With speakers from various organisations across the education sector, we really appreciate the contribution from the following valued members of our community.
Michael Dodd

Michael Dodd – Keynote speaker

International speaker, media and presentation coach – Michael Dodd Communications

Michael Dodd is a communications coach who helps people get their message across – face-to-face and through the media. He’s been awarded the ‘New Speaker of the Year’ title from the Academy for Chief Executives.

He served two terms as President of the Professional Speaking Association for the London Region, and is one of the association’s fellows.

Michael does media and presentation coaching with business people, professionals, diplomats and officials in UK Trade and Investment, and helps frontline United Nations staff prepare to face tough media questioning in the world’s trouble spots.

Other work has included speaking missions for the UN High Commission for Refugees; the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, and the UN Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation, UNESCO. Michael also works with civil servants from the Cabinet Office, British government departments and a multitude of official agencies.

Michael empowers clients to give great answers to tough questions asked by journalists, clients, prospects and others.

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Mike Goodfellow-Smith

Dr Mike Goodfellow-Smith – Keynote speaker

Director – Quest for Future Solutions

Dr Mike Goodfellow-Smith is a Director of sustainability consultancy firm, Quest for Future Solutions, an academic lecturer and researcher at several universities across the UK, and a mentor and trainer in the EU entrepreneurial programmes ‘Climate KIC’ and ‘Climate Launchpad’.

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Toni Brooks

Toni Brooks

QA Assessment Platform Manager – NCFE

Toni is an education professional, having worked in the vocational sector for over 14 years. Dedicating her time within the quality assurance department at NCFE, a national Awarding Body based in Newcastle upon Tyne, she has worked with e-platforms and specifically BTL for over ten years. In her role as Assessment Platforms Manager, she is able to dedicate her time to exploring and innovating with e-platforms.

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Phil Cowen

Phil Cowen

Business Change Manager – OCR

Phil Cowen is a Business Change Manager in the Operational Systems Programmes team at OCR and is the key contact for Surpass in the organization. Currently working on the migration of qualifications to HTML delivery, Phil has been involved with Surpass since it was first used by OCR for Functional Skills in September 2012, and he managed the migration to release 12. During his time at OCR, Phil has worked in the field of e-assessment including computer-based assessment, e-portfolios and on-screen testing.

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Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford

Business Development Director – BTL

In addition to managing the UK and US Business Development and Marketing Teams, Jim helps to ensure that the strategic direction of BTL’s products and services is aligned with both the Surpass Community’s needs and those of the broader assessment industry. He is a regular speaker at assessment events, with a focus on the international audience.

Jim’s passion for creating better assessments started alongside his career in the education sector, when in 2005 he worked on e-Learning design for some of the world’s most recognisable brands, such as HSBC, UNESCO and Boots. Jim joined BTL in 2010 and prior to joining the business development team he worked as a Product Owner, where he was responsible for overseeing the initial design and development of Surpass R12.


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Amanda Dainis

Amanda Dainis

CEO – Dainis and Company

Dr. Amanda Dainis is a psychometrician based in Virginia, USA, and is the CEO and principal scientist for Dainis & Company, Inc. (www.DainisCo.com). She and the Dainis & Co. team help certification and licensure programs develop exams, maintain validity and long-term operations, and achieve accreditation. Dr. Dainis is also a lead psychometric assessor for ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board), specifically for ISO standard 17024. Check out her new book: To Validity and Beyond! A Handbook for Credentialing Exams, available on Amazon.

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Jess Fowler

Jessica Fowler

Client Relationship Manager – Innovate Awarding

After leaving university with a degree in Biological Sciences, Jessica found herself working in the Business Development team for a large national training provider, before moving to Innovate Awarding in 2018 to support the development and management of partnerships with Training Providers delivering the new Apprenticeship Standards. Over the years, as Innovate has evolved so has Jessica’s role, as she now manages Innovate’s Client Relationship Team and personally supports Key Clients. Jessica is particularly focused on improving client experiences and promoting a streamlined and successful candidate assessment journey.

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Emma Gilmartin

Emma Gilmartin

Senior Account Manager – BTL

Emma is currently the Account Manager for a number of Surpass customers in the UK and Europe. She managed the Surpass 11 to Surpass 12 migration project and is leading the internal Surpass Community Team.

Before joining BTL, Emma worked extensively in software for the healthcare industry, managing software implementations in both primary and secondary care settings for more than ten years. Having graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA (Hons) in Business Management, Emma is also certified in ITIL v3, is a PRINCE2 practitioner and holds the APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ). She is fluent in both English and German.


