Meet the Board

Our board is responsible for assisting the Chief Executive and senior management team with the strategic direction of Chwarae Teg and ensuring compliance in line with legislative and funding requirements. Our board members bring diverse national and international experience to the charity as we move forward with ambitious plans to make Wales a world leader in gender equality. The Board is supported in discharging its statutory duties by two sub-committees, a Finance and Risk Committee and a People and Organisational Development Committee.

Alison Thorne
Founder, atconnect

Alison Thorne

Founder, atconnect

Alison Thorne is a Non-Executive Director, Trustee and Committee member plus the founder of atconnect Business and People Development Company.

Alison is currently the Wales Lead for Women on Boards, and also a board member for Sport Wales where she sits on the Finance and Audit Committee. She has previously served as a Non-Executive Director for a Retail Consultancy and as a trustee at Tropical Forest Trust (sustainable forest management)

She has had a corporate career in retail, holding executive board roles at Mothercare, George at Asda and Otto UK with leadership roles at Kingfisher and Storehouse specialising in Buying, Merchandising and Sourcing.

Alison has been a trustee at Chwarae Teg since March 2016 and has sat on the Finance & Risk Committee and the Commercial Innovation Group. She was appointed Chair in July 2019.

Brian Meechan
FairPlay Trading Ltd Board Member

Brian Meechan

FairPlay Trading Ltd Board Member

Brian is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster and presenter. He’s also the co-founder, co-director and chair of the Cardiff Book Festival, and the director of Stay Gold Media, which operates across broadcasting and events.

As BBC Wales’ business correspondent, Brian covers business and the economy for TV, radio and online. He was also the creative producer and presenter of a TV documentary and he presented a weekly business programme on radio. He’s covered stories for BBC Breakfast, the Six O’Clock News, the News Channel, Radio 4, 5Live, BBC Scotland and ITN. Brian was previously a political reporter.

Spotting a gap in Cardiff’s cultural scene, he started up the Cardiff Book Festival with some friends. The festival runs over three days encouraging reading, writing and debate through dozens of events.

He’s studied at Glasgow University, Cardiff University and Edinburgh Napier University and is starting a postgraduate certificate in business leadership at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Carolyn Brownell
Head of Marketing and Communications, FOR Cardiff

Carolyn Brownell

Head of Marketing and Communications, FOR Cardiff

Carolyn is a member of both the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Institute of Place Management (IPM) and has a BSc in Business Management with Marketing from Cardiff University.

Carolyn has over ten years’ experience in the marketing, managing and developing places across the UK. She has held management roles at various companies, most recently at FOR Cardiff (Cardiff’s Business Improvement District, BID) where she is the Head of Marketing and Communications. Her role requires her to deliver strategic guidance, to organise and execute B2B/B2C marketing, events and communication activities to FOR Cardiff’s member businesses and promote Cardiff as a destination of choice.

Catherine Thomas
Founder - Bailey Thomas Design

Catherine Thomas

Founder - Bailey Thomas Design

A Welsh speaker brought up in Carmarthenshire, Catherine is an experienced non executive director, trustee and committee member. She has enjoyed a career in politics, as well as working for organisations focusing on children’s and women’s rights, including managing the Wales Women’s National Coalition. For eight years she was a trustee of Care and Repair Cymru and is a trustee of the Peony Breast Care Unit Charity based in West Wales.

She has worked in Labour politics at Assembly, Westminster and European level. In 2018 she was a key member of Mark Drakeford’s leadership campaign team and is an elected member of Labour’s Welsh Executive Committee representing Mid and West Wales.

A former Assembly Member for Llanelli, and a qualified interior designer, in recent years Catherine has fused her passion for politics and design by establishing her own consultancy, Bailey Thomas Design. Amongst the services it provides is the creation of functional and sustainable interior design, mentoring support to women seeking public office and public speaking coaching. She is a founding member of Labour’s Charter for Women, which encourages and supports women into public life.

Catherine became a board member in March 2016 and is also a member of our People and Organisational Development Committee.

Christopher Warner
Deputy Director - Constitution and Justice, Welsh Government

Christopher Warner

Deputy Director - Constitution and Justice, Welsh Government

After graduating with an English degree from St John’s College, Oxford Christopher worked as a project manager responsible for marketing, producing and distributing a range of print and web resources for schools on behalf of public, private and third sector clients. Christopher then joined the Welsh Government on the Civil Service Fast Stream and spent eight years working mainly on economic policy and regeneration and also as Senior Private Secretary to the Deputy First Minister. After five years at the National Assembly for Wales Commission as Head of Policy and Legislation Committee Service, Christopher returned to the Welsh Government as Deputy Director – Constitution and Justice.

