Who we are

Rebekah Iiyambo


As well as being CEO of Eko Trust, Rebekah is a National Leader of Education, providing high quality school improvement work.

Previously Rebekah has been a Headteacher, Co-headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, an advisor for Science, Early Years and English as an additional language in two Local Authorities before becoming a senior advisor for continuing professional development (CPD). This role included specific responsibility for developing leadership capacity across primary, secondary and special schools.  She has taught in schools in Britain and Namibia.      

Philip Cranwell - COO - Eko Trust

Philip Cranwell

Chief Operating Officer

Philip joined Eko Trust on September 1st 2021, having acted in an interim role since March 2021.

Philip has worked in the academy sector since 2008, initially working as a project director for sponsored academies and BSF projects. From 2013 he ran a consultancy providing strategic advice and project management to schools, academies and multi academy trusts. Philip has been involved in the conversion of nearly 300 schools and helped establish over 50 multi academy trusts.

In fact Philip supported the three schools that founded Eko Trust in November 2016, Kaizen, Gainsborough and the then Eleanor Smith. He then supported the subsequent integration of Earlham, Hackney New, Pathways and Rushmere Hall schools.

Philip is a member of the Institute of School Business Leadership and the Institute of Directors. He has a Masters in marketing and a BEng in civil engineering.

Deborah Strain - Trust Leader of Education

Deborah Strain

Trust Leader of Education

Deborah is a Trust Leader of Education whose specialist interest is supporting teachers so all children have access to high quality learning experiences with excellent outcomes.

She has been a teacher since 1994, teaching in London and Cambridgeshire – with a claim to fame being the first Primary AST in Cambridgeshire back in 2001.

She has an absolute commitment to inclusion and leadership development.

Prior to her Deputy and Head posts she ran her own Primary Learning Support Unit for pupils with SEBD (as it was then).

Deborah facilitates on the NPQ courses with UCL Institute of Education.

Philippa King - Chair of Directors

Philippa King

Chair of Trustees

A Newham resident with 25 years’ experience in voluntary sector fundraising and communications, with national, local and international charities.  Currently works as a freelance fundraiser and project manager on local projects, and studies part time.

Philippa’s skills include: premises & capital projects, strategic planning, data analysis, communications, community engagement, fundraising and marketing.

Mehreen Ara - Director

Mehreen Ara


Mehreen is a clinical hospital pharmacist and Master of Pharmacy.

She has represented pharmacy services to local college students interested in pursuing a degree in pharmacy, and undertaken undergraduate interview and examinations at the UCL School of Pharmacy.

Susan Hellman - Director

Susan Hellman


Director of UK Consultancy and Knowledge Transfer at the UCL Institute of Education. A wealth of experience within the education sector, supporting schools and developing CPD practice for teaching.

Julian Robinson - Director

Julian Robinson


Previously the Chair of Governors at Earlham Primary School, with over 30 years experience of governance in Newham. Julian is Director of Estates at the London School of Economics.

Professionally qualified in Town Planning and Surveying, Julian specialises in master planning, design and construction and property and facilities management.

He is a Trustee and former Chair of the Higher Education Design Quality Forum and Vice Chair and Director of the Northbank Business Improvement District in Westminster.

Carmen Rodney - Director

Carmen Rodney


Carmen Rodney, formerly Her Majesty’s Inspector, also worked as a lead team Ofsted trained inspector. She has specialist interest in school improvement. Inspection experience covers mainstream and independent schools as well as local authorities and initial teaching training.

She has held various roles as a senior manager.

Paul Robinson - Trustee - Eko Trust

Paul Robinson


A skilled, conscientious and professional, Corporate Banker with over 30 years’ experience in Corporate Restructuring, Risk Management and Stakeholder Management.

A father and grandfather, with some experience of the education sector through family connections and client / voluntary work in schools.

Daulat Sen


Daulat studied Aeronautical Engineering and became a software engineer in the Aerospace Industry. He has worked with technology and operating model design and management for a number of major organisations across energy, engineering, public sector and financial services for fifteen years. Currently, Daulat is with KPMG consulting where he is leading a large banking operating model transformation.

