Trustees Unlimited was founded in 2009 on the belief that good governance strengthens society.
Faiza Ali’s background is in community organising. She began working in the charitable sector in her late teens on local campaigns around access to education for marginalised communities, housing, gender and racial equity. Since then, Faiza has gone on to work for a number of U.K charities including the Barnardo’s, Oxfam and the Anti-Tribalism Movement where she delivered youth leadership and innovation programmes. Currently, Faiza works for Comic Relief as a Portfolio Manager working with partners who are delivering projects supporting young people at risk of violence, increasing access to funding for marginalised social entrepreneurs and leveraging the power of popular culture for social change around racial justice and migration.
Faiza is passionate about making the charitable sector a more equitable space for everyone across the board.
Jason Atkinson is the Managing Director of Russam.
Jason joined Russam in 2005 and his expertise cover Private Equity, Media & Telecoms, Marketing & Communications and Board / Leadership / General Management. Jason has been the Chairman of the Interim Management Association (IMA), a founding member of the Financial Promotions Action Group and is involved in a number of other industry bodies and associations.
After a first degree in business Jason became a fashion buyer for the Neiman Marcus Group based in Dallas, Texas. He then returned to the UK and completed an MBA from the University of Oxford and embarked on a career in the Financial Services sector. Through this period he spent ten years working for various insurance and banking institutions at director level including the Pearl Group, Interactive Investor and AMP – also completing several interim management assignments, which is how he commenced his third career with Russam.
Away from work Jason stays fit by teaching his three young boys how to hit a cricket ball and is actively involved in several charities including the MS Society and SportsAid.
Director - Search
Melissa Baxter leads the executive search team at Russam and has over 15 years senior level recruitment and consultancy experience; she is a successful talent acquisition and delivery specialist who will find innovative ways of working collaboratively with organisations to appoint the very best people to create and build exceptional high performing teams. Before joining Russam, she worked for a leading executive search business successfully appointing to senior level appointments in Central and Local Government, the not for profit and private sector; she was also a Founding Director of an executive search firm working on high profile executive and non-executive roles. Melissa has a wide range of experience recruiting to and advising boards across all sectors and she has a particular skill in identifying talent and working with individuals and organisations to ensure that the most successful appointments are made. She has led searches which have resulted in the successful appointments of Chief Executives and Directors across all disciplines within the not for profit and private sector.
Melissa is also a qualified and accredited Executive Coach who creates robust, strong and confidence-building working partnerships which are underpinned by sound coaching principles and well validated techniques. Melissa adopts an integrated approach, drawing on a variety of methodologies to support her clients, build their confidence and help them maximise their career potential. Melissa coaches and supports many women; the results and the feedback have been very positive. She also works with organisations to support them in the delivery of well-designed and integrated executive coaching programmes to ensure outstanding results that provide maximum returns on investment. Melissa leads on executive search across all sectors at Russam. Her earlier career was within the private sector where Melissa operated at a senior level in the UK and internationally.
Peter Bennett is the Partnership Executive Officer of Bates Wells. He heads up the support services, ensures the efficient management of the firm and assists the partners in setting and achieving strategic objectives.
He is dual qualified in accountancy and marketing and has a successful career in the management of law firms. He often takes responsibility for contract compliance on major client contracts, particularly where these involve services from across Bates Wells.
Finance, Business Development, IT & Web, HR, Premises and Graduate Recruitment are all part of his remit. He is a Member of the Marketing committee of CaSE insurance and a Member of the Careers Service Syndicate for the University of Cambridge.
He is the co-author for Sweet and Maxwell on “Conditional Fees – Law & Practice” and he has lectured on legal management issues at both the main Bar and Law Society conferences. Peter is Honorary Treasurer of the newly created Institute of Health Visiting.
Head of Marketing and Operations
Stacey Bennett is Trustees Unlimited’s Operations & Marketing Manager. She has been involved in the Step on Board programme since its creation, and moved across to support the whole of Trustees Unlimited in January 2019.
Stacey started her career with an award-winning digital communications agency where she account managed clients such as BP, Whitbread and BT. Over the next 10 years Stacey developed her skills and experience of social media, marketing, office management and project management in a variety of roles in the private sector before moving to the charity sector where she worked with NCVO, Unicef and the British Red Cross. Stacey then joined the Step on Board team in its early days as freelance programme coordinator and became a permanent member of the team in 2019. In her spare time Stacey is a jewellery designer including designing a range of jewellery featured in A Man on a Bench fashion show at Tate Modern in collaboration with the Museum of Homelessness.
