UK Team

Dr Sean Kassen - Beacon Operations Manager

Sean Kassen smallDr Sean Kassen is a Biomedical Researcher who initially trained and worked as a management consultant within the professional services, advisory and consulting industries with Accenture, EY, and PwC Consulting where he maintains an active role as an alumnus. His financial and consulting experiences spanned a total of 13 years which included change management, organisational development, strategic HR and business improvement and process re-engineering initiatives in the Banking, Public Sector and NGO sectors.

In 2008, after migrating and settling in the UK from South Africa, Sean planned a career change and started re-training for a biomedical research and academic career which culminated in him completing his BSc with First Class Honours, his Master of Research degree and then his Doctoral Clinical Medicine Research degree at Imperial College London as part of the prestigious Imperial College Medical Research Council (MRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). After graduating in April 2019, Sean worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Imperial College London as well as lecturing in biomedical science at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. Sean is an active alumnus with the Imperial College Alumni and Career Services, and a MRC DTP alumnus and mentor on the Imperial Alumni Mentorship and Work Shadowing Scheme.

He is very passionate about supporting those who face barriers with their academic, career and life goals through his private work as an academic and career coach and mentor. In addition, his focus is helping students from lower income and ethnic minority families and also assists students moving abroad with their adjustment and transition, drawing from his own experiences with immigrating to the UK as an ethnic minority.

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Kendi M'Marete - UK Beacon Representative

Kendi MMarete

Kendi M’Marete attended boarding school, high school and university in Kenya, qualifying in Community Development, Projects Planning and Management. For 17 years she worked in the NGO, iNGO and public sectors in various parts of Kenya, including the infamous Dadaab Refugee Camp with UNHCR as well as the slums of Nairobi and rural Kenya where she empowered local women and girls on human rights, helped set up SMEs for poverty eradication and established projects to support disabled children and young people. Kendi moved to Cambridge 10 years ago where she worked with various charities while at the same time pursuing Inclusive Education research based studies for her International Development qualification at Cambridge University’s Madingley Hall. Her career and passions have predominantly centred on the International Development and charity sectors with a focus on Disability Inclusion, Education, Poverty Reduction, Human Rights, Child Protection, Gender Empowerment and Socio-Economic Development through the Theory of Change. She now works for the UK Civil Service on Private Pension Policy and is currently leading on policy reforms for the Fraud Compensation Fund regime to ensure it is sustainable and fit for purpose to rescue pensions lost as a result of dishonesty. Prior to this she worked on European Union and International Policy where she influenced policies aimed at improving global labour standards including elimination of indecent work, child labour, modern slavery/forced labour and promotion of gender equality and safety working practices. She mentors young people in the Civil Service and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in Policymaking at the Institute for Government, King’s College London. A great lover of books and travel, she spends her spare time exploring new places, reading widely or going for walks near her home in Cambridgeshire. She has bravely skydived in a few continents to raise money for some of her favourite charities.

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Jean Cooke - UK Beacon Coordinator

Jean Cooke

Jean Cooke has worked in investment for 30 years, as head of administration and compliance and company secretary, latterly with a London based fund management company specialising in emerging markets. After Simon Langton Grammar School for Girls in Canterbury, Kent, Jean travelled widely, including a year in Madrid, but then settled in the south east of England. She has now decided to use the skills developed in her business life for the benefit of others. Accustomed to multitasking, working to deadlines and decision making, she understands the importance of attention to detail and accurate reporting. 

Jean is actively involved in her local Church, where she serves as a Deanery Synod Representative and sits on the Parochial Church Council. She is also responsible for organising the Church Flowers and occasionally sings in the choir.

Jean has been involved with the Beacon since 2014 and provides invaluable administrative support for the Beacon Programme.

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