Helen Horsley


Helen has worked in education for many years and has taught and led in both secondary and primary schools. She is currently Head of a Teaching School Alliance in Brighton and Hove.

She has also worked as a consultant for a Local Authority leading on workforce development and governance. She is a trained facilitator and regularly designs and leads development for school teachers and leaders.

Her passion in education has always been developing others so that all children are given the opportunity to learn with the best possible teachers and leaders. This has been achieved through being an outward facing leader, working and learning collaboratively and establishing effective networks.

Tony Oteh

Chair of Members

A long-standing member of both Kaizen and Eko Pathways schools governing bodies; a member of the safeguarding panel for Newham; an advocate supporting families in need in Newham.

Natalie Gross


Natalie is Managing Partner of one of the UK’s most respected digital agencies. Natalie is an industry spokesperson and mentor, with a specific focus on Digital Talent & Skills and Women in leadership.

She has extensive experience working on Mergers and Acquisitions, and  with start-ups.  She is a Fellow of the CIM and an advisor and Fellow of the WWF-UK.

Christopher Owens


Following a career in teaching, Father Owens served for 37 years as a Parish Priest in the Church of England and is a member of SEA.  He has 11 years  of school governance experience.

Alex Oma Pius


Founder of IROKO Theatre-in-Education Company Alex has 20 years’ experience providing practical creative arts activities in schools and higher institutions all over England. He has worked and continues to work as a Consultant for renowned British institutions like the BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Victoria & Albert Museum, Horniman Museum & Gardens, The British Museum and the Museum of London, Member of the Steering Committee of The British Museum Supplementary School Programme, Member of The British Museum’s Community Steering Group for Object Journeys.

Vivienne Porritt


Vivienne Porritt is a leadership consultant working with school leaders on impact, vision, strategy, professional learning and development, and women’s leadership. She is also Vice President of the Chartered College of Teaching in England. Formerly, she was a secondary headteacher, Director for School Partnerships at UCL Institute of Education and a Chair of Governors in London. Vivienne is also a co-founder and, joyously, a Strategic Leader of WomenEd, a global movement that connects, supports and empowers women leaders in education.

She is the co-editor, with Peter Earley, of Effective Practices in CPD, Lessons for School (2009).

Vivienne is also co-editor, with Keziah Featherstone, of 10%braver: Inspiring Women to Lead Education (2019) Sage Education. She is the co-editor of WomenEd’s second book Being 10% braver, forthcoming December 2020, Corwin.

Yvette Stander


Yvette trained as a chartered accountant and completed her articles at KPMG giving her a good grounding in Finance and Audit.  She then worked as a consultant specialising in change and working with businesses to make this change happen.

In her career she has led large change programmes and led teams to deliver against these programs.  It was the collaboration with the teams that she enjoyed the most.

In the last 4 years she has worked in Risk, where challenge of the business was key to mitigate key risks and move the business in the right direction. She was Co-Chair of the EMEA Business Risk Committee and a decision maker at the Business Acceptance Committee.

Anne Reece


Anne is a retired chartered accountant. She has had many years experience of setting, managing and reviewing budgets within an engineering environment for various large (multi million pound) projects and for central service elements of related businesses. As project controller she has experience of related disciplines & procedures such as internal control, audit requirements, procurement processes, HSE requirements.

She has experience of accounts preparation, VAT, spreadsheet development and software selection.

Alex Davison

Alex’s involvement in governance started in 2012 when he joined the Rushmere governing body as a parent governor. During which time as a governor he served as chair of finance, vice chair, and as chairperson. He was instrumental in Rushmere’s journey from “Requires Improvement” to “Good”. He has been a member of the Suffolk Governors Forum, including a period as chair. 

His career in educational ICT support has given him a clear understanding of how support functions are crucial to the teaching and learning taking place in schools, which he applies to his governance role.


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