Stacey runs our social media including our Twitter account: @trusteesunltd
Harish Bhayani is a specialised diversity consultant, trainer and researcher since 2001. His expertise is grounded in some 20 years of prior experience working in large corporations; Exxon Mobil, Rover Group and Deloitte. Harish works principally with boards to help them set and deliver EDI strategies. He has developed leading edge approaches in areas such as Unconscious Bias, Diversity Strategy, Inclusive Leadership, Diversity Benchmarking and Supplier Diversity. He has been guiding world class clients on Unconscious Bias since 2009, delivering training and strategies for minimising bias risk, measuring biases and implementing specific bias reduction solutions. He has been a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Network at the CIPR since 2011.
Harish has also followed a boardroom level career since 2006 as a NED and advises boards on their diversity in a professional capacity. Currently a trustee at Homeless Link and a NED at the NRLA. Harish has previously held trustee/Chair roles at Crisis and smaller homelessness charities. In 2017 he completed his tenure as a governor at his local High School with 1500 students (Ofsted Rating ‘Outstanding’). His other board level activities include setting up his own businesses and investing in other start-ups with non-executive roles.
Seetha is a global nomad of Indian origin and a British citizen, and as well as working with Trustees Unlimited, is a Partner with X-PM part of a global organisation dealing with worldwide interim leadership and advisor to a number of start-ups and small businesses in India and Europe.
Her management career specialising in Product management, Marketing and Communications has spanned a couple of decades in Technology, Media & Telecoms for Financial Services with large corporations such as Reuters, BT and SunGard in London, Singapore, Bombay and Geneva.
She set up and shut down a small media company funded by Softbank in London at the height of the first dotcom boom in the late 1990s and has been a director of a UK based technology start-up in recent years.
Seetha was a key member of the founding team that set up the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka when it was a war zone. She has raised funds for the Commonwealth Writers Short story prize, hosted an Anglophone radio show about books and writes a regular film and poetry column for an expat magazine. She also has a keen interest in mental health and chronic illness.
Seetha’s role within Trustees Unlimited is to help us expand and deliver great results for our Step on Board clients in Asia.
Associate / Diversity Panel
Darren has had a varied career with experience in wide-ranging roles in Sales, Recruitment, People Development, Contract Management and latterly Higher Education.
He is a knowledgeable Board Member with Governance experience at a school level as well as a County level, being a member of the Buckinghamshire County Council School Consultative Board.
Trustee experience includes being a Trustee of the Education Support Partnership, a Trustee at the Danes Educational Trust and he is currently a Trustee at Relate, with the role of Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee.
Darren has a degree in Business Studies, an MBA from Henley Business School and a Professional Certificate in Executive Coaching, also from Henley. He is currently lecturing on Leadership, Management and Developing Talent as well as Organisational Resilience at University.
Step on Board Associate
David has long experience in governance and senior leadership roles across the non-profit sector, in each case leading deep systemic change. He was Chair of Y Care International (2016-21), the development agency of the YMCA movement, and has been a trustee or chair of charities across different fields over many years.
He was chief executive of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office agency (2003-09); director general of the Commonwealth Institute, uncoupling from the FCO to become an independent charity (1997-2002); chief executive of Relate, the UK’s leading relationship counselling agency (1987-95); and director of services, The Children’s Society (1978-87), after an early career initially at NCVO, the umbrella organisation for the NfP sector (1971-74). In his coaching practice since 2015 (www.davidfrench.coach) he works with senior and emerging leaders across the private, non-profit and public sectors.
Most recently he has been a member of the Archbishops’ Commission on Families and Households (2021-23) whose report was launched in April 2023. He is a graduate of Durham University (Politics, Sociology and Psychology, 1969), the Henley General Management Programme (1984), the Cabinet Office Top Management Programme (1995) and Meyler Campbell Business Coaching (2015). He also qualified as a Myers Briggs (MBTI) practitioner (2016). He and his wife have four married sons and a small army of grandchildren.
Step on Board Associate
Arvinda Gohil is an experienced Executive and Non-Executive, having started her career in housing bringing significant experience of working in the housing, homelessness, and charity sectors. Her long history and considerable experience include the Chief Executive of Central YMCA, the founder YMCA; Community Links a place-based charity in Newham London; Emmaus UK; Director for Membership, Governance, and Regions for the National Housing Federation; Assistant Director for London at the Housing Corporation, setting up a capacity-building agency in South Africa for emerging housing organisations, and Chief Executive of two housing associations. She was a key figure in the setting up of Housing Associations specifically for the Black, Asian and Minoritsied communities, and instrumental in setting up Unity Housing Association, where she was its first Chief Executive.
