The School of Computing and Communications’ Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) brings together a group of distinguished individuals with a commitment to the vision and goals of the School of Computing and Communications and the wider Open University.
The IAB is advisory to the School of Computing and Communications – spanning the range of School activity including, but not limited to, Curriculum, Research, External Engagement and Knowledge Exchange.
The Board’s mission is to provide support for the School by bringing an industrial and professional perspective to issues and challenges the School faces in the short to medium term.
The Board provides informed advice in support of the key decision makers within the School, and recommends networking opportunities and other involvement with appropriate external groups as opportunities arise.
The Board meets at least three times each year and members are appointed for a three-year term.
|Richard Pone||Independent Consultant|
|Gillian Arnold||Managing Director, Tectre Ltd|
|Mary Asante||CEO and founder of Maysante Consultancy Limited|
|Elizabeth Barr||Cisco Networking Academy Lead UK & Ireland|
|Sarah Burnett||Chief Technology Evangelist, KYP.ai; Partner, Emergence Partners|
|Mark Butcher||Program Director, IBM UK|
|John Court||Independent Consultant|
|Mark Large||Independent Consultant|
|Ana Simion||CEO, INRO London|
|James Thomas||Chief Technology Officer, Wellcome Trust|
|Haiyan Wu||Health Data Research UK|
|Dor Zakai||Senior Director of Solutions Engineering for NGINX, F5|
|John Woodthorpe||Head of School, Computing and Communications|
|Arosha Bandara||Academic Secretary to the IAB|
|Mark Slaymaker||Director of Teaching|
Richard Pone’s mission is to make himself redundant. Perhaps this does not seem like the most lofty or laudable of goals. But in more than 30 years of experience as an IT leader and CTO, he has developed a vision that by making IT easy to use, simple to manage, and cheaper to run, large organizations will one day have no technology operations.
With extensive experience in the IT industry Gillian setup her own company, Tectre, in 2010, providing training, recruitment and consultancy to CIOs and IT Managers. Tectre focuses on supporting their positive action campaigns to attract more diversity into their technical teams.
Most of Gillian’s early career was spent working for IBM in the UK where she held customer facing training, technical, sales, business development, strategic marketing and consultancy roles. She is now a VP for the BCS, The UK Chartered Institute for IT, sits on the board for the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) and Chairs the European Taskforce for Women in IT for CEPIS.
In 2021 Gillian edited and published ‘Women in Tech: A practical guide to increasing gender diversity and inclusion’. She won the 2012 Cisco / Everywoman In Technology award for 'Technology Inspiration of the Year' and, along with Martha Lane Fox, Dame Steve Shirley, and Dame Wendy Hall, has a place in the UK ‘Women in IT Hall of Fame’. She was granted an honorary doctorate by the University of Bath in 2019 for her work on diversity in the technical professions.
Mary Asante is the CEO and founder of Maysante Consultancy Limited providing executive coaching, leadership training and development and business consulting services. She has over 19 years of industry experience in advising and coaching businesses on leadership development, people management, strategy needs, Information Security and Cyber Security Governance. Mary is also a director of HR Independents Ltd, the UK body for Independent HR and People Professionals.
Mary is a Board Level Certified Senior Information Security and IT service management professional who provide flexible and pragmatic security solutions. She has supported the successful delivery of several IT enabled business change programmes.
Mary has extensive experience in providing Data Protection, Information Assurance and Cyber Security solutions for critical business systems in a variety of environments such as Central and Local Government, Defence Industry and the private sector. She has a broad range of skills, knowledge and qualifications in Information and Cyber Security.
She is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and a member of ISACA. She is also an ISO/IEC 27001:2013 Information Security Management Systems lead auditor. Mary is passionate about delivering value which enables organisations to achieve their goals whilst protecting their most valuable assets.
Mary is a also a Chartered Fellow of CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), a fellow member of The Institute of Leadership and Management. She is an accredited Platinum member of HR Independents (HRi). Moreover, she is a licensed EBW (Emotions and Behaviours at Work) Partner and advanced facilitator.
Mary is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Research in Cyber Engineering (PhD) at WMG, University of Warwick. Her research interests include the area of distributed ledger technologies, supply chain security management, industry 4.0, data sharing, cyber resilience and data trustworthiness and related areas. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and a Master of Science with merit in Human Resources Management. Additionally, Mary is a NEBOSH qualified Occupational Safety and Health professional.
Sarah Burnett FBCS is a technology industry analyst and author of the book “The Autonomous Enterprise” published by BCS, the British Institute for IT. She has a portfolio of jobs including Chief Technology Evangelist at KYP.ai and a founding partner at Emergence Partners.
