Our Team


leading experts

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Our Team

Our team bring an energy and passion to the table that makes things happen. Driven by a genuine desire to help you succeed, we have a unique perspective that builds confidence and enables you to reach higher.

Our people come from a from a wide variety of backgrounds, bringing a diverse blend of experience that bridges all sectors and an empathy for the real world challenges you face every day.


leadership team


Bill Lawry, CEO

Hello, I am Bill Lawry, founder and CEO of Ascend. My passion and purpose has been to create an boutique international consultancy that brings together great people with deep expertise to support and challenge leaders and leadership teams to attain and sustain elite performance. For over twenty five years, I have worked with Olympic champions, executive teams and business titans helping them make the necessary mindset and behavioral shifts to achieve their business, career and life goals. We created Ascend to ensure we have the scale and range of expertise to collaborate with and serve both large and small businesses worldwide. I live in the UK with my wife, two children and one dog. I enjoy working in diverse cultures, playing tennis, field hockey and cricket and coming up with crazy ideas to help take Ascend and our clients forward.

Bill Lawry, Ascend, leadership development, executive coaching, building successful teams
Christina Grieve, Ascend, experts in Leadership development, executive coaching, building successful teams

Christina Grieve, COO

Hi! I am Christina Grieve, I am Ascend's Chief Operation Officer. In short, it's my responsibility to ensure the company runs smoothly allowing our expert consultants to help our clients achieve their goals. I have over twenty years' international experience in marketing and business operations. I live in the UK with my husband, two beautiful children and our dog. I enjoy cooking, gardening and walking the dog.



Ben Smithies

With over twenty years’ experience in the field, Ben has a passion for helping people to develop and change to get the best out of themselves and their people. Ben gained over seven years of consulting experience from his work in personal and organisation development with PwC. Before joining PwC he worked as a social worker and psychotherapist. It is this combination of experience, working with organisations, groups and individuals managing significant and challenging change that he brings to his work. When not working he is a keen amateur musician and beekeeper, both of which require great partnership and teamwork!

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Nichola Jacob

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With over twenty five years’ experience in the field, Nichola has led her own HR and OD teams in a number of different business contexts and worked within a range of organisations and cultures. She has a strong belief in the value of working with people’s strengths and building on these to enable individuals to work at their best, enabling individuals to see the different choices they have and create futures, which realise the potential for themselves and their organisations. She likes to keep fit using a variety of tactics such as walking the South coast of England (over a four year period), Zumba-ing and running long distance races.

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Sue Sommerville

With over twenty years’ experience, Sue has a passion for helping individuals and teams to thrive. Integrating her professional experiences and psychological expertise, she is able to get to the crux of the matter quickly and deliver an eclectic, practical and to the point approach. Sue believes that small changes can create the biggest shifts as long as it is focussed in the right place. Sue gained over seventeen years’ experience at PwC working both internally with senior leaders and teams and externally, with clients such as Marks and Spencer, Ted Baker, Deerbrook Group and Pearson. She has an insatiable curiosity to try new things and has been dancing for as long as she has been working (the Argentinian Tango and Salsa being her favourites!).


Stephanie de Sarandy

With over twenty five years’ experience in the field, Stephanie has honed her expertise through working with a wide variety of companies and industries including Blackrock, Centrica, Deutsche Bank, Diageo, Ernst and Young, Legal & General and Herbert Smith LLP. She has a natural ability to build strong client relationships based on trust and transparency, and a quick grasp of business issues at different levels of an organisation. Stephanie’s approach is goal oriented with a clear focus on outputs and next steps. She has a love of the outdoors including gardening, cycling, trekking or kayaking. Her indoor pursuits are reading, being creative in the kitchen and is contemplating taking up the ukulele.

