CharityComms trustee election 2019

Voting is officially closed for our 2019 trustee election. Results will be announced week commencing 9 September 2019. 

Members had their say by voting for TWO of the following 13 brilliant candidates. Please note all candidates are either organisational members, individual members or corporate partners of CharityComms.

Each candidate put forward their arguments to secure votes under the following headings: their professional experience, their motivation for standing as a CharityComms trustee, the personal qualities and experience they will bring to the board and their vision for CharityComms’ future.

Members voted for TWO candidates they felt had the relevant experience in both comms and the charity sector that will enable them to understand the challenges and opportunities facing charity communicators, and who they believed can help us shape CharityComms’ services to meet their needs.

While election to the trustee board is open to all individual and organisational members of CharityComms, our current trustees feel representatives from the following groups would be particularly welcome to the board at this time:

  • LGBT+
  • Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic
  • Disabled

as would candidates with experience of:

  • Digital Communications
  • Governance/Charity Law
  • Smaller charities (under £1m turnover)
  • Communications agency experience of working with not for profit organisations

Please note that all CharityComms members were eligible to vote in this election – including anyone working at an organisational member charity, all individual members and corporate partners. 

Our candidates are: (click their name for further information but please note voting is now closed)

  • Al Lander, senior designer, National Deaf Children’s Society
  • Amy Pearson, senior communications officer, The Access Project
  • Bee Newboult, communications and insight coordinator, Anglia Ruskin Students’ Union
  • CJ Marshall, PR manager, Future Care Capital
  • Damian Chapman, head of communications and fundraising, Police Care UK
  • Georgina Lestini, head of marketing and communications, Martlets Hospice Brighton and Hove
  • Julie Sharp (Dr), head of health and patient information, Cancer Research UK
  • Justin Driskill, senior digital marketing and analytics officer, Crisis UK
  • Kirsty Marrins, digital communications consultant, Kirsty Marrins Ltd
  • Louise Robertshaw, director of fundraising and communications, London’s Air Ambulance
  • Michal Blaszczyk, communications manager, Bond
  • Susan Cowling, marketing manager, Multiple Sclerosis Trust
  • Tamsin Maunder Betti, head of brand and creative, WaterAid (moving to Marine Conservation Society as director of engagement and communications this September)

Voting closed on Monday 19 August 2019 at 5pm.

Al Lander, senior designer, National Deaf Children’s Society (organisational member)

Background and experience

I have been working in design and communications since starting a traineeship as a typesetter in Australia in 2002. Since then I have worked freelance for over 30 commercial agencies both in Australia and the UK doing everything from typesetting to concept design and project management. I moved to the charity sector in 2015 when I started working for Marie Curie, then joined the National Deaf Children’s Society in 2018 as their senior designer where I’ve been a part of the team improving the organisation’s design and communications.

Motivations

As a queer non-binary person from a working class background, I haven’t had many professional role models who share a similar background to mine. I want to put myself forward to push myself to take on more professional challenges. I also think I can bring different perspectives and experiences to the trustee board. Selfishly, I would also like to be able to influence the direction of CharityComms to cover more topics and areas that would be beneficial to people like me.

Personal qualities and experience

I am a queer non-binary trans person who is active in my community, and the disability arts community. Access and inclusion is a big part of my focus as a designer at the National Deaf Children’s Society. In addition, my partner and I run a queer disabled arts company called Quiplash, putting on training and events as well as hosting artistic projects that benefit our community. I would be bringing a creative and critical eye, a lifetime of problem solving experience and a specific perspective to the board.

Vision for CharityComms

I would like to build more accessibility in to everything that’s done in CharityComms. I would like to see more LGBTQ+ focused talks and events. I’d also like to see more resources aimed at professionals who are officer level or below, and I would like to see more officer level professionals speak about their work. I would like CharityComms to be a place where less senior staff can get experience in giving presentations and have a chance to boost their confidence. I would like CharityComms to have an excellent reputation for younger professionals, LGBTQ+ people and people of colour.

Amy Pearson, senior communications officer, The Access Project (individual member)

Background and experience

My career has been focused on communications in the charity sector, specifically working with charities addressing children and young people. I am passionate about the ‘value added’ impact communications have on the work of charities which increase profile, raise awareness and deliver the vision and value of a charity. My experience began as the volunteering and communications officer at education charity Chance UK. Within this role I focused on streamlining communications with volunteers and enhancing the organisations digital platforms. Drawing on this experience now at The Access Project I lead on website and digital communications developing our social media and brand presence.

