HELEN BODEN – CEO

I have worked in the field of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities for over 25 years. During this time, I have had the privilege of working with many neurodiverse people from all walks of life From CEOs and Directors of huge companies through to young children and those in prison. I am passionate about supporting all individuals to achieve their potential.

Likes:  Dogs and all things countryside
Dislikes: Injustice and inequality in all its forms
Favourite colour: Blue
Interesting fact: I have delivered training at 10 Downing Street!

I AM…. Fun loving, hardworking, considerate.

Email helen.boden@i-am-autism.org.uk

JUDITH SANDGROUND – FINANCE MANAGER

Accountant with a degree in mediaeval history! Worked for many years in both non-profits and commercial (advertising) business before coming to I AM. Can turn my hand to many things not related to accountancy – e.g. unjamming photocopiers and programming central heating.

Likes:  Gardening, gentle cycling, walking, choral singing
Dislikes: Chilli peppers, large spiders
Favourite colour:Blue
Interesting fact: Been on TV as a competition judge and also in an Open University training course for start-up businesses.

I AM…. Detail orientated and generally keeping systems going, in between trying to amuse people.

Email finance@i-am-autism.org.uk

WENDY GRIFFIN – TEAM LEADER

I started work with ASGMA as a casual support worker doing youth clubs
and 1-2-1 and then became a keyworker working with the 18+, after a few years I became the team leader, but I still get to do some fun stuff with the members like DVD night, and some great activities.

Likes: Shopping, eating out
Dislikes: The countdown to Christmas
Favourite colour: Blue
Interesting fact: I was on a children’s television show when I was 10 years old singing, this may be a surprise as most of you know.

I AM…. Tone deaf !!

Email wendy.griffin@i-am-autism.org.uk

SAMANTHA COATES – AUTISM KEYWORKER

Since leaving school, I have had a varied career. Ranging from Support Worker with various client groups, Residential Social Worker, Fashion Shop Manager, Hearing Aid Technician, I also qualified as a hairdresser.

Likes: Socialising, DIY projects, sewing, gardening, fashion, music, travelling.
Dislikes: Tea… I am a coffee lover
Favourite colour: The rainbow! I love many different colours, so I do not have a favourite
Interesting fact: My friend and I opened a ladies fashion boutique in 1996 based in Stockport called “Ellle Diablo”

I AM…. Caring, kind, compassionate, fun, creative and committed.

Email Samantha.coates@i-am-autism.co.uk

OKSANA ZHUKOVA – FINANCE OFFICER

Twenty + years ago, when I came to England, my plan was to study to be a barrister – or at least a human rights lawyer. I couldn’t stand inequality, discrimination and injustice, and was very passionate about making a difference. However, instead of Law I got a degree in Finance and Accounting, and after years of working in massive corporations, I’ve found a place where my I can use my skills and still very much alive passion to truly make a difference.

Likes: Rallying, kart racing, tennis, chess, stars and constellations, and a good old British sarcasm
Dislikes: Flattery, betrayal, spinelessness, spiritual poverty, and spiders
Favourite colour: Bloody red
Interesting fact: Hmm.. I don’t know, whether it’s an interesting fact (to me it is), but I do astrological charts… semi-professionally… when I’m not busy at I AM.

I AM…. A constant work in progress. Just when I finish mastering something about myself, I’ll find something else to improve, re-master or change. This brought me to my “new project” – getting a second degree in… forensic psychology.

Email financeofficer@i-am-autism.org.uk

MEET THE BOARD

DR DEBRA BRADLEY – TRUSTEE

I qualified as a doctor in London in 1984. At first I worked in Paediatrics and Child Health but then trained as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist.  I have worked with children and young people with autism being involved in diagnostic assessments and ongoing treatment.  I have recently retired after working as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Oldham for 17 years.

Likes:  Walking – especially in the hills – cooking and eating.
Dislikes: Unfairness, technology – when it goes wrong!
Favourite colour:Red.
Interesting fact: I was an extra in a film with Richard Gere.

I AM…. A good listener – and an optimist

Email bradley.snowden@googlemail.com

CLAIRE SMITH – DEPUTY CHAIR

Born in Stockport, I graduated with a 2.1 in Business Administration from De Montfort University.  In my earlier career I began working as a Trainee Manager for McDonalds, but after the IRA Bomb blew up my store in the Arndale Shopping Centre, (I wasn’t injured thankfully)  I decided that was not the job for me!  I worked for Hays Personnel Services for many years, working my way up from Recruitment Consultant to Director, and since then have become more involved with HR and Outplacement services. I have two daughters one of which has an Autism diagnosis and is one of the most caring, creative, and funny individuals I know.

