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Central team

Jonathan Shaw

Jonathan Shaw

Chief Executive

Jonathan became Chief Executive of Policy Connect in May 2016. He worked as a farm worker, care assistant, social worker and local councillor before being elected to Parliament for three terms between 1997-2010.

During his time as an MP he was: a member of the Environmental Audit and Education Select Committees; Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Education; Government Whip; Minister for Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs; Minister for Disabled People; and also Regional Minister for South East England. Before joining Policy Connect, Jonathan led a consultancy company, the Shaw Business Partnership, supporting a range of organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors. He co-founded the housing and employment consortium Give us a Chance, developed an award winning partnership to assist ex-offenders gain employment and established a leadership programme for the public sector.

Jonathan is chair of the Kent-based charity the Blackthorn Trust which assists with mental and physical rehabilitation and is based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner.

He enjoys running, country walks and cooking.

Claudia Jaksch COO Policy Connect

Claudia Jaksch, MA

Chief Operating Officer & Head of Sustainability

As Chief Operating Officer, Claudia provides Policy Connect's Chief Executive with strategic and operational oversight of Policy Connect’s administrative, financial and HR capabilities and advises Policy Connect Board Members on key strategic issues. She is also Company Secretary.

As Head of the Sustainability department, Claudia oversees all of Policy Connect's sustainability-themed work on energy and climate change, the circular economy and sustainable resources, the built environment, natural capital and infrastructure. 

Claudia holds a Masters degree in International Political Economy from King's College London and a Bachelor's degree in European Studies from the University of Passau, Germany. She is now undertaking an Executive MBA with Warwick Business School, Warwick University.

Her past experiences include working for Stakeholder Forum, an international organisation dedicated to advancing sustainable development at a global level, as well as roles at the central bank in Germany and in the private sector in Spain.

In her spare time, Claudia enjoys exploring London's world of museums, art galleries, and restaurants, running, playing squash, reading, and travelling.

020 7202 8584
Oona Muirhead Business Adviser Policy Connect

Oona Muirhead, CBE

Business Adviser

Oona is the former Chief Executive of a business support Agency, with over 30 years’ experience of Whitehall, local and regional government. Starting her career in the Ministry of Defence, she ran the media operation in the 1999 Kosovo crisis, for which she was awarded the CBE, and the 2001 MOD-wide modernisation programme.  

After roles in the Environment Department and Local Government Association she was selected to develop and deliver the first ever business and climate change strategy for the South East of England business support agency, SEEDA. As Chief Executive of SEEDA, Oona also chaired the London 2012 partnership of public, business and voluntary sector organisations for the South East.

Since 2012, Oona has combined executive-level business development roles with non-executive roles in both the public and private sectors.

She is currently non-Exec Director for the Office for Nuclear Regulation, and a Director of MSS Global (a small high-growth ethical auditing company).

Uzma Anser Policy Connect

Uzma Anser

Finance Manager

Uzma joined Policy Connect in September 2017.

As Finance Manager, she manages all the financial activity of the company.

Uzma holds a Masters degree in Finance and she is part qualified with Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

She has vast financial experience in not-for-profit sector. Her past experiences include working for IFAW, The Bar Council, World Animal Protection and Tate Modern.

Her hobbies include cooking and travelling.

0207 922 7783

Natasha Adade

Events & Operations Manager

Natasha joined Policy Connect in 2008 and is our Events & Operations Manager, organising the busy events program at Policy Connect. Natasha is the first point of call for events activity; she makes sure that each of Policy Connect's many events runs smoothly.

Natasha has a background in television production with previous roles held at UEFA Champions League and the BBC and BBC World service. She graduated from the University of Westminster and gained a BA in Contemporary Media Practices and is also a member of the Alumni from the Brit School.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, putting together dinner parties, and organising various Ghanaian charity gala events both in the UK and Ghana.

020 7202 8585
Susie James Media and Communications Manager at Policy Connect

Susie James

Media & Communications Manager

Susie joined Policy Connect in September 2019 and oversees all media relations at Policy Connect, as well as working across each team to develop campaign strategies. She is also responsible for social media across Policy Connect.

