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Core Team

Our Core Team consists of the following people:

Dr Peter Hawkins

Peter leads a rich and diverse life through a portfolio of working, learning, playing and giving.

Working together with Helen Wakefield, Co-Director of Windmills, Peter has enjoyed creating, developing and delivering a dynamic portfolio of Windmills resources and programmes for clients ranging from Tesco, and the Co-operative Group to the Association of Graduate Recruiters and Volunteering England.  He has written seven books including Boosting Your Career Prospects, the Art of Building Windmills and No Regrets on Sunday.  Peter has spoken internationally on personal, career and life management issues, releasing potential of tens of thousands of participants including academics at Harvard University, career professionals at the University of Cape Town, global employers with the Corporate Research Forum and policy makers at the European Commission.

Learning from the ups and downs of life, Peter has a PhD in Industrial Management and an Engineering Degree from the University of Liverpool, and is an NLP Master Practitioner.  His experience of dealing with poor eyesight, unemployment and inventing numerous social ventures and charities has proved even more valuable to this personal growth.

Playing forms an important aspect of his life.  Peter is a passionate Stoke City supporter, keen runner and enthusiastic singer, (some would say too enthusiastic!!). Taking Fun Fridays off, working close to home and being flexible with work patterns allows Peter to regularly walk his three sons to and from school and enjoy being part of the local community.

Giving something back has always provided Peter with meaning and purpose.   Over the past 25 years has been a volunteer and leader for the Thursday Club, a charity for adults with learning difficulties.  He is Chair of Governors at Princes Primary School, a magical Toxteth based learning environment for pupils with complex needs. Peter is an active advocate for people with disabilities, regular volunteer speaker at charity events and co-creator of the Windmills Foundation.

Helen Wakefield

Helen’s skills, talents, passion and enthusiasm have helped form Windmills and the Foundation into the diverse, creative and exciting organisations they are today.

Her early career with Windmills saw her and her fellow Director Pete Hawkins play the crucial role of establishing the business, determining its mission and values and creating a culture of “going the extra mile” that its clients and partners benefit from today.

She takes great delight in developing new projects with new clients although she says the old clients are also just as good and are often now friends as well. It is in this area that she feels she has the closest match to her prime skills and passions – where people, exploring and creative skills overlap. Helen works closely with Pete, Jason, Sharon and Champions in the Windmills community to create new programmes and continue to innovate and grow the portfolio.

Prior to Windmills she worked with Marks and Spencer in both commercial and learning and development roles before then moving to project based work at the University of Liverpool.
She has an MA in Human Resource Development, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a qualified coach and NLP Master Practitioner.
She is committed to her volunteer roles as a counsellor for Childline, and member of her local church, co-ordinating a house group.

With her family growing up and moving on she is increasingly getting the chance to revel in her interests of travel, reading,  eating out, walking, and learning whenever and wherever she can

Sharon Nicholson

Sharon is passionate about helping people ‘be all they can be’ and is especially keen to get this message out to young people.  She enjoys working with people on a one to one and group basis – encouraging them to think positively about their future and their potential.

Sharon has been engaged with Windmills from the early days at the University of Liverpool.  She was delighted to join Windmills Ltd in 2009 and continues to play a key role in the new team, developing and delivering the Windmills Champions Programme for a range of different clients.

She really enjoys working with clients to develop their project and design their Champions’ Programme.  Sharon is keen to extend the impact of the Windmills approach to everyone, everywhere and is always looking for creative ways to bring the Windmills resources to life in a workshop setting. Helping Champions develop the skills and confidence to work with the Windmills resources gives her a great opportunity to achieve those aims.

A learning and development professional with over 20 years experience, Sharon is also a qualified coach and NLP Master Practitioner.

She really enjoys playing the bagpipes with a local Pipe Band.  Concentrating on remembering the tunes is a great way to switch off. She has recently achieved a personal goal to play solo in public – not one to shy away from a challenge – to an audience of 200 people!

Married with, 2 teenage children she works hard on her WLPG blend to create as much quality family time as they and their busy social lives will allow.

Suzanne Sweeney    

Suzanne is the most recent member to join the team at Windmills and brings a range of new and exciting skills and experience to add to the rich diversity of the core team players. Suzanne has worked in the field of public health and health promotion for over 17 years in both Devon and Merseyside. Combining her experience with Local Authorities, the NHS and health charity sector, Suzanne is passionate about helping to reduce health inequalities throughout the population and help everyone reach their true potential in life. She is particular passionate about creating better opportunities for the most vulnerable and marginalised, especially children and young people and highlighting the hardships many have to overcome on a daily basis in order to lead a resilient life. Suzanne has specialised in tobacco control, physical activity and wellbeing. Over the past six years, Suzanne supported, and then led on the Sub-regional development of health policy and management of initiatives at a local strategic partnership level. This was achieved through advocacy, social marketing, research and training.  Previous to this Suzanne was responsible for conception and pioneering of what is now the ‘Active Sefton’ scheme for the local area population.

Suzanne had the opportunity to take a career break in 2001 where she went to Australia to study Pastoral Ministry and Counselling with her husband, at Hillsong International Leadership College and Church. After the birth of their daughter in Australia in 2004 and on returning to the UK, Suzanne has continued to be involved in church life in a voluntary capacity particularly children’s ministry, which she finds extremely rewarding.

Suzanne is a keen cyclist and continues to enjoy an active lifestyle and bike rides with her daughter. She enjoys catching up with friends over coffee, visiting new places and DIY.  She has also been known to be partial to strawberries, champagne and a good ‘boogie’ on the dance floor!

Jason Powell

Jason has been involved in Windmills from the start. His creative and innovative design is incorporated from the early days of The Art of Building Windmills to his most recent contributions with The Windmills Foundation’s, Smile £10 Challenge.

As part of the team at Alexander Macgregor and now as an independent graphic designer, Jason’s unique and creative approach to the visual elements of the Windmills portfolio has had a significant contribution to receiving the positive feedback it does from the clients who use it.

Beyond his technical skills Jason is also part of the creative process that the Windmills team engages in at the start of any new project and scheme. Scoping out initial ideas, exploring different approaches to getting the key messages that the team want to promote and ensuring that every new addition to the portfolio is capable of being seen as part of the wider family of Windmills resources are all part of what Jason brings to the process.

You can’t fail to take some of the key Windmills messages on board and for Jason he has embraced a portfolio career in order to combine his interests and passions. Jase also therefore runs a highly successful longbow shop – yes indeed he has won awards for his ability to pull the bow. And he is also to be seen in an image in WLPG playing and singing in his band – music is another huge passion and also field of work as he designs and edits…

Helen Hawkins

Helen Hawkins is particularly enthusiastic about Windmills delivery and development work as a result of her 20 years experience working in people development at Liverpool NHS, Boots Healthcare services and leading a SME. As a qualified careers advisor, Helen is passionate about inspiring young people and has pioneered a novel primary school programme based on the work Windmills has developed using STAR to engage parents as head teachers of their child’s curriculum..