Our board of experienced trustees come from different sectors and all walks of life. They share responsibility on how Cerebra is governed.
Chair of the Trustees
Sean joins the Cerebra board having enjoyed a successful 30-year career in business during which he built up significant commercial experience. This included leading and subsequently selling to his management team his own collection of leisure tourism businesses, sitting on a wide range of boards as a non-executive director and being asked to provide advice to government and ministers on a wide range of business-related issues. For the last ten years he has also chaired the Board of Trustees at Crossroads Care Kent, a large regional charity supporting the needs of both adult and young carers throughout the county. He has a particular passion for developing people and driving performance through great leadership and management and is currently also a director and deputy chair of Investors in People. He remains a director of The Albatross Group, the business that he led for over 20 years and has recently launched The Growth Adviser, his own consultancy aimed at helping owner managers accelerate their growth plans and build stronger businesses. He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Institute of Directors amongst others.
A qualified management accountant (CIMA), David has recently become self-employed following 20 years of senior manager roles across IT and financial services sectors. Outside work, most of his time is spent supporting his wife and two children who are immersed in a variety of sports clubs and interests, with any spare time being taken up by golf and his new passion for cycling. David has previously been an active supporter of Bristol charity ‘PROPS’, which raises money to provide opportunities for young people with learning difficulties and special needs, the key focus being inclusion. He is very proud to be a trustee for Cerebra, believing the charity has a unique proposition and is successfully delivering its aims and objectives through the valuable connection between colleagues, supporters and families.
Roland Gooding OBE
Roland Gooding has been involved in special education for 40 years. He has been a headteacher of two special schools and remains the principal of Valence School, Westerham in Kent which caters for children and young people who have physical disabilities and complex medical needs. He has a range of experience working with local authorities and of representing schools on various statutory and non-statutory bodies. His primary interest is in the progress and development of children and young people who have special educational needs and in particular of promoting and enabling their independence. He works closely with families and has supported many to secure the right educational provision for their children. He works proactively with colleagues from health and social care and is keen to promote shared responsibility across agencies for children and young people who have Education Health and Care Plans. In 2014 he played a key role in establishing a Co-operative Trust for 16 special schools in Kent to provide mutual support, collaboration and educational innovation. In the same year he was awarded an OBE for services to education. In July 2017 he was ordained as a permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church. He is married to Esther and has two grown-up children.
Jan is a chartered accountant and Fellow of the Securities Institute. He works in corporate finance at KPMG and focuses on capital raising and mergers and acquisitions. He has previously been non-executive at the Land Registry and also leads KPMG’s housing sector where he has led a number of collaborations with the charity Shelter on housing policy.
He has seen the benefits of Cerebra first hand as a parent of premature twins and is delighted to be supporting such an important charity in bridging between the real experiences and needs of children and parents with clinical knowledge to deliver new insight and solutions.
Imogen is a paediatrician who has specialised for nearly thirty years in the intensive care of newborn babies. Some of these were premature, others had a variety of problems arising before, during or after birth. Until she retired in 2013 she was Clinical Director of the Newborn Service at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, one of the busiest in the country. This experience of meeting parents at a time of stress and worry, of following the course of their babies’ illnesses and the effects of these on families, and trying to help where sometimes there is no medical answer to the problems, has given Imogen a unique insight into the consequences of infantile disability for families and professionals alike. Additionally, in the NICU and in the follow up service, she has seen how people – children and adults – cope and come through in amazing and admirable ways and how they can be greatly helped by being given quite simple facts, information or interventions. She is thrilled to be involved with Cerebra, which she joined in June 2014, because she believes we are such an imaginative charity whose activities help children and families in such diverse but effective and evidence-backed ways. It is her opinion that these research and practical supports complement the services the NHS can provide, enabling children with neurodisability to thrive in the fullest way possible.
Dr Rim Al-Samsam
As an experienced consultant in Paediatric Critical Care, Dr Rim has worked at a senior level in the public sector in Wales delivering services to children and young people since 2001. She has been heavily involved in developing the service locally and regionally to become the lead centre of excellence in Wales. Due to the nature of her training she has experienced working across different healthcare systems: the Middle East, the USA, Scotland and Wales. This has given her insight into how differing systems can achieve similar outcomes, across a range of strengths and shortfalls. She has been committed to her personal development since the early stages of her career. Rim’s work has brought her face to face with complex ethical and legal dilemmas that prompted her to complete an LLM in Legal Aspects of Medical Practice at Cardiff Law School in 2008. She gained a sound knowledge of the legal rules applicable to the practice and administration of healthcare in the UK and enriched her understanding of the landscape of children and young persons’ rights and obligations as set by the various national and international legislations. As she matured in her role and gained significant experience outside the clinical setting, she became increasingly aware of how she could contribute to the strategic and wider aspects of health care management. Therefore she joined Cerebra as a Trustee earlier this year. She feels privileged to have joined such a charity which she believes has the unique aim to improve the lives of children with brain-related conditions through research, education and by directly supporting children and their carers.
Andrew’s career in human genetics spans more than 30 years. After a long period in academic research he moved on in 2003 to study and then train as an NHS genetic counsellor, joining the West Midlands Regional Genetics Service. Recognition of the often untreated or undiagnosed mental health problems of patients and their families, combined with rapid advances in the diagnostic power of genomic technologies fostered Andrew’s desire to understand how genetic and environmental risks interact and influence developmental adjustment and mental health outcomes of children who attend genetics clinics. These interconnected passions inspired his move to Cardiff University in 2014 to work as research genetic counsellor at the School of Medicine and its clinical psychiatry service. He contributed towards improving understanding of mental health in growing numbers children with brain conditions having genetic testing and how services could be improved to benefit patients and their families. Working with clinical academics, community mental health services and geneticists, Andrew co-chaired a multidisciplinary team which developed novel interdisciplinary services for individuals with complex developmental and mental health conditions. He also worked as honorary liaison genetic counsellor for the local mental health board’s autism service. Committed to improving clinical services and empowering parents to make informed choices, Andrew approached Cerebra to co-develop a major new collaborative partnership for sharing knowledge and expertise. Using the best available evidence, the partnership aims enhance the lives and life choices of children with brain conditions and their families. He feels privileged to join Cerebra as a Trustee and believes it underlines Andrew’s commitment to the pursuit of equal status between the mental and physical healthcare provision.