Our team Back to top
#Unlocked Graduates has a broad and committed team working in three offices across the country. Participants on our graduate scheme have been placed in 30 prisons across the country so our Mentoring Prison Officers work mostly from these prisons providing direct support to the Unlocked participants in prisons all over the UK.
Read more about our board and team below. Or explore information about our Mentoring Prison Officers and the work they do on our programme pages.
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Rt Hon David Laws
Chair and Executive Chair of EPI
David is the executive chairman of the Education Policy Institute, and the Education Partnerships Group – the international arm of the Ark education charity. Alongside this, David is a senior adviser to GK Strategy, a Trustee for the Teacher Development Trust, an advisory council member for Future First, and Chairman of the UPP Advisory Board. Following roles at J.P. Morgan and Barclays, David left the City to work in politics. David was elected MP for Yeovil in 2001, and served in this capacity until 2015. From 2012 to 2015 David was Schools Minister and Minister of State in the Cabinet Office.
Dame Sally Coates
Board member and Director of Academies United Learning
Sally is Director of all United Learning Secondary Academies. She also chaired The Dame Sally Coates’ Review of Prison Education. She joined United Learning in September 2014. Her previous role was as Principal of Burlington Danes Academy, which she turned around from one of the lowest performing to one of the highest performing schools in the country. She was acting as Executive Principal at Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton until July 2012 and Executive Principal of Ark Putney and West London Free School until July 2014. Prior to that, Sally was Head of Sacred Heart School an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ VA school in Camberwell, London Borough of Southwark. Sally chaired The Review of the Teaching Standards and most recently chaired the Skills Test Review. She also served as a member of the Key Stage 2 Test Review Committee under the chairmanship of Lord Bew. Sally was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List.
Board member and CEO of Transformation Trust
James has been working in Graduate Recruitment for over 20 years and in late 2018 he spotted an opportunity to build on nearly 15 years’ experience with Teach First to help address the wider public service leadership challenge the UK by setting up the charity ‘Transform Society’ an alliance of the five programmes recruiting top talent into the most needed roles in society (Teach First, Frontline, Police Now, Think Ahead and Unlocked). In addition, he supports Teach for All and their partners across the world with marketing, positioning, scale, partnerships and recruitment. James is a founding Trustee of Frontline, Police Now, Think Ahead and Unlocked, and an advisory board member of The Springboard Bursary Foundation. James also supports a number of university employer/career services including Birmingham, York and Leicester.
Board member and Principal at Doughty Hanson
Having started his career in Commercial Property Finance at Continental Bank and HSBC, Robert recently retired from a role as Head of European Real Estate and member of the Investment Committee at Doughty Hanson. For 12 years before this he was CEO of The Langham Estate. Robert has a longstanding commitment to social mobility, especially in the context of education. He served as Vice Chair of Governors at Cambridge School in Hammersmith, a special educational needs school, which led to him becoming a Founding Governor of Skinners’ Academy in Hackney and subsequently Chair of Governors, providing a critical link between the sponsoring livery company and the school.
Board Member and Governor, HMP Woodhill
Nicola Marfleet has over 20 years of experience of working within the Prison Service. She started out on the frontline as a prison officer in 2000. Since then, she has worked in a wide variety prisons across the country. Her roles have spanned institutions serving women and young people through to the high security male estates. These have included HMP East Sutton Park, HMP Swaleside, HMP Elmley, HMP Pentonville, and HMP Woodhill, where she currently leads in her role as Governor.
Nicola is passionate about developing potential in teams, growing leaders, and mentoring women in the workplace. She speaks widely on team dynamics and shifting culture within the workplace, and is a guest lecturer for Leadership College London.
Board member and Unlocked Ambassador
Karan is a 2018 Unlocked Graduates Ambassador having spent two-years as a frontline Prison Officer at Her Majesty’s Youth Offender Institute Aylesbury and having worked on a group Policy Paper presented to the Secretary of State for Justice on prison reform.
He is a former Youth Ambassador for the anti-racism and discrimination in football charity Kick It Out, working on various projects for the organisation and advising them on how best to tackle racism and discrimination in football from a youth perspective.
