Fred Turok, Founder and Chairman
In 2008 Fred realised a long-held dream and launched TAG, a charity which is focused on creating almost 2,000 jobs for young people who are not in employment, education or training.
A former PE Teacher, Fred discovered his entrepreneurial self when he founded LA Fitness in 1990 – a company which is now one of the leading health and fitness chains in the UK. Fred is also Chairman of the FIA (the Fitness Industry Association), a Director of the Sector Skills Council, SkillsActive, an active part of the Coalition for Better Health and he sits on the Skills Funding Agency’s Employer Advisory Group.
Born in Cape Town, Fred’s parents were jailed in 1964 for being ANC members and, as a result, in 1967 Fred was forced to flee the country. His deep African roots subsequently led him to set up AIMS (the African Institute for Mathematical Science), a pan-African organisation committed to promoting mathematics and science in Africa, recruiting and training talented students and teachers in order to build capacity for African initiatives in education, research, and technology.
Alex has an easy job – tell the world how great TAG is. Her skill is weaving TAG stories into compelling tales to persuade journalists to write about our little charity… and she does it quite well. An experienced charity PR specialist, Alex is another who has been bitten by the TAG bug so, when she’s not making her own clothes, she can be found either fuming about the unfairness of unemployment in young people or, advocating their participation in democracy.
David is part of the team responsible for securing work placements for TAG learners. His disarming persuasive skills are legendary – which explains why he has done so well with with organizations ranging from Fitness First, to leisure centers in Liverpool and independent gyms in London. A man of many talents, including being a Level 3 Fitness Trainer, David was a member of the Great Britain Skeleton Bobsleigh team i.e. a man traveled down an ice track at 120km/hr with little more than his smile to protect him.
Without doubt the quietest member of the team, Evelyn’s importance to the organization is unparalleled: she is responsible for ensuring that every single learner is paid on time and correctly. Sounds simple? At the moment she is responsible for 500 payslips every week! If she’s lucky, she might get some help when we reach 2,000.
Francois, the youngest, loudest and most vocal of all the TAG executives has, it’s fair to say, the ‘gift of the gab’. But behind that vivacious exterior is a shy, former youth academy professional and semi-professional footballer, who is also a Level 3 football coach (UEFA B). Unfortunately, Francois is an Arsenal supporter, who cannot utter the words ‘Cesc Fabregas’ without adding “Ce Magnifique!” – as you do when you’re a Gooner … apparently.
Howard has been involved in TAG from the very beginning after spending a lifetime working for commercial organisations. Friends find it deeply ironic that after many years working in an agency world which rebranded the term charity into ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, he now finds himself working for a charity. Although not a classic third sector employee, Howard has a very visible passion for helping young people break through the glass ceilings they face.
One of the TAG’s first executives, Kate uses her considerable personality to ‘persuade’ community leaders, gym managers, Job Centre advisors and other charities to help young people realize their ambitions. Once she sets her mind to it, prospective work placement employers (especially), do not stand a chance. A youth work specialist, Kate has also worked in Africa and when, not selling on behalf of TAG learners, she can be found pursuing her other passions … travelling, water sports, adrenalin sports and running.
Monique is the heartbeat of TAG. If it was not for her, potential TAG learners would never have heard of the opportunities before them, venues wouldn’t be booked and the ambitious target of 2,000 learners in two years would be no more than an empty dream. So it’s not surprising that in preparation for a life at TAG Monique sailed a square rigged tall ship along the coast of America – she claims that it is “Something I wouldn’t do again!”
Menzo has come to TAG from the football world, where he has played for MK Dons, and Charlton. Due to injury, he has joined TAG as an Employment Engagement Officer, where he is responsible for arranging programme venues, and sourcing placements for TAG students, amongst a host of other responsibilities. Due to his contacts in the football industry, Menzo is also responsible for promoting the TAG brand, by acquiring endorsement from high profile footballers and Premier League clubs. Menzo is currently working on bringing in a new course for TAG students.
Paul, our Finance Director, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Most of his working life has been spent in a variety of senior management roles, from finance to commercial strategy. He has spent many years working abroad. Paul is a fitness fanatic and an active member of LA Fitness. His love of sport and all things active led him to take up skiing for the first time, only last year!
Scarlett is the newest member of the team, taking on the position of Partnership Relations Officer. Her position involves recruiting students onto the training scheme and securing them with work placements. Scarlett has worked with several charities such as Reprieve, Human Rights Watch and CSMF. On top of her charity work, Scarlett has a real passion for Africa. She has visited the continent of many an occasion, her most recent escapade taking her to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.