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We have more than 1,000 staff, 1,092 volunteers and more than 20,000 members who support our work across the UK. We are led by our Executive Group, Board of Trustees, President and seven Vice Presidents who bring with them decades of experience from both the charity and commercial sectors.
Below, our Executive Group and Trustees explain their histories, and why they joined Action on Hearing Loss.
HRH The Duke of York KG
Our Executive Group
Paul Breckell - Chief Executive
Paul became Chief Executive in August 2012 having worked for the charity since July 2007.
“I feel very passionate about our work and this commitment comes both from my experiences of working with service users, staff and supporters at Action on Hearing Loss as well as having family experience of hearing loss and its impact on day to day living.”
Paul has spent most of his career in the voluntary sector having previously worked for Church Mission Society and for the HIV/AIDS healthcare charity Mildmay. He is also an active volunteer as a charity trustee and as a youth and children’s worker.
Kate Bull - Executive Director Commercial Services
Kate Bull was appointed as Executive Director of Commercial Services to tenaciously drive forward the charity’s sales opportunities and increase income to invest in supporting people who are deaf or have hearing loss or tinnitus.
Kate joins the charity from The People’s Supermarket, the unique community co-operative she founded in June 2010 and served as Chief Executive until September 2012. Kate previously worked in senior management for Marks & Spencer.
Kate, who is aiming to increase the profitability of the charity’s products, training and consultancy services, said: “I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to support businesses who want to extend their customer reach and provide greater access for their customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“I’m keen to ensure that Action on Hearing Loss expands our exciting range of products available through our catalogue and online shop, and reach out to new markets to become the first port of call for all businesses looking to meet their legal accessibility requirements.”
Louise Pritchard - Executive Director, Services
Louise joined RNID, now Action on Hearing Loss from the NHS where she was Director of Performance and Organisational Development at NHS Birmingham East and North. She has more than 23 years of senior level experience in the public sector. She has worked in London, Walsall and Birmingham, mostly in the commissioning and delivery of primary, mental health and community health services.
She holds a degree and Masters in Social Policy and Primary Health Care Policy and Management. Previous roles as Managing Director of Community Health Services have delivered service redesign within the social care, voluntary and hospital sectors.
“I am privileged and excited by the opportunity to work with exceptional people, delivering new and improved services that will make a real difference to people’s lives. I am determined that the invisible silence of millions is converted into a visible presence, connecting individuals at all levels, enabling us all to lead the lives we choose and to have our world enriched through the power of communication.”
Peter Robson - Executive Director, Corporate Resources
Peter joined RNID, now Action on Hearing Loss, having spent a number of years in finance management in the private sector both in the UK and Europe, from large multi-national organisations to smaller owner managed businesses.
"I was keen to move into the voluntary sector and was inspired by the wide and diverse portfolio of activities that Action on hearing Loss delivers. I am driven by the positive change we are able to bring to people’s lives.
"I am motivated by the passion and devotion of our staff and volunteers in improving the lives of the people we are here to serve. To maximise the impact we are able to make, we need effective support structures and I am delighted to be working with a great team of dedicated people focused on delivering first class services.
"Away from the office I am also involved in my local community near Bath and am a Governor of a local Academy helping to support the school in enabling the children to achieve the best of their ability and having a keen interest in sports, I am also treasurer of a local youth football club."
Sohaila Rastan - Executive Director, Biomedical Research
Dr Rastan, a specialist in biotechnology and genetics, has had a rich and varied career with a background in both the voluntary and private sectors. This includes working for the Wellcome Trust, MRC Clinical Research Centre, SmithKline Beecham and MacMillan Cancer Support. She has served on many scientific committees, including the UK Government Gene Therapy Advisory Committee and the Board of the National Cancer Research Institute.
Sohaila has noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus from a misspent youth listening to heavy metal bands.
David Steadman - Executive Director, Fundraising and Marketing
David Steadman is Executive Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Action on Hearing Loss, the Royal Charity helping people with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss. He leads the charity’s fundraising, marketing and communications teams, which bring to life the charity’s work to find a cure within a generation, offer help in every community, and campaign for equality.
With a first degree at Oxford University and a MBA from Cranfield, David started his career in the technology industry. Before joining Action on Hearing Loss in February 2014, David was Project Manager at the NSPCC, Head of Corporate Development at The Prince's Trust, Director of Fundraising at the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and Commercial Director at children’s charity Coram.
David is a founding governor and Joint Chair of a new Free School, Alma Primary; he loves the outdoors, and lives in Barnet with his wife Alexis and two children.
Our President, Vice Presidents
The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Bruce MP
Sir Rocco Forte
Dame Evelyn Glennie
Baroness Howe of Idlicote
Sir John McTaggart
Dame Esther Rantzen
The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Our Board of Trustees
Stephen Hill - Chairman
Stephen became a Trustee late in 2008. He served as our Treasurer before stepping up to the position of Chairman in June 2013.
Stephen took a double First in Economics and Law at St John's College Cambridge before a career that has taken in BCG, Guinness and Pearson.
He spent six years running the Financial Times Group and then in 2003 became CEO of the internet start up, Betfair; now one of the world's largest internet companies. Since 2006 he has run his own investment and property development companies, and been a senior adviser to a private equity fund.
He is the currently the Director of IG Group, Applerigg and AZTEC.
He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Judge Business School in the University of Cambridge.
Harry McQuillan - Treasurer
Harry achieved a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacy from Heriot-Watt University in 1988 and registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) in 1989. He completed a post graduate diploma in clinical pharmacy (community) at Queens University Belfast October 2002.
From 1988 to 2003 Harry undertook a variety of roles at regional and local level for Boots the Chemists Ltd. During this time he became interested in pharmacy politics and actively participated as a member and chair of Health Board committees and as a member of the RPSGB Scottish Executive.