Christopher has two young daughters for whom he is determined to help build a fairer Wales where they can achieve and prosper. Christopher became a board member in March 2016.

Anita Shaw
Director, STEMpowered Learning

Anita Shaw

Director, STEMpowered Learning

Dr Anita Shaw has over 23 years’ experience of supporting teachers in interactive science teaching, starting at the Science Museum in London, and more recently at Techniquest in Cardiff where she was responsible for the centre’s education strategy.

Anita is passionate about engaging young people, particularly girls, in STEM. She sits on the Welsh Government’s Women in STEM board and has previously been a member of the task and finish group, its Science Working Group and its Strategic Stakeholder Group for the new curriculum in Wales. She runs the Welsh Valleys Engineering Project for the Royal Academy of Engineering and is a volunteer for Barefoot Computing.

Alison became a board member March 2016 and is also a member of our Finance and Risk Committee.

Haf Cennydd
FairPlay Trading Ltd Board Member

Haf Cennydd

FairPlay Trading Ltd Board Member

Haf is a senior commercial and strategic leader with over 20 years in the creative B2B events sector and has organised some of the world’s largest international trade shows.

She has significant experience in working with both private and public sector organisations across multiple high value sectors. With a career spanning the globe starting in sales and quickly moving to strategic and commercial leadership roles, Haf spent much of her life living and working across the world leading global teams for large media and events PLCs namely UBM (now Informa) and Ascential. Haf personally set up start-ups in countries such as India, Turkey and China and led the development of these businesses from inception to commercial success. Haf was Managing Director of GovNet Communications until December 2019 and in February 2020, after moving home to Cardiff, formed Springboard International, acting as a consultant to the events industry and most recently advising the Public and Third sectors. 

Jo Hicks
Director of Academi Wales

Jo Hicks

Director of Academi Wales

Jo has over 20 years of experience in leadership and organisational development across both the public and private sectors. Jo is an experienced strategic leader, practitioner and facilitator, holding a range of post graduate qualifications and professional memberships, having trained at Harvard on the areas of leadership and management development. She is a member of the UK Government Taskforce on Public Service Leadership.

As part of her all Wales role, Jo leads a team to develop new and innovative programmes and opportunities that build leadership and organisational development

capacity and capability across Welsh public services.

Jo became a board member in June 2018 and is also a member of our People and Organisational Development Committee.

Lynne Hamilton
Chwarae Teg Board Member

Lynne Hamilton

Chwarae Teg Board Member

Lynne has worked throughout her career in public service including senior leadership and Board roles in the civil service and the NHS. She served as Chief Finance Officer of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and subsequently as Executive Director of Finance at Swansea Bay University Health Board.

She has over 30 years public service experience in a career spanning research; strategy and policy development and implementation; change management; system improvement; and strategic and operational financial leadership and governance.

Lynne is passionate about diversity, organisational and personal development and believes that great people make great organisations. Lynne is passionate about coaching and mentoring and has a range of coaching and mentoring relationships.

Lynne joined the Board of Chwarae Teg in 2019 and Chairs our Finance and Risk Committee and our Remuneration Committee.

She is also a Trustee of Cardiff and Vale Citizens Advice, where she chairs their Audit and Risk Committee. She is an Independent Member of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable for Dyfed-Powys Joint Audit Committee. Lynne is also a Senior Independent Panel Member for Welsh Government Public Appointments.

She is married to a fellow Scot and has two sons and a small granddaughter.

Nicola Olsen
Group Financial Controller, Greencoat Ltd

Nicola Olsen

Group Financial Controller, Greencoat Ltd

Nicola Olsen is a Chartered Accountant with an MBA from Oxford Brooke’s. She has 20 years experience in a variety of industries and sectors from large multinationals to smaller not for profits. Nicola has previously held management roles in several companies, most recently as Group Financial Controller for a multinational animal supplements company. Nicolas key skills lie in coaching and developing staff and managing change.

Nicola became a Co-Optee board member in June 2018.

Nicola Williams
FairPlay Employer Board Member

Nicola Williams

FairPlay Employer Board Member

She has worked for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water since 2012, where she is currently Legal and Compliance Director and Company Secretary. She is passionate about Inclusivity & Diversity in the workplace and chairs Welsh Water’s Re:Think group which is rethinking the company’s initiatives to promote an inclusive and diverse workplace. Nicola is a Trustee and Vice-Chair of Citizens Advice Rhondda Cynon Taf, and between 2015 and 2020 was a member of the Wales Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Nicola originally trained as a solicitor and worked with a City law firm, specialising in public law issues. In 2004, she relocated to Wales and became a partner in the Dispute Resolution team at a national law firm, specialising in public law and regulatory disputes, representing clients including educational institutions, utilities companies, and SMEs, and advising on a range of issues including contract law, regulatory matters, human rights and the equality issues.