Motivations

I am driven by the impact communications has to enhance the work of charities. As a result, organisations can increasingly develop their skill set and knowledge, improving their impact, vision and reach. I believe that all communications professionals should have the opportunity to learn and engage with one another. I believe I would be a valuable member of the team, driving forward change, and the impact that CharityComms can have within the sector, through my knowledge of social media impact and digital communications. I would seek to ensure communications in charities is seen as strategically important to drive forward sector change.

Personal qualities and experience

My current experience in the sector is specifically focused on digital communications in small/medium charities. Below is a list of qualities and experiences I can bring to the board.

  • Website build, development and SEO: creating new pages, managing website content creation, improving accessibility.
  • Volunteer communications: via email, newsletters and digital platforms.
  • Social media strategy: to enhance the vision, mission and values of a charity.
  • Enhancing brand through digital: creating a visual presence and voice of the organisation which is consistent across platforms.
  • Engaging stakeholders.
  • Increasing social media following and engagement for a small charity.
  • Creating social media campaigns. 

Vision for CharityComms

I believe CharityComms has the capacity to be the leaders of communications best practice and  I would like to see the organisation become a champion for small charities. Such organisations are likely to be limited by finance, capacity and reach and this is where through courses, sharing best practice and resources CharityComms can provide a framework to achieve better communications.
I would like to see CharityComms be a collaborative space for all charities to learn and grow. I envision the organisation developing strong digital communications platforms to become the industry leaders on all communications.

Bee Newboult, communications and insight coordinator, Anglia Ruskin Students’ Union (organisational member)

Background and experience

For the last two years I have been employed by Anglia Ruskin Students’ Union, a company I personally endorse for its efforts in encouraging continuous research and insight into its membership to gain an understanding of how best to communicate/ improve services for them. In the past 10 years I have also worked for Trinity Court Potteries, a small company who specialise in Historical Ceramics, working closely with a number of charity organisations like English Heritage, RSPB, and the National Trust. Personally, I have a passion for Mental Health services and support, having been trained as a mental health first aider and led as an internal advocate for mental health support within this place of work.

Motivations

Working in a charity organisation I have seen the key impact our own trustees have had on our place of work, I value their breadth of knowledge and experience and often wish I had the privilege of looking at the bigger picture of the charity. I hope that my own experience of working with different charities would also provide the same knowledge I see in our trustees, and give me the privilege of seeing the CharityComms bigger picture.

Personal qualities and experience

I have a degree in marketing, in which I extensively studied digital communications, insight, and even futurecasting for the constantly developing market. While my passion for mental health services ties in with my passion for better support for the LGBT+ community, as a gay woman I am personally motivated to be an advocate for inclusivity, positive communications and the provision of a safe workplace for minority communities. As I currently work for a membership charity within an insight role, I am uniquely aware of the next generation’s needs, goals and values. Many of which stand differently to our own expectations.

Vision for CharityComms

I think all organisations must focus more heavily on insight based decisions. We live in a world where people are encouraged to be independent and authentically their true self. This often means that we cannot make generalised statements about a mass market. We cannot assume to know membership bases, or why they act a certain way. I would like to see more active insight gained to have a better understanding of future changes and trends.

CJ Marshall, PR manager, Future Care Capital (individual member)

Background and experience

With a decades’ worth of experience working in public relations, public affairs and communications, my career has covered both the public and charitable sectors. I didn’t start off my career in communications and consequently have a diverse background as an academic lawyer, elected official, soldier and police officer. I have also held several board type roles across policing, local government and social care organisations. My “on the ground” experience from working in frontline services has given me a unique perspective on issues and placed me in the privileged position to see what effects public policies have had in the real world.

Motivations

I’ve benefited immensely from having a CharityComms membership and would like to provide the organisation with support and advice to continually help many more professionals to benefit in a similar way, especially those earlier on in their career. Statistically, the communications profession is not the most diverse and I could be a role model to others demonstrating that anybody can make it into prominent communication roles. Currently, not much is cutting through in the media due to Brexit and people are suffering as a result – helping steward a network of dedicated members would give me a huge sense of pride and achievement.

