Team

AllResearchReputationEducationEnergy and EnvironmentLevelling Up and SkillsSocial PolicyTech
Founding Partner

James Frayne

Founding Partner

Rachel Wolf

Chief Operating Officer

Eugenie de Naurois

Partner

Jonathan Simons

Partner

Ed Dorrell

Partner

Jonathan Dupont

Partner

Daisy Powell-Chandler

Partner

Seb Wride

Director

Vinous Ali

Director

Mike Crowhurst

Director

Tim Leunig

Director of Finance

Selina Rayner

Director

Scott Corfe

Director

Sam Alvis

Director

Tom Hamilton

Director

Amy Price

Director

Ben Westerman

Director

Sally Burtonshaw

Head of Communications

Thais Portilho

Head of Campaigns

Maurice Cousins

Head of Qualitative Research

Ed Shackle

Senior Economist

Ben Savours

Senior Economist

Damayanti Chatterjee

Associate Director

Jess Lister

Associate Director

Amy Norman

Associate Director

Denise Baron

Associate Director

Jon Nash

Associate Director

Yasmeen Sebanna

Associate Director

George Ryan

Associate Director

Bertie Wnek

Chief of Staff

Tommy Gale

Senior Policy Manager

Meg Price

Senior Policy Manager

Pete Whitehead

Senior Policy Manager

Abby Burke

Senior Research Manager

Ben Murphy

Economist

Vikram Bahure

Economist

Maria Rodriguez

Economist

Ned Field

Economist

Gabriel Hill

Policy Manager

Gil Richards

Policy Manager

Anna Taylor

Policy Manager

Will Yates

Research Manager

Elinor Gray

Research Analyst

Sunita Pfitzner

Research Analyst

Jules Walkden

Policy Analyst

Olly Stanton

Research Analyst

Michela Arena

Policy Analyst

Raphael Cannell

Policy Analyst

Jordan Southwell

Developer

Jeremy Simons

Finance Manager

Yana Yarakhovich

Office Manager

Cihan Huseyin

Founding Partner

James Frayne

James Frayne is a Founding Partner at Public First. James has spent his entire career working in communications and opinion research and leads on Public First’s campaign and qualitative research work. For agencies in London and New York City, he has worked for many of the world’s leading brands and in 2013 wrote a guide to corporate communications: Meet the People, published by Harriman House. James has specialised in researching and communicating with working class and lower middle class audiences, writing a regular column “Far from Notting Hill” on the Conservative Home website and authoring the report which coined the “Just About Managing” term. He was Director of Communications for the Department for Education between 2011 and 2012, having begun his career in politics – for example, working on the successful North East Says No campaign against a Regional Assembly, where he was Campaign Director. James is a Certified Member of the Market Research Society and managed the research for The Times’ Election in One Room project in the 2019 election.

Founding Partner

Rachel Wolf

Rachel Wolf is a Founding Partner at Public First, leading the agency’s policy work. Rachel co-authored the Conservative Party’s Election Manifesto in 2019. Previously education and innovation adviser to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, she was also Senior Vice President for technology company Amplify in New York City, running one of their main product divisions. She founded and ran the New Schools Network – the charity that helped develop and implement the Government’s free schools programme. Rachel has written for national think tanks and most major broadsheets and she has appeared on all the major broadcast shows. Rachel began her career as an education and political adviser to the Conservative Party and was a policy adviser to Boris Johnson on his first mayoral campaign and in his earlier role as Shadow Higher Education Minister.

Chief Operating Officer

Eugenie de Naurois

Eugenie is the Chief Operating Officer and oversees the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the company including Finance, HR, IT and compliance. Eugenie has spent the last 16 years working in operations and corporate affairs in London, Paris and Brussels. She was formerly Managing Director of the Centre for Policy Studies and has held senior roles in the City of London Corporation, Honda and Lactalis. Eugenie is a Franco-British Young leader and former Governor of a maintained school in London. She holds an MA in Public Administration and speaks French and Spanish.

Partner

Jonathan Simons

Jonathan has spent the past eighteen years working in and with government on education issues – eight years in government including 2.5 years in the No10 Strategy Unit; as the Head of Education for the think tank Policy Exchange; and working in international education for the global charity Varkey Foundation. In these roles, he has written extensively on all elements of the English education system and is a frequent conference speaker, media commentator, and columnist.

