Every consultancy is measured by the success of its outcomes – and perhaps more importantly, by the reputation of its team. Here’s ours.

People hero

Al Simmonite

Managing Director

Al brings decades of military, programme and bid experience. His main focus is on creating highly effective, empowering leadership, and delivering robust team development programmes. Outside of work, Al takes his photography very seriously, concentrating on landscape and travel.


Alexander Shakespeare


‘Curiosity’, ‘challenge’, and ‘support’ describe Alexander’s style to developing, building and enabling performance in individuals, teams and organisations. A rugby referee and sailing instructor, Alexander has a key interest in fitness – and a broader interest in what sport and business can learn from each other.

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Matt Hemmings

Head of Delivery

An effective leader and professional client manager with strong business acumen and commercial awareness with significant experience in affiliate marketing. Matt's professional maturity, specialist knowledge and wide range of skills have contributed to the success of campaigns and projects for clients he has worked with.


Cassie Kirk

Finance Manager

A fully qualified accounting professional, Cassie runs all our accounts activity. She joined Advance in 2013 as a business administration apprentice, and continued her studies to become a full AAT member (MAAT). Outside of work, she enjoys DIY, walking her dog, Diesel, and raising money for charity by taking part in local tractor runs.


Karen Duckworth

Business Operations Manager

Karen works closely with the directors and associates on all of our projects. An experienced Office Manager, Karen particularly enjoys supporting clients through the different stages of project development. Outside of work, Karen has a love/hate relationship with exercising, enjoys holidays to Thailand, and loves spending time with family.


Deirdre Fox

Non-Executive Director

After a successful career in steel and manufacturing, Deirdre brings to Advance a breadth of business experience working in the UK and overseas, building and leading diverse teams and working across many stakeholder groups.

She has recently returned to competitive rowing which (in her view) is the ultimate team sport!


Kevin Rayner


Kevin has deep commercial, technical and management experience gained working with some Global Fortune 500 companies. He wants to bring this experience to assist and guide professionals at all stages of their career. Downtime is filled by studying for a genealogy qualification and walking Britain’s long-distance footpaths.


Louisa Scanlan


Louisa brings a wealth of HR experience from her career in both SME and FTSE 100 organisations. Her passion is to develop future leaders who act with authenticity and integrity, through coaching and leadership development. Outside of work, Louisa likes to spend time with her family and swim when time allows it.


Jane Hirst


Jane is seriously into finding out what makes people tick and using this knowledge to help them bring out their potential. Creating positive and enabling cultures through engaging leadership and management is her forte. Outside of work Jane is refining the art of gin tasting and now has a couple of favourites!

M Wright

Malcolm Wright


Malcolm has very broad senior experience in both project and business management within the construction sector. This enables him to support Advance’s clients with his detailed understanding of their needs. Outside of work, he has a penchant for restoring classic mopeds and is always keen to don fancy dress for a good cause.


Gavin Bateman


Gavin brings his NHS, military and Central Govt experience, in complex project & programme management, governance and assurance as well as leading multifaceted tenders to Advance with a focus on integrated programmes, successful project behaviours and team development. Outside of work, Gavin is a School Governor, keen photographer and lover of coffee.


Precious Zumbika-Lwanga


Precious is a Cost & Commercial Expert, Strategic Advisor and Non-Executive Director / board member with over 20 years’ experience delivering a portfolio of high-value projects and programmes across various sectors namely, commercial, retail, mixed use, residential and infrastructure.

She is passionate about leadership as a practice, the gym, spending time with her family and enjoys podcasting where she has been a co host and guest on many occasions. She believes strongly in changing narratives and is determined to support more women into construction.


Adrian Newbery


AJ brings his 30 years of experience as a highly skilled coach/trainer/facilitator to Advance and is capable of encouraging and developing the competence and confidence of individuals from all aspects industry and positions of authority. Outside of work AJ enjoys walking in the glorious Warwickshire countryside accompanied by Teddy the Cockapoo, who, it seems, enjoys it even more.


Gyongyi Virag


Gyongyi is a city dweller who loves to travel off the beaten track and find new adventures along the way. Found that nothing energizes and satisfies as much as meeting new people, developing individuals and helping towards the success of companies.

Gyongyi not only gained her knowledge and skills while completing her Learning and Development CIPD Level 5, it was also learnt the hard way leading teams from different cultures and backgrounds towards common goals. She has experience at management level leading teams in both the consultancy and hospitality industries.


"Advance listen, they adapt. And they’re very agile on their feet."

David Mutter
Project Delivery Manager
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"This was far, far beyond coaching – the team at Advance challenged us to build the capability, culture, behaviours and structures we’d need to succeed."

Richard Inglis
CJV Lead and Project Director, On-Corr
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"It made such a big difference – we love the legacy of what you delivered."

Beth Willoughby
Project Director
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"There’s a real connection between the challenge we’ve got and Advance wanting to help us. It’s their challenge – even though it’s our challenge."

Chris Young
Executive Managing Director
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