Meet the team
Who lead DCG on our strategic journey and find out more about their areas of responsibility.
Mandie Stravino OBE MBA
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
As CEO, Mandie Stravino works in partnership with the Board to shape DCG’s vision and future direction; drives the implementation of the corporate strategy and monitors strategic enactment and performance. Her lead in strategic advancement and utilising design thinking has led to financial turnaround and improvements in services and student success across DCG. Mandie was awarded the OBE for services to education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020
Mandie has a diverse leadership portfolio, in both the private and public sectors. Her experience in Further Education includes work within colleges and an ITP. She holds a range of related non-executive/representative roles including: Vice Chair – CBI Regional Council (following a term of office as regional chair), Member of the AoC National Quality Policy Group and Director of Land-based Assessment Ltd. In December 2019, Mandie completed her two-year term of office on the FE Commissioner’s Principals Reference Group. Other previous board member roles have included: Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Programme (DANCOP) Governance Board, Derby City’s Opportunity Area Board, an ITP membership organisation, an awarding body and a primary school.
Mandie is a qualified teacher, holds an MBA and has more recently completed the Further Education Strategic Leadership Programme at Said Business School – Oxford University.
Heather Simcox BA (Hons)
Deputy Chief Executive
Heather Simcox reports directly to the Chief Executive and oversees the day to day and operational functions of DCG. Heather holds accountability for the performance of academic, technical and vocational education. In addition, She leads the Group’s student support services and corporate services which include: curriculum improvement, property and estates management, finance, health and safety, human resources, IT services, systems and Infrastructure, management information services, marketing and strategic direction.
Heather is the Group’s business continuity leader, is the Chair of the Group’s risk management committee and is the executive officer for the Group’s audit committee as well as representing DCG on several external Boards and organisations.
Chief Finance Officer (CFO)
Richard joined the organisation in 2012 as Director of Management Information Systems. After a short break, he returned to the Group to continue responsibility for MIS and picking up the responsibility of finance undertaking the role of CFO.
Richard is a member of the AOC East Midlands Finance Directors Forum and the Derbyshire Economic Partnership Board.
Vice Principal Kate Martin leads academic and technical education, which includes designing and developing all areas of the curriculum. She leads five Colleges and the community provision as well as being accountable for the College’s Higher Education provision and the continual developing of teaching and learning.
Kate is a qualified teacher and has worked in secondary and further education. Prior to being appointed Vice Principal, Kate was Head of the Joseph Wright Centre. She is a member of the DANCOP board; Derby Opportunity Area Board and Chair the Post 16 sub group; Derby Leadership Board and a Trustee of Derby Book Festival.
Apprenticeships & Employer Relations
Matt joined DCG in 2020 and has worked in the further education sector for over fourteen years; prior to this Matt owned an independent training provider. Matt leads the Group’s employer engagement and partnership activities, as well as the Group’s apprenticeship provision. With a constant focus on skills needs, now and in the future, Matt looks to align the apprenticeship offer with local priorities and create partnerships that will support employment destinations for DCG students.
Executive Director of Human Resources
Bernadette reports to the Deputy CEO and leads on the development and delivery of DCG’s people management strategy. Working closely with the Leadership Team, Bernadette’s role is instrumental in the development of a high achieving workforce that can deliver great outcomes for our students and other stakeholders. The HR team helps shape a rewarding and inclusive working environment through activities such as employee recruitment; employee relations; learning and development; change management, performance management, organisational development and compensation and benefits.
Bernadette is a Fellow of her professional body the CIPD.
Ian is responsible for IT infrastructure at DCG including networks, servers and virtualisation and he manages a range of support teams engaged in software deployment, laptop and desktop support and the IT Service Desk.
He authored DCG’s ambitious Digital Transformation Strategy, drawing on his expertise and the latest thinking in data-driven optimisation, intelligent business and business intelligence.
Director of Estates
Iain is responsible for developing and implementing DCG’s wide-ranging Strategy for Property and Estates as well as for the physical development and operation of the estate to ensure it meets the Group’s current and future needs.
He oversees budgetary expenditure based on forecasted and historical trends while considering the external demands on DCG supplies and services. This includes leading on the submission of capital applications to help generate estate development.
Iain also acts as the focal point for the estate team’s engagement with wider communities and stakeholders, both locally and nationally.
Clerk to the Derby College Corporation
Rose Matthews was appointed, by the Board, to support and facilitate continuous improvement in College governance. She also has experience of academy and third sector governance and is a member of the AoC Midlands Clerks’ Network. She has over 20 years’ experience in FE and six years’ in FE governance. She is working towards the ‘expert’ level programme in FE governance and has a certificate in school clerking
Helen Jefferson is responsible for cross-college student support services and is the Designated Safeguarding Lead for Derby College.
Helen is the Careers Leader for DCG and the Designated Senior Leader for Mental Health. She represents DCG on the Derby City Prevent Steering Group; Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Education Hub; Careers and Enterprise Company Education and Skills National Steering Group as well as being the Designated Senior Lead on Mental Health and Careers on the East Midlands Network Group and a member of the National Association of Student Services Managers.