Jonathan is a Trustee of Education Development Trust, a Member of Astrea Academy Trust, and the co-founder of Ark Greenwich Free School. He sits on advisory boards for UCAS, Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation, and the Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) at UCL.

Partner

Ed Dorrell

Ed is a Partner at Public First. Before taking up this role, he was one of the most experienced and respected education journalists in Britain. He was deputy editor of the Times Educational Supplement (TES) for seven years, a role he combined with being comment editor and before that he was news editor for five years. Previously he was news editor of the Architects’ Journal, where he was a well known commentator on planning and regeneration. He has also written for most national papers including the Guardian, the Times, the Telegraph and the Independent. He is known for his sharp policy analysis, his wide ranging network in the media, and his skill at writing and shaping news and opinion from leading politicians, chief executives, high profile individuals, and large and small organisations. He offers high-value counsel and insight on media affairs, public opinion and policy formulation to many of Public First’s major clients.

Partner

Jonathan Dupont

Jonathan Dupont is a Partner at Public First. Jonathan joined Public First from the think tank Policy Exchange. As the organisation’s Economic & Social Research Fellow, he authored papers on topics from the future of work to digital government, and from development aid to the industrial strategy. He previously worked as a parliamentary researcher, an independent economic researcher and an analyst for the anti-BNP campaign, “There is Nothing British about the BNP”. He has co-written multiple books on public policy, including A Time for Choosing for Palgrave Macmillan and Gridlock Nation for Biteback Publishing.

Partner

Daisy Powell-Chandler

Daisy Powell-Chandler is a Partner at Public First, leading our Energy + Environment practice and our work on Reputation. Daisy has spent her career advising political parties, charities and global businesses. She worked for David Cameron in the run up to the 2010 election, before joining pollster Populus for a number of years, where she split her time between corporate reputation and electoral politics. Later Daisy set up reputation consultancy Meyland Strategy and the reputation podcast Why Everybody Hates You. Since joining Public First, she has delivered campaigns on carbon capture, corporate net zero plans and home insulation, alongside substantive policy work on everything from food security, to the energy bill support and the structure of the electricity grid in 2030. Alongside her work on net zero, Daisy continues to advise corporate teams on reputation and ESG.

Partner

Seb Wride

Seb Wride is Partner at Public First, leading the Data and Polling practice. Seb has led the polling team at Public First since 2019, and has run quantitative research projects spanning over 30 countries. His previous projects have included work for the Wellcome Trust and CaSE on how to run a successful campaign for R&D, a number of projects on public opinion on Net Zero and the environment including building new segmentations based on environmental attitudes, and research into the impact of the pandemic on mental health. Prior to joining Public First, Seb completed an MPhil in Psychological research, and his work on the relationships between music preference and personality was published in JPSP in 2022.

Director

Vinous Ali

Vinous Ali is a Director and spearheads our policy work on technology and innovation. Vinous is a highly-respected policy analyst, who is well-known in tech policy circles. She was formerly Associate Director for Policy at techUK, and an Adviser on Home Affairs and Justice for the Liberal Democrats in Parliament. She is currently undertaking a fellowship at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Science and Policy, researching the future of work.

Director

Mike Crowhurst

Mike leads Public First’s work on levelling up and skills, working with clients across the public, private and third sectors interested in how to support regional growth and development. Since joining the firm in 2021, he has led research for clients including UK Finance, Yorkshire Building Society, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Historic England and the Prince’s Trust. He joined Public First after four years working as a Special Adviser on policy in 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He was previously Director of Education at New Schools Network, overseeing support for free schools across the country, and trained as a teacher through the Teach First programme.

Director

Tim Leunig

Tim Leunig is a multiple international prize-winning economist. In his decade as a senior UK government official he served as Economic Adviser to two Chancellors of the Exchequer (Sajid Javid, Rishi Sunak), as well as Senior Policy Adviser to six other UK Cabinet ministers in the Departments of Education, Health, Environment and Farming, and Housing and as Chief Analyst and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Education.
He invented Britain’s first ever jobs furlough scheme, the National Funding Formula for England’s schools, and “Progress 8”, the method by which our secondary schools are evaluated.