In November 2003 he was appointed to the role of National Pharmacy Advisor to NHS 24 where he worked closely with the Scottish Executive Health Department (SEHD).
Harry was subsequently appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Pharmaceutical General Council, now Community Pharmacy Scotland, in July of 2006 and has completed the ‘Delivering the Future’ NHS Clinical Leadership programme during 2005/06.
Peter Clark is a member of Action on Hearing Loss and was elected as Trustee by Action on Hearing Loss members in 2013.
Win has a wide experience within Public Services in Wales, especially in Parliamentary/Political Affairs and the Third Sector in Wales.
He has always had an interest in issues concerning people with disabilities. As a Minister in the Welsh Office (1997-1998) he had a wide portfolio including health, disabilities, children and local government. He had close contacts with RNID as Minister and since retirement with representatives of people with hearing loss in his role as Chair of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and its predecessors since 2005.
Conor was elected at our AGM on 10 November 2012.
At 23, Conor is our youngest trustee. He is an audiologist working in NHS clinics around North London. As such he encounters hearing loss on a daily basis and strives to raise awareness of sensory impairment.
Conor has been studying science and the social effects of hearing loss for six years, and he is looking forward to contributing as we strive to support hard of hearing people.
Janine graduated from Manchester University with a BA Hons degree in French Studies.
After attending Manchester University, she trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Paris Conservatoire and the National Opera Studio and, despite being told that she could never be a singer because of her progressive deafness, Janine has enjoyed a career as a professional operatic soloist spanning 25 years.
For the past two years, she has been involved with 'Music and the Deaf', 'Sing Up' and Classic FM's Hear Here! workshops, 'Deafness – No Bar to Music'.
For many years, Janine has campaigned on behalf of RNID for their telephone hearing check, reducing the stigma of deafness and lowering waiting times for hearing aids.
Professor Quentin Summerfield
Quentin is Head of Psychology at the University of York.
He has extensive experience in the areas of scientific research into human hearing, hearing loss and deafness; cochlear implantation; methods for assessing the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of interventions designed to improve hearing.
Liz is Director of Fundraising at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and has recently joined Action on Hearing Loss as a trustee.
Liz has thirteen years experience in Fundraising, having started her career in the sector at Plan and Sense. In 2004 Liz joined the British Red Cross and whilst Head of Direct Marketing led transformational growth in the charity’s direct marketing income, which grew from £27m in 2007 to £57m in 2010. In 2009 her team won Third Sector’s Fundraising Team of the Year. Since September 2010 Liz has been leading a new Fundraising strategy and team at Battersea, who in their first year have more than doubled fundraising income.
Liz is passionate about the sector and the difference that fundraisers can make. She is a member of the Institute of Fundraising’s Learning & Development committee as well as the National Convention Board. Liz has also worked with the Institute of Fundraising to develop new qualifications in charity direct marketing and codes of practice for direct mail and house-to-house collections.
Caroline is a socio-economist in international development, with a deep and life-long involvement in deafness and disability issues. She supported her late father, Jack Ashley, in his campaigns. Professionally, she focuses on results measurement, strategy, opportunities for business to deliver social value, and she runs her own company.
Carol Cole is a Clinical Psychologist, originally trained in the NHS, now working as a Consultant in Organisation Development, specialising in organisational strategy, change management and team-building in both the public and private sectors
Eric Roux is a finance sector professional with extensive consulting and corporate experience. Eric has been the CEO of a Swiss-based asset management service provider, an MD of a Financial Services Information Services organisation and worked at a senior level at KPMG and Ernst & Young. Eric is a financial advisor, working on projects such as the creation of a new bank, and he has funded and coached start-up businesses.
Eric trained in Accounting and Finance at Colorado College and the Thunderbird School of Global Management in the United States, and is currently based in Switzerland. Eric founded and, as Treasurer and President, presided over a Chamber of Commerce, and currently chairs the London-based Brain and Spine Foundation.
Richard Jones has many years’ experience in social care and health services having worked for central government, local government and the NHS. Richard was President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in 2010/11.
Richard is currently responsible for the leadership and coordination of NHS services and the development and assurance of Clinical Commissioning groups and, through these, for the delivery of the NHS constitution and mandate. Richard also has direct responsibility for the commissioning of budgets for primary care and offender health services in the North West. Richard’s other work includes directorships for Scope, Shared Lives Plus, East Cheshire Hospice and Anchor Housing.
Richard’s wealth of knowledge and experience in areas such as commissioning health and social care, health policy and his understanding of organisational change make him a welcome addition to our Board of Trustees.
Ingrid is both the parent of a hearing impaired child and a Chartered Accountant working within the third sector. As the Company Secretary of a regional charity that contracts with health trusts and government departments, Ingrid understands the internal and external issues facing charities in the current economic climate.
This combination of personal and professional skills enables Ingrid to contribute effectively to the decisions made about the direction of Action on Hearing Loss on behalf of service users, staff and other stakeholders within Northern Ireland, ensuring that their voices are heard.
Ingrid’s personal interests include swimming and she is involved with the Great Britain Deaf Swimming Club.
As a recently deafened adult and new cochlear implant user, Richard has first-hand knowledge of hearing loss. He has worked as a volunteer for Action on Hearing Loss in a wide-range of roles for four years, including providing local hearing aid support in the community and working with various befriending groups.
Richard gives talks and blogs about his own experience of hearing loss, to raise deaf awareness and highlight the emotional impact of sudden acquired hearing loss on the deafened person and their family and friends. Richard is also a trustee of The National Association of Deafened People, and he has a keen interest in improving access to the arts for deaf people.