Olly Jones
Partner, Simmons & Simmons LLP

Olly Jones

Partner, Simmons & Simmons LLP

Olly is a Partner in the market leading Employment group at Simmons & Simmons LLP, an international legal practice with over 1,500 people and 22 offices located in major business and financial centres throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

He specialises in strategic employment law matters such as a highly sensitive people risk management problems, gender balance and equal pay matters, complex litigation, business protection matters and whistleblowing. He acts across a broad range of sectors with a particular focus on Financial Institutions, Asset Management & Investment Funds and FinTech.

As a partner, Olly is also heavily involved in his firm’s gender balance and diversity efforts, playing a lead role in its International Women’s Day events in March 2019. He also mentors several women ranging from trainees to senior associates with partnership ambitions.

Olly grew up in Swansea and attended Cardiff University.

Rachael Cunningham
Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Natural Resources Wales

Rachael Cunningham

Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Natural Resources Wales

Rachael is an ICAEW chartered accountant. She trained at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in London and has a BSc Hons degree in Chemistry from Imperial College, London. Rachael joined DVLA in 2003 and became Finance Director in December 2013. She is responsible for providing financial leadership at a strategic and operational level, ensuring sound and appropriate governance and risk management controls are in place across the agency.

DVLA is Rachael’s first role in the public sector. Prior to that she held several senior finance positions in the private sector, in a wide-ranging variety of sectors including manufacturing and interior design.

Rachel became a board member in March 2016 and is the Chair of our Finance and Risk Committee.

Robert Lamb
Director, Expectation State

Robert Lamb

Director, Expectation State

Expectation State works to increase the quantity and quality of private sector investment in conflict-affected countries. Robert held senior leadership roles at a leading private investment firm. He has significant expertise in investment decision making and the negotiation of commercial arrangements, having been personally responsible for the acquisition and management of more than $8 billion of investment capital in the UK, Middle East, and Africa, and having served as a voting member on a number of investment committees.

Robert is also a Trustee of Ty Hafan, the Welsh paediatric palliative care charity and is a native Welsh speaker.

Robert became a Co-Optee board member in June 2018.

Sarah Scotcher
Policy & External Affairs Project Officer, Community Housing Cymru (CHC)

Sarah Scotcher

Policy & External Affairs Project Officer, Community Housing Cymru (CHC)

Sarah works in social housing policy, supporting housing associations to increase the supply of affordable housing and achieve the sector ambition of making good housing a basic right for all in Wales.

CHC influence, lobby and campaign on issues from welfare reform to building regulations, and support member housing associations in their data integrity and good governance. Sarah’s role requires the assessment of political, financial and reputational risk, as well as the nurturing of relationships with members, decision-makers and partners.

Before moving into the third sector, Sarah co-founded and ran a small business. Running this SME involved building, training and leading a team, as well as managing revenue streams & stages of growth.

Sharon Williams
Managing Director, Pia

Sharon Williams

Managing Director, Pia

Having worked to implement the Welsh Language Policy of a local authority, Sharon joined Pia in 1999. Pia is a specialist print company, transcribing print into accessible formats, such as braille, large print and audio. Sharon became MD in 2005, and has been instrumental in a number of business developments, including Investor in People status. She has successfully negotiated a period of intense change, which has resulted in a major improvement in Pia's capabilities and prospects.

Sharon is an enthusiastic advocate of Chwarae Teg’s work. Pia achieved Exemplar Employer Status through Agile Nation, and has once again achieved this in Agile Nation2.

Initially appointed as a Co-optee member, Sharon joined the board fully in June 2018. She is also a member of our Finance and Risk Committee and People and Organisational Development Committee.

Shikala Mansfield
Senior Workforce Business Partner, NHS Wales

Shikala Mansfield

Senior Workforce Business Partner, NHS Wales

Shikala has a background of working in both the Public and Private Sector including FTSE 100 blue-chip organisations. Shikala's expertise includes strategic planning, management of re-engineering business process through major organisational restructuring, workforce planning and development, continuous improvement and project management.

She is a Board Member for Cardiff City Football Foundation Club and the Vice Chair of School Governors in Cardiff.

Shikala has wide range of interest from organising large scale events to raise funds for charities, mentoring and coaching to speaking at events.

Shikala became a board member in June 2018 and is also a member of our People and Organisational Development Committee.

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