Board of Trustees

Jane Scott Dodson MSc FRSA.

Chair of the Board

I joined the board in 2017 and became Chair in the same year. My role with the board is to ensure good governance and help set the strategic direction for the organisation. I care deeply about the advocacy services we deliver and am proud to be part of such a committed team.

I began work in the international development sector, working in Asia and Africa on health, agricultural and refugee programmes. I then ran a refugee training and careers advice service in London and held several senior roles in small charities before setting up my own consultancy and spending some time in the public sector. My current role includes advising social enterprises on governance, strategy and social impact measurement.

Adam Chambers

Trustee

Adam joined our Board of Trustees in the summer of 2016. Adam has been a barrister practicing in civil law for 25 years.  From that he has learned the importance of providing a mouthpiece for people who may not otherwise be heard in difficult situations.  He believes that the provision of advocacy services is of vital importance in a society where rights have to be asserted. He has volunteered in order to do his bit to see that this important service continues.

Irene Bews

Trustee

I joined the Advocacy People as a Trustee in June 2019.  I sit on the Board and the Audit committee, and work with the Board and senior management to set the overall strategy and ensure implementation is a timely and resourced manner. I utilise my skills and expertise gained from my professional financial career, and I help to liaise with the finance team in order to ensure the appropriate financial information is made available to the Board and that we, as a charity, remain in good strong financial health. 

I am delighted to be on the Board and help take forward the extremely important role of The Advocacy People, as I am committed to empowering people to ensure they can express their views and have their voices heard.

I worked for over 20 years in Higher Education, with most of these years as Director of Finance at Aberdeen and Kingston Universities. I retired from Kingston In December 2017, and now take an active part in my local community and have taken up various voluntary roles.

Tim O'Brien

Trustee

I joined the Board in September 2018. With a passion for social justice, I see advocacy as paramount in empowering vulnerable people. As a Trustee, I fully support The Advocacy People’s vision, mission and values. My experience and skills help ensure that we continue to provide an efficient, quality service to all people who need support to make their voice heard.

After starting out as a teacher in the East End of London, I have spent most of my career as a senior leader in the Further Education and Training Sector, working at colleges across the country, as well as in East Sussex.  My particular skills and experience are in business planning, quality assurance and improvement and have been developed through ensuring adults and young people gain the skills required to help them overcome the barriers that hinder them reaching their full potential. 

Alison Steel

Trustee

I joined the board in 2020. I was a newspaper journalist for ten years before embarking on a career in public relations and marketing. I ran my own public relations business for five years and held senior roles in the commercial and public sectors.

I retired in 2018 as Director of Marketing and Communications at Kingston University, London, and now concentrate on voluntary activities. I am a trustee and director of Hastings Literary Festival. I am passionate about the power of good communications and I’m keen to do what I can to support The Advocacy People in helping vulnerable people to make their voices heard

Ralu Nistor Lustermans

Trustee

I joined The Advocacy People’s board in 2021. I have a deep passion for enabling people of all genders and backgrounds to be at their best and get the right support when they need it, which is what the advocacy service delivers. My role with the board is to be a critical friend and voice of reason for the Senior Leadership Team ensuring that we can provide the best services to our clients. 

My professional background is in Internal Audit with a particular focus on auditing IT processes and governance. Having held various internal audit roles in global organisations and in various countries in Europe, I developed an expertise in internal control effectiveness, transformation project assurance, process improvement, risk management and organisational culture. I am also a business coach, mental health first aider and advocate of well-being at work; I believe effective results can be achieved by empowering employees to be the best they can be. 

On a personal level I am a proud step-mom of a young adult son and a proud mom of two young super energetic boys; our family is a nest of diversity and inclusion. 

I am very proud to be part of The Advocacy People’s journey and support them support others.

Charlotte Bates

Trustee

I am thrilled to be joining The Advocacy People. The heart of my professional endeavours has always been the importance of people being heard and understood. This has taken my career down paths in Law, Psychology, Mediation and contributing to a major publication on the issue of effective communication/dispute resolution in the workplace.

I have both a professional and a personal passion for helping vulnerable people, the foundation of which has been developed in my lived experience; experiencing first-hand how vital the core values and beliefs that underpin services are, and the importance of quality advocacy being available. As such, I am extremely motivated to be able to support and shape the quality offering of The Advocacy People. I feel privileged to have found this position as Trustee of The Advocacy People which I see as an opportunity to contribute to knowledgably by bringing my experiences as someone with on-going challenges including access to services. This role supports the issues that I champion.

Sutin Yang

Trustee

I joined the Board in 2021 and have a strong belief in empowering people to have their voices heard to improve our service systems such as healthcare. My position as a portfolio manager working with socially impactful tech organisations means that I have seen first-hand the transformative change that social impact organisations can make.

I started my career with over a decade of experience in various financial market and investment roles in J.P. Morgan before becoming a social entrepreneur and starting an FSA authorised property crowdfunding platform to help people get on the property ladder. In 2019, I joined Social Tech Trust to build their venture support platform to support socially impactful tech organisations to grow. I have a keen interest in the triple bottom line of social, user, and financial value of organisations and socially impactful tech and innovation. I look forward to helping The Advocacy People in its mission to help anyone who needs independent support to speak up and improve people’s lives.

Simi Gandhi-Whittaker

Trustee

I joined The Advocacy People in 2021 as Trustee of the Board. My desire to support a charitable organisation that supports the most vulnerable people in society is what attracted me to this volunteering position.

I am an accomplished senior strategic and business development professional, with nearly 20 years’ experience in developing and delivering multi-million pound contracts in construction management (PFI/PPP) and Total Facilities Management. As a team player, I achieve targets and contribute to profitable and sustainable growth, ensuring the right commercial outcomes whilst mitigating risks.

As former chair of Women in FM, I am a champion and mentor supporting diversity and inclusion in the FM industry. I firmly believe that it is possible to create more equal and diverse workplaces by really listening to all those people involved and by taking a proactive approach and challenging the status quo to instigate positive change. As a natural coach, I continue to volunteer and mentor. I previously mentored female entrepreneurs in developing countries through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. My aim is to be recognised as a credible representative of Asian women in leadership roles – I was named a top ten finalist for Women in the City Future Leaders Award 2015. My mission is to inspire and be a positive role model for those on their career trajectory.