Zoë Ashcroft is an industry recognised lawyer and one of the founding partners of the London office of global law firm Winston & Strawn LLP. She has more than 30 years of experience as an English qualified lawyer handling complex cross-border corporate and finance transactions for a broad range of clients in the US, the UK, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
Zoë has led the Winston London corporate transactional and finance team since co-founding the London office in 2003. Zoë served on Winston’s global Executive Committee for three years, from 2015 to 2018 and serves as a member of the charitable Winston Foundation.
Prior to joining Winston, Zoë spent ten years in the London office of global law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. She was the first English qualified assistant solicitor to move to an American firm in London, having started her career with international law firm Turner Kenneth Brown, working in their London and Hong Kong offices.
Zoë is passionate about using her legal experience to effect change for good and devotes a significant amount of time as a trustee for charitable organisations promoting equality and diversity, human rights, sustainability and addressing the climate change emergency, including Sponsors for Educational Opportunity London and The Climate Group.
Midsummer in Oxford '01
Lydia Carlston is a BADA alum (MIO ‘01) and president of the American Friends of BADA (AFBADA).
Ms. Carlston is a model and actress whose body of work ranges from theatre to television, national and international commercials, print ads and fashion runways between Paris, London, New York, Cote D’Ivoire and Tokyo. On the opposite side of the camera, Ms. Carlston has worked as a boom operator for movies, TV shows and commercials, with notable sound mixers, including two time Academy Award winner, Russell Williams. Ms. Carlston’s work includes national print ads and commercials for the Exelon Patch, Post Shredded Wheat, Corcoran, Gardasil, SAP, Bank of America, Coca-Cola and Scholastic. Television credits include Sex and the City and Star Trek: DS9. Ms. Carlston has been featured in fashion magazines: Vogue (Mexico), Le Jardin de Mode (France), Donna (Italy), Elle (France), and U.S. publications, Family Life, Heart and Soul, Redbook, Self, Women’s Day and Essence.
Ms. Carlston majored in dance at the Philadelphia School for the Creative and Performing Arts. While working, she continued studies at NYU in the area of marketing music and entertainment and Theatre Arts. Ms. Carlston is an active member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Actor’s Equity Association.
Before joining the Oxford Playhouse as Director/CEO in September 2014, Louise Chantal was a freelance producer and marketing consultant, specialising in new writing and international work. She was Programme Director at Riverside Studios and Assembly Theatres (2005-7); Marketing Director at the new Soho Theatre and Writers’ Centre (1999-2002); Deputy Director of Pleasance Theatres in Edinburgh and London (1997-99); and Administrator at the Actors Touring Company. Louise was a producer on the London 2012 Festival (‘The Biggest Arts Show Ever Seen’ Evening Standard) and Cultural Olympiad during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She studied at Lincoln College, Oxford, when she was President of OUDS and the first sabbatical University Drama Officer.
Dami Ewedemi is a solicitor working at Mishcon de Reya, practising in employment law. He is also a member of the National Youth Theatre for the past seven years and has acted in two stage productions, with the second one being at the Wilton's Music Hall.
Dami has a passion for improving equality and diversity and sits on the Race Equality Committee of the Employment Lawyers’ Association as well as the Diversity Steering Committee of his law firm. He studied at the University of Bristol, where he was the Diversity Officer of the Law Society. He obtained an Upper Second Degree in in Law and later went on to achieve a distinction and become a LLM Master of Laws in Commercial Legal Practice.
Victoria Fitzpatrick has worked in the TV business for 18 years. She started in TV distribution at RDF Rights (now part of Banijay) where she acquired UK TV content to sell internationally. From there she was headhunted to open Creative Artists Agency (CAA) first international TV division based out of London. CAA is the world’s leading Hollywood talent agency. Victoria works with best in class UK production companies with a major focus on non-scripted producers, selling UK content into the US market and acting as a conduit between the UK and US TV business. She also looks to find formats from around the world to place with clients for US sales.
In addition Victoria has a list of highly successful, award winning and sought after non-scripted directors with an emphasis on trying to expand diversity within that list, as well as serving as a crossover agent for UK and European podcast opportunities.
Victoria graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an English and Classics degree and has a long held passion for stories and theatre, particularly Ancient Greek and Roman theatre.
Diane Gelon is a New York attorney resident in London. Her law practise centres on tax, commercial, and entertainment law matters. She has also been an Associate Producer and legal counsel on several feature films. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she worked for over 10 years as an arts administrator based in Los Angeles and New York and qualified as a secondary school teacher in California. Diane sits on the Board of the British American Drama Academy based in London and Ignite Futures Ltd which promotes creativity in learning with young people. She is President of the Board of Through the Flower, a California non-profit that promotes Feminist art and the work of Judy Chicago.