Personal qualities and experience

I have a lot of experience of working on boards and in alliances with varying views, usually taking on the role of arbitrator when trying to arrive upon a consensus. I have a wide skill set and bring more than just communications expertise to the table, including public relations, public affairs, legal knowledge and policy development. Not only do I represent diversity in a physical sense (I’m mixed-race and relatively young), I have a uniquely diverse background and I’m dyslexic with all the challenges that poses. I also work for a small but ambitious charity which is most certainly punching above its weight!

Vision for CharityComms

I wouldn’t consider coming in and changing things for the sake of it, so long as the organisation is financially viable, operating effectively and providing real benefit for its members. Alongside the current 2023 goals, growing the membership to create a larger network of professionals should always be an aspiration. Whilst looking at what more CharityComms can provide to its members would also be an area I’d like to investigate. Taking the time to engage with and gain more insight from the members is another opportunity as well as continuing to raise awareness of the importance of communications roles within organisations and the charitable sector.

Damian Chapman, head of communications and fundraising, Police Care UK (individual and organisational)

Background and experience

I am an experienced department head and director in Marketing, Communications, and Fundraising, most recently with Police Care UK, who is a passionate advocate for small charities that think and act bigger, bolder, better. I’ve previously worked for a national museum, a youth empowerment organisation, a leading animal welfare charity, a youth homeless charity in Nottingham, and a transgender support charity in Hull, and learnt my craft the hard way.

Motivations

Communications is the most under-developed sector in UK charities today. Its value is often described as a function that exists rather than as a transformative force for good. In small charities, communications is something that usually exists as part of someone’s already busy role, and so the opportunity to develop the essential skills needed to deliver the experience our supporters, donors, and beneficiaries expect and desire are never learned or put into practice. That is what I want to help change as a trustee of this membership body for non-profit communications professionals.

Personal qualities and experience

As a gay, white, working class man who grew up in a single parent family following the death of my father as a child, I have a very different perspective and outlook on society. I’m practical in my attitude, active in my participation, and am motivated by a need to help when things are tough. I’ve learnt by studying industry leaders and analysing their performance, attending events and seizing training opportunities anyway I can. I also always seek to create the right environment for my team, peers, and wider colleagues to access the same opportunities I have.

Vision for CharityComms

CharityComms for me, needs to look beyond the M25 and should be looking to enhance its offering beyond conferences and podcasts. I feel it should collaborate more closely with partner membership organisations like the Institute of Fundraising (I am an individual member and a member of the Convention Board) as well as our suppliers with a view to bringing greater relevance to CharityComms as an organisation, and communications as a sector.

Georgina Lestini, head of marketing and communications, Martlets Hospice Brighton and Hove (organisational member)

Background and experience

I worked for American Express for 15 years and consulted for over 20 years launching products in over 19 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as also working with major telecoms operators. I am fully qualified in marketing and am a fully qualified executive coach with a degree in Psychology. I have worked at Martlets Hospice to develop and implement strategies to meet the business objectives – growing brand awareness from 77% to over 84%. Working across the organisation we have created strong supporter and beneficiary stories to engage with our community and have developed a strong Vision Mission and value propositions that are firmly embedded in the organisation.

Motivations

During my time with Amex, I worked as part of a network to provide members with resources skills/knowledge and best practices to enhance their marketing and communication skills , providing a gold standard of innovation and standardisation to market all products. The benefit was also to create cost efficiencies for its members, through centralised negotiations. As part of my role I frequently liaise with my peers in many other charities, sharing experiences, best practices and even creative ideas etc. I am very impressed by CharityComms’ vision and purpose. For charities strong sustainability will be the key to success/failure and I firmly believe that this network model is paramount to creating a strong impact on charities.

Personal qualities and experience

Having mentioned that I have worked within this model in the commercial world, I can bring this experience to the board. Both commercial and charities can learn from each other as to how to run successful businesses, and we have a much stronger story to tell, due to our impact on society as a whole. I have covered a wide spectrum of marketing and comms in both charities and the commercial world, and have a strong passion to make a difference in this very diverse world in which we live. I have strong negotiation skills and am a very people orientated person.

