Area Director

Mark Smith

South West and International Area Director

Mark has worked as a careers adviser and manager. Starting as a Careers Adviser in Hull, before becoming an Assistant Area Manager for Lincolnshire & Rutland Connexions. He also spent time on projects in Peterborough, Bedfordshire, Hull and Lincolnshire where he had management responsibilities for a Government Pilot Project. Mark has also worked for Pearson plc as a School Liaison Executive in the South West. Mark studied Business in Newcastle and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Careers Guidance, joining Inspiring Futures in 2013.

Regional Directors

Ian Pierson

Regional Director

Ian worked at the University of Sussex for over 5 years, providing careers guidance to undergraduate students and managing a work placement programme for the Business School.  Ian has also worked as a freelance Careers Adviser within Schools and Colleges across the Sussex area. He is currently a Local Advisory Board member for Bexhill College, as well as a professional mentor on their Career Ready programme, and also became an Enterprise Advisor for the Careers and Enterprise Company in 2016. Ian has a degree in English Language and Linguistics and a Diploma in Careers Guidance. He joined the Inspiring Futures team in 2016.  

Assistant Regional Directors

Alison France

Assistant Regional Director

Alison has over 9 years' experience in Careers Education and Guidance, working with young people in schools, colleges and higher education. She has worked part-time for Inspiring Futures as a Regional Adviser in London & South East since gaining the Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance in 2007. Alison also worked for 7 years as Head of Careers in an independent school in Surrey. Before becoming a Careers Adviser, Alison had a long and varied career within the BBC, mostly in Television News in London.  Alison has a degree in English, French and German from Exeter University, and joined the International Team in 2016 as an Assistant Regional Director.

Regional Advisers

Carolyn Gent

Regional Adviser

Carolyn was Head of Careers at a leading independent school for 9 years, where she also taught for 18 years. Prior to that she practised as a solicitor. She graduated from Cambridge University in Modern Languages and Law and has completed her Postgraduate qualification in Career Guidance. Carolyn is also responsible for Training and Project Development for The Bethany Children's Trust and joined Inspiring Futures in 2013.

Chris Conway

Regional Adviser

Chris was Head of Careers at Shrewsbury School for 20 years before leaving there to go to Shrewsbury International School Bangkok as Associate Director of Higher Education (UK) for a brief spell before returning to the UK and working with Jon Tabbert Associates. He read chemistry at University College, Oxford and followed this by 2 years with V.S.O. in Tanzania. He has gained experience with the selection processes for Higher Education both in the UK and overseas, and has particular interest in those for competitive courses and institutions. He is also a trustee of Restart Africa and Shrewsbury House Youth Club.

Evelyn Thomson

Regional Adviser

Evelyn has over 25 years of experience in both education and careers guidance. Prior to joining Inspiring Futures in 2010 as Regional Adviser in the South East Evelyn was Head of Careers at an independent school in Surrey. She has a degree in History and Psychology, a Teaching diploma and a post graduate degree in Educational Psychology as well as a qualification in Careers Guidance. Evelyn joined the International Team in 2016.

Gina Walheim

Regional Adviser

Gina has worked as a Careers Adviser in many Sussex schools and sixth form colleges for 14 years. Enhanced training enabled Gina to facilitate the administration and interpretation of psychometric profiling, which allowed her to also work in the Independent Sector. In 2008, she began to visit European Schools to deliver Advice and Guidance, in English, to young people aspiring to attend UK universities after completion of the European Baccalaureate. Gina has a Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance joining Inspiring Futures in 2012, initially in Sussex, and recently joining the International Team in 2015.

John Burnip

Regional Adviser

John has an engineering background (Structural Engineer) working predominantly in the Middle East (Dubai). He re-skilled to become a qualified teacher and has 27 years teaching experience, 22 of which were as a Head of Careers in a variety schools. As Head of Careers in a large Leeds school it became the first school in West Yorkshire to attain the benchmark - ‘The Leeds Standard’ for careers education. John has a degree in Sociology, a PGCE and a Post Graduate Diploma in Careers Guidance, joining Inspiring Futures in 2005. 

Liliane Mitchell

Regional Adviser

Liliane joined Connexions Lincolnshire and Rutland as a careers adviser in 2006, supporting young people from Years 7 to 14. This involved helping them with decision-making and preparation for further, higher education and employment. Prior to that, she worked for a charity organisation in London for 10 years, which provides support to the unemployed. She managed their career department. Liliane studied literature in Brazil, has a Diploma in Careers Guidance and joined Inspiring Futures in 2016.

Sian Morris

Regional Adviser

Sian spent 34 years teaching in a wide range of secondary schools across the UK, latterly as Head of Careers at an independent school in Shropshire. This role involved one to one interviews, group teaching, UCAS administration, event management, presentations and parental discussions. Sian has studied in the USA as an international student. Sian has a degree in Geography, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and a Certificate in Careers Education and Guidance, joining Inspiring Futures in 2016.