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Anners Abild

With over twenty years’ experience in the field, Anners is a firm advocate of the idea that any human discipline originates in practice and not theory and in using his own leadership experiences as a point of reference, he often builds very robust and respectful relationships with clients and participants, with a focus on application rather than theory. He takes pride in combining and translating academic knowledge into pragmatic tools and understanding. His has built his experience through working with diverse and international organisations such as ABN Amro, ADMA OPCO, BNP Paribas, Helios, Kuwait Petroleum Company, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Swarowsky and many more. He is fluent in Danish, English and German. Anners was born and raised on a three-generation farm where is love of the outdoors was grown. He has a love of dogs and history.


Claire Osborn

With twenty five years’ experience, Claire’s roles have included senior leadership roles in HR, Talent Management, OD and Leadership Development. She has led teams, working as a partner to CEO and GMs as part of senior leadership teams to drive business change and results through pragmatic HR solutions. Claire has a passion for personal development and the ability to facilitate change in individuals to help them achieve their own and their organisation’s goals. She finds practical solutions and ideas that help our clients move forward and ensure they are adapted to the world they are operating in. She wanted to be a Lollypop Lady when she was growing but thank goodness that didn’t work out!


Jane Heritage

With over twenty three years’ experience, Jane has worked with large scale organisation development, linking the motivation and behaviour of all of an organisation’s people with its purpose and business strategy. Her facilitation style is direct, pragmatic and lightened with humour. She has a strong commercial focus, informed by her earlier career as a Chartered Accountant, and keeps business objectives in sight, however complex and difficult the situation. She believes that transparency, collaboration and conversation are paramount in achieving objectives. Jane has many talents. Amongst them: jazz singer, café owner, yoga studio owner and she has written crime and historical novels.


Katina Kremona

Katina has nearly twenty-five years of experience working in organisations as a corporate psychologist, organisational consultant and executive coach. Her work has taken her across a broad range of industries and included numerous global companies such as Daimler Financial Services, Adecco, LVMH, Wärtsillä, Holcim, Stolt-Nielsen, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Saudi Arabia) and business schools IMD and Duke CE. Katina has a life-long passion for helping people become more self-aware and make the emotional, cognitive and behavioural shifts needed to achieve their development goals and potential. Her approach is to focus on the intersection between business and psychology, creating an open environment to support and challenge her clients to think, feel and act differently. Katina has also trained as an actor and secondary school teacher. She divides her time between London, Greece and Australia.

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Mauro Tarrini

With over twenty years of international experience, Mauro’s mission, using a person-centred positive psychology, is to work with individuals and teams on their strengths to shift to, and sustain, a thriving climate of trust, peak performance in which individuals achieve personal growth and contentment to excel. He has held senior roles in talent management and leadership development in companies such as Cannon, Shell, Vodaphone, British Gas, Astellas Pharma US, Starbucks and most recently, Reckitt Benckiser. He has worked in a mission in Tanzania, a courier on the Concorde but now loves to sea kayak and paddle board around the Cornish coast.


Richard Davis

With over twenty five years of experience in designing, managing, delivering and facilitating professional & Leadership development programmes in the UK, France, the Middle East and Asia, Richard is also an accomplished and qualified Executive Coach. He has a passion for developing managers and emerging leaders, enabling them to fulfil their potential and build successful careers. With a collaborative and person centred approach, Richard enables individuals and teams to achieve their goals in a personable yet challenging style. He has a great blend of commercial knowledge, technical skill and pragmatism that he has gained by working in an array of sectors in various countries. He started out in theatre school (we might catch him on TV), loves French food and wine which he says makes him get out and ride his bike!


Iliana Flick

With twenty-five years of experience, Iliana has held positions such as Head of Human Resources and HR Business Partner at a range of international Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies and includes brands such as Burberry, HSBC and Morgan Stanley as her clients. Iliana’s style is challenging, insightful and action-orientated. She has the ability to combine the latest thinking with extensive practical experience gained from a professional working environment and she helps people to make significant steps forward within a safe and confidential space. She is originally from Mexico City but is now based in the UK.