Director’s Biographies

///Director’s Biographies
Director’s Biographies 2019-03-01T18:24:00+00:00

Peter Samuelson

Founder and Chair of First Staff Academies UK, Co-Founder and President of First Star, Peter is a serial pro-social entrepreneur. In 1982 he co-founded the Starlight Children’s Foundation; by 1990 the positive psychological impact of Starlight seeded his next pro-social endeavour, Starbright World; 1999 saw the formation of First Star, 2005 EDAR Everyone Deserves a Roof, and 2013 saw him launch ASPIRE, the Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment. In the midst of all this Peter has produced 25 films and raised four children. Educated at Cambridge University and the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, Peter resides in Los Angeles with his wife Saryl, and continues to fight every day for those less fortunate, chief among them the UK’s abused and neglected children.

Marta Drummond

After almost a 20 year career spanning senior private banking roles in Europe (Paris and London) and in Asia (Hong Kong), Marta became a senior business development strategist for two leading professional service firms with international expansion in mind. She went on to found her own Zurich-based strategic consultancy practice in 2010, working in the family office sector on behalf of clients and families in various corners of the globe. She is now based in London and continues to advise family offices and professional services clients focused on the family office global community.

Marta’s outlook has always been international: she holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Beloit College, having completed her final undergraduate year in Beirut where she studied Arabic and regional politics. She has a Master’s degree in Development Economics from Boston University with a specialization in trade and finance.  She is a highly skilled “lightning rod,” connecting individuals from diverse backgrounds looking to find common ground. She is passionate about education, in particular, extending both the aspirational and practical reach of young people in challenging circumstances which she sees as the principal work of First Star.

Marta also serves on the Advisory Board of Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE Global) which has been helping teens connect to their creative spark for over 20 years, working in a number of countries around the world, through its teen camps and facilitation courses for youth workers.

Stuart Irvine

Stuart is a Commercial, Operations & Project Director with over 25 years’ experience in the events and technology innovation industries.  With strong project management, financial and commercial skills Stuart brings dedication, focus and a stress-free experience.  Over the years he has successfully managed a wide variety of projects and have provided services at all levels of business: from introducing and implementing production and operation processes, negotiating £m contracts with blue chip companies to introducing strategic partnerships and constructing go-to-market strategies to enable growth.

Working with and on behalf of some of the best companies and brands has put Stuart in a unique position to adapt and be flexible while maintaining high standards.   Stuart is a confident communicator, resilient to pressure, and remains calm and clear minded. Natural organiser who can multi task whilst managing a complex and high volume of work. Adept at finding innovative and appropriate solutions to important and complex problems.  A senior player who remains calm under pressure and leads by example through trust in people, guided by the highest levels of integrity, enthusiasm, motivation and accuracy, while maintaining a good sense of humour.

Stuart has previously worked with Ferrari Marlboro F1 team as one of the Event Marketing Managers before moving into the event production industry, working on a variety of projects such as the Acer pavilion at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the successful FIFA inspection of Qatar 2022, the Government’s Department of Health – Healthcare Innovation Expo as well as launching such brands as Virgin Media, BT Openworld and HTC.

Rt. Hon. Jenny Willott, OBE.

Jenny is the Director of Enterprise and Innovation at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, and was heavily involved in setting up the inaugural First Star Academy in the UK.  Prior to joining St Mary’s, she was the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central for ten years, and served in Government as Consumer Affairs Minister, as Women and Equalities Minister, and as a Government Whip.  She is also a Non-Executive Director for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, and chairs the Civil Aviation Authority’s Consumer Panel.

Prior to entering Parliament she worked in the voluntary sector for a number of different charities, mainly working in international development and with children, including as Chief Executive of Victim Support South Wales and Head of Advocacy for UNICEF UK, as well as working for Barnardo’s on a fostering and adoption project.

Frank Young

Frank is a director at the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), where he leads on family policy and political engagement. As head of the family unit at the CSJ, he is responsible for publishing new research and policy papers on the family and children.
He joined the board in 2019 following the publication of 12by24, a report sponsored by First Star which looked at access to higher education for care leavers. He shares the First Star commitment to seeing more care leavers enter higher education.
Frank is on the advisory board of the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York where he supports new research in social policy.  Before working at the CSJ, Frank worked for a leading public affairs agency, where he worked with major clients to promote large strategic infrastructure projects.  He previously spent seven years working for the conservative party H.Q., managing high profile election campaigns and advising on election strategy and planning. Frank graduated from the University of York where he read social policy.