The Oxford Foundry team
Ana Bakshi, Director
Ana is focused on creating a multi-disciplinary entrepreneurial campus within the heart of the University of Oxford, with the aim to better society through entrepreneurial endeavour and build a strong start-up support infrastructure for students and alumni. This is parallel to the research eco-systems universities in the UK and Europe have historically been known for. Ana’s role is focused on creating strategic direction, programme design, hiring the team, creating strong networks of thought-leaders and developing partnerships internal to, and external to Oxford. Ana is passionate about widening participation and social mobility. Within 24 months under Ana’s leadership the Foundry opened with Apple CEO Tim Cook and has gone on to engage with 3,000 + students from over 87 nationalities and across all 4 academic divisions at Oxford and all 38 colleges (10% + of University student population). The network of advisors, mentors, ambassadors and champions Ana has created is truly global and includes high profile business leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and experts across different industry verticals and ensures the Foundry's work is always reflective of social and economic needs. Ana has grown up in a family of entrepreneurs, with creativity being a core part of her DNA since 1986, helping with sales and marketing by the time she was five! Prior to Oxford, Ana pioneered the founding and development of the Entrepreneurship Institute at King's College London, spinning out the Institute internally, founding the Institute’s first incubator, accelerating 50+ ventures and training over 10,000 students + in enterprise education, winning Higher Education Team Enterprise in the 2017 Enterprise Educators Awards. In her free time Ana loves to cook and develop creative recipes as part of the founding team of Mahi sauces, as well as hanging out with her dogs, Oscar and Ralphy.
Kate Nilsson, Executive Assistant to the Director
Kate manages Ana’s schedule and is her main point of contact within the team. Kate provides high-level support to Ana, managing correspondence and priorities. Kate has extensive experience as an EA working in the higher education, research and healthcare industries. She loves animals and travelling and has a passion for all things fitness and health and wellbeing. Whilst working full time she is also working through a Personal Trainer diploma in the fitness industry.
Alex Feyler, Venture Manager
Alex has worked on nation-wide projects as an intrapreneur and been involved in co-founding two start-ups in different sectors. Alex has raised investment for early-stage technology companies, working with one of the largest angel investor networks in Europe. This has given him great oversight of the entrepreneurial journey between pre-seed and Series A, from both an entrepreneur's and investor's perspective, an understanding of what start-ups need to focus-on, and priorities in their early stage of development to raise investment. Also how to support and facilitate early-stage technology companies to best grow and scale within their respective markets/sectors. Alex worked with the Director of the Oxford Foundry, wider University of Oxford, and key stakeholders and global accelerator contacts to design, build and iterate the OXFO L.E.V8 accelerator model for the University of Oxford. The accelerator is based on universal best practice, key changing trends in the industry and more importantly, utilising key assets within the University to differentiate itself moving forward. Over the last 18 months, L.E.V8 has successfully delivered two accelerator cohorts, supporting 19 companies across different sectors. They have gone on to raise in excess of £7m.
Jonny Thomson, Head of Outreach and Development
Jonny leads the outreach mission of the Oxford Foundry. He works closely with the University’s student societies, academic departments and colleges, as well as designing and hosting key events with corporate partners and leading entrepreneurs. Jonny is also the founder of Magma Tribe – an online platform where he interviews and writes about inspiring entrepreneurs to empower others to build businesses that positively impact our world. Jonny joined us from Youth Business International (YBI), which works to support 25,000+ young people each year to set up, sustain and grow businesses in 48 countries. Jonny led the development of major partnerships and programmes ($1M+) and delivered workshops for leadership teams of YBI member organisations around the world. Jonny started his career in the energy sector, working as a sustainability consultant for an international firm which was acquired by Accenture. He is a keen athlete, having recently completed the Uganda International Marathon, raising £3,000 for local projects.
Katy Clapham, Experiential Learning Manager
After studying international business at university, Katy worked as an Account Manager. She realised it wasn't for her and started her entrepreneurial journey in 2015, when she started working at the Entrepreneurship Centre at the Said Business School. She loved the fast paced nature of the start-up world, and being a part of helping students to realise and pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. In 2018, she joined the Foundry as Experiential Learning Manager, designing and running the core learning programmes that we deliver at the Foundry. Katy has always been fascinated by people and what makes them tick. In 2018 she became a Master Practitioner of NLP, (Neuro Linguistic Programming) - an approach to communication and personal development very valuable to her work at the Foundry.