He has taught at the London School of Economics for 25 years, and has held visiting Professorships at universities in the US and continental Europe.

His work has been featured in every major UK newspaper, and he has appeared many times on the news and in documentaries on radio and television.

Director of Finance

Selina Rayner

Selina is Finance Director at Public First. She holds a Mathematics degree from Imperial College London and has over 20 years of post-qualification ACA experience. Selina has held multiple senior finance positions spanning a breadth of industries (including PR, IT, fashion and recruitment). Previous roles have included Finance Director at Portland. She is experienced in implementing new finance processes and managing rapid business growth. Outside of work, Selina has a passion for art and music, having studied at Chelsea Art College and singing in her free time.

Director

Scott Corfe

Scott is a Director in the Modelling team at Public First, with 15 years of experience in applying rigorous economic analysis to a wide range of complex issues. Examples include examining how high childcare costs affect career progression among women, mapping “food deserts” in Britain and understanding the labour market impacts of adult education. Scott has written extensively on the economics of alcohol policy, and in 2019 set out detailed proposals for a reformed duty system. This report – “Pour Decisions” – played a key role in the Government implementing a differential duty rate for beer sold in pubs. Scott’s 2022 proposals for introducing a road pricing regime in the UK were recently endorsed by the former Transport Minister Lord Young. Scott’s insights have been covered in publications including the Financial Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. He has appeared on BBC News, Sky News, Radio 4 and a range of other broadcast media.

Director

Sam Alvis

Sam is Director at Public First in the Energy and Environment team – and the author of the climate and energy newsletter Election Energy. He is also an Associate Fellow in Green Industrial Policy at the progressive think-tank IPPR. Previously he’s worked in policy roles at the Green Alliance, Tony Blair Institute, and the Wellcome Trust, as well as various positions for the Labour Party. Outside of work, he is on the board of Bristol Museums Development Trust, a member of Chatham House’s governing council, and a school governor in Camden. He holds an MSc in Climate Change.

Director

Tom Hamilton

Tom is a Director at Public First, leading our Social Policy practice. He previously worked for the Labour Party for ten years, first as health lead in Labour’s policy team and then as head of research where he helped prepare Labour leaders for Prime Minister’s Questions – he is co-author of Punch & Judy Politics, a book about the history of PMQs and how it works. He has also worked in public affairs consultancy and for charities in the health and disability sectors, and is currently a board member for the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees. Tom has a PhD in ethics and philosophy of religion which he has never managed to use professionally.

Director

Amy Price

Amy Price is a Director at Public First and currently heads up our technology team. Over the course of her career, Amy has informed government thinking on matters ranging from intellectual property and digital competition, through to artificial intelligence and research integrity. Since joining in 2022, Amy has worked with clients such as Google, Meta, Uber, Sky and Pearson to develop compelling policy positions across international markets. Amy was formerly Head of Policy & Public Affairs at The Publishers Association, where she led the award-winning campaign to “Axe the Reading Tax”,  and began her career as a Parliamentary Researcher in the UK’s House of Commons. She holds an MA in “Issues in Modern Culture” from UCL.

Director

Ben Westerman

Ben is a Director at Public First in the Energy and Environment team, specialising in energy, low-carbon investment, and green industrial policy. He was previously Head of Policy and latterly Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, Head of Energy and Climate Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, and has worked in several advisory roles for the Labour Party. He has sat on the government’s Green Technical Advisory Group, Green Jobs Delivery Group, and Transition Plans Taskforce, held advisory roles with Green Alliance and the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group, and has been a Research Fellow at the Constitution Society. He is a regular columnist for the New Statesman’s Spotlight on Policy, and is shortly launching a new sustainability-focussed podcast, Power Dynamics

Director

Sally Burtonshaw

Sally is a Director in Public First’s Education Practice where she leads work on schools and post-18 education policy. Her recent work includes the future of state funded tutoring in schools and colleges, the attendance crisis, and a review of the collaborative outreach programme, Uni Connect.

Sally joined Public First from London Higher where she was Head of Policy, leading the Policy Team and representing over fifty London HEIs across a range of policy issues.

Sally started her career at Dyke House College in Hartlepool and worked on access and participation policy at fair access charity, The Brilliant Club. She has an undergraduate degree from Durham and completed her PhD at UCL on the relationships between schools and universities in supporting progression to higher education. Sally is a trustee of fair access charity, The Elephant Group and a member of the Independent Schools Inspectorate’s Education Advisory Forum.