Susie's background is in technology and corporate profiling, working for companies such as Vodafone Business, Lenovo and Sky. She is currently studying for a Masters in US History and Politics at University College London. 

In her spare time she enjoys cooking (and eating), reading and discovering new podcasts. 

020 7202 8587

Education & Skills

Simon Kelleher Head of Education & Skills Policy Connect

Simon Kelleher

Head of Education & Skills

Simon joined the Education and Skills team at Policy Connect in June 2013. He is responsible for strategic management of the Education & Skills team's work across the Skills Commission, the Higher Education Commission and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Skills and Employment (APGSE).

Prior to joining Policy Connect Simon taught Functional Skills at secondary level in the state sector, and gained research and campaigning experience at the Young Foundation and the British Humanist Association. He holds a BA in History and Politics, an MA in Social and Political Theory from the University of East Anglia, and a Diploma in Management Studies from London South Bank University.

Outside of work Simon enjoys reading, climbing, kayaking and getting creative. 

020 7202 8575

Megan Hector

Project Coordinator

Megan joined Policy Connect in August 2019, providing policy, research and operational support across the Higher Education and Skills Commissions, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Skills and Employment.

Prior to joining Policy Connect, Megan spent a year and a half working in employability and skills in local government, and before that completed an MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities at LSE. Between leaving local government and joining the team, she spent three months volunteering in Greece with refugee women and girls. Megan also holds a BA in English Language and Literature from King’s College London.

Outside of work Megan enjoys classical singing, dance, baking, reading, and learning new languages.

0207 202 8576

Health & Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Emelie de Wagt

Emelie de Wagt

Head of Health & CO

Emelie joined Policy Connect in April 2018 and is the Head of Health & CO. Emelie primarily manages the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Health Group and oversees the development of policy work and engagement in Health & CO activities across Policy Connect.  

Prior to joining the team and moving to the UK, Emelie worked in a policy role with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at a European sustainable transport organisation in Brussels promoting active travel and the decarbonisation of transport. Emelie holds a MA in Global Ethics/Political Philosophy from King’s College London, BA in International Relations from the University of Groningen, and did a Political Science exchange abroad to Université de Sherbrook in Canada.

In her spare time, Emelie loves exploring London by bike, trying new cuisines, travelling, and learning as many languages as she can.

0207 202 8580
Oliver Buckley-Mellor

Oliver Buckley-Mellor

Policy Manager, Carbon Monoxide Safety Policy

Oliver became part of the Policy Connect team in October 2018 as a Researcher for the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group. 

Prior to joining Policy Connect, Oliver worked as a policy advisor for the Transforming Autism Project, and led the Warwick and York Student Think Tanks. Oliver holds an MA in Public Administration and Public Policy from the University of York and a BA in History from the University of Warwick.

Outside of work, Oliver is a life-long Manchester City fan and enjoys cooking, podcasts, and reading books.

020 7202 8581
Stine Holm

Stine Holm

Project Coordinator, Carbon Monoxide Safety

Stine joined Policy Connect in June 2019, providing policy and communications support across the Carbon Monoxide teams activities.

Stine holds a BA in Politics from the University of Cambridge. Stine has experience from Shelter, Friends of the Earth and the Camden Labour Party. In her spare time, Stine enjoys yoga, walking around Hampstead Heath, upcycling and crafting (more or less successfully) and trying to make things grow in her tiny urban garden.

0207 922 7813
Marjan Jamal

Marjan Jamal

Project Coordinator

Marjan joined Policy Connect in June 2019 and is responsible for coordinating and developing policy research and stakeholder engagement for the All-Party Parliamentary Health Group and across health stream activities at Policy Connect.

Prior to joining the team, Marjan worked in corporate healthcare policy and public affairs for international pharma clients. She also worked at the NGO Social Finance, London, where she took lead in developing stakeholder and communication strategies for adult social care. Marjan has over five years’ experience in the NHS and health and social care sector as a former medical student at the University of Manchester. After leaving medical school with healthcare qualifications, Marjan pursued a master’s in Public Health from the University of Manchester and is due to finish her MPH in September 2019. Her thesis is looking at Type 1 Diabetic patient perspectives on glucose flash monitoring devices.

