“Educating a New Creative Class”

Our Trustees

Where would we be without our trustees? Leading professionals across the creative, communication and education industries give their time to sit on our Board of Trustees. They meet six times a year to discuss our direction, strategy and any big decisions we need to make. They guide, advise and make sure we’re always doing our best for the students, schools, agencies and organisations we work with. Two of our trustees first joined us as students taking part in our projects. Since then they’ve graduated onto our Scholar’s Council, where they’re helping us shape our foundation’s future.

Ted Smith

Ted initially joined us as a new Trustee in December 2019 to provide cover for Trevor, whilst he took paternity leave and then started his new job with TikTok, but has remained in post throughout the pandemic providing invaluable support to the team.  Ted is an experienced organisation development consultant, owning UKHR.com Ltd.  He’s worked at Glaxo, MRC, Wellcome Trust and has been a trustee at Wysing Arts and was the Chair at Herts Careers.  You’ll find him at festivals, travelling or taking photos at sports fixtures.

Chris Harris (a Trustee of The Ideas Foundation)

Chris Harris
Co Vice-Chair

Chris is a big advocate for access to marketing and creative careers for young people from less privileged backgrounds. He’s worked as a Marketing Director in the Automotive, Financial Services, Luxury, Travel and Telecoms sectors and represents brands on the Board. When he’s not working, he’s usually travelling (especially to Italy) or fixing something (he’s an enthusiastic DIY-er).  He has been a trustee since 2016.

Pauline Wilson, Trustee (photograph)

Pauline Wilson
Co Vice-Chair

Pauline became a trustee in 2017.  She is Vice President of Product and Operations at Virgin Atlantic and, pre Covid, often arrived at our board meetings with suitcase in tow. Pauline is also a director of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean and sits on the Advisory Board of Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure.

Mark Lainas (a Trustee of The Ideas Foundation)

Mark Lainas
Co Vice-Chair

Mark joined us in 2017 and is Chief Innovation Officer for Mars Inc, BBDO Worldwide. Mark knew from an early age that he wanted to follow a creative career. He is dyslexic and is keen to encourage neurodiversity in the sector. Mark’s worked with an impressive range of clients over his careers– Mars, Coca Cola, Dove, Nestle, Tesco, and Kelloggs.

Trevor Johnson (Chair)

Trevor Johnson

Trevor joined us in 2019.  He was one of the first Facebook employees outside the United States, and during his 11 years with them, had various senior global roles, including Director of Market Operations for Instagram, prior to his move to TikTok where he is Head of Marketing GBS and Europe

Naomi Desalegne, Trustee (photograph)

Naomi Desalegene

Naomi graduated from the Ideas Foundation Scholars’ Council and has a degree in graphic design and media from the University of the Arts London.  She started her career at Dare and is now a designer at AKQA. She became a Trustee in 2016 and is also a creative mentor,  and chaired our events at Number 11 Downing Street and the House of Lords.

Jenny Wilkinson (a Trustee of The Ideas Foundation)

Jenny Wilkins

Jenny has been a trustee since June 2005.  She was headteacher of one of our first pilot project schools in Hackney. She’s now helping the alternative creative school for 13-19 year olds, the Ideas College, with its development. She also supports real-world learning charity, Hackney Pirates, and the 21 Billion Education Business Partnership.

Robin Wight CVO (Founder)

Robin Wight CBE

Robin is our colourful Founder and his passion for nurturing future creative talent and his personal drive was central to the Ideas Foundation’s development. Robin is the Wight in WCRS and has been the brains behind iconic ads for BMW, Orange, Canon, 118118. When not championing the IF Robin is a gentleman farmer and a Lt Colonel in the TA.

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