Head of Communications

Thais Portilho

Thais has a 20-year career in journalism, public affairs and media relations. Following a few years working at newspapers in Rio de Janeiro and the UK, Thais spent nearly a decade in in-house PR and managing political campaigns, including the Hacked Off Campaign, and Justice Across Borders – a campaign to stop the UK from opting out of EU justice and home affairs measures. Thais worked at Rethink Mental Illness and The Health Foundation, and at anti-poverty charity ActionAid as Global Head of Communications. In 2018/19, as Vice-Chair of the Liberal Democrats’ Immigration policy working group, she contributed to the drafting of the party’s immigration and asylum policies. Thais also learned to code in Python and trained in how to develop Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms. She is studying for a PhD in Psychology and Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Leicester, developing the foundation for a new algorithmic system to monitor the mental health wellbeing of Higher Education students.

Head of Campaigns

Maurice Cousins

Over the last 16 years, Maurice has led on campaign management and commercial development for various corporate consultancies in London. Notable successes include leading the ‘Nothing British’ campaign, credited for the defeat of ex-BNP leader Nick Griffin in 2010, and advocating for onshore energy development in the North West. More recently, Maurice played a key role in a grassroots campaign for leasehold reform in England and Wales.

Head of Qualitative Research

Ed Shackle

Ed Shackle is Head of Qualitative Research at Public First. Ed leads our immersive research as well as a number of deliberative projects. His background is in campaigning, and during the 2019 General Election Ed was Deputy Campaign Director of ‘Vote For Your Future’ the largest youth voter registration campaign, registering an estimated 290,000 18-35 year olds, or 10% of the entire youth population in their targeted constituencies.

Senior Economist

Ben Savours

Ben is a Senior Economist at Public First in the Data and Modelling team.  Prior to joining Public First, Ben worked for the built environment consultancy Arup specializing in modelling the economic benefits of transport schemes, commercial and retail developments, and net zero policy initiatives. Some of Ben’s more unusual projects included demand and economic modelling for a new shuttle ferry service across the Thames, carrying out a cost benefit analysis of E-scooter rental schemes, and building both financial and economic models for a policy designed to stimulate commercial and residential retrofit at scale.    

Before retraining as an economist Ben was a secondary school teacher teaching both maths and politics, occasionally at the same time.  Ben has a BA in mathematics from Oxford University and an MSc Economics from UCL.   

Senior Economist

Damayanti Chatterjee

Damayanti is a senior economist at Public First in the Data and Modelling team. Prior to joining Public First, she worked for a political pollster, producing policy analysis and election modelling for parties across the English-speaking world.  This included building and designing Multilevel Regression and Poststratification (MRP) models to to produce seat projections for high-profile national elections, as well as designing bespoke modelling to investigate empirical trends in partisanship and the impact of economic trends in vote choice for political parties and the financial services sector.

Previously, Damayanti was a College Lecturer at the University of Oxford, where she taught a variety of core undergraduate papers, specialising in post-colonial democratisation and alternative theories of state building. In this period, Damayanti also spearheaded qualitative and policy research projects into 20th century British political and economic history, the UK housing stock, and NHS deficit reduction strategies. She holds an undergraduate degree in PPE and an MPhil in Comparative Government from the University of Oxford.

Associate Director

Jess Lister

Jess is an Associate Director within the Education Practice. At Public First, she works primarily with higher education clients and corporates on post-18 education policy. She was previously Public Affairs Coordinator at the University of Cambridge, where she helped the University respond to regional, national, and international policy developments and advised senior leaders on political strategy.

Jess has an undergraduate degree from Cambridge and an MSc (Distinction) in Education at Birkbeck, focusing on higher education & public policy.

Associate Director

Amy Norman

Amy Norman is an Associate Director in the Energy and Environment and the Data team. Before Public First, Amy was a senior researcher at the Social Market Foundation where she worked on projects including the energy efficiency of homes, the design of a social tariff scheme for Citizens Advice and electric vehicle policy. Though now she concentrates on public policy relating to energy and net zero she previously worked at an education charity, advising on the delivery of the free schools policy.