In 2018, Karan was identified as one of twelve ‘Gamechangers’ by Kick It Out, an initiative supported by the UEFA Foundation, Premier League and UCFB aiming to identify and create the future leaders of football, inspiring them to bring positive change to the sport with regards to equality, inclusion and cohesion, and in turn help to address the under-representation of minority groups across the industry.
Karan also has extensive frontline experience of voluntary teaching, having worked on education projects in China, Hungary, Morocco, and Ghana. He is also a volunteer at the Longford Trust, where he is mentoring a former prisoner through their university degree.
Board member and Unlocked Ambassador
Nathan is a 2019 Unlocked Graduates Ambassador, and currently works as a Skills Strategy Advisor at the Department for Education. During his time on the programme, Nathan supported and safeguarded some of our society’s most vulnerable and challenging young people in HMYOI Feltham; drafted a group policy paper focused on improving remand prisoners’ treatment; and was a member of Unlocked’s inaugral Diversity and Inclusion Advisory group. With a particular interest in tackling inequalities in criminal justice and education, Nathan has also held a range of advisory roles at various charities and initiatives. This includes being a member of the Careers and Enterprise Company’s youth advisory group and advising the Metropolitan Police through their Central London Youth Forum.
Board Member and Consultant
Emma is a qualified solicitor who has worked for law firms such as Allen & Overy and as the head of legal in various multinationals. She now operates as a consultant providing legal support and management skills training to lawyers.
Emma’s involvement in the criminal justice system ranges from her experience as a referral order panel member, volunteer for the charity StoryBook Dads, an advisor for Children Heard and Seen and as an Independent Monitoring Board member at a women’s prison. She has experience as a trustee of various charities and is currently also a trustee of Unlock (a charity for people with criminal records).
Board member and CEO of Catch22
Chris is Chief Executive of Catch22. He leads the team of 1,800 staff and volunteers that in 2015/16 supported 30,000 people in over 100 locations. Chris originally trained as a probation officer and in 1999 established Nottingham’s first multi-agency Youth Offending Team. From there he moved to the Youth Justice Board as Head of Performance where he led on developing and implementing a performance management framework for the Youth Justice System. He joined Rainer, which became Catch22, in 2006. Chris is an advocate for the social enterprise sector playing a key role in the delivery of public services. As a result, Catch22 is known both for its innovative and collaborative approach to justice, education, employability and social care.
Board member and Chief Operating Officer of Entrepreneur First
Tom Shinner is Chief Operating Officer of Entrepreneur First (www.joinef.com), which brings together extraordinary people to found technology startups in Bangalore, Berlin, Paris, London, Singapore and Toronto. EF has helped more than 3,000 people build more than 500 companies currently worth more than $7 billion. Before EF, Tom spent seven years in the UK Civil Service, serving on the main board of two departments – as Director of Strategy at the Department for Education, and as the director at DExEU coordinating the UK’s domestic policy and technical implementation of Brexit across government. Tom started his career at McKinsey & Company, serving in the London and Middle East offices, and in 2010 he co-founded a thriving Free School in South London.
Chief Executive and Founder
Natasha is founder and CEO at Unlocked Graduates. She developed the concept while working with Dame Sally Coates on her review into prison education, and has led the organisation from its inception in 2016. Since then, Unlocked Graduates has recruited over 500 graduates to be prison officers, working with over 10,000 prisoners across the country.
Natasha has a background in public sector start up and was previously a teacher and senior leader in inner city schools. This included co-founding King Solomon Academy and leading their frontier cohort to groundbreaking GCSE results in 2014. Natasha has also worked as a government adviser and in the Westminster think tank Policy Exchange.
In her spare time, Natasha is an advisor to the Children’s Commissioner and a charity trustee at Impetus PEF and Get Further, with a particular interest in improving outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged children. She also sits on the Grants and Evaluation committee at the Youth Endowment Fund and the Building Future’s Advisory Board at Prison Reform Trust.
