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Senior Management Team

Cheryl Giovannoni

Chief Executive

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.

During her career at WPP she ran three of its companies, most recently Ogilvy & Mather, the advertising agency. Before this, Ms Giovannoni was European President of Landor Associates, a global brand consulting firm, where she was responsible for managing seven units across the region and worked with clients including P&G, Diageo and Kraft.

Cheryl had previously been CEO of Coley Porter Bell, a consumer design and branding business. Ms Giovannoni enjoys mentoring and coaching and supports many young women, either informally as their mentor or through programmes run by WACL (Women in Advertising and Communication London).

She is also a non-executive director of Fearless Futures, a charity launched to encourage equality through its schools’ programme.

Follow Cheryl on Twitter.

Tom Beardmore-Gray

Chief Financial Officer

Responsible for both the Finance and ICT departments, Tom has an MA in Modern History from University College, Oxford and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Price Waterhouse.

He has also held senior national and international positions at Pepsi Cola International and in the De Beers Group, including CFO/COO of Forevermark (the Consumer Marketing Division of De Beers) and President and CEO of Archangel Diamond Corporation.

Tom is a Governor of Lambrook School, an independent prep school in Berkshire. His father taught in a prep school and two of his brothers are Headmaster and Deputy Headmaster of prep schools. Tom has three children, all of whom are being educated independently.


Viv Chartres

Director of HR

Viv Chartres is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development with a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management.

She has over 20 years’ experience working at a senior level, stretching over a wide portfolio of government, commercial and NFP organisations including the Metropolitan Police Service, John Lewis and the National Autistic Society where she was responsible for managing large scale change in HR perception and delivery.

Viv has a wide breadth of understanding in her field and enjoys being a mentor to those beginning their HR careers and being a coach to others.

Judy Mitchem

Director of Marketing & Communications

Before joining the GDST, Judy worked at The Treasury on a special assignment which entailed working with multiple stakeholders including Ministers, Special Advisers, lawyers and bankers. 

Before that, Judy worked at some of London’s leading agencies as Chief Marketing Officer of The Ogilvy Group, Group Marketing Director of M&C Saatchi, Chief Marketing Officer of Lowe London and Business Development Director of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe.

Over the years, her clients have included John Lewis, The Guardian, The Department of Health, The Department for Education, Bauer Media, Barclays, Simple skincare, Nationwide, Jaeger, Tatler and Virgin Atlantic.

During her career, she has been engaged in a number of high-level consultancy assignments, with clients such as Chime Communications, Bauer Media, The Metropolitan Police and The Children’s Trust.

She lives in Clapham and has three lovely children, Tommy, Lucas and Lara.

Martin Pilkington

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.

Christine Sillis

Estates Director

Christine Sillis is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Chartered Building Surveyor with an MBA and a Post Graduate Diploma in Building Conservation. 

She has over 25 years’ experience in the construction and property industry and over 20 years’ experience as a senior manager within large organisations in sectors including residential, commercial, leisure, secure estates, healthcare, education and historic estates.

She has worked with borough and county councils on a total of 36 secondary schools and academies and 13 special needs schools.

Before joining the GDST, Christine was Deputy Director & Head of Projects at the Houses of Parliament, where she was responsible for all operational aspects of the Parliamentary Estates Directorate.

Kevin Stannard

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.

Follow Kevin on Twitter.