Amy Lothian, Head of Marketing and Communications
Amy leads on the marketing and communications strategy for the Foundry. Her work involves raising the reputation and awareness of the Foundry, and increasing it's reach and engagement, both internally across all 24,000 students, and externally amongst alumni and the global entrepreneurship ecosystem. Amy was Head of Communications at King's Entrepreneurship Institute and was awarded an Inspiring Communicators Award 2018 from CharityComms. Amy has worked in science communication and public engagement for oganisations including the Science Media Centre, Royal Geographical Society and British Science Association. She has a degree in Cognitive Science and masters in Science, Culture and Communication.
Becky Fishman, Content and Partnerships Manager
Becky is the Foundry’s resident writer, content creator and partnerships manager. Prior to helping to bring the Foundry to life, Becky was co-founder of an edtech venture, and she has the start-up stories and scars to prove it. She has worked for SMEs and large multinationals in the UK, Europe and the USA, covering comms, marketing and business development in publishing and digital content. Previous roles saw her working at scientific publisher Nature, at Oxford University Press in New York and Oxford, and at Saïd Business School. Becky is a full time working parent, with a BA in Modern Languages from St Hilda’s College, Oxford.
Tara Adenle, Social Media Officer
As Social Media Officer Tara gives the Foundry a strong, inclusive presence online. She amplifies the Foundry's amazing programmes across social media platforms - including events, collaborations, students, startups, and more – so that the wider community can see all the entrepreneurial talent that is coming out of Oxford. Throughout university, alongside her communications and media degree, Tara was a professional makeup artist, working on weddings, photoshoots, and tv/films. She also wrote music video treatments for a thriving London production company and created work for artist Zayn Malik, Drake, Little Mix, and more. Tara has always been fascinated by the power of social media, and the influence users can have on society. Her hobbies/jobs have always been heavily creative, and her role at the Foundry is just that. "I get to engage with our audience in the most unique way, I get to be playful, and I get to take risks – all of which I love."
Dan James, Operations Manager
Dan leads on finance, building management, processes and efficiency and other operations for the Foundry. Dan used to run his own event management business so has hands on experience of small business formation and management. During his career he has also event directed some of the UK’s largest and most complicated long distance triathlon events. As Operations Director for IRONMAN in the UK between 2011 and 2015 he was an integral part in overseeing the growth in athlete participation numbers from around 2,000 to over 10,000 annually and has also race directed over 20 high profile IRONMAN events over the years with some involving over 2,500 athletes and over 1,000 crew.
Rose Talbot, Events Coordinator
Rose delivers the Foundry's internal programming and events and is helping develop the Oxford Foundry into a venue available for external hire. Rose has a degree in Events Management and has worked extensively in the creative events industry before making the move to education with a role delivering Executive Education programmes at the Said Business School. Rose also worked for a healthy baking start-up as their Marketing Manager; extolling the virtues of real sourdough, which she remains passionate about today!
Margaret Lingas, Receptionist
Margaret has been part of the Foundry's front-of-house team since it opened in 2017. When she’s not facilitating your creative journey, she’s flexing her own entrepreneurial skills as a freelance singer and music educator. (Magdalen Consort, Schola Cantorum, Genesis Sixteen 2018, Ex Cathedra scholar 2019). She is the conducting scholar for Oxford Youth Choirs, and directs of Oxford-based chamber ensemble Rad Camerata.
Yvonne Benton, Weekend receptionist
Yvonne is Weekend receptionist at the Foundry. She is semi-retired having worked full-time for 38 years - "it’s great!". Yvonne has a wealth of university administration experience and from 2002 - 2017 was Admissions Administrator for both undergraduate/graduate admissions at The Queen’s College, Oxford and from 1989 - 2002 handled admissions in various Faculties at the University of Birmingham. Sport has always been a big part of Yvonne's life. She has twice qualified for team GB (age group category) in world Duathlon – a combination of running and cycling, and completed ‘Etape du Tour’ a mountain stage of the Tour de France. She also enjoys walking and yoga. Yvonne loves to travel. Her and her husband have recently been to the Norwegian Fjords and Baltic States and have land tours of India and China and a cruise to the Emirates planned. "You're never too old to learn new things – I learnt how to do the splits when I was 50!!!!"
Marta Burghelea, Evening receptionist and Mental Health First Aider
Marta is the Foundry's evening receptionist and is a Mental Health First Aider. "I've always considered myself a “people person” so my past job roles were customer focused across hospitality management, retail and social and healthcare. Last year I discovered my passion for fitness and bodybuilding which motivated me to start on the path of becoming a personal trainer and a motivator. My biggest achievement was competing in four bodybuilding federations last year placing second and making it to an international stage in Germany." She loves creative workouts and making protein based desserts/pancakes and has an interest in neuroplasticity and mental health. "I am a true believer that anyone can achieve anything they set in mind, that the only time you fail is when you aren’t trying at all and “the only limit is in your mind!”.
Jose Fernando, Porter