Lord John Bird

Lord John Bird, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, The Big Issue

Lord John Bird was a poor boy, orphan, thief, inmate, artist and poet before going on to found the ground-breaking social initiative that is The Big Issue. He was born shortly after the Second World War to a London-Irish family into slum-ridden Notting Hill. Homelessness, orphanages, crime and prison characterised much of his early life until his metamorphosis into a successful small businessman occurred in the 1980s.

Since setting up The Big Issue magazine and foundation to help the homeless help themselves some sixteen years ago,Lord John has become an authority on motivation and the ascendancy to achievement. Amongst the places he has spoken are the UN in New York, Nairobi and Istanbul, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. The UN Scroll of Honour, an MBE and the 2005/6 Beacon Prize for Creative Giving are just three of the many accolades and awards he has received. Since the inception of The Big Issue in 1991, Lord John has overseen its development into the UK’s most successful social enterprise, stretching from Tokyo to Totnes and helping thousands of homeless people worldwide.

Since 2001, he has worked for Sure Start a government led initiative that has been empowering parents to be actively involved in the decision making processes in their local areas as well as fast tracking them to services they otherwise may not have accessed previously.

His autobiography “Some Luck”, published by Penguin is a fantastic explanation of much of Lord John’s lack of fortune, misfortune and his ascendancy out of the vulgar life of crime to social engineering. In March 2007 he took part to the Quick Reads campaign and wrote the best selling book ‘How to change your life in 7 steps’. Now aged 61, he has recently remarried for the third time and he has 5 children.

Nigel Kershaw

Nigel Kershaw

Nigel is CEO of Big Issue Invest and Chairman of The Big Issue and advocate of social enterprises that offer business and financial solutions to social problems.

Big Issue Invest is a specialised provider of finance to social enterprises, and is pioneering new and transformative ways of creating financial inclusion and opportunity.

Previously as Executive Chairman and Managing Director of The Big Issue he was previously responsible for the magazine’s publishing operations, as well as developing its new social businesses.

In July 2007 he was nominated as Director of the Month by the Institute of Directors. Nigel also serves on the board of the Social Enterprise Coalition and has been appointed as one of the Cabinet Office’s Social Enterprise Ambassador.

Greg Powell

Greg Powell
has degrees in Law and Psychology and was admitted as a Solicitor in 1973. The senior partner of Powell Spencer and Partners since 1977, a leading community legal aid practice in London.
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Previously the President of The London Criminal Courts Association (www.lccsa.org.uk) and in 2005, the Criminal Legal Aid Lawyer of the year which was a reflection in part of work done for the release of a British citizen from Guantanamo Bay. Greg is also the national manager of the criminal law team of Thompson’s Solicitors, the country’s largest Union law firm. It is indeed an honour to have such a distinguished and experienced person as our patron.

Fred Litzenberger

Fred Litzenberger

Potential Mentoring would like to welcome Fred Litzenberger as a Patron. He is a well distinguished basketball coach having coached successfully for over 38 years and with whom I had the honour of working with in the summer of July 2015, whilst supporting a number of children and young people from the basketball club called ‘The Bulldogs’. Coach Litz has coached both the men’s and women’s teams at Oregon University, coaching the mighty Ducks to six straight NCAA tournament appearances and back to back Pac-10 title’s in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. He was the head coach at Western State College in Colorado (1994-95) and associate men’s head coach at Northwestern State LA (1993-94). His collegiate coaching resume also includes a two-year stint as an assistant at Miami, Fla. (1991-93) under Leonard Hamilton, four seasons at Colorado State (1987-91), two at Eastern Washington (1985-87), and five at Fresno State (1981-85), as well as five years as head coach at Vanguard university.

It during his stay at Colorado State where Litzenberger first crossed paths with Ducks’ head coach Ernie Kent, when the two were both assistants in the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons under legendary coach Boyd Grant. The two helped guide the Rams in their postseason bids in the 1988 NIT (advancing to the semi-finals) and 1989 NCAA Tournament second round after clinching the Western Athletic Conference championship.

In addition to his numerous trips to the NCAA Tournament, Litzenberger’s career features a head coaching ledger of 194-62, 12 20-win seasons, five conference championships four National Invitation Tournament appearances, including an NIT title with Fresno State in 1983. Also, his four-year stint as head coach at Hamline (Minn.) University (1975-79) featured a trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 1977.