Sarah is a strong advocate for women in technology. She is a member of BCS Women committee and founder of AI Accelerator, an internationally recognised programme focused on increasing diversity in the AI industry.
Mark has over 34 years IT experience, the vast majority of which has been focused on SW Development at IBM's Hursley R&D Lab. in Hampshire. During this time he has performed nearly every technical (Test, Development, Operations), Project and Program Management (PMI and IBM Senior PM Certified) and Personnel type management role. This has involved leading teams ranging from 4-5 collocated engineers, to 200+ plus spread across multiple continents, cultures and time zones, working with clients as diverse as State Farm Insurance, HM Land Registry, Wal-Mart, Nimbus Ninety, Daimler, Boticario Group, Samsung, etc.
Mark has always looked to challenge the status quo in how we work and as such has played very active roles in the deployment of:
His role for the last 3-4 years has been to lead a small team of Program Managers in driving change initiatives across IBM's Cloud Unit, now some 40,000 people world wide. Due to the sheer scale and significance of these changes, it has necessitated a steep learning curve in how to work with senior executives, right up to CEO. As part of this role, Mark has become involved in the UK Government's Institute of Coding and is now Program Managing the Company's contributions to the program, including working with universities such as Bath, Sheffield, Exeter and the Open university.
Outside of work, Mark is a member of Winchester Rotary where he has deployed his rusty technical skills to develop and maintain the website and is involved in activities such as: Protecting the Chalk Streams, Organising the Clarendon Marathon, etc. He has also supported local schools either as a School Governor or participating in mentoring programs, business "games" and careers fairs. In the little spare time he has, Mark has and allotment to tend and on occasion gets to work on his model railway.
John is a leading CIO and established board advisory consultant who has operated extensively in a range of global and national companies. An accomplished leader, John has been twice voted a Top 100 CIO. His multi-award-winning solutions and operations have received independent industry recognition for technology innovation, service quality and operational excellence, using technology to create market differentiation and cost optimisation, often through innovative yet pragmatic use of emerging digital technologies.
With deep industry expertise in and around supply chain, e-commerce, distribution, technology and business services, John has led the development and deployment of advanced algorithmic optimisation, artificial intelligence, and machine-learning solutions. He has also led the operations of high-growth technology organisations, major outsource programmes and cost optimisation initiatives for both national and large-scale global companies.
His board experience spans many companies, including TNT, Ceva Logistics, Masternaut, Eddie Stobart Logistics, iForce, Logistics People and Speedy Freight. John is also an Advisory Board member for the H2020 ICONET programme which aims to significantly extend state of the art research and development around the Physical Internet (PI) concept in relation to advanced logistics. He is a technology industry speaker and is also a past independent industry adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence Science and Technology Group.
John now owns and manages his own consulting and management services company, advising organisations on digital strategy and areas such as large-scale digital transformation, acquisition due diligence & post-acquisition integration, digital supply chain transformation, advanced e-commerce solutions, advanced optimisation technologies, sourcing strategy, change leadership and technology vendor management.
Elizabeth Barr is Business Development Manager. Elizabeth leads the Cisco Networking Academy programme in the UK & Ireland, managing an ecosystem of 350+ organisations and 55K+ annual students.
The Cisco Networking Academy is Cisco’s largest and longest running corporate social responsibility programme that strives to equip and inspire individuals from all backgrounds to pursue a career in tech by providing education, training, and career mentorship.
She is also a Board Member for Women of Cisco UK&I and is passionate about making the tech industry a more inclusive and accessible space.
Director ML Consulting, with a mixed background of public and private sector experience, including:
Mark is also an astro-photographer in his spare time
Ana Simion is the Chief Executive of INRO London, a Product Design company in London and the Director of INRO’s in-house research institute, The Simion Institute of Innovation. She has a decade-long track record in Data and Analytics and has published work in areas including the use of Artificial Intelligence in Retail, Digital Transformation Strategy and Data Governance. Her expertise is frequently called upon at major conferences and podcasts including the likes of the Computer Vision festival and the State of AI in Retail. In amongst this, she’s delivered guest lectures in Technology Transformation and Change to leading universities including University of Oxford’s Said Business School. Outside of these activities, Ana provides strategic advice in Data Science to numerous advisory boards including the AI Accelerator Institute’s Global Advisory Council. Outside of work, Ana is an avid photographer specialising in black and white industrial imagery.
James Thomas joined Wellcome in April 2016. He is responsible for leadership of their technology and digital services.
Before Wellcome, James had an extensive career in the private and public sectors, delivering transformational change through technology and data.
His career began in the oil and water industries, with BP and Veolia. He moved to global technology provider Oracle to develop and lead technology consulting services for clients, including banking, defence and manufacturing.