Arvinda also has significant experience in the voluntary sector, working for a women’s refuge, running a positive action programme to enable access to employment, and running a regeneration partnership. In addition to the Executive roles, Arvinda has held several non-executive and Trustee roles including in Housing Associations, refugee organisations, a University
and a social investment charity. She is currently on the Board of Sanctuary Housing, chairs a place-based charity in
Clerkenwell called the Peel, and is a non-executive director at the Conduit.
Anna joined Russam in 2012 as PA to founder, Charles Russam. Since then she has been promoted several times, most recently to Business Support Manager in April 2018. She currently provides high-level support to Director of Executive Search, Melissa Baxter, and the other members of the Executive Search team. She is also responsible for the smooth running of the company’s London office and assisting with any events/meetings held there.
Anna studied English Literature at the University of Essex, graduating with a 2:1 degree. She worked in Danske Bank in Northern Ireland for a total of five years before her move back to England.
Anna has a keen interest in literature, film and theatre and enjoys cooking for friends.
Step on Board Associate
Bob Humphreys initially trained as a civil engineer but subsequently qualified as a Chartered Accountant, and spent a total of 26 years with PwC, the last 12 of which as a partner in the assurance practice. During his career with PwC he worked both in the UK and internationally, for a variety of multi-national and flagship clients across a range of sectors. He specialised in working with charities from 2001 to 2009, and was the leader of PwC’s Charities Group. In 2009 he left PwC to take up the role of head of finance and IT at Oxfam GB, and from 2015 was the head of finance for Oxfam International. He stepped down from full time employment in 2016 to focus on developing his contribution as a board member, coach and consultant. He has served on the board of Prostate Cancer UK and is now the Treasurer of the Education Development Trust. He is a member of the ICAEW’s Corporate Governance Committee and of the CIPFA Charities Board, and a member of the Large Charities Committee of CFG.
Ian is one of the founders and Managing Director of Trustees Unlimited, and co-founder of Step on Board, one of the UK’s leading senior employee engagement programmes working with companies such as Barclays, Google, and Deloitte. He is also joint Managing Director of Russam.
He serves as Chair of Kidscape, the national anti- bullying charity, and has served as an Interim Board Director of Avaaz, a $30m US-based not for profit organisation that promotes global activism in areas such as climate change, human rights, and corruption, and as a founding Director/Trustee of the Olympic legacy charity Cyclopark which is now one of the premier cycling facilities in Europe. He held several board roles previously.
Earlier in his career he was Chief Executive of a charity which worked in the UK and overseas.
Ian is a confidant for many sector leaders and has recruited to some of the most high-profile board roles in the country.
He holds a master’s degree in Voluntary Sector Management from Bayes Business School (formerly Cass), a degree in Business Information Systems, the Certificate in Charity in Law and Governance from The Chartered Governance Institute, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Coaching from Birkbeck, University of London. He is a Fellow of the RSA.
Outside work he mentors graduates on the CharityWorks programme and serves as a judge for the Stephen Lloyd Awards.
Wakkas Khan is a humanitarian, philanthropist and dental surgeon, specialising in young people, interfaith and charity.
His professional career has covered the fields of healthcare, international diplomacy, education and community cohesion, and he has acted as an advisor for various government departments. Wakkas is currently the Chair of The Prince’s Trust Mosaic North West, a charitable mentoring initiative founded and supported by HRH Prince of Wales. In 2017 in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena Bombing, he founded Young Interfaith – a national grassroots initiative that seeks to bring together young people of all faiths and non to inspire them to collective social action. Prior to this he sat on senior-level boards and committees at the General Dental Council and the University of Manchester, and was a governor at both The Christie Hospital and St Chrysostom’s Primary School.
Earlier in his career Wakkas worked with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Engaging With The Islamic World Group, and was a member of the Faith Advisory Panel of Experts to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, as well as the government’s Preventing Extremism Together Taskforce. Wakkas qualified in dentistry in 2004. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and in 2019 was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.