In her spare time, Marjan likes to spend time with family, friends and natural landscapes. She likes to explore cooking different foods, go travelling, long walks, reading and enjoying drinking tea.

0207 202 8580

Industry, Technology & Innovation

Robert McLaren APPGAT Policy Connect

Robert McLaren

Head of Industry, Technology & Innovation

Robert manages the strategic direction of the Industry Technology and Innovation team. Before joining Policy Connect, he worked within the assistive technology sector providing technology training and study skills tuition to disabled people in universities and the workplace, and consultancy services for organisations in that sector.

Robert holds a BA (Hons) degree in Philosophy from King's College London and a PGC in Teaching Adults with Specific Learning Difficulties from London Metropolitan University. He is dyslexic and was first introduced to assistive technology when he received a Disabled Student's Allowance as an undergraduate. Outside work, Robert performs with an improv group and is a trustee for the arts and education charity SET.   

0207 202 8577
Jack Tindale Design & Innovation Policy Connect

Jack Tindale

Policy Manager, Design & Innovation

Jack joined the Policy Connect team in April 2016. He coordinates the design, innovation and creative industries within our Industry, Technology & Innovation programme, directly managing the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group and the Design Commission, as well as coordinating the Data Analytics APPG.  

Jack graduated from LSE with a BSc in Government and History in 2012. After a term in which he served as Community and Welfare Officer for the LSE Students' Union, he later worked as a researcher to a member of the House of Lords and as Communications Officer at Transport for London.

Outside Policy Connect, Jack is an amateur writer and graphic designer, having helped to establish an online publishing label specialising in counterfactual history. He also enjoys reading political biographies, Gilbert and Sullivan, and craft beer. 

0207 202 8588
Clive Gilbert

Clive Gilbert

Policy Manager, Assistive Technology

Clive has held public policy researcher roles at Scope and the Policy Research Unit. More recently, he has worked as an independent consultant and writer on disability, education and skills, health and social services to organisations across the public, private and charitable sectors.

Clive holds a BA in History from King's College London and an MSc in Public Policy from University College London. In his spare time, Clive volunteers as the Patient and Public Voice representative for the NHS England Environmental Controls Service and a is trustee of the Young Adult Complex Condition Alliance (YACCA); he is also an avid reader, and a particular fan of author Michael Lewis.

Ben Carpenter Merritt

Ben Carpenter Merritt

Policy Manager, Manufacturing

Ben joined Policy Connect in October 2018 and leads on all work in the industrial and manufacturing space. He directly manages the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group and coordinates the work of the Manufacturing Commission. 

Prior to joining Policy Connect, Ben worked in public affairs at FleishmanHillard in Brussels, and most recently worked as Regional Affairs Manager for EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, where he led on policy and external affairs in the North East. Ben grew up in North Yorkshire and attended Newcastle University where he gained a first-class BA (Hons) in Politics & Sociology.

In his spare time, he enjoys watching and playing rugby, listening to podcasts and reading books on politics, communications and psychology.

0207 202 8586
Geena Vabulas

Geena Vabulas

Policy Manager, Assistive Technology

Prior to joining Policy Connect, Geena held several roles in the assistive technology sector including as a specialist teacher with responsibility for implementing assistive technology in her school, technology and study skills trainer for university students with disabilities, and as a trainer for an app to support people with autism.

Geena holds a BA (Hons) degree in Linguistics from Binghamton University and is working towards her MA in Education and Technology at the Institute of Education (University College London). Outside of work, Geena enjoys comedy and a good pub quiz.

Sustainability

Claudia Jaksch COO Policy Connect

Claudia Jaksch, MA

Chief Operating Officer & Head of Sustainability

As Chief Operating Officer, Claudia provides Policy Connect's Chief Executive with strategic and operational oversight of Policy Connect’s administrative, financial and HR capabilities and advises Policy Connect Board Members on key strategic issues. She is also Company Secretary.