Associate Director

Denise Baron

Denise Baron is an Associate Director on the polling team, where she helps deliver cutting-edge public opinion research and analysis. Denise has 14 years of experience working on political campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic. Originally from Illinois, Denise has worked for and consulted on numerous gubernatorial, congressional, and mayoral campaigns for Democrats in the US. Here in the UK, she served as the Head of Insight and later the Deputy Director of Campaigns for the Liberal Democrats between 2016 and 2021. She also was the Head of Insight for the People’s Vote campaign in 2019. She completed her PhD at the London School of Economics in 2022, and Denise’s academic research focuses on the underlying psychology of voting and political attitudes. She has published her research in academic journals, such as Political Psychology. As a freelance researcher, Denise has also helped clients in the US, UK, and Europe conduct bespoke research into the psychological factors influencing our political, social, and economic perspectives.

Associate Director

Jon Nash

Jon Nash is an Associate Director at Public First in the technology practice. Jon founded a venture backed start-up in the US before starting his career in public policy. As a fellow at Demos, Jon led the Rewiring the Web Project and has advised government on matters from replacing GDPR to the future role of the ICO. He has authored numerous papers and opinion pieces on AI, data protection, cyber-crime, internet governance, and competition and advised various technology companies on communications and policy engagement.

Associate Director

Yasmeen Sebanna

Yasmeen is an Associate Director in our Social Policy practice. She has six years Parliamentary experience and worked closely with Keir Starmer as his adviser for five years. Yasmeen worked as his Head of Private Office and Forward Planning in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition. As well as managing his relationships with a wide range of political stakeholders including the Shadow Cabinet and senior business leaders, she also directed the Labour Party Strategic Grid to plot campaigns, media interventions and policy announcements at both a national and local level. Prior to joining Public First, she has led public affairs engagement for clients such as innocent, E.ON and TalkTalk.

Associate Director

George Ryan

George is an Associate Director at Public First, working across strategic communications and education, skills and levelling up policy. He draws from a diverse background in journalism and public relations.
As a news reporter, he covered the local government beat in the regional press, skills policy at the Times Educational Supplement and politics when working as a parliamentary reporter for the Press Association during the Brexit negotiations and the Covid pandemic. George was a further education and apprenticeships specialist at UCAS before joining the Association of Colleges to lead media relations. He is experienced in crisis communications, building media and campaign strategies and supporting in managing relationships with key stakeholders. Outside of work, he sits on the board of his local college as a governor.

Associate Director

Bertie Wnek

Bertie is an Associate Director in the Energy and Environment practice. He joined Public First from HM Treasury where he worked as a policy advisor on regulatory policy in the energy and water sectors, on the development of support schemes throughout the COVID pandemic and the 2021/22 energy crisis, as well as for the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation. Previously, he won the IPPR Economics Prize for a policy paper on the UK’s productivity puzzle. At Public First he has worked primarily on projects related to the energy system in the UK, including the energy price cap, local network planning, and reform of the electricity wholesale market. He is also responsible for overseeing the development of the newly established Public First football team.

Chief of Staff

Tommy Gale

Tommy is Chief of Staff at Public First. He was previously a Director at InsideUni, an organisation working to get more students from state schools into university, and for six years worked as a social worker in a north London gangs team. Prior to that, he worked for M&C Saatchi World Services and at the European Parliament. Tommy is a Labour councillor in Camden, sits on the Council of Governors of Camden and Islington NHS Trust, and is the Chair of InsideUni.

Senior Policy Manager

Meg Price

Meg is a Senior Policy Manager within the Education Practice. She joined Public First from the National Union of Students (Charity), where she worked as a Development Consultant supporting university students’ associations across Scotland. She is a trustee for the Higher Education Statistics Agency where she provides a student perspective to the board. Alongside this she has previously worked as a University Mental Health Charter Assessor for Student Minds. She was also an author on the recent proposals on Freedom of Speech in Students’ Unions published in Wonkhe.

Senior Policy Manager

Pete Whitehead

Pete is a Senior Policy Manager within the Education Practice. He joined Public First from the charity Magic Breakfast, where he worked on issues around school breakfast provision and child food insecurity in the UK. He has previously worked at the think tank Theos, and in youth democratic engagement.

