Concern Universal currently has 9 Trustees plus a Minutes Secretary and an Advisor to the Board.
Peter Ayres, Chair
I am a professionally qualified civil and structural engineer and worked for 37 … I am a professionally qualified civil and structural engineer and worked for 37 years with Arup Group, one of the UK’s largest independent consultants, the last 28 years based in Hong Kong. I have been responsible for a diverse range of infrastructure and building projects as well as having senior leadership experience as a member of the Arup main board for the last seven years of my career. Over these many years I have spent considerable periods of time with projects and people in many countries in North and South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. I retired in 2005 and my wife, Linda, and I returned to the UK a year ago, partly to be closer to aged parents and two grown-up sons and partly to renew our relationship with Europe. Upon our return I was keen to find a part time role that would enable me to use my experience to give back something from my rather privileged life to those most needy in the world today. I was delighted to learn about CU and its work from Herefordshire Voluntary Action and to discover that they were keen to increase the number and diversity of the Board of Trustees. After meeting Nicola, Ian and many other Trustees, I was thrilled and honoured to be invited to join the Board at the end of May 2008.
I have worked in international development for over 10 years focussing on progra… I have worked in international development for over 10 years focussing on programme management at senior levels. Currently I am managing the Education Transition Fund for the Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe as UNICEF Zimbabwe staff. The Education Transition Fund is a multimillion dollar and multi donor fund aimed at revitalising the education system in Zimbabwe. I have also managed the commonwealth education fund, the civil society education fund for Africa and education and country programmes in Africa and Europe. I have managed education programmes for Oxfam at a global level as Oxfam’s Global Programme Development Adviser. I am a renowned education expert and policy advocate for Education. I taught at a girls’ secondary school for 4 and half years. I have advocated for the achievement of EFA through the improvement of teacher morale, motivation and status. For 4 years I managed VSO‘s education programme in Malawi aimed at improving education quality with emphasis on teacher issues, this is where I had my first encounter with CU ever since I have been motivated and impressed by CU’s work that develops poor people. I have also worked on governance programmes in Nigeria and Tanzania where I was the Country Director. I am a public and motivational speaker on different issues. I have published papers on education. My international development experience has enabled me to understand and appreciate working in multi-country programmes in a diversity of cultures, religions and personalities. I am currently studying for my PhD with Oxford Brookes University and I hold a Master’s degree in Education, Gender and international Development from the Institute of education, University of London, a postgraduate certificate in NGO management from Imperial College, University of London and a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Chancellor College, University of Malawi.
I have worked in rural development for the past 10 years, focusing on sustaina… I have worked in rural development for the past 10 years, focusing on sustainable livelihoods, natural resource management and gender issues. I first became involved in project management as Erasmus Project Officer for the Free University of Brussels. I later lectured English for the Faculty of Agronomy of the Catholic University of Mozambique with Skillshare Africa. There I developed a passion for rural development which I pursed through an MA at the University of East Anglia. Following my MA I returned to Mozambique, working on land rights for local NGO Kulima and as Natural Resource Advisor for SNV (Dutch Development Organisation). My involvement with Concern Universal began in Guinea in 2006 first in project management, then as Country Director ad interim. I subsequently joined the CU Nigeria team as Projects Coordinator for Livelihoods and Governance. I have now returned to my hometown Brussels, Belgium, and I’m currently South-East Asia Programme Manager for Oxfam. Being a trustee is giving me the opportunity to further contribute to the work of Concern Universal from a more strategic perspective, ensuring that the organisation’s work continues to benefit the hard to reach and most vulnerable communities.
Lucy Weston, Chair of Finance Committee
When studying at Geography at Oxford University, I first crossed paths with CU w… When studying at Geography at Oxford University, I first crossed paths with CU when I spent a brief period with colleagues in Malawi. I was inspired by this and have followed CU’s progression since! I am a qualified accountant (ACA) and have practical microfinance experience - this is having worked with a substantial operation in Cambodia between 2003 and 2004 (AMK Microfinance Bank). I have also worked as an Audit Manager at Deloitte’s. I am presently the Director of Operations at Virgin Unite. I have worked at senior levels in the non-profit and business sector, notably between December 2005 and June 2009 as Director of Corporate Services at Crisis, a large UK charity for homeless people, where I continue to volunteer.
I have been interested in people from other countries and cultures since watchin… I have been interested in people from other countries and cultures since watching a BBC schools broadcast “People of Many Lands”, when I was a young child. Teaching geography and then working for international development followed on naturally, with an interest in Land and Water management. I enjoy learning and doing new things and keeping in touch with the friends I have made in each place I have worked. Combining this with a bit of theatre going and appreciation of the achievements of people in the past, makes me know that our world in a wonderful place with many generous, hardworking and talented people looking for the chance to realise their potential and provide a better future for their families. I first worked for CU (CU) in Malawi from 1992 to 1994 and then again in Bangladesh in 1996 to 1998. I have also worked with VSO, Save the Children and Children’s Aid Direct in Malawi, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Georgia gaining experience of working with people affected by conflict. Joining CU as a trustee in 2004 has given me a fantastic opportunity to continue to contribute to this.
