny has 25 years’ experience of connecting policy and professional practice in further and vocational education at local, regional and national level. 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 at that time, looking at how students are equipped for the world of 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 which time she was involved in an ASDAN project on recording core skills. To be leading ASDAN is a dream come true.

Martina Veale, Education Director

Martina has worked in education for more than 22 years, including 12 years in senior leadership across several schools in London and Bristol. She transformed the curriculum and outcomes at AS and A-level at an 11-18 academy, led a failing school out of special measures and guided the creation of a new school.

Martina has extensive experience of working at schools in deprived areas, where she has helped pupils reach their potential academically and develop the skills and competences to thrive in the modern world. She believes all school leavers should be able to solve problems, reflect on their own learning and performance and have the resilience to be able to succeed in the face of challenges.

James Foyle, Membership and Marketing Director

Head and shoulders photograph of James Foyle
James has around 15 years’ 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 as well as working with partners from across the business sector. James also has experience of working with organisations across Europe and Asia who were keen to develop and utilise the skills and knowledge honed in the UK.

James is excited by the prospect of unlocking the potential of ASDAN, a vital charity giving confidence and resilience to children and young people in education.

Gillian Palmer, Finance and Resources Director

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 been successful in bringing both 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 give all their learners the opportunity to discover their abilities and develop their vocational skills.

Gillian is a KPMG trained Chartered Accountant and in addition, holds both an MBA and a masters degree in Strategic HR Management. She has undertaken a number of 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 learners’ career, both alongside and complementing their academic achievements.