Vision for CharityComms

To grow the membership base, and improve how charities use CharityComms services. Develop and enhance the centralised function or framework of sharing and creating inspirational and cost effective best practices for comms material by working closer with groups of charities to support them.

Julie Sharp (Dr), head of health and patient information, Cancer Research UK (organisational member)

Background and experience

I have over 16 years of experience working in the charity sector, where my roles have spanned public and patient communications and information. I lead a large and diverse team of cancer nurses, public health and digital specialists at Cancer Research UK who translate the latest evidence into clear information for the public and use feedback and analytics to create brilliant online engagement. My team supports a range of fundraising, marketing and policy activities and I am a senior media spokesperson and involved in corporate risk management.

Motivations

I have personally benefited from CharityComms conferences, workshops and the mentoring scheme and think the organisation plays a vital role in bringing charity staff together and supporting them at all levels of their careers. I have a wealth of experience that I could use to help steer the organisation and support its future work. All my roles have been audience focused and I am used to using insight to shape strategic direction. I’d like to make sure that CharityComms responds to members challenges and feedback, as well as the changing environment we are navigating together.

Personal qualities and experience

I oversee Cancer Research UKs online patient information – reaching tens of millions of people each year with high levels of engagement, and have overseen a major project to revamp and restructure the website. All charities face challenges with digital engagement in the face of rapidly changing technologies and information seeking behaviours – as well as different approaches to digital delivery within organisations. I want to use my extensive experience to support the way CharityComms is run and help the board navigate these digital communications challenges to support members effectively.

Vision for CharityComms

My vision for CharityComms is that we can build even stronger networks to tackle shared problems, and influence more effectively. All charities are facing financial challenges and the people who support us – or rely on our support – are also going through difficult times. The way people access information is changing as well as the way they donate and fundraise. We can navigate this best if we come together even more closely as a group to build a modern organisation for these challenging times.

Justin Driskill, senior digital marketing and analytics officer, Crisis UK (organisational member)

Background and experience

I have over 15 years digital marketing experience and have worked for small, local, and national charities as well as a digital agency which specialises in charities. I worked in publishing and advertising before moving into charity with an internship at Malaria No More. I currently work at Crisis where I am specialising in analytics and SEM, and have previously worked for health, arts, youth, and international development charities. I am also the editor of The Online Advertising Guide which teaches SMEs about all forms of digital comms. I have qualifications in fundraising, digital marketing, analytics and project management.

Motivations

I’m putting myself forward to be a trustee of CharityComms as I know I could help steer the next phase of digital transformation that I feel the organisation needs – a much stronger online provision of information. Smaller charities cannot always travel to conferences and so a focus on digital would not only future proof the organisation but would also make a huge difference to the third sector. With digital continuously moving forward so fast, and becoming a larger and larger part of what even small charities do, it’s vital that CharityComms does better at this.

Personal qualities and experience

What I would bring to the CharityComms board is an ability to cut through jargon and explain complex digital ideas in simple ways. I have also worked as a digital consultant so I can analyse and improve plans, and develop KPIs. Having spent a lot of time in the advertising industry I also can tell the difference between saying the right words, and actually achieving the right outcomes. In terms of filling the board’s diversity gap – I am half-American/half-Iranian.

Vision for CharityComms

My vision for CharityComms going forward would be a radical improvement in their digital provision. The digital benchmark and blog are great, but they are just scratching the surface of the sort of information, guidance, and best practices that could be provided online, and about digital comms in particular. Members need a well-managed forum to discuss issues, easily searchable guides, how-to’s and best practices. Digital is making up more and more of comms in general, so it should be a much greater focus for CharityComms.

Kirsty Marrins, digital communications consultant, Kirsty Marrins Ltd (individual member)

Background and experience

I have been working in the charity sector since 2007, working in-house at Dementia UK, Aspire and Trinity College London before joining JustGiving as their content and community manager. For the last four years I have worked as a digital communications consultant and have worked with many charities to help them with their social media and digital marketing. I have managed the very active Third Sector PR & Comms Network for around eight years, I write a monthly column for Third Sector on all things digital and I have trained hundreds of people either through face-to-face training or through webinars. I also write for a number of organisations, including Lightful, Givepanel and also CharityComms. It’s my dedication to sharing knowledge and expertise with the sector that won me a CharityComms Inspiring Communicator Award in 2016.

