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Meet the people at Gradvert who help deliver on our promise to improve business performance through the improvement of your people. Our friendly and professional team are on hand to help.

Michaela Reaney

Michaela Reaney

Managing Director

The founder of Gradvert, Michaela provides strategic direction and commercial focus while maintaining a strong relationship with our clients and universities. Michaela has a decade of experience in global talent management and recruitment with FTSE 100 organisations and is an authoritative figure in the news on education, employability and policies affecting young people.

kate temple-brown

Kate Temple-Brown

Strategic Apprenticeship Levy Consultant

Kate is an early careers recruitment and development professional. She has worked with large 50,000-person global multi-divisional investment banks, exciting 8-person start-ups and everything in-between. Kate’s Apprenticeship Levy Strategic Consultancy Aequalis supports employers in this exciting time of Apprenticeship reform to help them maximise place talent at the heart of their organisational strategy.

Niamh finlay

Niamh Finlay

Learning & Development Coordinator

Niamh is a specialist in designing high quality and effective learning and development programmes for complex businesses with multiple divisions and service lines. She has a level 8 B.S. in education and training and previously worked for over four years in a fast paced FTSE100 company.

Mal Ditcham

Learning Technology Specialist

A bit of a ‘techie’, unofficially known in Gradvert as our very own ‘Tech Wizard’, Gradvert’s Learning Technology Specialist Mal Ditcham is focused on innovative, technology-led learning solutions. This won’t surprise you with his background in digital content creation, including e-learning and videos. Mal has a decade of experience in Learning and Development and worked for Sage for six years.

Samantha Legget

Marketing and Communications Manager

A senior marketing and communications specialist with 20 years’ experience, Sam’s role is to bring all the pieces of the Gradvert puzzle together. From liaising with our many stakeholders to promote the strength of our services through to supporting client programme launches. The company may be headquartered in Newcastle but works all over the country so she’s also tasked with ensuring everyone feels part of the Gradvert collective no matter where they are.

Andrea Satterthwaite

Quality and Compliance Specialist

Andrea has specialist knowledge of the Quality and Compliance areas of the business, supporting staff and learners in areas such as Observation of Teaching and Learning and Evaluation. Andrea holds a Certificate in Education and Training and a BA Hons in Leadership and Management; with further experience in Change Management. She is experienced in supporting organisations to achieve the Matrix standard as well as Customer Service Excellence, with experience and knowledge in Advice and Guidance.

Laura Brown

Laura Brown

Administrative Coordinator

Our highly motivated administrative coordinator Laura previously worked for NHS Clinical Commissioning and is now putting her significant experience to work for Gradvert. Responsible for project support, maintaining and updating project timelines and organising and monitoring project budgets, Laura also distributes project communications to delegates, ensuring facilities are available for delivery dates.

james Neelan

James Neilands

Strategic Apprenticeship Levy Consultant

If you’re looking for an Apprenticeship Levy expert, James is a good place to start. An experienced operations manager with a passion for service excellence, James is motivated by developing people, maximising opportunities, reducing costs and devising lean and effective working practices. He especially enjoys developing underperforming teams into recognisable front runners.


James Curry

Financial Director

James has held Finance Director or Managing Director positions within SMEs in the North East for the last 15 years and has proven experience of growing businesses through both organic and acquisitional growth. He works with Michaela on Gradvert’s strategic direction, helping to achieve our organisational objectives and ongoing expansion.


Alan Shaw

Alan has over 25 years experience in change management, leadership development and high-performance coaching across all levels. He has extensive strategic experience and a proven track record in successfully delivering culture change and organisational development programmes that focuses on leadership behaviours and performance. Alan has delivered successful programmes in the UK and internationally in retail, manufacturing, financial services, housing associations and sport.


Alison Burgess

Since starting her career in Learning and Development almost 20 years ago, Alison has been a passionate advocate for the impact that training can have on business success. She has designed and delivered training for a wide range of blue chip companies within the Financial, Technology, FMCG, Professional Services and Charity sectors.

Team Coach

Caroline Sargent

Caroline is an engaging, dynamic and creative leader with keys skills in the design and delivery of people strategies that engage, develop and add business value. Experienced at both strategic and operational level, she demonstrates a consultative approach that builds strong working relationships and drives positive behavioural change.

John lawler

John Lawler

International Training

As the founder of Madventure International and the MAD (Make A Difference) Foundation, John Lawler is passionate about international corporate volunteerism and corporate social responsibility projects. His vision to operate CSR and volunteer travel opportunities grew from a university pilot project into the investment-backed company Madventure Travel.

neil bestford

Neil Bestford

With eight years' board and management experience for a Sunday Times Top 100 Employer, he is dedicated to helping organisations maximise their people talent. A creative practice graduate with over a decade of experience working for some of the region’s top creative agencies, Neil holds a Higher National Diploma in Higher Education with four years lecturing experience at one of the UK’s leading FE colleges.

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper

A leadership, coaching and management development expert, Mark holds a huge amount of international experience, especially for companies specialising in construction, engineering and property management. A qualified NLP practitioner and registered psychometric provider, Mark’s background in psychometric assessment means he is exceptionally well placed to introduce behavioural frameworks in performance management to make a difference within your teams.


Anita Ryan

Professional coach and consultant Anita has more than 20 years’ experience working for organisations in the media, legal and financial services sectors and is an expert in supporting leaders, entrepreneurs and businesses to structure their offering. Anita is a specialist in leading change and development and works closely with leadership teams on succession planning.


Anthea Marris

What really makes Anthea’s heart sing is seeing people’s faces light up as they realise they have the power to create change in themselves. Passionate about unlocking the potential of individuals and teams, Anthea has a degree in Psychology and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), plus a qualified leadership coach.


Jos Burton

Jos is one of Gradvert's Leadership and Management Tutors. With experience of working both nationally and internationally with public sector and commercial organisations, Jos has designed and delivered training for a diverse range of clients including Hays Recruitment, Waitrose, Peugeot, John Lewis and Siemens, to name but a few.


Amy Reynolds

With almost a decade’s experience of working in the City, Amy is a specialist in change management, team performance and self-awareness, enabling teams and individuals to reach their potential. An Insights Discovery practitioner and qualified coach, Amy’s pragmatic and sensitive approach comes through in the delivery of her programmes, helping derive real results for everyone.