Our executive team is working towards implementing our founders’ vision and is responsible for delivering an outstanding programme.
Neeta is an experienced executive with over 20 years of strategy and operational leadership experience in launching new ventures, business turnarounds and change and has a sharp focus on growth and revenues. She has a successful track record of turning ideas and concepts into tangible businesses. Her experience spans financial services, media & publishing, education, arts and the creative industries. She has also led two of her own start-ups.
Prior to joining the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, Neeta worked in Private Equity matching technology entrepreneurs with investors. Neeta has held senior positions at Thomson Financial (Reuters), Legal & General PLC, Financial Times Group and at the British Council. She is an early internet pioneer having launched the first personal finance web site in Europe for L&G in 1996.
Neeta holds an MA in Chemistry from Oxford University, an MBA (Marketing) from Cass Business School, and a Sloan Fellowship in Strategy and Leadership from London Business School, where she was the winner of the PWC prize in 2009 for a consultancy assignment in China.
Neeta is passionate about the importance of storytelling in business and has published a book about it, “Creative Business – the making of addictive stories”, FT/Prentice Hall 2002.
Richard Cull Thomas
Chief Operations Officer
Richard joined NEF in December 2016, moving from the world of consumer technology services at British Telecom, where he held several senior roles in a diverse range of business functions, including customer service, strategy, business development and major programme management.
He led a number of high-profile initiatives that had a material and positive impact on BT and EE’s customer experience, including delivering BT’s first strategic on-shoring programme and creating two major new UK customer contact centres, implementing several high-value outsourcing agreements, launching a highly-successful sales through service programme and managing a complex service transition project with EE.
Richard spent the earlier part of his career at BAe Systems, progressing through their graduate trainee programme in the flight testing division through a series of commercial roles, leading and negotiating bids and contracts with a wide range of government customers, and then leading the business management team for a major training system contract with Royal Australian Air Force.
Outside of work, Richard spends time supporting start-ups as a business mentor for The Princes Trust. He’s married, with two young daughters, and a very affectionate but unruly German Short-Haired Pointer which keeps him fit by demanding a lot of long walks!
Programme Director – Learning & Partnerships
Véronique is an experienced Strategy and Learning and Development executive with over 20 years of experience in launching and growing training businesses or new ventures as well as building strong and long lasting business relationships at all levels.
Her experience was gained in various sectors including Financial and Professional Services, Management Consultancy, Pharmaceutical, Media & Entertainment, Property, Chemical, Energy.
Prior to joining the new Entrepreneurs Foundation, Véronique was a Strategy and Learning consultant working with Top 500 organisations to develop, design and implement people engagement strategies and innovative learning programmes. She also worked with SMEs and start-ups: she was instrumental in the launch of the first digital French radio in London, leading all the Marketing & PR activities. She held senior international commercial roles when working for Bloomberg and Moody’s and was heading the training business units at IIR Ltd and Parkwell Management Consultancy.
Véronique holds both a European Masters in Law & Economics from Oxford University and a French Master’s (DEA) in Institutional Economics (with honours) from Aix-En-provence University. She has lived in the UK since 1994 and speaks fluently Italian and French.
In her spare time, and since 2003, Véronique is the President of the Young Chamber of Commerce French-English (Jeune Chambre de Commerce Franco-Britanique- JCCFB). More recently she was elected Vice-President of the Federation of all French Associations in UK (FAFGB). In 2011 she was nominated for the Most Influential French Londoner Awards, in her capacity as President of JCCFB.
Ishita Ranjan (Ranj)
Programme Director – Talent, Marketing and Communities
Ranj studied Law & Business at the University of Warwick in 2011. During her time there, she actively volunteered with Enactus, a global society of student social entrepreneurs. It was this experience that sparked her love of the social enterprise space, and she’s never looked back.
Since graduating, Ranj has gathered a range of experiences supporting young people realise their ambitions. From training and mentoring student social entrepreneurs for Enactus UK, to running the UK’s largest internship scheme in the charities sector, and working in marketing for an agency recruiting top talent into entrepreneurial companies. More recently, Ranj has achieved her MSc in Grantwriting, Philanthropy & Social investment from Cass Business School, and co-founded Copy & Code – a communications and web development company helping startups launch and grow.
When Ranj isn’t busy getting stuck into all things NEF, she runs a social enterprise side project, Care Package Co. that delivers curated gift boxes to those experiencing illnesses. She is also an avid reader and occasional storyteller, and can be spotted at open mic nights, or scribbling away in her notebook.
Following an academic background in Humanities and degrees from Manchester Metropolitan and Sussex University, James gained experience in the publishing and charity sectors, working with Bloomsbury Academic and Hackney based charity Shoreditch Trust before joining NEF in 2015. As Operations Manager, James manages the logistics for all NEF events and workshops across the programme along with supporting the team.
Beyond working with the NEF, James is a keen reader with a passion for literature, helping to co-found literature groups throughout university, and an avid photographer with a love for London.
James is passionate about entrepreneurship and developing the NEF programme.
Simran graduated from The University of Buckingham in 2012 with a degree in Law and a Masters in Service Management. She spent some time after university traveling through Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia before working as a legal assistant at Mishcon de Reya.
After deciding not to pursue law, Simran honed her organisation and marketing skills at Twisted Lemon before joining NEF at the beginning of 2017. As Operations Assistant, Simran supports the executive team in the day to day running of the office, delivering the events schedule, and supporting the learning and development programme to the NEF cohort throughout the year.
Simran is a foodie who loves cooking, trying new recipes and restaurants! She also loves spending time at home in the Bahamas with her friends and family. Simran is looking forward to being a part of the NEF team and helping it develop and reach new heights.