Motivations

I have been a CharityComms member for over 10 years and I credit the organisation for helping me in my career, through their excellent events, articles, guides and case studies. I would love the opportunity to join the board and to give something back to an organisation that is very close to my heart, through offering my time, skills and experience as a trustee.

Personal qualities and experience

I have over 10 years’ experience in digital communications and I was a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition for five years, so I have experience in three of the areas you’re looking to recruit. I am very dedicated, loyal and passionate about the charity sector and I’m committed to ensuring that everyone who works in the sector has access to resources that will enable them to do their job to the best of their ability. I believe that CharityComms plays a vital role in upskilling and inspiring those who work in comms, via their events programme as well as their articles, guides and podcasts and in recognising excellence through their Inspiring Communicator Awards. I would love to join the board and help play a part in shaping their future.

Vision for CharityComms

My vision for CharityComms is to grow in membership and to offer more to those who work outside of London. I know that they already do this to some extent with their regional groups, however I believe that technology can help them be less London-centric and more accessible to those living outside the capital. I would also like to see CharityComms play a greater role in the sector in terms of advocacy and to be a voice for their members. I would like to see the organisation work together with other infrastructure bodies to actively support and encourage more diversity into the sector.

Louise Robertshaw, director of fundraising and communications, London’s Air Ambulance (organisational member)

Background and experience

I am a former national newspaper journalist with significant senior experience of PR and communications in charities and not-for-profit organisations both large and small. I currently lead the 30-strong fundraising and communications team at London’s Air Ambulance Charity, focused on raising awareness in order to double income in the next five years and ensure we can continue to run this life-saving service. I previously spent nine years as head of communications and marketing at Guide Dogs, taking it into the top 10 of the Charity Brand Index for the first time and developing its first digital strategy.

Motivations

I am a passionate communicator, keen to share my skills and experiences with others as well as continuously learning myself. Guide Dogs was a founder member of CharityComms, so I was involved from the very early days of the organisation, when events were just a few people in a church hall. The organisation helped me to understand best practice for charity communications, at a time when I had just changed sectors – it was a life saver! I am keen to now give something back and ensure CharityComms continues leading the way for communications professionals of the future.

Personal qualities and experience

With nearly 20 years of PR and communications experience across government agencies, local government and charities, I started my career as a national newspaper journalist. I have worked in both small (my current charity is just 60 people) and large (Guide Dogs was over 6,000 staff and 16,000 volunteers) charities. From a communications background I have successfully moved into a senior fundraising position, integrating all the fundraising and communications activity at London’s Air Ambulance. At Guide Dogs and London’s Air Ambulance I have developed and delivered the digital strategy, including digital communications.

Vision for CharityComms

My vision is for CharityComms to be at the cutting-edge of charity communications, supporting us all to continue to learn and innovate in a world that is rapidly changing. The charity’s leadership role in the sector is vital, not just inspiring and educating the next generation of communications professionals but also ensuring we have great communications leaders who can break the “communications glass ceiling” to become directors and CEOs.  CharityComms is the voice of communications professionals in the Third Sector and should also be there to represent us and support us when wider sector issues are being tackled.

Michal Blaszczyk, communications manager, Bond (organisational members)

Background and experience

I am a versatile communications strategist and MA communications graduate with over seven years’ experience in content management, digital, journalism and marketing across the charity and education sectors. I am the current Communications Manager at Bond, the UK network for international NGOs, where I oversee the membership organisation’s digital communications, content strategy, brand engagement and digital development. I have a solid track record of delivering engaging content and events for charity communications professionals and people in small charities. Through Bond and its communications groups, I’ve become adept at working with others to build a more collaborative and effective communications sector.

Motivations

I truly believe in the power of communications to positively transform society and empower charities to carry out their life-changing work. I am applying to the CharityComms board as I am driven by collaboration, creativity and shared purpose to champion inspiring and impactful communications. CharityComms has pushed me to be a more creative communications professional and I believe I can help guide this stimulating network of dedicated practitioners. I also want to better utilise my skills and understanding of charity membership organisations to drive communications best practice and innovation across the sector.