Philip Tamuno (Phil)
I am an environmental management scientist with extensive experience in the ar… I am an environmental management scientist with extensive experience in the areas of: sustainable livelihoods; environmental management; energy and carbon management; sustainable development; and climate change mitigation and adaptation. I have served as peer reviewer for various referred academic journals and authored articles in a wide range of reputable journals. I hold a PhD in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development and my professional experience have been acquired from working in: Academia; Environmental Regulation; International Non-governmental Organisation (NGO); Public Sector; and the Health Sector. I currently work at the East Midlands Ambulance Services NHS Trust (EMAS) as its Environment Manager.
I have worked in the tea industry for over 30 years as an executive with the T… I have worked in the tea industry for over 30 years as an executive with the Tetley Group, holding a range of commercial and communication roles before pursuing an interest in sustainable development. I created and directed the Tetley global sustainability programme for 10 years and acquired a particular interest in sustainable agricultural sourcing, the role of brands and business in promoting sustainability, and opportunities for business to collaborate with the Third and educational sectors to deliver sustainable outcomes. It was a rewarding career, but demanding, and in recent years I began to look forward to the time when there would be an opportunity to focus on issues that were personally important to me. That time has come and I am now working and volunteering independently, helping - I hope - to create a more sustainable world. I am involved in a range of initiatives, in particular advising the Ethical Tea Partnership on communication, being an active governor at a London primary school – and joining the Concern Universal Board of Trustees, which I am thrilled about! I have been engaged with the charity since 2001, firstly in a professional capacity as the lead for the Tetley Group on a joint water and sanitation project in the tea-growing region of Malawi, and subsequently in various volunteering roles. I have always been impressed by their commitment to rooting everything they do in the needs of the communities they serve, by their focus on achieving maximum impact from the resources available to them, and by their ambition to continually create further capacity and capability in order to serve more of our world’s neediest people.So I look forward to working with some great people, sharing anything I can of my experience with a view to helping the charity continue its impressive track record.
I worked in the financial services industry for 12 years but following a career … I worked in the financial services industry for 12 years but following a career break spent with my two children, and a house move from Cambridge to rural Shropshire I made a conscious decision to use my professional skills in the charity sector and specialised in fundraising. I returned to work with overseas development charity Harvest Help for eight years becoming Head of Fundraising, and for the last three years have fundraised with individuals for Birmingham Royal Ballet. I am currently Fundraising & Marketing Manager for Cord, an international peace building charity and am delighted to be utilising my skills as a trustee for CU as I have admired their work and ethos for several years.
David Hitchiner, Legal Advisor to Board
I am a solicitor and chartered secretary. I have worked in the City of London fo… I am a solicitor and chartered secretary. I have worked in the City of London for 8 years, and became a partner in a law firm in Birmingham in 1985 before moving to Cadbury Schweppes in 1990. I became involved with CU in 2000 while working at Bulmers as Deputy Company Secretary where I took a particular interest in Bulmer’s sustainability programme. Over the years I have obtained experience which is relevant to much of CU’s work. I have been involved in a number of charities and have a particular interest in governance issues. I believe myself to be an old fashioned solicitor with a broad knowledge of legal work rather than a specialist. As Governance and Legal Advisor to CU Board, I provide input on legal and governance issues. What I particularly appreciate about CU is the commitment it has to the people it is supporting in each country. It measures its success by how well it achieves its objectives rather its size or prominence. It also seeks sustainable solutions rather than short term ones.
Joan McGee, Minutes secretary
I taught in Nigeria before the Biafran War and was deeply moved by the suffering… I taught in Nigeria before the Biafran War and was deeply moved by the suffering of the Igbo people during that war. For many of the people of my generation that was the “moment of truth” in our attitude to the so-called developing nations. I was therefore honoured to become a Trustee of CU when it was set up in Britain in 1976. My commitment is still strong over thirty years later, and although I stood down as a Trustee in 2009, I continue to take the minutes for the Board Meetings. My professional life as a teacher of adults brought me into contact with people from many countries and many cultures, some of them refugees, some not, but each with a fascinating and often sad story of their own. Because of this and my Christian faith, I am always aware of the human family and of our duty to all our brothers and sisters. I am fortunate in being happily married for forty seven years and we have four children. They share our values and have all, as adults, spent much of their lives working for NGOs.
Victoria Seaman, Assistant Company Secretary
I studied Law and Spanish at Sheffield University, and lived in Valencia for a y… I studied Law and Spanish at Sheffield University, and lived in Valencia for a year as part of those studies. Since graduating in 2007, I worked for a small Solicitor’s firm in Hereford, and began volunteering with CU. In April 2008 I took on a full time role with the charity as Management In formation Coordinator, encompassing support to the Patron’s (Richard and Kay Harvey) in promoting ‘good business’, responsibility for Risk Management, and liaising with country programmes on issues as varied as donor reports to legal status and funding streams. Having now moved to London, I work for Starlight Children’s Foundation as a Wish Granter to brighten the lives of seriously ill children. However, I continue my involvement with CU voluntarily, working with the Board of Trustees on a range of legal and financial issues. I am also working with the UK Board of DAM – a partner organization of CU in Bangladesh.