He then moved into healthcare, with technology leadership roles in the NHS. This included eight years as a Director of UCL Hospitals, establishing UCL Partners, London NHS Procurement Partnership and the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre. Following this, James became an Associate Partner at Atos Consulting, including working with Genomics England to review its Informatics and bioinformatics capabilities.
Haiyan joined UCL in 2018, having previously managed disease-specific National Digital Transformation Programmes at Bart’s and The Royal London Medicine School, Queen Mary University of London and Public Health England, Department of Health, where she worked on national data migration, access and linkage using civilian and non-civilian datasets for primary and secondary purposes providing health intelligence and analytics to Civil Service departments and to the wider research community.
Haiyan managed the operations and research programmes in Health Data Research UK five London Universities incl. UCL, KCL, QMUL, LSHTM and ICL, HDR UK National Initiatives in 6 research themes on Understanding Causes of Disease, Public Health, Clinical Trials, Applied Analytics, Human Phenomics and Better Care and the relevant industrial partnerships.
Haiyan’s team was nominated for the One Award 2020 – Working Together Team Award.
In July 2020, Haiyan joined the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) as the Operations Manager at UCL The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (BSEER) to look after the operations and research programmes in 11 research themes across 20 partner organisations in the UK. The research programmes range from Energy Data Centre, Energy Modelling Hub, Technology and Policy Assessment, Industrial Decarbonisation, Energy Systems for Heat, Energy for Mobility, Energy Infrastructure Transitions, Energy, Environment and Landscapes, Local and Regional Energy Systems, UK Energy in Global Content, ADVENT and Integrating Projects.
In Aug 2020, Haiyan received the Public Relations Award from the Communications Management Association.
Haiyan was the BCS Council Vice Chair (2016/17 - 2018/19) and the Chair for the BCS Young Professionals Group (2015/16 - 2018/19). She currently serves on a number of BCS committees including IT Leaders Forum, CMA, Quality Management and DevSecOps, She is also involved in a number of national and international committees, networks and think tanks in Healthcare, Technology, Finance, Energy, Trading, International Relations and Arts and is keen to promote BAME's in STEMM.
Haiyan’s current research interests are social network analysis and GIS in translational health tech research and sustainable energy and international transformation programmes in healthcare and energy and resource management in developed and low-middle income countries.
Dor Zakai is the Senior Director of Solutions Engineering for NGINX at F5. With over 15 years of experience in security, applications, mobility and enterprise IT consultancy, Dor leads a team of Ninjas responsible for accelerating companies digitalisation journey. We offer a suite of technologies for developing and delivering modern applications. The NGINX Application Platform enables enterprises undergoing digital transformation to modernise legacy, monolithic applications, as well as deliver new, microservices‑based applications.
In his previous roles at VMware, Zakai successfully led a team of EUC mobility experts who were responsible for all of VMware AirWatch's technical pre-sales activity within the EMEA region. As Director of EUC EMEA Sales Engineering, Zakai was instrumental in driving the sales engineering organisation to engage with prospects and partners to inject technical expertise and business consulting from early-stage demonstrations and requirements gathering, all the way through to the successful execution of proof of concepts.
Prior to joining VMware, Zakai served as CTO for Mobisec Technologies, an Israel-based company with an established knowledge and experience in Enterprise Mobility, Security, Cloud and Internet of Things (IoT). Alongside his expertise in the fields of mobility and security, Zakai was a Microsoft Regional Specialist for Enterprise Mobility in the Middle East. Additinally, Zakai is a regular speaker at industry tech events, academic circles and motivational sales trainings.
Arosha is a Professor of Software Engineering at the Open University and acdemic lead to the board. Between Jan 2018 - Mar 2021, Arosha was the Head of the School of Computing and Communications. Arosha’s research and teaching focuses on software engineering for adaptive systems. He has a particular interest in techniques for building adaptive security and privacy mechanisms for ubiquitous, Internet of Things systems. Arosha’s expertise in engineering adaptive systems has been developed as an investigator across a number of security and privacy projects funded by EPSRC (PRiMMA and Privacy Dynamics), ERC (Adaptive Security and Privacy – ASAP) and the Qatar National Research Fund (Adaptive Information Security in the Cloud). His work on adaptive user interfaces and quantitative metrics for privacy risks in social networks won best paper awards at EICS 2013 and TrustCom 2014 respectively. He is also the lead educator for the OU’s successful “Introduction to Cyber Security” MOOC. He completed his PhD at Imperial College London, UK in 2005, prior to which he worked as a software engineer at Sapient Corporation, USA.
Arosha is also a governor of a primary school and enjoys volunteering with his local music and performing arts trust, where he (occasionally) plays the ukulele.