Likes: Paris, horse riding, growing my own vegetables, camping and the beach
Dislikes: Mushrooms – they feel like slugs in my mouth yuk!
Favourite colour: Blue
Interesting fact: I used to be a life model for artists – I can stand perfectly still for hours!

I AM…. Fun-loving, spontaneous, caring, and creative

Email claire.randerson@i-am-autism.org.uk

CHRIS BRYAN – TRUSTEE

I was born in Stockport, but have lived in Salford for 35 years. I originally trained as an accountant but, having realised that the regular accounting routine wasn’t for me, I moved into IT. Working with many clients across the UK and Ireland, and I enjoyed the variety and challenges which came with the work. During my working life, I spent a lot of time as a volunteer raising funds for a few different charities although my last job before retirement was as a professional fundraiser. I have a grandson who is physically disabled so, although I haven’t any personal experience of autism, I understand the challenges and prejudices autistic people can face.

Likes:  Reading, all types of music & theatre, visiting interesting places and Manchester United
Dislikes: Tripe – horrible, once was enough
Favourite colour: Blue
Interesting fact: I danced with Hollywood star Eartha Kitt (ask an older person!)

I AM…. Positive, thoughtful and fun loving

Email chris.bryan@i-am-autism.org.uk

WES AUDEN – TRUSTEE

Originally from Worcestershire, I am married with 2 children, one who is a member of our Aspirations Service, and 2 rabbits. I graduated from the University of Wales in Mathematics, studied a postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and have 3 postgraduate Diplomas in Human Resource Management, Management and Theology. I worked in Executive Recruitment, progressing to Operations Director before commencing my HR Career. I’ve also been a Director of a Training Company and an Industry Board for a Sector Skills Council. I’ve lived in Manchester since 1999 and have been a Trustee for nearly 5 years, serving one year as Board Chairman.

Likes: God, My Family, Cricket, Everton FC, Curry, Keeping Fit, Travelling
Dislikes: Injustice, Dishonesty, Dairy Products, Snakes (I get you, Indiana Jones!)
Favourite colour: Blue
Interesting fact: I survived when my parachute collapsed at 1000ft, causing me to hurtle towards the ground at terminal velocity. Thankfully it re-inflated but I had to land with the wind behind me, hitting the ground at c.60mph. I walked away unscathed.

I AM…. a Christian, passionate about I AM being a success, caring, hard-working

Email Wes.Auden@i-am-autism.org.uk

BERNARD YARDLEY – TREASURER

Born in Salford, I’ve spent most of my life doing maths, whether at school, university or for my career (I am an Actuary and software developer), although somewhere along the line I also learnt to play bass guitar which keeps me sane when the maths gets to be too boring! I’ve worked for insurance companies, small private financial practices, one of the first online finance companies (we launched in 2001 when most people still hadn’t heard of the internet – can you imagine?) and now work for myself. Most recently I’ve taken a sabbatical and have gone back to university to study Date Science – yes, more maths! I have two sons, both now adults, one of whom has an Autism diagnosis. I’ve been Treasurer since before some of our members were born.

Likes: Playing bass, seeing new places and listening to extremely loud music – people are generally shocked to discover that I listen to nu-metal…
Dislikes: Travelling to those new places, I hate airports, motorways, train stations…
Favourite colour: Blue
Interesting fact: 10 years ago I was in a band that played the 100 Club in London, so I’ve played the same stage as Metallica, Blondie and BB King, to name a few. Their music careers, however, were considerably more successful than mine, though we did that night successfully raise some funds for ASGMA

I AM…. A nerdy mathematician and software developer through and through

Email bernard@yardleys.me.uk

ROB JOHNSON – TRUSTEE

Born in Stockport, I studied Classics and Philosophy at Nottingham University and stayed in Nottingham and Derby for a few years before moving back to Stockport for a job opportunity. I’ve worked in multiple sectors and industries including professional services, sport, housing and healthcare – with a focus on business leadership and operational management – and gained an MSc in Management from Salford Business School. In my current role I support business owners to maximise their success. I still live in Stockport with my wife and two teenage children.

Likes: Trail running, food and films – and dark chocolate!
Dislikes: Getting older!
Favourite colour: Red
Interesting fact: I have a pet snake – actually he belongs to my son, but guess who does all the feeding and cleaning!

I AM…. Thoughtful, analytical, still on a learning curve

Email rob.johnson@gmx.co.uk

Share this