We believe in a new kind of leadership. Leaders who look different. Act differently. Are different.

Our mission is to build a world where anyone, regardless of their background, can learn to lead. We believe the way to get there is through real world coaching experience alongside the next generation of diverse leaders.

The Circl story

Circl co-founder Charlie started his career working with disengaged adults from underrepresented groups. He quickly learnt that there were many aspects blocking their access to professional careers, including a lack of communication, leadership and people skills. This was mainly owing to the fact that time in education is entirely focused on exams - teachers recognise the importance of people skills, but have little time to teach them.

Meanwhile Adrian Blair, Circl’s other co-founder, was leading teams at Just Eat, Spotify and Google.  During 20 years of leadership at high growth tech businesses he constantly found that professionals need leadership development and meaning in their work. He also found that traditional leadership training was theory-based and offered practice only in artificial situations (e.g. trying out skills on colleagues).

When they met in late 2018 , the idea for Circl was born.

Meet the team

Our team includes talent development specialists, leadership coaches and learning & development experts. We have come from different backgrounds with different professional experience but we all believe strongly that business can be a force for good and can make a positive contribution to society.

Charlie Stainforth

Co-Founder & CEO

Charlie started his career at a London Pupil Referral Unit working with disengaged young adults from underrepresented groups. As a founding member of the skill development company, Elevate Education UK, he played a major role in their growth across the UK & SA. Following this he worked as Head of Partnerships at career coaching organisation, Future Frontiers, where he started exploring the mutual benefits in connecting professionals with young people.

Adrian Blair

Co-Founder & Chair

Over 7 years as Just Eat Global COO Adrian managed a team of 2,000 across 4 continents and played an instrumental role in propelling the company from a startup to the FTSE 100. Before this he led teams at Spotify and Google in California and London. As Global CEO of FinTech company Receipt Bank , Adrian oversees Circl’s development as Chair of the Board.

James Dixon

Partnerships Manager

James began his career alongside Charlie at skills development company, Elevate Education, where he ran workshops with 1000s of students across the UK and Singapore. As their Head of Recruitment, he was responsible for hiring and training workshop facilitators across the country. From here he joined Venquis, an award winning recruitment agency, where he went on to become their Learning & Development Lead. Alongside his role, he led the company’s Stewardship Programme with the aim of making the organisation more socially responsible and a force for good. James joins Circl as our Partnerships Manager, where he will look to build lasting relationships between businesses and schools.

Natalie Tucker

Impact Lead (Consultant)

Natalie brings over 10 years’ experience of working across business, charities and social enterprise to drive social impact. She believes in business as a force for good, and works with organisations of all kinds to support entrepreneurial approaches to social impact. Natalie leads on Circl’s approach to measuring and maximising the difference we make to the business participants and young people we work with. Natalie is a Churchill Fellow, having been awarded a Fellowship in 2017 to visit the USA and Colombia and explore how corporates can benefit from working with charities and social enterprises. She also works at the Social Tech Trust, where she supports technology start-ups to embed impact management into their operations.

Sarah Haville

Head of Programmes

Sarah has a background as a Talent Development specialist in the financial sector at UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where she worked to support and motivate individuals, teams, businesses. With a particular interest in social mobility and connecting more businesses with schools, Sarah has spent the last two years using her consultancy skills to promote positive social change throughout the education sector. Along the way, she has co-founded Bloom Six which works in alternative provision schools to promote different career routes to some of our most vulnerable young people.

Luxsiya Sivakumar

Programme Officer

Luxsiya began her career in logistics and sales operations before making the leap into the third sector two years ago. Prior to joining Circl, she was the programme coordinator for The Girls' Network where she supported the team nationally in their work recruiting mentors, organising events, and safeguarding their mentees, alongside managing the operations of the charity. Luxsiya joins Circl as our programme officer, where she will support the delivery of our programme.

Rashida Namakambo

Future Leaders Officer

Rashida started her professional career as an Event Planner at the Royal Albert Hall where she oversaw a number of events. She also has previous volunteering experience with the National Citizen Service where she helped several cohorts navigate through the programme, gain confidence with public speaking and gain vital skills for the working world.