As Head of the Sustainability department, Claudia oversees all of Policy Connect's sustainability-themed work on energy and climate change, the circular economy and sustainable resources, the built environment, natural capital and infrastructure. 

Claudia holds a Masters degree in International Political Economy from King's College London and a Bachelor's degree in European Studies from the University of Passau, Germany. She is now undertaking an Executive MBA with Warwick Business School, Warwick University.

Her past experiences include working for Stakeholder Forum, an international organisation dedicated to advancing sustainable development at a global level, as well as roles at the central bank in Germany and in the private sector in Spain.

In her spare time, Claudia enjoys exploring London's world of museums, art galleries, and restaurants, running, playing squash, reading, and travelling.

020 7202 8584
Mitya Pearson Policy Connect Carbon Connect

Mitya Pearson

Policy Manager, Sustainability

Mitya joined Policy Connect in January 2016 and initially worked across Policy Connect's sustainability-themed activities. Mitya is now the Manager of Carbon Connect, the cross-party policy research forum that seeks to inform and guide a low carbon transformation underpinned by sustainable energy.

Mitya has a BA in Politics from the University of Sheffield and an MA in Politics & Contemporary History from the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s College London.

His interests outside of work include playing and watching football, reading and walking.

0207 202 8578
Joanna Furtado

Joanna Furtado

Senior Researcher, Sustainability Policy

Jo joined Policy Connect in April 2018. As a senior researcher in the sustainability team, she is conducting research for Carbon Connect’s Future Gas Series, as well as providing policy support to both Carbon Connect and the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum.

Jo has an MSci in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham, with a masters project looking at the role of gender and socioeconomic status in the perception of chemistry in school students. Before working in Policy Connect she worked in science policy and science education policy for the Royal Society of Chemistry, and in climate and energy policy for the World Wildlife Fund as an intern. She has also worked for the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Outside of work, Jo likes doing all manner of outdoors sports including running, cycling, swimming, scuba diving, skiing and hiking. 

0207 202 8571
Jacob Ainscough

Jacob Ainscough

Senior Researcher, Sustainability Policy

Jacob originally joined Policy Connect on a 6 month secondment from his PhD at the University of Edinburgh to lead the NERC-funded Zero Plastic Waste project. After completing this project Jacob returned to his PhD part-time and joined Policy Connect on a part-time basis to managed the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group.

Jacob has a BSc in Zoology from the University of Exeter and an MSc in Environment, Science and Society from UCL. He is also studying part time for a Graduate Diploma in Economics from Birkbeck, University of London. Jacob currently edits the newsletter for the European Society of Ecological Economics and sits on the committee of the Royal Geographical Society: Coastal and Marine Research Group. Prior to starting his PhD Jacob worked as a research assistant at the Zoological Society of London in their Marine and Freshwater team.

Outside of work Jacob enjoys reading, cycling and hiking (preferably in Scottish mountains).

Oliver Feaver

Oliver Feaver

Research and Project Coordinator

Olly joined Policy Connect in May 2019. As Researcher and Project Coordinator, he is providing policy support across the Sustainability team’s activities.

Olly has a BSc in Rural Land Management from the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, and is currently completing an MSc in Government, Policy and Politics at Birkbeck, University of London. Prior to joining Policy Connect, he worked in land agency across the utility and infrastructure sector.

His interests outside of work include travelling, rural pursuits and local politics.

Robert Allen

Robert Allen

Policy Manager, Sustainability

Rob joined Policy Connect in April 2019. As the Policy Manager in the Sustainability team overseeing the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum, Rob brings together businesses, parliamentarians, civil servants and other stakeholders to champion sustainability in built environment projects.

After completing his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, Rob worked in environmental consulting for over ten years and is experienced in brownfield site assessment, flood risk appraisal, environmental due diligence, and permitting.

Outside of work, Rob loves hiking in the outdoors and is a keen cricketer, having captained his local club for a number of years.

0207 202 8573