Our Team


leading experts

Ascend photoshoot 23 March for web-63.jpg

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 an 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!

Ascend photoshoot 23 March for web-28.jpg

Nichola Jacob

Ascend photoshoot 23 March for web-19.jpg

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.

Ascend photoshoot 23 March for web-36.jpg

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!).

Ascend photoshoot 23 March for web-25.jpg

Stephanie de Sarandy

With over 25 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.