Concern Universal currently has 7 Trustees plus a Minutes Secretary, an Advisor to the Board and an Assistant Company Secretary.
I’ve spent the past fourteen years working in international development an… I’ve spent the past fourteen years working in international development and public service delivery. In my current role in Mott MacDonald I work with governments in low and middle-income countries to improve education and skills delivery systems. I am based in the UK but spend much of my time abroad providing practical support to our clients. My work in Africa and the UK has been wide ranging, from community-level programme and project implementation to national policy planning. I have a particular interest in skills development and vocational education and training, community-based development approaches and methods for translating national policies into effective local service delivery. My involvement with Concern Universal began in Nigeria in 2004 where I worked as Country Director until 2006. I also worked as Country Director of Concern Universal’s Malawi programme from November 2010 until April 2013. From 2006 to 2010 I volunteered as a CU Trustee whilst living in London and working in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. I rejoined CU’s Board as a Trustee in December 2013. I am married with three young daughters and I enjoy spending time with my family, following Everton FC and keeping up to date with the latest public policy and economic development theories and practices.
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 am currently a manager for education at UNICEF South Sudan. I have over 16 yea… I am currently a manager for education at UNICEF South Sudan. I have over 16 years of senior management and advisory skills gained through Global leadership of education programmes, Country Directorship of organizations with expertise in education, gender, international development, children’s rights, human rights, humanitarian( including states in transition and conflict) and long-term development civil society development and capacity building, INGOs governance, facilitation and capacity building at national and international levels, policy and advocacy in education, grant/fund management, advisory and leadership. With experience in program design and implementation, impact measurement, curriculum development and training delivery to local and national government institutions on advocacy and policy, research and consultation. Extensive experience working with national state and non-state actors, local, national government and international leaders, civil society organizations in Africa and Europe. I am an experienced community negotiator and influence management facilitator and trainer. Systematic thinker, professional judgment, analytical ability, sound background in conceptualizing new initiatives for transitional programming. Dynamic, flexible and hardworking team member and leader. I am so motivated by the community led approach to development that CU has. 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.
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.
I have worked in the tea industry for over 30 years as an executive with the Tet… 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.