Maria is an experienced graduate recruiter. As part of the start-up team for Think Ahead, a scheme to recruit graduates to be mental health social workers, she successfully recruited the first cohort of 100 to this new programme and built their brand so successfully that they appeared on the Times Top 100 graduate recruiters in their second year of recruitment. Before this, she was a recruiter for Teach First where she attracted 1 in 10 Oxford finalists to apply to the programme. Maria is also a Teach First Ambassador, having completed their Leadership Development Programme while teaching for two years in Birmingham.
Chief Operating Officer
Bodil joined Unlocked Graduates as an experienced leading adult trainer who has a passion for researching and applying the best teaching and learning techniques. She has spoken widely on these issues and been a course tutor for BPP’s PGCE (post-graduate certificate in education) as well as contributing to two books on initial training and continuing professional development. Bodil was a founding teacher and Head of Department at Michaela Community School, a free school in Brent. She is a Teach First Ambassador and spent two years as a Maths teacher in a Lee Valley school.
Head of Diversity and Inclusion/Attraction Manager
Khadija joined Unlocked Graduates as the Attraction Manager in 2021 before moving into her current role as Head of Diversity and Inclusion and Attraction Manager in 2022. As Head of Diversity and Inclusion, she leads on the organisation’s diversity and inclusion strategy, supporting internal and programme facing initiates. In her role as Attraction Manager, Khadija leads the attraction team in building the Unlocked brand profile, attracting candidates to the programme, and ensuring a smooth and professional candidate journey for all those who come through the process of applying to Unlocked.
External Relations Director
Sarah joined Unlocked from the New Schools Network where she built the campaigns function and acted as interim director. Prior to this she was Associate Director at public affairs and corporate communications agency Hanover where she led a range of projects, specialising in health and education campaigns that involved partnerships between the public, third and private sectors for clients both in the UK and across Europe. She was a school governor for four years and is currently a trustee at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
Libby joined Unlocked in 2017, heading up the south region before moving into her current role as Programme Director. Libby brings experience of education, teacher training and leadership development. She trained as a teacher in 2009 before moving to work at charity, Teach First where she designed and delivered teacher training. The travel bug kicked in and in 2014 and Libby moved to Hong Kong where she took up the post of Head of English, and later Vice Principal in an international school.
Director of Ventures
Will is an experienced founder, director and advisor to sustainable social businesses and start-ups. He has founded a number of social enterprises, including a creative education organisation that inspires imagination and a not-for-profit brewery that creates meaningful jobs for people with learning disabilities.
Will has contributed to the wider network as an entrepreneur-in-residence, a mentor across a range of programmes, and a trainer. He is currently a trustee at Ignition Brewery and a non-executive director at Accelerate Health CIC, a clinical health social enterprise that develops and delivers world-class treatment for lymphoedema and leg ulcers.
Head of Region (North)
Bella joined Unlocked in 2019 as Head of Region (North) overseeing the expansion into working with prisons across Greater Manchester and then the Midlands.
Bella has expertise in Education, leadership development, coaching and management. Having started her career as a Spanish teacher and head of department at an academy in London, Bella then moved to Manchester where she worked for education charity Teach First in a variety of roles, supporting and training teachers and managing teams, for eight years.
Jack joined Unlocked as a member of the first cohort of Unlocked Graduates in 2017, where he worked as a Prison Officer at HMP Brixton. After completing the two-year programme, he worked as a Project Coordinator for a charity called User Voice; helping them mobilise two new service user council projects in the South West of England.
Following this role, Jack returned to Unlocked Graduates as a Programme Officer to assist in their recruitment of the 2021 cohort of Unlocked Graduates.
Head of Region (South)
Danielle started her career in the prison service in 2008 working with female prisoners, before moving to work across a range of establishments where she trained new staff and worked as a Custodial Manager.
Danielle initially joined Unlocked Graduates in 2017 as a Mentoring Prison Officer (MPO) on secondment, and now works as Head of Region (South) developing and training our MPO’s, overseeing participant progress and building relationships across our placement prisons in London and the South East. Danielle has a passion for developing staff and supporting mental health. She is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor for both the Adult and Youth qualifications.
