Our trustees oversee the running of the organisation at a strategic level. They are experts in various fields and many have lived experience of disability.
Susan is an experienced non-executive board chair and celebrant: her career and life focus is on offering services that are centred on people. Susan’s work has included leading NHS and health related voluntary sector organisations. She currently leads the Board of the Independent Living Fund for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Susan gives and receives a lot through her various roles and is well known for her relaxed, friendly and caring approach. The basis for everything Susan does is about people, and creating space for us all to be ourselves.
“I am passionate about the values of fairness and justice for all. I am a disabled woman and I have spent my whole life fighting for equality and the dismantling of barriers to access a life of our own choosing.”
“As Chair of VoiceAbility I’m looking forward to listening, reflecting and leading towards our common goals of everyone being heard and respected, having choice, control and freedom and being safe from violence, discrimination, harm and abuse. It feels a privilege to be part of this vibrant and focused organisation.”
Izaro Arbelaiz is an innovation leader with more than 20 years of experience directing high-impact transformational strategies that position organisations for exponential growth. She has extensive experience executing comprehensive transformation and digitalisation strategies that drive change, visibility, and bottom-line revenue growth. Her international leadership expertise spans finance, high tech, manufacturing, venture capital, transport and logistics, and retail.
“I am passionate about people! Social impact and technology can be the drivers of most amazing change. I am excited about VoiceAbility’s ambition to grow and become the reference for advocacy, and I hope to bring in my business growth and innovation expertise to the board.”
Sue is Chair of VoiceAbility’s Safeguarding Governance Committee. Sue was also vice chair of the Care and Support Alliance. In this role she was involved in influencing the Mental Capacity Act and chaired the Care and Support Alliance Bill Group which worked to influence the Care Act. Her passion is for enabling people to speak out for themselves about the change they wish to see.
“When I joined the board, I had worked with VoiceAbility on influencing the Care Act, so I knew their work and felt I shared their values. I have learned a lot in the time I have been on the board. I think the new strategy is an exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to seeing how this can strengthen our ability to support people’s voices.”
Mahua started her career as a community organiser, working alongside low-wage and migrant workers to help them ensure their voices were heard. She moved into project and then organisational leadership, qualifying as an accountant to become the senior financial lead in a number of different not-for-profit organisations.
Mahua is a board member at Reside Housing Association, a specialist provider of supported housing, and chair of governors at a Gold Rights-Respecting school in west London.
“I have a long commitment to advocating for fairness and equality, and believe passionately that everybody’s lives are enriched when a diversity of voices are properly heard and respected. It is a joy to work with an organisation like VoiceAbility, that so clearly lives and breathes these values. I hope that I contribute as much to VoiceAbility’s development as I can learn from the quality of its work.”
Anthony is a globally experienced investment banker and financier who has had an extensive portfolio of responsibilities in finance, financial services and associated industries over the course of his career.
He is passionate about the application of new technology as a way of redressing societal imbalances. A champion for diversity and inclusion, Anthony has seen the advantages for firms in promoting and providing opportunities in this area.
“I am enthused by the work that VoiceAbility does in terms of helping those who struggle to have their voices heard. I hope that my personal and business experience will support the next stage of the charity’s growth. The sky really is the limit for the reach of the team, and my goal is to help us move even further along on this wonderful journey.”
Alistair has a keen interest in workplace neurodiversity and extensive experience in digital transformation, business development and delivering major change programmes. He is a founding director of MyBrain International, a company dedicated to furthering the understanding of the way in which a person’s physical brain influences their everyday lives, incorporating research into subjects including autism, mental illness and dyslexia.
“During my 30+ years in business, I have felt that organisations tend to underestimate the value of diversity and instead seek to pigeon-hole and categorise people. Yet everyone is unique, meaning that there is no such thing as ‘normal’. My work with Extensor and MyBrain reflects my commitment to VoiceAbility’s values of empowerment and collaborative work: promoting the concept of individuality for the betterment of organisations.”
Viral is a finance professional with over ten years’ experience in asset management and investment banking. Currently he is a Vice President at Credit Suisse Asset Management and brings to VoiceAbility extensive finance experience along with excellent commercial and strategic skills.
“I’m determined to help improve VoiceAbility’s competitive position and secure its sustainability as a market leader. I am passionate about empowering disadvantaged people and empowerment to me is a multi-stage process that transcends from providing awareness and support to enlisting participation and contribution, from both recipients and society - to bring about a self-sustaining change.”
Matt joined us in 2011, as a Peer Champion for Total Voice Lincolnshire, collaborating with others to help get their voices heard. Matt has first-hand experience of physical disability, and competes in powerchair football. As well as bringing to the Board a wealth of experience in non-instructed advocacy, fundraising and marketing, he brings invaluable lived experience of the opportunities available to people with disabilities who wish to take more control of their own lives.
“I have always been interested in business, so learning how a national organisation is run and to actively participate is amazing. My main reason for wanting to become Trustee of VoiceAbility was because I used to work in the VoiceAbility Lincoln service ten years ago, and I’m very aware of many people who would benefit from having their voices heard - I thought helping from the top would be the best way to do that.”
Gavin has a background in commercial leadership and sales, and his lived experience of supporting family members who have special needs and autism inspired him to join VoiceAbility as one of our newest trustees. Gavin is an adviser for Ambitious about Autism, and has been a committee member for a special needs youth group. His leadership experience spans a range of disciplines including partnerships, recruitment, marketing and operations.
“I’m excited to be able to bring both personal and business experience to help the charity grow. I have worked in a range of businesses; from start-ups, to scale-up, charities, FTSE 50 companies, and I have set up my own business, the focus of which is commercial growth for organisations. I’m particularly interested in supporting VoiceAbility’s expansion plans for our services, and looking at the most resourceful ways to increase the reach of the organisation.”
Louisa is a national senior programme manager for NHS England, currently working on the Learning Disability Mortality Review programme which addresses the premature mortality of people with a learning disability, and the health inequalities people face. She previously developed advocacy services for Mencap, and supported the delivery of services for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) as well as groups deemed to be “hard to reach”, including those from Black and Minority Ethnic communities.
“I started my career setting up local advocacy services for people with a learning disability. I work for NHS England now in a strategy role; it’s important to me that I keep in touch with the needs and wants of people who use services and their families. I bring to the board an understanding of advocacy, the public and voluntary sector, in particular commissioning and strategy development.”
Andrew works in the innovations and insight directorate at the British Red Cross. His background in research and consultation enables him to understand the impact charities make, and recommend ways of enhancing their social good. Andrew has worked in research across a range of areas within the charity sector, with a particular focus on health, housing and ways to empower people with lived experience to act as champions of their own experiences.
“I come from a mixed background of social research, policy work, and consultancy. Much of my research background is on how to engage and empower vulnerable people. I am also disabled and have my own bad experience of engaging with ‘the system’ so was drawn to VoiceAbility as a charity that helps people have their voice heard. I’m really enjoying working with VoiceAbility as we develop and build on the ambitions outlined in our strategy.”