Personal qualities and experience

I will bring my creativity, versatility and drive to the CharityComms board. My strategic appreciation of digital communications and understanding of the non-profit landscape will be an asset to the board. As the communications manager of an NGO network, I understand the needs of charity professionals as an audience, including small charities. As a proud gay man, I will also provide an LGBT+ perspective to the network’s activities. I am passionate about diversity in the charity sector, as I’ve explored on Bond’s podcast and blog. As a Polish-South African immigrant, my personal appreciation for inter-cultural relations is also beneficial to inclusion.

Vision for CharityComms

My vision is to create a more dynamic network for diverse communications practitioners that champion creative, impactful practice and highlights new ways of engaging audiences. I want to see CharityComms become a truly supportive network that nurtures inclusivity within the communications profession and enables people from different backgrounds to enter and progress in their careers. I would like CharityComms to better contribute to a stronger charity sector where organisations learn from each other and work together as a shared voice for social good, rather than a sector that promotes competition.

Susan Cowling, marketing manager, Multiple Sclerosis Trust (organisational member)

Background and experience

I’ve spent the majority of my career working in news and magazines, meaning I am a huge advocate of the importance of effective communications in today’s society. I focused on the marketing and branding of publications across a variety of sectors, from food to health and B2B clients.
In 2018, I was happy to move into the charitable sector as marketing manager for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. A role which has been incredibly rewarding and has cemented in my mind the essential role played by communications in raising awareness of a charity’s mission.

Motivations

Access to quality, affordable training and information is crucial for success in the communications field, particularly in the charity sector. CharityComms provides a unique and essential resource for people working within communications for charities. Having used the training courses and information services regularly over the last 12 months I would welcome the opportunity to give something back and help to shape the future of CharityComms. The prospect of working alongside the knowledgeable CharityComms team and its board of experienced trustees is incredibly exciting. As is the chance to help grow the reach and membership of this unique charity.

Personal qualities and experience

During the course of my career I’ve acquired many skills which would be useful for the CharityComms board of trustees including:

  • Driving paid for subscription and membership services
  • Digital marketing, in particular social media management, email marketing and analytics
  • Forming third party partnerships
  • Managing PR campaigns
  • Developing targeted marketing and communication plans
  • End to end management of Marcom’s campaigns
  • Demonstrating ROI to prove the benefit of communications and marketing to a brand

Having spent much of my career outside the charity sector I can also bring a different perspective to the board of trustees.

Vision for CharityComms

My vision for CharityComms is for it to be the go-to organisation for all marketing and communication professionals within the UK charity sector. Fundraisers have the Institute of Fundraising, and communications professionals should be able to rely on CharityComms in the same way. CharityComms should continue to develop its digital presence with the website forming a central online hub for charity communication professionals to research, debate and come together to exchange ideas and best practice. CharityComms should aim to be the recommended source for trusted information for communication professionals throughout the sector.

Tamsin Maunder Betti, head of brand and creative, WaterAid  but moving to Marine Conservation Society as director of engagement and communications this September (organisational member)

Background and experience

I am passionate about good communications and using creative ideas for social change. I have over 20 years’ experience in communications roles – most recently heading up WaterAid’s brand and creative department where my team has won multiple awards for creating engaging and inspiring stories and campaigns. Later this year I will become the director of engagement and communications at the Marine Conservation Society where I plan to utilise the skills and experience I have developed to help enhance awareness and understanding of the role we all can play in protecting the marine environment.

Motivations

CharityComms has provided myself and my team with multiple opportunities to develop and learn over the years. I think it provides a great forum for skills development and sharing experiences from across the sector whatever size of organisation you are in. I would love to see this continue and am keen to play a part within that.

Personal qualities and experience

I am a people person and enjoy bringing people together with a shared vision and approach. I have years of experience at a senior level but also retain a practical approach to work: as well as leading key projects I love nothing more than being involved in a creative brainstorm. Stories are a big part of what I do. In the last year I have also chaired a Bond group called ‘People in the Pictures’, looking at ethical approaches to the collecting and use of imagery – and feel this is a unique skill set that I can bring to CharityComms.

Vision for CharityComms

I believe CharityComms has a really important role to play in the development of our sector’s professionals and I want to see the organisation continue to support and enhance people’s skills and experience. Ultimately I would like CharityComms to be known as a centre of excellence: giving people the tools, knowledge and network they need to create excellent communications that are recognised both within and beyond the charity world.