Education: LLM, London School of Economics (1986); JD, Cardozo School of Law (1984); Graduate School UCLA (doctoral studies Art History ); BA, UCLA (1970)
Ruth Hogarth is a journalist, currently working as Editor of Arts Professional, the UK’s leading arts journal and independent voice of the sector. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow for Arts & Culture at Queen Mary University of London. Until 2018, she was Director of Cultural Partnerships at King’s College London where she was part of the team which established King’s Cultural Institute and Science Gallery London. Earlier in her career, Ruth spent two decades as a broadcaster and editor with BBC World Service, working in English News and Current Affairs and with the African, Latin American and Persian/Pashto Services. She is a graduate of the BBC Leadership Programme at Ashridge International Business School, a member of Clore Leadership’s Steering Group of the Cultural Governance Alliance and a trustee for one of the UK’s leading arts companies, Artichoke. Initially trained at the New College of Speech and Drama in London, Ruth spent 10 years in theatre Stage/Production Management before going on to study for a BSc (Hons) in Anthropology at University College London and an MSc in Globalisation & Development at Queen Mary University of London.
Malcolm John is the founder of the campaign, Action for Trustee Racial Diversity, which aims to address the significant under-representation of individuals from Black and Asian backgrounds on charity Boards. He is a trustee of the Association of Chairs, (the infrastructure support body for chairs of charities in England and Wales), an independent member of the Ministry of Justice Public Appointments Panel, a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, and a Fellow of the the Royal Society of Arts. He has been a trustee of eight charitable organisations of all sizes. This has included being Chair of the Young Harrow Foundation and Vice-Chair of both Nacro and Anti-Slavery International.
His professional career has included a broad range of jobs primarily on social justice and economic regeneration issues in the public and private sectors. He is passionate about the arts and theatre and also about playing and watching sport.
Richard has extensive senior leadership experience in global education, and currently serves as Faculty Operating Officer for the Imperial College Business School, where his primary responsibility is to enable the Business School to develop, implement and deliver its vision, strategy, and business plan by offering leadership, and oversight for all professional services and support functions in the Business School.
Prior to joining Imperial, Richard spent 15 years at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he served as Chief Operating Office for Europe, and Associate Dean for Booth’s top-ranked Executive MBA Programs in Europe and Asia. He had overall responsibility for the strategy, management and marketing of the Programs, as well as overseeing the management of the London and Hong Kong campuses. Richard spent nearly 8 years in Asia, during which time he oversaw the relocation of the Booth campus and the Executive MBA Program from Singapore to a new campus location in Hong Kong.
Before joining Booth, Richard had a long career in international education, specifically study abroad programs, both in the private sector and in academia. He was responsible for opening and developing the London operation for Accent Global Learning (formerly Accent International), a private study abroad program provider. He has a bachelor’s degree in French Language and Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, a master’s degree in Film Studies from the University of London, University College, and an MBA from Chicago Booth.
Mr. Joshi is the Head of International Investment Specialists for both EMEA and APAC regions for J.P. Morgan Alternative Asset Management Hedge Fund & Alternative Credit Solutions. Before joining JPMorgan Asset Management, Sam worked at Hong Kong-based Maso Capital in a Strategy, IR & BD capacity. Formerly, he ran Delta-1, ETF, and Prime Sales in Singapore & Hong Kong for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Prior to this Sam was the Global Head of Emerging Market Sales Trading & Trading for equities & derivatives at BNP Paribas. Sam previously was the co-head of Asia at Millennium Management with responsibilities for Trading, Risk, and PM hiring. Previously he worked at Cheyne Capital in London and Hong Kong running Asian trading across various funds. Sam began his career at JPMorgan rotating through Trading, ECM, and Investment Banking. Sam completed his Masters in Chemistry from King’s College London.
Wendy Lu is a Senior Finance Manager at Liberty Global in London. Her current project focuses on structured finance products targeting large telecom and media companies. Before London Business School, Wendy studied at Duke University in the US and worked in the tech, media and telecom industries for three years in San Francisco; first in strategy consulting and later in tech sales. She also studied and interned in China, Guatemala and Argentina, mainly in the tech and non-profit sectors. She decided to move to London long-term after spending a few months studying films and going to the theatre at King’s College London when she was 18 and finally completed the move in the beginning of the pandemic. Given her own experience, Wendy is passionate about equal access to liberal arts education and encouraging young people to study abroad. She is still very much involved with her alma maters as an alumni interview for Duke and an alumni ambassador for London Business School.
Since 2019, Matt Trueman has been Creative Associate at Sonia Friedman Productions, where he is responsible for discovering and developing new work for stages in the West End and on Broadway. He joined the company after a decade as a freelance theatre critic, writing for publications including the New York Times, the Guardian and the Financial Times among others. In this guise, he taught theatre criticism at BADA for a year, joining the board in 2022.
Melanie Whittaker is the Head of Membership & Development for GMF’s Leadership Programs, based in Berlin. In this capacity, she works on GMF's Leadership Programs where she manages the selection processes for GMF’s key fellowship programs, alumni relations, as well as fundraising and business development. Previously, she worked on a broad spectrum of programs for GMF in Berlin. Prior to joining GMF, she held various managerial positions in the hotel industry in Germany, England, and the United States. Her expertise includes fundraising, leadership assessment, diversity and inclusion, public diplomacy, transatlantic relations, and German politics. She holds a BSc in politics and international relations from the London School for Economics and Political Science. She obtained certificates for Human Resources Management as well as Executive Leadership from Cornell University. Ms. Whittaker is a Trustee for the British American Drama Academy in London (UK) and serves as a lay judge at the Regional Court for Berlin. She is fluent in German and English.