Step on Board Associate
Graham has 40 years wide-ranging experience in retail, wealth & commercial banking with hands-on experience from frontline to Boardroom. Graham has lead significant branch networks for Lloyds Banking Group, acted as HR Director & Group Marketing Director & sat on the Retail Board. His last role was Group Responsible Business & Community Affairs Director building the responsible business agenda. Graham is well networked across the UK FS industry and for 6 years sat on the Board of the Institute of Financial Services (previously Institute of Bankers) and also on the Professional Standards Board. He now has a portfolio of non-executive roles and is Vice-Chair and board member of The Brain Tumour charity.
Dame Mary Marsh
Step on Board Associate
Dame Mary has been Chair of Trustees, at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) since November 2016. She is a cross sector leader who is also currently a non-executive director of HSBC Bank plc, a member of the Governing Body at London Business School, a Trustee of Teach First and Director on the board of the LSO (London Symphony Orchestra). She is a member of the Asia Advisory Board for the University of Nottingham. Following the earlier stages of her life journey as a teacher, including as a headteacher of two comprehensive schools she was Chief Executive of the children’s charity NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). She was the Founding Director of Clore Social Leadership, developing leaders for charities and social enterprises. Recently, with NCVO, she led on the development of the Charity Ethical Principles, published in early 2019. She works with the Step on Board Programme with Russam GMS and NCVO as an advisory consultant.
Lorna has played a key role in delivering, since its inception, the ground-breaking Step on Board Programme. She works with senior directors and emerging leaders from some of the UK’s largest and most well-known companies including Google, Barclays, Mishcon de Reya and EY and has facilitated the introduction of over 250 of them to board positions.
Lorna has spent the best part of her career in the voluntary sector. She has held several roles in fundraising, events and senior management. As a volunteer she has helped children struggling with literacy and worked with a national family and mediation service.
Tessa Moore has recently joined the Step on Board team following a broad career in international brand development, strategy and marketing working for global media businesses including Virgin Publishing, Disney and FremantleMedia. As part of her role as head of Brand Management at Disney EMEA, she was responsible for their CSR strategy and community relations.
In 2008, she launched a major £10m fundraising partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity to drive their redevelopment programme. She is a Trustee at Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham.
Step on Board Administrator
Sarah Porter is Step on Board’s Administrator. She started her career in event management working for Macmillan Cancer Support before joining the Government’s advisor on architecture and the built environment to support their events programme. She later went on to work for the UK Government and managed the flagship events programme for NCVO where she first worked with Trustees Unlimited.
Passionate about art and design, she set up her own business as a practicing artist in 2016, exhibiting internationally and winning numerous accolades for her work. When not working for Trustees Unlimited, you’ll find Sarah painting from her studio in East London.
Business Support Executive
Jashan Sangha is the Business Support Executive at Russam.
Jashan joined Russam in 2022 as the Business Support Executive, providing high-level support to Melissa Baxter, Managing Partner, and other members of the team.
Jashan studied Nutrition at Leeds Beckett University, graduating with a 2:1 BSc(Hons) degree and is a Registered Associate Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition. She has experience working within the Health and Nutrition sector, as well as in Recruitment and Executive Search.
In her spare time, Jashan is also currently training with the Institute for Functional Medicine and undertaking a MSc Clinical Nutrition with the University of Aberdeen.
Masruba is an Inclusive Leadership and Talent Consultant.
Her experience spans across the private, not-for-profit and public sector. She has extensive experience in D&I, Learning & Development, HR Operations and Corporate Social Responsibility. She supports leaders to create impactful change and realise the potential of socially and ethnically diverse talent, for their organisations.
Masruba actively increased the diversity of early talent employees entering City careers and employee volunteers, to show candidates diverse working professionals that they could aspire to. She is dedicated to increasing representation and belonging in workplaces, through D&I initiatives, social mobility programmes or inclusive recruitment. During lockdown, she facilitated webinars to global employees on ‘Race Conversations’, ‘Safe Spaces’ and the ‘Attraction, Retention and Belonging of Black Employees’ leading open conversations about Racial Equity.
Masruba is dedicated to ensuring the belonging of underrepresented groups and believes in amplifying lived experiences. She is also experienced in managing graduate and social mobility programmes to increase representation within careers in the City of London.
Masruba regularly gives back to the local community by volunteering – networking, coaching, and speaking on panel events; topics including Allyship at Work and Intersectionality.
She has been mentoring diverse mentees, for over 7 years, to upskill them, empower them to realise their potential and provide careers guidance.
In 2021, she was awarded the Multiverse mentoring programme’s ‘Inspiration Award’.
Masruba is Associate CIPD qualified and a Mental Health First Aider.