Our Trustees

They are the people helping Refuge run and do our best work.

Our Board of Trustees


Hetti became Chair of Refuge’s Board of Trustees on 1st June 2020. Hetti has a career spanning British Airways, Centrica, BT and Vodafone, leading financial, commercial and transformational change, often enabled by leading edge technology. She became the CEO of Ploughshare Innovations in April 2020 and is renowned for leading cultural and commercial transformation, and her highly creative, collaborative and engaging approach with teams and partners. She is also a recognised champion for diversity, equality, and inclusion.

Hetti was recognised in the New Year’s Honours 2024 list, receiving a CBE for her services to people affected by domestic abuse and domestic homicide. Hetti has been an active campaigner raising awareness about domestic abuse and the criminal justice system since her best friend, Joanna Simpson, was killed by her estranged husband. Hetti is the founder and former Chair of the Joanna Simpson Foundation and was previously a Pioneer at Safe Lives.

As CEO of an organisation which is on a high growth trajectory, and Chair of Refuge which is going through transformational change whilst seeing ever increasing demand for services, Hetti focuses her spare time enjoying long walks in the countryside with her family and the dogs.

Hetti is also a member of the People, Nomination and Remuneration Committee.

Ayanna was appointed in March 2022. She is a barrister, called to the Bar in England and Wales in 2009 and in Grenada in 2010. Ayanna specialises in prosecuting and defending serious and organised crime and sexual offences. Additionally, she is frequently instructed to advise large corporations and government agencies, both in the UK and overseas, on matters relating to fraud, money laundering and regulatory compliance. Ayanna also has a busy practice representing members of regulated professions and regulators at fitness to practice hearings.

Ayanna is a member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn and sits on the Inn’s Scholarships Committee. She is actively involved in the Inn’s outreach work and is committed to improving access to the Bar. She is also a member of the University of Greenwich Law Forum, with a similar aim of expanding access to the legal profession. She has been a co-opted Governor at her former primary school since 2018.

Ayanna is a member of the Services and Safeguarding Committee and is the Interim Safeguarding Lead Trustee. She is also the lead Trustee for Data Protection across Refuge.

Dheepa Balasundaram was appointed in November 2021 and is a chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience of working in organisations with a social cause. With a particular focus on developing and delivering positive change, Dheepa has worked in a range of senior roles at board level and as an executive for a range of international and national charities, including BBC Media Action, Great Ormond Street Charity, Mencap, Shelter and Breast Cancer Care.

Dheepa is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee and a member of the Resources Committee.

Jon Rowney is the Executive Director Corporate Services in the London Borough of Camden.

Jon has over twenty years’ experience working in local government across a range of social policy areas including housing, education, welfare and health and social care. Jon previously worked in London Councils, working with all London Boroughs, the Mayor of London, the GLA and central government on how London government could become more independent and shape services for benefit of its residents and communities.

Jon is the Treasurer for Refuge. He is Chair of the Resources Committee and a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Selina was appointed in December 2018 and has nearly 30 years’ experience as an international corporate lawyer and is a barrister (non-practising) and solicitor. She has a depth of experience in financial services regulation, corporate governance and focuses on environmental, social and governance (ESG) advisory matters. Selina has served as a non-executive director of a FTSE 250 company and its FCA-regulated subsidiary and also sits on a number of industry advisory boards and committees. Selina chairs her firm’s London Diversity, Talent and Inclusion and its Corporate Affairs Committees. She also co-chairs the cross-firm networking group for senior women in legal and compliance – NetworkforKnowledge and is an ambassador for the not-for-profit In their Lifetime (Christian Aid).

In December 2023 Selina was appointed as Vice Chair of Refuge’s Board of Trustees and is also a member of the Resources Committee.

Alex was appointed in February 2024. With a 20-year career in strategic communications and engagement, she currently advises companies on their social impact strategies.

At the Social Mobility Commission, Alex was part of the team that launched the Employers Programme – partnering with British business and the third sector to tackle the ‘class pay gap’. Having worked across three central government departments, and in digital transformation for local government, she brings a deep understanding of policy-making and political dynamics. In her most recent role, she led global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at an international FinTech. Her career is dedicated to building fairer workplaces.