Head of Delivery
Samantha started with Unlocked in 2020 as the Programme and Events Manager, before moving into her current role as Head of Delivery.
Samantha has a background in events within the higher education sector. She previously worked at University College London (UCL), and the University of London (SOAS), where she lead the organisation of recruitment events and graduation ceremonies.
Jasmine joined Unlocked in January 2022 as a Team Coordinator, working between the Recruitment and External Relations teams. She aids candidates through their application and onboarding processes for the Unlocked graduate programme and helps to communicate the Unlocked mission across various platforms.
Jasmine received her BA (Hons) in Hispanic Studies and French from the University of Warwick in 2020, before working on a translation project for Prison Insider with UN Volunteers. She then went on to complete an MSc in Global Governance from the University of Exeter, where she furthered her interest in social justice and policy.
Kate joined Unlocked in 2021 as Programme Intern and now works as Programme Officer, supporting the delivery of high-quality events and communications with Unlocked participants and stakeholders.
Kate received her BA in history from Bristol University and has previously worked for Stratford Literary Festival, a charity that promotes the benefits of reading and writing in schools, the community and prisons.
Communications and Digital Officer
Sara joined Unlocked Graduates as the Communications and Digital Officer in 2021. She received her BA (Honours) in Politics and Social Policy in 2018 from the University of Kent and then went on to work as the Communications and Media Intern for UN Women in Fiji.
Sara received an MSc in Social Policy and Social Problems from the University of Amsterdam. She is passionate about communications, social policy and is committed to telling the untold story of prisons and breaking stereotypes surrounding the role of the prison officer.
Chloé joined Unlocked in 2021 as an intern at Summer Institute and now works as Programme Intern, where she helps support the communications, planning and delivery of events and the 2022 Summer Institute
Chloé received her BA in HRM and Management from the University of Strathclyde, where she focussed her dissertation on the exclusion of ex-prisoners in the labour market and the role of HRM within this. She is extremely passionate about the rehabilitation of ex-prisoners and has worked with numerous charities and social enterprises to gain experience in this sector.
Recruitment Officer (Attraction)
Jack joined Unlocked as a Recruitment Officer in September 2021. He works to attract graduates and career changers to help lead change as prison officers on the front line. Jack also assesses potential candidates and supports successful ones throughout their offer journey. Jack has a BSc in Mathematics and previously completed BT’s graduate programme. He is a rugby fan and a proud Welshman.
Recruitment Officer (Selection)
Sophie joined the Unlocked Recruitment Team in August 2020 with an aim of using her frontline experience to contribute to the design and delivery of the Unlocked Graduates assessment centres. She is an Unlocked ambassador and spent two years as a prison officer at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. During her time there, she worked on one of the largest prison wings in Europe housing mainly young males in prison for gang-related offences. She spent the final 6-months of the programme on the mental health unit and worked with a team of psychiatrists and occupational therapists to care for prisoners with serious mental illnesses.
Sophie was successful in gaining funds to initiate the first ever Parkrun at HMP Wormwood Scrubs as part of the Innovation Acceleration Fund. She also wrote a dissertation on the impacts of the prison officer role on prison officer’s mental wellbeing.
Regional Manager (South)
Mike joined the Prison Service in 2005, working at HMP Wandsworth as an Operational Support Grade before becoming a Prison Officer in 2007. He has undertaken several roles, including that of a POELT Mentor for new staff where he was introduced to the Unlocked programme. In 2020, Mike joined Unlocked Graduates in the role of Regional Manager (South).
Recruitment Officer (Attraction)
Iona joined the Recruitment team in January 2022, having spent 2021 working in the Unlocked External Relations team as a Development and Partnerships Officer. She works with the Recruitment team to attract and support top graduates to join the Unlocked programme to lead change from the inside.
Before joining Unlocked, Iona completed the Teach First programme and taught Humanities at secondary schools in Portsmouth and London for five years, including Michaela Community School. She took a keen interest in mentoring pupils at risk of exclusion and leading outreach work in schools. She is passionate about ensuring that the Unlocked mission is amplified so we can reduce reoffending in the UK.