Our Committee

As an entirely voluntary organisation we rely on our fantastic committee members donating their time.

The committee consists of two parts: core members, who attend each committee meeting (every 6 weeks) and take on actions that enable WISP to run; and advisory members, who typically provide advice and/or a link between WISP and other local companies or organisations.

You can find out about all of our committee members below.

Core Members
Abi Jones
Abi has always had an interest in how things work, are put together and how they link to everything around them. Since the age of 13 she has aspired to be an Architect and despite various set-backs from individuals claiming it was a man’s world, she persisted with her dream.

She now has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and qualified as an Architect in 2013, following 7 years at university. Her particular passions are residential works, community projects and works to existing buildings as these present some of the greatest problems to overcome and are the most rewarding in terms of fulfilling user and place led designs.

Now, as a mother of two and the managing director of her own company, AJ Architects, she aims to inspire future generations through STEM and WISP, including her two daughters, that with hard work and dedication anything is possible…and most importantly enjoyable!

Becky Veater
Becky is one of four directors and Head of Web Development at Elixel, a Plymouth based app development agency. Becky has always shown a keen interest in STEM subjects, particularly around technology and maths, and produced her first website at the age of 11. Since then Becky’s involvement with STEM has only got stronger. Following a Digital Art and Technology degree at Plymouth University, Becky founded Elixel with her three colleagues at the age of 21, and is now regularly involved in digital community events such as Digital Plymouth and Plymouth Web.

By getting involved with WISP Becky hopes to be able to encourage and inspire more young women into technology and other STEM roles, and to help provide the support they need to continue in their careers.

Lorna Evans

Lorna is a Mechanical Engineer working at Babcock International based in Devonport, Plymouth. From a young age, Lorna has helped her dad when he was fixing his cars and going to car shows; this enabled her to pursue a career in engineering. 

Lorna joined WISP as she is keen to get as many people and women involved in STEM as without her father’s influence, she may not have chosen engineer for her career and future.

Vanessa Padfield

Vanessa is a Programmer/Analyst at Western Power Distribution. She always liked maths at school but it was a science teacher who told her she’d be good at physics. This inspired her to take the subject at University where she learnt some basic programming which led her to becoming a programmer.

Vanessa is inspired to encourage more girls into STEM subjects by her partner who is a science teacher. She decided to become involved with WISP after seeing how hard it was for Western Power to recruit women.

Advisory Members
Chalotte Holloway
Charlotte is the South West and Wales Area Manager for the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce. Previously spending three years as Policy Director for national trade body techUK. Her focus was on creating a better policy environment to help tech companies grow and thrive, and focused on areas such as skills and education, women in tech, regional growth, the future of work, and more.

Earlier this year she was awarded Number 36 most influential woman in UK tech by Computer Weekly. She’s passionate about how to get more women into STEM and how we make sure no one is left behind by advancements in digital technology.

Helen Timpson
Helen is an Engineer at Babcock and Chair of the local (Devon & Cornwall) branch of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). She has been a committed supporter of WISP for several years and her presence at our committee meetings allows us to keep up to date with IMechE events and news to pass on to our members.
Samantha Ansell
Sam is the STEM Manager and she works for CSW Group. Sam has worked for the company for many years and has a background in Youth Work and Careers Guidance. She now manages the STEM Learning contract for Devon & Cornwall, providing advice and guidance for schools and colleges around best practice for STEM delivery including STEM leadership and embedding STEM within the curriculum. A big part of Sam’s job is to recruit and train volunteers who act as STEM Ambassadors and currently there are over 760 Ambassadors across the two counties. They are the best resource available, are passionate about what they do, and want to make a difference and inspire the next STEM generation. Sam also delivers STEM based CPD training for teaching staff and develop STEM based materials and resources for use by teaching staff and STEM Ambassadors.

If anyone is interested in becoming a STEM Ambassador then please get in touch with Sam.

Steve Gerry
Steve Gerry is a freelance business and economic development consultant. Since 2008, he’s been Secretary of the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group or ‘PMG’. The PMG were instrumental in forming the Plymouth Women in STEM group because the engineering and manufacturing sector, perhaps more so than any other, feels the full effects of a gender imbalance in the workplace. ‘Quite simply, we need more girls to consider taking STEM subjects at school and in further and higher education so that they can pursue the careers that flow from these’.

Steve’s recent non-executive positions include: Board Member, NHS Plymouth PCT (2007-11); Chairman of Guinness Hermitage Housing Association’s SW Area Committee (2005-13). Steve had a extensive career in the Electricity Supply Industry, where, with SWEB, he was a senior management consultant and business analyst. After completing his MBA he was seconded as Business Development Manager with South West Enterprise Ltd (SWEL), a private sector economic development lobby group and went on to become Executive Partnership Director of Plymouth 2020 Partnership (2000-03).

Lauren Hayhurst

Lauren is a Creative Writing practitioner, lecturer and researcher, and is proud to represent the ‘A’ in STE-A-M; bringing the Arts into STEM subject areas and practice. In September 2018, she started a part-time lectureship at the Arts University Bournemouth, and so splits her week between Bournemouth and Plymouth. This presents a challenging work-life balance, but also enables Lauren to act as an ambassador for Plymouth, incorporating a broader scope of lessons-learned and best practice into her own arts-and-community engagement.

Joining the WISP committee is a considerable moment for Lauren, as she reluctantly relinquished science – and ‘all that techy stuff’ – after failing A-level Chemistry and scraping a C in Biology. Nevertheless, Lauren has always been fascinated by the ways in which science and maths drive artistic and fictional expression, and so she was excited to discover ‘Digital Humanities’, a practical example of how the Arts and STEM can work together. Lauren is writing an article series all about this. Check it out! http://thewritingplatform.com/contributor/lauren-hayhurst/

Lauren is looking forward to working more closely with women in STEM and learning about the exciting research and community ventures being carried out across Plymouth and beyond. She hopes to use creative writing to share stories about women in STEM and foster new understanding and collaborations between STEM and the Arts.

Garry Hunt
Garry is a high functioning nerd and the most handsome person at THINQTANQ (the best co-working space in Plymouth). He’s also a director of two Community Interest Companies – MESH and Digital Plymouth.

Owning and running his own digital agency DIG LAB – based in Plymouth, Garry loves working with small businesses, community groups and other freelancers (like him) on epic websites, awesome graphic designs, creative digital marketing campaigns and digital skills training that doesn’t suck.

Garry has two children (a boy and a girl) that have recently started school and he wants to spend some of his free time creating a better future for them.

Merika Kindlon

Merika has a business management background with specialist skills and expertise in product development, marketing and sales. Merika is the Head of Sales and Marketing at Nuffield Hospital in Plymouth, and previously worked as the Commercial Executive for Plymouth Science Park – as such she has excellent awareness of, and good relationships with many of the companies in the STEM sector in Plymouth and the surrounding areas.

Merika says, “I care deeply for others and, as a good communicator, I can well represent others; my strong belief in equality and fairness in the workplace drives me to create a level playing field where we lift everyone up and leave no one behind. I am hardworking, determined and believe in encouragement above all else.