Earning an undergraduate degree in physical education (1968) as well as a master’s (1980) from Northern Colorado, the three-year letterman broke into the coaching ranks as the freshman student coach at Berthoud (Colo.) High School in 1966-67. He then became an assistant at his alma mater in 1967-68 before moving to the head coaching job at Middle Park High School at Granby, Colo., in 1968-69. A U.S. Army veteran, Litzenberger was the head coach of the Army team at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona from 1970-71.

His teams have led the nation in scoring defense four times and have been in the top 10 in numerous defensive categories throughout his career. Litzenberger, has produced books and videos on defensive fundamentals that are sold throughout the world. Although he currently resides in Eugene, Oregon, USA, he regularly visits the UK. We are both fortunate and proud to have such a wealth of experience as a Patron and look forward to having Coach Litz! join us.

Emmanuelle Namiech

Emmanuelle Namiech
retrained as a Business & Executive Coach after a 20-year commercial career holding senior management positions in global media companies. As member of the Senior Management team of ITV Global Entertainment, she played a pivotal role in the design and implementation of its strategy to grow the business and its profitability.

She established an independent, boutique Coaching & Mentoring Consultancy in 2012, delivering individual and team coaching to senior executives and help them capitalise on their strengths, improve their performance and best handle the challenges of leadership & management and starting/owning a business.

A founding member and non-executive Director of Potential Mentoring CIC, she is committed to championing social enterprise and building up a sustainable business that supports young people.

Apay Obang-Oyway

Apay Obang-Oyway
has, for over 10 years worked in the IT industry, within the channel for global corporate enterprises. Today, Apay is the General Manager Ingram Micro Cloud, Northern Europe. Over the past two years Apay, has been instrumental in developing the UK Cloud commercial strategy for Ingram Micro. The customer/client/user is Apay’s focus and understanding and addressing their needs is key to delivering valuable partnerships.

Apay has a keen interest in geopolitics, hockey and skiing. He holds an MBA from the University of Liverpool, which has augmented his passion for delivering ITC solutions that address business challenges for today and tomorrow. His interest in the ICT industry has been driven by his keen interest on geopolitics and how technology plays a major role in the sustainable socio-economic development from low income to high income economies.

Patrick Vernon OBE

Patrick Vernon OBE
is a Clore Fellow and Director of Every Generation Media. He is Committee member of Healthwatch England, and works for the National Housing Federation as Health Partnership Coordinator.

He is an Associate Fellow for the Department of History of Medicine at Warwick University, Advisory Board. He is also a member of NHS England Equality Diversity Council, Advisory board member for Time To Change and former member of the Labour and the Coalition government Ministerial Advisory for Mental Health.

Patrick is a leading expert on African and Caribbean genealogy in the UK and founder of Every Generation and 100 Great Black Britons.

Patrick was awarded an OBE in June 2012 for his contribution in tackling health inequalities for ethnic minority communities.

Yvonne Williams

Yvonne Williams
has a BA Hons in Social Policy and a Post Graduate Dip/MA from Southbank University. An experienced individual with over 20 years of working within the public sector and most recently, as a Head of Service for a West London Housing Association, Yvonne is now employed as the Operations Manager at Potential Mentoring.

An expert communicator and manager, she is able to cultivate a wide range of valuable networks and relationships that have benefited the communities she has worked with in order to effect change.

Yvonne would say her areas of particular interest focus on community regeneration and enterprise, but her true passion is to see real change in the Youth Justice System by addressing inequality and ensuring that children and young people have a strengthened voice in all areas of their lives and we are lucky and proud to have Yvonne join Potential Mentoring Board.

Samuel Campbell

Samuel Campbell
works as a Software Engineer. He has a degree in Software Engineering and has spent many years helping various teams to ensure that goals are achieved.

Samuel is concerned how successive generations are reacting to the previous and current trends that exist in society and the probable future effects of our collective decisions.

A self-confessed optimistic realist and truth seeker, Samuel is dedicated to ensuring that the necessary information is available and utilised, so that our collective decisions lead to universal happiness… “We need to satisfactorily understand the effects of our actions so that we can make more appropriate decisions”. His skills include Organisation, IT technical, Mediation, Problem Solving and Team Building.