Senior Policy Manager

Abby Burke

Abby Burke is a Senior Policy Manager in the technology practice at Public First. Previously, she worked as Programme Manager for Open Rights Group, a UK-based human rights and technology policy NGO. Her role focused on free expression and privacy issues, working with key political, industry, and civil society stakeholders across the UK, US, and EU. In 2023, she was the youngest speaker at the UK’s Internet Governance Forum. Abby is originally from the United States and has worked or interned for the U.S. Department of State, the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Branch Politics, and the Carter Center. Abby holds a Master’s in Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor’s in Economics and International Affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Senior Research Manager

Ben Murphy

Ben Murphy is a Senior Research Manager at Public First. Ben has been part of the polling team since 2021, and has led on polling projects in over twenty countries, ranging from Brazil to the Asia-Pacific. He has worked on a diverse range of topics, including energy and climate change, devolution and local government, education policy, and economic impact reporting. Before joining Public First, Ben graduated from the University of Manchester, where he completed an MA in Politics.

Economist

Vikram Bahure

Dr. Vikram Bahure is an Economist at Public First, with specialisation in applied microeconomics and econometrics. Vikram completed his PhD in Economics from the University of Geneva and has spearheaded multinational research projects addressing internal migration, mental health, domestic violence, microfinance credit, and gender dynamics. He specializes in designing and implementing Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental analyses. Previously, Vikram was a post-doctoral researcher at King’s College London, an Associate Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and a research intern at the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also served as a consultant for the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in India, delivering expert analysis on sustainability, finance, and macroeconomic policies. Additionally, Vikram holds an MPhil in Economics and Finance from Bocconi University Italy and an Integrated Masters in Economics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur.

Economist

Maria Rodriguez

Maria Rodriguez is an Economist in the Modelling team at Public First. For five years she worked at Infonavit, the Mexican federal institute for workers’ housing, Mexico’s largest mortgage lender. In her last role as Manager in the Credit department, Maria led statal network responsibility for mortgage allocation and managed loan guidelines shaping Mexico’s national housing policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from ITAM, and a Master of Public Policy from the London School of Economics.

Economist

Ned Field

Ned Field is an economist at Public First. He previously spent over three years in Whitehall at the Department for Levelling Up. There he worked on engagement with local authorities in the run up to Brexit and during the Covid-19 pandemic, before spending two years in the Cities and Local Growth unit as a local economies intelligence officer. He studied Politics with Economics at the University of Bath.

Economist

Gabriel Hill

Prior to joining Public First, Gabriel worked as a Research Assistant at the London School of Economics. In this role he researched topics including the effects of trade policy on firms in India and the impact of a company’s political affiliation on the types of innovation they invest in. He has also worked at Capgemini as a Consultant and as an Account Manager. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Newcastle University and a Master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics

Policy Manager

Gil Richards

Gil Richards is a Policy Manager in the Social Policy practice. Prior to joining Public First, Gil worked as a Research Assistant in the Institute for Government’s public services team. In this role, he specialised in the criminal justice system, producing data-driven analyses of the police, criminal courts, and prisons. Before this, he worked as a researcher at the Constitution Unit, studying parliament’s role in the Brexit process.

Policy Manager

Anna Taylor

Anna works in the E&E team and has run focus groups and interviews on the barriers to sustainable behaviours for consumers, ranging from improving energy efficiency to demand reduction in driving and food shopping. Anna has recently worked on an adaptation policy report for the National Trust and a food security report, and is currently working on a project understanding the barriers to greening the private rental sector. Prior to PF,  Anna worked in public affairs in the built environment, working on NSIP consultations. She loves eco fiction and cold water swimming.

Policy Manager

Will Yates

Will Yates is a Policy Manager in the Education practice. Prior to joining the team in October 2023, Will spent five years as a secondary school English teacher with Teach First in West London, additionally coordinating Gifted and More Able and university progression activities. He has also spent time as a freelance writer and researcher, with bylines in The IndependentThe New StatesmanThe GuardianSchools Week and TES, and he has co-authored reports published by IPPR and CfEY. He holds a BA from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and an MPhil in Education (Knowledge, Power and Politics) from the University of Cambridge.

