Meet the Board

November 7, 2023

Jan-Pieter Costima

Jan-Pieter has been on the Board of Ascendance since 2013 and is presently the Chair. Before joining the Board, Jan-Pieter helped the company with IT and website development in a voluntary capacity. 

Jan-Pieter has a business background, and founded and ran his own successful company developing Innovative Process Control Concepts, mainly for the food industry worldwide.

Away from work, Jan-Pieter is interested in the arts including music, architecture and Medieval history. He belongs to the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society and to the Classical Association (Leeds) (where he is currently President). 

Sam McCormick

Sam is a Dance Artist with over 14 years of professional experience, primarily around community practice and positive social change. Sam has a passion for working with people, and loves to explore and discover, providing an inclusive space for people to take risks and be themselves.

Sam runs her own dance organisation, Curious Motion, which is based in Calderdale and aims to address inequalities with a focus on health and happiness. Sam also works freelance for a number of other organisations; including as Head of Dance for Flamingo Chicks, an inclusive dance charity that provides opportunities for disabled children to dance alongside their friends, English National Ballet, and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. 

Sam is passionate about dance, health, and inclusion and is proud to be a member of the Ascendance team.

Janet Mitchell

Janet joined the Board of Ascendance in 2005 and is currently the Company Secretary. Ascendance has undergone a lot of changes since Janet joined, and she's really impressed with how the company is doing so well to adapt to the Covid situation. Janet enjoys watching Ascendance’s activities when possible, but also contributing to the running of board meetings and other governance matters.

Following training in town planning, Janet's working life has been in local government, initially in planning and later in arts funding and committee administration, finishing with a stint as a Parish Clerk.

Janet is also involved with a Patients Participation Group at her doctor’s surgery, and other interests include performing and visual arts, walking, yoga and trying to play the piano.

Quentin Krang

Quentin is super excited to join Ascendance as a trustee and looking forward to combining his passion for the arts with providing meaningful caring and health focussed services to the local community.

Quentin trained as a sound engineer and worked in theatre/live entertainment for 13 years until moving into facilities management and H&S first in an Education setting and into his current role with palliative and end of life care charity Sue Ryder as Head of Operations. Quentin is also the Co Chair of Sue Ryder's national LGBTQ+ Network.

Outside of work Quentin enjoys music being a huge emo My Chemical Romance fan, has way too many comics, spends time working on his allotment and enjoys attending live music, theatre and art installations. Quentin also volunteers with Bookmark, helping children improve their reading skills.

Teresa Widera

I am thrilled to be joining Ascendance and looking forward to continuing my passion for the arts.

I am an art teacher initially working in mainstream and then moving to special needs, currently a teacher of complex needs in further education at Leeds City College.

Away from work I spend time on my allotment and am a member of a local Tai Chi group with a holistic focus on mental and physical wellbeing. Whenever possible I enjoy going to exhibitions, shows and travel.