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Ceri Harper

Head of Test Delivery Services – BTL

Ceri heads up BTL’s Test Delivery Services, a role which includes the management of our Test Centre Network team and our Online Invigilation services team. Ceri has a well-established history in the assessment sector, having worked with AAT and Pitman Training.

Whilst at AAT, Ceri developed and managed the Student Recruitment Team during her ten years with the company. At Pitman Training her role included setting up and running the day-to-day management of a professional test centre in the UK, which involved administering ICAEW, RCPCH and AAT high-stakes exams.

Ceri joined BTL in 2018, and her knowledge from both the candidate and invigilation sides has proven invaluable in running BTL’s established Test Delivery Services. Ceri is looking forward to working with the Surpass Community further and meeting more members during this year’s Surpass Conference.

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Andy Howat

Andy Howat

Technical Solutions Specialist – Penske 

Andy is a Technical Solutions Specialist at Penske Truck Leasing. In that role, he writes scripts for technical training videos and directs their filming. He also engineered the implementation of Surpass as a contest software, as well as other technical innovations at Penske. Andy holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rochester, a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College, a permanent secondary school teaching certificate and credits towards a Masters in Curriculum Development.

Andy has been a college professor, a high school English teacher, a secondary school language arts assessment developer for the state of Pennsylvania, and a professional writer. He is passionate about education and educational psychology.

In his spare time he restores Meridian Triumph and Moto Guzzi motorcycles.

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Carolyn Kerr

Carolyn Kerr

Digital Assessment Services Manager – SQA  

Carolyn Kerr is a Digital Assessment Services Manager at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), a long-time member of the Surpass community. For over four years, she has driven the development and promotion of digital assessment via the SOLAR platform, which is powered by Surpass.

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Gad Lim

Gad Lim

Director of Assessment – Michigan Language Assessment 

Gad Lim is the Director of Assessment at Michigan Language Assessment. He leads the team responsible for designing and developing Michigan Tests, as well as research and validation activities for them. Previously, Gad worked at Cambridge Assessment English, where he led research on IELTS and writing assessment, shaped the development of new exams, helped deliver education reform projects, and advised policymakers.

He reviews for all major language testing journals and has presented and published on language teaching, performance testing, test validation, automated assessment, standard setting, and the CEFR. He has taught in higher education and trained language teachers in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. His PhD (Education) is from the University of Michigan.

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Andy McAnulla

Andy McAnulla

President – BTL Surpass

Andy has been heavily involved in the design and implementation of assessment technology for over 20 years. Andy has a strong technology background in software engineering and architecture and is highly experienced in leading software development at large scale. Earlier in his career at BTL, Andy received the IT Practitioner of the Year award from the UK’s Chartered Institute of IT for his leadership and implementation of the breakthrough assessment technology that later became known as the Surpass assessment platform. Surpass now powers some of the world’s largest and most prestigious assessment programs.

In 2017, Andy relocated with his family from the UK to establish the BTL office in Pennsylvania and service the North American assessment market. Over the past four years, Andy has been focused on the business growth of BTL Surpass in North America, which in 2020 was recognized with multiple American and international business awards including ‘Fastest Growing Tech Company of the year’ and ‘Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year’.

Andy has previously been a board member of the UK’s e-Assessment Association for several years and currently serves as a board member for the Association of Test Publishers (ATP). Andy also regularly presents at various industry conferences including ATP, ICE and the Certification Networking Group and is passionate about learning and sharing good practices that may help to provide students with the best possible assessment experiences and outcomes.


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John McGrath

Chief Product Officer – BTL  

John joined BTL in 2012 as the Product Owner for SecureMarker, before becoming Senior Product Owner, Head of Product Management and now Chief Product Officer. John has overall responsibility for product-related activities. This includes product vision, innovation, design, and development. John essentially oversees every element of the product from its conceptualisation to its launch and post-launch performance. Having over 20 years’ experience in the industry, John has a wealth of knowledge in computer-based assessment.

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Sean McDonald

Sean McDonald

Project Manager – telc – Language Tests 

Sean is the Head of English Assessment at telc – Language Tests, with more than 20 years’ experience in language testing. He has worked for telc – Language Tests since 2012 and has been a teacher of German and English since 1992.

Originally from California, he studied at the University of Washington where he pioneered online language learning, developing early computer-aided language learning tools and technology for the UW Language Learning Lab, and the first Moodle-based hybrid language courses.