Research Manager

Elinor Gray

Elinor Gray is a Research Manager within the Polling team at Public First. Elinor started her career in Scottish Parliament as a Parliamentary Assistant to Katy Clark MSP before moving into PR and marketing research. In her career so far, she has worked on a diverse range of research projects including consumer behavioural analysis, opinion polling, social listening, audience profiling, and social and mainstream media analysis. Elinor holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Politics from the University of York, and a First Class Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Glasgow.

Research Analyst

Sunita Pfitzner

Sunita Pfitzner is a Research Analyst in the Polling team. Prior to joining Public First, Sunita worked as a research assistant in academia where she researched international environmental policy and climate adaptation, forced migration in the Middle East and North Africa, and the role of feminism in emergency responses. She has also worked at a think tank where she researched institutional corruption in Mexico, and at an energy technology firm where she specialised in demand response. Her main professional interests lie in political violence and the intersection of conflict and climate change. Sunita holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Environmental Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and a Master’s degree in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics.

Research Analyst

Jules Walkden

Jules Walkden is a research analyst in the polling team at Public First. He joined shortly after the completion of his BSc in politics with economics from the University of Bath, as part of which he completed a year in industry working for the data and consulting firm Kantar. Whilst at university, he received high distinction for his extended dissertation where he researched the role of disinformation in the political violence that occurred during the 2021 Capitol riot. Jules is a keen footballer and musician, having performed at multiple gigs in London

Policy Analyst

Olly Stanton

Olly is a Policy Analyst in the Technology Practice at Public First. Before joining he completed an MA in “Research Methods (Politics, International Relations, Security)” from Durham University where he studied both qualitative and quantitative approaches. His research mainly focused on public opinion, with his dissertation looking at the relationship between terror attacks and conservative shifts in public sentiment. He also worked on “The Little Black Book of Lying Boris Johnson” from the Byline Times

Research Analyst

Michela Arena

Michela is a Research Analyst at Public First. Prior to joining Public First, Michela worked as a research officer at the ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre. She was involved with and co-authored several data-driven research initiatives, aimed at guiding policy and enhancing best practices across the private, public, and third sectors. Michela also worked as a Research Assistant in academia where she contributed to a number of projects, most notably surveying members of the Irish Parliament. Her research interests are primarily focused on public opinion, voting behaviour, and the application of advanced data science methodologies in the field of political science . Michela hold a First Class BSc in Politics and International Relations (Applied Quantitative Methods), and a First Class Master’s degree in Social Data Science from the University of Essex

Policy Analyst

Raphael Cannell

Raphael Cannell is a policy analyst in the technology practice at Public First. He joined shortly after completing his MA in Transnational Governance at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. During his studies his research specialised in the regulation of emerging technologies at the EU level, with a particular focus on the AI Act. He has a deep interest in the impacts of emerging technologies on democracy: in his dissertation he used the lens of the digital public sphere to analyse the potential impacts of four key EU tech policies on democratic participation.

Policy Analyst

Jordan Southwell

Jordan is a Policy Analyst in the Energy and Environment team at Public First. He joined from the Civil Engineering industry, where he spent a year focussing on mitigating the social and environmental impacts of engineering works. Jordan holds a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Nottingham, and is a keen footballer, tennis player and guitarist.

Developer

Jeremy Simons

Having trained as a musician and composer, working on a new piece that was performed at the Royal Albert Hall in May 2022, Jeremy has recently re-trained as a full-stack developer. At Public First he has collaborated with the data team to re-design economic models as well as implement improvements to the existing codebase. He specialises in front-end technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript (including React), Python/Flask/Django/Postgres for back end systems, and Heroku/Cloudinary for hosting.

Finance Manager

Yana Yarakhovich

Yana is a Finance Manager at Public First. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and has held various finance roles across different industries, including travel, events, property management, and maritime transportation. In her previous positions, she enhanced financial processes and streamlined accounting procedures. Yana has a passion for Latin dancing and in her free time attends dancing events and festivals.

Office Manager

Cihan Huseyin

Cihan is the Office Manager at Public First. Cihan has come from a background of working as the Office Manager and PA in a City of London Law firm for the last 23 years. She has managed Administrative teams at a number of locations for the organisation, streamlined processes for the offices and worked closely with Managing Partners, Operations, HR and Facilities. Cihan has worked on many projects for her previous firm including managing and creating a digital environment across their national offices along with various office moves in challenging times.