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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.

Ali Reid

Board Chair

Ali has worked across the health and social care sector, culminating in delivering services as a social enterprise and championing employee ownership. With over 30 years’ board experience, she enjoys working strategically with a person-centred ethos built from a leadership approach that aims to seek continuous improvement. 

I’m delighted to be appointed to the role of chair with VoiceAbility. It’s a huge honour to be working with such a diverse group of people to enhance the opportunities for everyone to be heard and responded to. 

The values shaped in VoiceAbility echo my own: to enable people to be their own advocate, to collaborate, work with integrity and always seek opportunities to co-create with others. To be challenging of the status quo and ensure knowledge is shared to create both choice and opportunities for all. Working with people to help them be authors of their own lives’ is a privilege and a clear commitment I fully subscribe to.

I hope my experience in commissioning and provision will help to enhance the opportunities for VoiceAbility. This includes continuing to grow, sustain and develop our reputation nationally as a high-quality advocacy service. And being recognised as the provider of choice by ensuring that no one faces decisions alone and enabling those we support to be the very best they can be. 

I’m looking forward to working with the board, exploring how we can best support the charity’s aspirations and, with our skills, help to support those aspirations become a reality.”

Izaro Arbelaiz

Trustee

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 Brown

Trustee

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 Nandi

Trustee

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 Osijo

Trustee

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 Schofield

Trustee

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 Shah

Trustee

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 Smith

Trustee

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 Sumner

Trustee

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.” 

Andrew Weston

Trustee

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.” 

Ria Davies

Trustee

Ria has dedicated two decades to the cruise ship industry, exploring the globe and its seven seas. She transitioned to the Miami head office in the USA ─ and took charge of revenue, before joining the global innovative ship-building team. 

Ria, who hails from the Welsh valleys, is now back in the UK, living in London and contributing to digital community management within the commercial industry.

My passion lies in technology, innovation, strategic thinking, equality, and fairness.

I’m eager to empower vulnerable individuals, drawing from my personal experience with domestic violence and stalking, which has left me with a disability. I have first-hand insight into mental health, broken systems, and stigma.

I’m enthusiastic about guiding individuals, helping them to find their path and amplify their voices. My involvement with VoiceAbility is fulfilling as we collaborate to enhance the goals set in our strategy. Serving as a trustee, I’m thrilled to contribute to the impactful work that VoiceAbility carries out.”

Fiona Beyer

Trustee

Fiona spent several years as a volunteer advocate for Connected Voice, an advocacy organisation based in the North East of England, before joining VoiceAbility as a trustee. 

She is an experienced health and social care researcher based at Newcastle University, and much of her work aims to understand and mitigate health inequalities. She has a strong sense of justice and is excited to use her time and skills to support VoiceAbility’s mission to enable people to be heard and respected. 

I believe that everyone, regardless of background, belief or ability, deserves respect and the opportunity to express their preferences and live their life according to their wishes. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with VoiceAbility to empower people to do this”. 

Liam Cunningham

Trustee

Liam is a specialist mental capacity and community care solicitor based in London. Liam works closely with advocates to represent people in complex court proceedings, normally related to someone’s mental capacity. Liam’s role means he has worked closely with VoiceAbility advocates. 

I’m dedicated to assisting people to have their voice heard. With the job that I do, I regularly see heartbreaking cases where people have not had the support they need and are entitled to. I’m looking forward to helping VoiceAbility continue to support everyone to have their own voice and supporting the charity’s safeguarding committee.” 

Liz Debnam

Trustee

Liz is a finance professional and qualified actuary with over 20 years’ experience. Her career has focussed on risk management with expertise in pensions and investments. 

Liz is an active member of the Diversity Project, a cross-company initiative championing a diverse, equitable and inclusive UK investment and savings industry. She brings extensive technical and strategic skills to VoiceAbility. 

Advocacy is something that I hold in extremely high esteem, particularly ensuring that members of society have enough support to make decisions about their lives with knowledge and pragmatism.”