In 2000 he went to Munich, Germany to develop the Interaktive Sprachreise in five languages for Digital Publishing GmbH. Before moving to Frankfurt, he worked for the German Ministry of Defence, at the Bundessprachenamt. There, he developed a training programme and assessment programme for pilots at the German Air Force Officers’ Academy.

His passions include educational technology, particularly for language teaching. He is rubbish at maths. His mother thinks he is great.

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Rebecca Murdoch

Chief Quality Officer – BTL  

Becca is a member of BTL’s Optimisation department, which aims to improve business outcomes by developing and implementing best practice and processes. Becca has been with BTL for over seven years, working in several Product and Release Management roles. During this time Becca has led on greenfield product development, managed large-scale product development and implemented change initiatives. With a passion for continuous improvement, Becca enjoys working with colleagues across BTL to help them achieve strategic objectives and maintain operational resilience.

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Kat Murie

Product Trainer – BTL  

Kat joined BTL as a Product Trainer just over a year ago, and since then she has delivered training to a range of customers and internal staff.

Kat is now COLF certified, which means she is qualified to deliver training virtually. She creates and maintains training materials, as well as planning and delivering product update webinars. Recently, she has been working on updating and future-proofing the Surpass Certification test.

Kat graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BA in French and Politics. During her degree, she spent a year in France teaching English to secondary school students.

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Sue Palmer

Test Delivery Manager, Test Centre Network – BTL

Sue moved to BTL as Test Delivery Manager a little over a year ago, after a successful career in operations within the catering industry. She supports the Test Delivery Services with the management of BTL’s test centre network, and the Surpass Community with managing operations behind test centre delivery. She facilitates onboarding new clients and centres to the service, management of training and audits, and leading the new booking system project.

Sue has a passion for continuous improvement and building great relationships across the Surpass Community (including the test centre network); she looks forward to a fantastic Surpass Conference and meeting more community members.

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Hannah Spry

Hannah Spry

Senior Stakeholder Relations Manager – Cambridge University Press & Assessment

Hannah joined the Admissions Testing team in 2017 and has been leading on work in South East Asia, including onboarding of all new customers and review of the centre network. Since 2019 she has been working closely on the future Customer and Technology programme strategy to provide a global, computer-based delivery network for Admissions Testing.

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Ashleigh Whittle

Ashleigh Whittle

Training Manager – BTL

Ashleigh manages BTL’s Training Service. This extends from managing internal training requests for new BTL staff, to training requests for members of the Surpass Community. The team can service training requests across BTL’s developing suite of products, plus individual processes such as Item Banking or Test Building using LOFT. This year has seen the team re-launch the Surpass Level 1 Certification, as well as the implementation of a new Learning Management system. Ashleigh also manages the Test Conversion Service, where a team of Surpass Experts are on hand for item creation and test publishing on request.

Ashleigh graduated from York St John University with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing. She continued to work in education for two years before joining BTL, specifically in event management, coaching students in employability skills and creating graduate opportunities with employers across Yorkshire. Ashleigh has worked at BTL for a few years in a few different roles, first starting as a Technical Author. Ashleigh is now TAP and COLF certified and completed the APM Fundamentals in Project Management earlier this year.


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Sonya Whitworth

Sonya Whitworth

Managing Director – BTL

Sonya leads the UK team at BTL and is responsible for business growth for the UK and internationally. She managed operations at BTL for 15 years, before becoming MD in 2017.

As Managing Director, she supports various projects to drive continued improvement, business growth and promotion of company values. Sonya’s passion is to empower people to have variety, autonomy, challenge and satisfaction in what they do, so their input will make BTL a fantastic place to work as well as the best assessment service in the world.

In 2019, Sonya won an international Stevie Award for Women in Business, recognising her work and leadership at BTL. The Stevie Awards are the world’s premier business awards, and Sonya was the only UK finalist in her category.

Sonya also focuses on the growth of our portfolio of services, which allow BTL to support their customers and provide them with flexibility. Ultimately, BTL’s aim is to make sure that we have customers’ and candidates’ goals at the heart of everything we do, and Sonya strives to ensure that BTL achieves that vision.


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James Young

James Young PhD

Item Bank Manager – CXC

James Young is a Grenadian Measurement and Evaluation Officer, who holds a doctoral degree from the University of the West Indies and is currently assigned as the Item Bank Manager at the Caribbean Examinations Council. He has responsibility for coordinating the efforts of all Measurement and Evaluation Officers, Content Specialists (SMEs) and Editorial staff to ensure a fully resourced Item Bank. He is passionate about innovations in assessment in the fast-changing technological landscape, and leveraging the technology to ensure continuous improvement in measurement and evaluation.

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