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. &nbsp 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.


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 Commissioning Editor for the online magazine Arts Professional. Her background is in theatre, international broadcasting and the university sector. Until 2018, she was Director of Cultural Partnerships at King’s College London where she was part of the team which established the Cultural Institute and Science Gallery London. For two decades before this, she was a senior broadcaster and editor with the BBC World Service, working both 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 the 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 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, including 15 years at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Most recently, he served as Chief Operating Office for Europe, managing the creation and design of a new London campus and leading the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to that, he was 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 Hong Kong. He served on the university-wide steering committee that oversaw the design and construction of the U. Chicago Campus building at Mount Davis in Hong Kong. This is now the permanent location for the Booth Executive MBA Program. 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 European education program provider, developing numerous strategic partnerships and growing the London Centre to the company’s second largest within a few years. 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.


Maggie Whitlum has extensive senior management experience with some of the most prominent and complex cultural organisations in the UK, including both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, where she was General Manager for 20 years. She has direct experience of operational and organisational change management, with a thorough understanding of the challenges facing boards and senior management. She has considerable experience in conceiving capital projects, delivering two major refurbishments at the National Theatre with a combined total project cost of £46 million. Maggie relocated to New York in 2007 and continued to serve on the boards of a number of cultural organisations, including BADA and the American Friends of the National Portrait Gallery. She has also worked as a consultant for the National Theatre, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Positive Solutions, a cultural consultancy based in Australia. Maggie was the Executive Director of Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in New York from 2011 to 2014, helping the company through a period of major organisational restructuring. She returned to the UK at the end of 2014 and currently also serves on the boards of The Watermill Theatre in Newbury and Headlong Theatre Company in London.


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.