The GDST is led by Chief Executive, Cheryl Giovannoni and supported by the Senior Management Team. It is governed by a group of Trustees who form the GDST Council.
Cheryl Giovannoni was born and brought up in South Africa and has a BA in English, Communication and Psychology from the University of South Africa.
She spent most of her career at WPP, starting out as a PA in the Research and Strategic Planning Department at Ogilvy & Mather in Johannesburg. She transferred to the London office of Ogilvy as an Account Director in 1993, had a brief foray at Lowe-Howard Spink for a couple of years, before returning to WPP as CEO role of Coley Porter Bell, a boutique design and branding consultancy. She then became UK MD of Landor Associates, a global brand consulting firm in WPP, where she honed her corporate branding skills, being promoted to European President, and then Global Client Leader. The circle was completed with her return to Ogilvy & Mather London as CEO of the advertising agency in 2013, almost 30 years after having started at the firm as a PA.
Cheryl is now CEO of one of the UK’s largest charities, The Girls’ Day School Trust, a post she has held for the past 4 years. She is responsible for 25 schools across the UK, educating 18,000 girls and leading an organisation of 4,000 staff. She has always enjoyed mentoring and coaching women at different stages of their careers throughout her journey. She now gets to spend every day working with future generations of women who will change the world for the better for us all. She is also the champion of a programme called “Undivided”, to address diversity, inclusion and real change within the education sector.
Director of Innovation & Learning
Dr Kevin Stannard joined the GDST from University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) where he was Director of Education.
He was responsible for initiatives and international education reform projects including the introduction of the Cambridge Pre-U in both state and independent schools, the promotion of bilingual education in Spain and the Netherlands and the development of a new curriculum for model schools in Egypt. He has also been an advisor on curriculum reform to the Singapore Ministry of Education.
Before joining CIE, Kevin taught at a number of independent schools including Eton College, where he was Head of Geography. While there he wrote a number of geography textbooks, conducted research on a range of geographical themes and was responsible for UCAS applications.
Chief Financial Officer
Jonathan is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA CGMA) and has over 20 years’ experience in senior positions in a wide variety of organisations.
Jonathan joined the GDST in February 2018 as Finance Director and moved to the CFO role in early 2019. Immediately prior to GDST he was Head of Finance at Cancer Research UK, the largest fundraising charity in the UK. He has also worked in substantial commercial organisations such as Cadbury Schweppes, Whitbread and Magners Irish Cider, as well as spending 2 years as Finance Director in a US-listed engineering business.
Jonathan brings both a commercial and not-for-profit perspective to GDST and believes that collaboration within organisations brings huge operational and financial efficiencies, which will help GDST to continue to improve the learning environment for everyone.
Director of Estates
Cathryn is a qualified Architect who has experience in a number of Programme management and educational Estates leadership roles across both the private and public sector.
Before starting at the GDST in September 2018 she was interim Estates Director at the University of Surrey.
Director of Legal
David is a solicitor who specialised in charity law at Berwin Leighton Paisner, and was a senior lawyer at the Charity Commission, before becoming the GDST’s Head of Legal in March 2011, and then Director of Legal in March 2018.
He is a member of the Independent Schools Council’s Child Welfare Expert Group, and is an experienced charity trustee.
Director of HR
Jane is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has broad HR and leadership experience at a senior level, much of which was gained during a long and fulfilling career with the John Lewis Partnership.
Before joining GDST in July 2019, Jane worked with a variety of organisations as an independent HR consultant and executive coach. Jane is a qualified Personal Trainer and volunteers as an exercise specialist on a Community Health Programme.
Director of Information Technology Systems
Before joining the GDST, Dan was Director of Global IT Strategy for the British Council where he worked closely with the CIO to set the organisation’s IT strategy and direction.
Most of his career has been in the voluntary sector, including roles with the NSPCC and Blind Veterans UK. Dan has also worked in the commercial sector including iHotdesk – an IT outsourcing company – delivering outsourced IT services across the globe.
He is a Trustee and current chair of Charity IT Leaders, a charity that supports and advises the IT leaders of UK charities. Dan has a strong passion for placing IT at the heart of the business and believes this is vital to enable organisations to deliver services to the highest standard, and to achieve their strategic goals.
Dan is the father of two young children, a school governor, and bakes most of his own bread.
Strategy Planning Director
Martin Pilkington has a BA in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting from Cardiff University.
After graduating, he spent five years in the financial services industry as a specialist contractor for a number of different companies working in the fields of pensions and investments.
Following a career break, he worked as a Senior Liaison Officer at the Charity Commission where he provided tailored advice and guidance to some of the UK’s largest charities.
He has been at the GDST since 2012 in roles which have involved supporting the contributions of its School Governing Boards and Council.
Martin is also a non-executive director of Thera Trust, a charity which provides a range of support across the UK to people with a learning disability.