The 225 Academy Mentors are a carefully-curated group of outstanding young role models, all of whom have excelled academically, attending world-renowned universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. Each of them are now either pursuing a remarkable career or have started their own business.

Tom England

Tom graduated from the University of Cambridge with a First Class degree in Social Anthropology. Since then he has worked for the National Citizen Service in the UK as a Mentor for young people between the ages of 15 and 17, and recently co-founded an organisation called The Life Place, delivering training and discussions concerned with personal development through cultural engagement. Tom is an actor, theatre-maker and Associate Artist of the Wardrobe Ensemble, a UK-based Theatre Company that devises their own work and tours both nationally and internationally. As a workshop leader and practitioner, Tom has delivered Public Speaking sessions and Performance Training in diverse settings working with people aged from 10 years old to 80 years old. He is passionate about drawing out the potential in others and, incidentally, was the National Prep Schools Champion in both High Jump and Triple Jump two years running!

Phoebe Tickell

Phoebe graduated from the University of Cambridge with a First Class degree in Natural Sciences, where she studied subjects as diverse as Neuroscience to Thermodynamics to Plant Biochemistry. Since graduating, she has solo-backpacked around Asia, took part in a Thai Boxing bootcamp, tried consultancy for 3 months, turned down a PhD, and at the moment works in a genetic engineering laboratory at Imperial College London. At Imperial, Phoebe works as a live-in mentor for 160 first-year undergraduates, and recently co-founded a climate change campaign which is going from success to success. By un-formal training, Phoebe is an artist, an activist, a mentor, and at whichever scale, a change-maker. She is passionate about changing the world, and empowering young people with the knowledge, confidence and ‘magic’ to know they can do the same.

Aubrey Vora

Aubrey is passionate about creative empowerment, live-long learning and personal development.  She graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London in 2009 with a degree in Stage Management.  Alongside various opportunities to work with youth through the arts since then, she founded the Department of Inclusion for Nowhere: an annual community arts festival in Spain, helping to support and engage youth, disabled participants and other minority groups.  Aubrey is also a writer, painter, performer, event-coordinator, and illustrator of Whimsadoodles: colouring pages for all ages.  Through classroom visits, workshops and events, she encourages others to exercise and explore their unique creativity.  She is honoured to be a part of the 225 team, and excited for the adventures ahead with these young leaders around the world!

Xander Groeneveld

Xander is a software engineer and a nature loving surfer who lives in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California. Hailing from Australia he made the long voyage to Boston, Massachusetts where he underwent 4 very cold years studying Computer Science at Harvard University. After graduating (and having realised the mistake of living in the snow) he quickly relocated to California to take a job in Silicon Valley where he currently works as a Full Stack Developer. He is passionate about building service oriented systems in the cloud that are scalable, redundant, and deliver a flawless user experience. He is also passionate about bonfires, yoga, camping and finger painting.

Gavin Illsley

Gavin is a full-time trainer in speech, debate and communication skills. He has worked all over the world, training learners from primary age to pensionable. Spending time in the comedy industry, corporate and charity sectors, he has built a wide range of relevant experience. His particular focus is debating, and while reading Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University, he was crowned European debating Champion, the best speaker in England and a host of other titles. He hopes to improve the level of critical thinking and rhetorical engagement to the betterment of all, and to allow as many learners as possible greater ability to access and express their ideas.

Derek Razo

Derek is an entrepreneur, artist and adventurer. He is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley, where he studied computer science, business and music. Derek has facilitated and advised a number collaborative organisations from co-housing networks to learning communities at the intersection of science, technology and art. Currently Derek is a member of the Enspiral Network and founder of Cobudget, a collaborative software tool that allows organisations to build and harness the collective intelligence of their existing social networks. He is passionate about creating radical and transformational technology for communities, governments and organisations.

Ryan Dunwoody

Ryan is also part of the Entrepreneur First cohort and co-founded Pi-Top with Jesse (below). Ryan describes Entrepreneur First as the only seed investment program that invests in individuals, pre-idea and pre-team, based on technical ability alone. And he describes Pi-Top as the first ever laptop that comes as a DIY kit. Ryan graduated with a First Class degree in Engineering from Oxford University, where he received an academic scholarship throughout all years of his degree for outstanding achievement in examinations. During his time at Oxford, he also built a student discount app counting Nando’s and ASK Italian among its clients. Prior to this, Ryan started a firewood company at the age of 15, which he later sold to a large supplier in 2011!

Daryl Rodrigo

Daryl is also part of the Entrepreneur First cohort and is currently working at Zzish – an education-technology start-up funded by Techstars which aims to develop an educational app development platform to create state of the art apps. He graduated with a First Class degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Southampton, where he was Co-Founder and President of Southampton Projects Group, which aims to fund and provide assistance to bright students with great project ideas. Daryl has won numerous prizes and awards for his programming and design skills and now aims to create a world-class startup himself. He was also a school tennis instructor for 3 years!

Maria Stylianou

Maria is also part of the Entrepreneur First cohort along with Jesse and Ryan. As an undergraduate, she studied Computer Science at the University of Cyprus and then completed her Masters in Distributed Computing at both Barcelona and Stockholm. After a summer internship at CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Maria was funded by Google to attend their internal training sessions and has received numerous other grants from different entities to attend conferences in technology and entrepreneurship around the world. She was born and raised in the beautiful island of Cyprus and one day hopes to travel across all the continents – starting from Latin America!

Jesse Lozano

Jesse is currently part of the Entrepreneur First cohort – a premier tech-entrepreneur incubator in London which was backed by the Prime Minister’s Office – having initially studied Law at King’s College London. He is also co-founder of Pi-Top, a build-it-yourself Raspberry Pi based laptop. Having taught himself computer programming, he created a web development company in 2012 that had clients including members of the House of Lords. As a scholarship student at Millfield School himself, Jesse once personally raised over £24,000 in two weeks for the school’s scholarship programme. He is also a black belt in karate and once played for Texas in the Little League Baseball World Series, placing 19th in the world!

Saul Argent

Saul is currently an English teacher at a comprehensive secondary school in the UK with the Teach First Graduate Programme, having also taught in China with the British Council, as well as in Kenya, Japan, Mali and Tanzania. Both in the classroom and as part of a Masters in Education and Leadership at the University of Manchester, he has explored alternative approaches to teaching and learning, thinking beyond the traditional classroom towards a more student-centred practice. Saul has interrogated structures of leadership in schools, considering how power is distributed and how students and teachers could be actively involved in a democratic model of leadership. He also seeks to better understand the concept of motivation in students and teachers. Saul graduated from King’s College, Cambridge with a degree in social anthropology, which has enabled him to think about education beyond the conventions we have come to take for granted. He also particularly enjoys the film-making club which he runs at his current school.