John is a senior lecturer who is Head of the School of Computing and Communications, prior to which he was Director of Teaching. He first worked for the Open University on residential Summer Schools in 1984 before becoming a part-time tutor on a range of Engineering, Technology, Computing and Arts modules. One of those modules regularly attracted 10-15,000 students per year and was the largest wholly-online module in the University. He took on a variety of consultancy roles with the OU's commercial and licensing activities, and supported groups of part-time tutors as the number of online modules and students increased. Most of this was while working as a materials scientist for the R&D centre of a multinational automotive and aerospace component manufacture.
In 2004 he took up a full-time lectureship with the OU, working on the production and presentation of a range of new modules. From 2014 to 2019 he provided the link between the School's student support team and its curriculum, while the University made two major reorganisations of its student support activities. In that role, he increased the integration between the curriculum and student support areas, and is working to improve that even further as Director of Teaching. He is no longer a part-time tutor for the OU, and so has a bit more time to spend with his ever-expanding collection of Raspberry Pi projects and grandchildren, and in listening to music, and playing bass guitar.
Mark Slaymaker is Director of Teaching, in the School of Computing and Communications in the STEM Faculty at the Open University.
An independent thinker, Jon is an academic at The Open University (OU) where his teaching has touched the lives of around 10,000 students.
Jon is a Consultant Complex Problem Solver, with his research having been used in large corporates including Bank of America, General Dynamics UK, BAESystems, and many others. Current projects with Siemens and Webasto extend these tools to change- and project management. Jon has just been appointed a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at KMi, the OU’s research centre, where he’s researching the Title Licensure of Software Engineers (without having to stop the industry for 5 years to achieve it).
He is a Court Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (and chair of the WCIT Education and Training Committee), a Fellow of BCS, The Chartered Institute for Information Technology, where he shares responsibility for upholding the professional standards of Information Technologists, Scientists and Engineers; and has recently been appointed as an ambassador for the Chartered Institute for Educational Assessors. Until recently, he was an elected representative to BCS Council and chaired the IT Leadership Forum (BCS ELITE) consisting of more than 3500 board level and senior IT professionals.
Finally, Jon runs a small business as a registered exercise professional (REPS) as a specialist Indoor Cycling Instructor (aka Spinning).
Karen Kear is a Professor of Online Education in the School of Computing and Communications of the Open University. She joined the Open University in 1994 as an educational software designer, and became a lecturer in IT two years later. She was an Open University tutor for several years, teaching on modules which pioneered the use of online communication with students. Karen has previously worked as, a scientific software developer for BP Exploration and a theoretical physicist for the UK Atomic Energy Authority.
Karen's undergraduate study was at Cambridge University UK, where she gained a BA (and subsequently an MA) in theoretical physics. She also has an MSc in Information Technology from Keele University UK (where she gained Best Dissertation award from the BCS) and a PhD from the Open University (studied part-time while working for the OU). Karen’s PhD investigated the design of online communication systems, researched from the perspectives of students and teachers.
Karen has more than 20 years’ experience of creating and presenting distance learning modules for the Open University. All of these involved online communication, together with a variety of other modes of technology enhanced learning.
Karen is a Senior Fellow of the UK's Higher Education Academy, and is an active researcher in the field of e-learning. She is the author of Online and Social Networking Communities: a best practice guide for educators, and co-editor of Online Communication and Collaboration: A Reader, both books published by Routledge.
Further information can be found at https://www.open.ac.uk/people/klk2.
Michael is an experienced self-motivated senior business leader and consultant with significant and wide-ranging successes across industry, commerce, academia and H.M. Government. He has over 30 years’ experience delivering complex business strategies, developing and leading large cross-functional teams, and ultimately delivering substantial projects across diverse business areas.
He has held high-level responsibilities as a strategy consultant to Microsoft in the USA and Europe for a $400+ million global business unit. Previously Michael was a senior Vice President for an international consulting organisation and was seconded as a CIO for two organisations where he was responsible for strategic and operational portfolios. He is recognised across industry and within government departments as having an enviable and substantial track-record within physical security and business leadership.
He was invited as a member of the UK Government committee examining the future of the UK’s digital based economy. Michael is a confident, articulate communicator and influencer of high integrity able to motivate others and build trust exemplified by work with international ‘blue-chip’ companies, governments, and regulatory bodies.
Latterly, Michael has constructed and delivered world-leading physical security solutions that have transformed the security landscape for international major events including the Olympic Games (London 2012), Commonwealth Games (2014), the aviation sector, military & government contracts and the largest global security technology companies.
Michael is a Chartered Scientist, a Fellow of the BCS (The Chartered Institute for Information Technology), and a member of the Institute of Science and Technology. He is Staff Tutor within the School of Computing and Communications and the External and Public Engagement lead.