Alex has been a delegate of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women for the past four years, the principal intergovernmental body dedicated to the elimination of violence against women and girls. She also contributes to think tanks on shaping future policy.

Alex is a member of the Resources Committee.

Amy was appointed in February 2024. She has worked in supported and social housing for more than a decade and brings extensive knowledge of the housing landscape. Amy is currently the Director of Strategic Asset Management at Notting Hill Genesis, one of London’s largest not-for-profit housing associations, where she leads programmes to invest in and drive up the quality of their homes. Amy is passionately committed to improving opportunities for vulnerable people. Prior to her current role, Amy spent many years delivering care, support and temporary housing services, working in both service development and operational leadership capacities. She has a special interest in safeguarding and is a member of the Services and Safeguarding Committee at Refuge.

Amy holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Edinburgh. She loves reading, writing and playing recreational team sports enthusiastically if not always very well. She and her husband Dominic welcomed their first child, a daughter, in 2023.

Amy is a member of the Services and Safeguarding Committee and the People, Nomination and Remuneration Committee.

Jeremy was appointed in February 2024. Jeremy is a Managing Director in the Group Operations and Technology Office division of UBS Group focusing on Cyber Governance, Policy and Regulation. With over 30 years of Technology and Financial Services experience, Jeremy has held a range of technology, change management and regulatory roles with an extensive record of delivering multi-year, complex global projects with board level and external regulatory interaction and commitments. Under the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Senior Managers and Certification Regime, Jeremy is an approved Senior Manager (SMF24 Chief Operations and Technology).

Jeremy has previously served as a Trustee of the Credit Suisse EMEA Foundation and as the Chair of Governors of a state primary school. Both roles had a strong education, inclusion and safeguarding focus, Jeremy firmly believes ‘every child matters’. Jeremy is strong advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion, with a particular focus on social mobility. In his corporate role, Jeremy is a sponsor, supporter and active participant of multiple DE&I, philanthropic and community activities.

Jeremy is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee and the Resources Committee.

Justin was appointed in February 2024. Justin served as the Chief Executive Officer of HelpAge International from 2016 – 2023. He led the organisation to champion the rights of older people around the world, develop long term solutions to population ageing and respond to humanitarian emergencies in countries such as Nepal, Ukraine, Syria, Ethiopia and Myanmar. He drove the strategic review of the organisation and the development of its current ten-year strategy which launched in 2020. This shifted the organisation from a traditional NGO delivery model to working with, through and for a global network of over 170+ organisations in 91 countries.

He frequently represented HelpAge International at meetings, including the G20, UN High Level Political Forum, the OECD Forum, World Health Assembly, and the Commission for Status of Women. He previously worked at Save the Children UK, where he headed up the East Africa regional team, and before that with Merlin in East and Central Africa and in London. He was a trustee of the International Civil Society Centre from 2020 – 2023 and he is currently a trustee of Restless Development – a non-profit global agency that supports the collective power of young leaders to create a better world.

Justin is the Chair of the People, Nomination and Remuneration Committee and the Whistleblowing Trustee.

Meera was appointed in February 2024. Meera is a highly skilled housing development professional with over 35 years’ experience of working in affordable housing development and detailed knowledge of the housing association and council housing sectors.

She has extensive knowledge of governance with over 25 years’ experience at Executive/Senior Management level having served various Boards and Committees, most recently, as Chair of Westway Housing Association and as a Member Haringey Community Benefit Society.

She has a proven track record of delivering substantial programmes in a competitive environment providing a variety of homes to meet time, cost and quality targets, through a number of public funding routes including commercial development. She has worked for Black and Asian led organisations as well as specialist housing associations, most particularly, spending fourteen years as Director of New Initiatives at Housing for Women where she focussed on projects combatting violence against women and girls, trafficked women and women leaving prison, as well as establishing the first co-housing project for older women.

Meera is a member of the Services and Safeguarding Committee.

Non-Trustee Committee Members:

Image of Leon Ward

Leon was appointed to the Services and Safeguarding Committee in July 2021. Leon is the Chief Executive Officer of MyBnk – the UK’s largest financial education charity. He was recently the Deputy Chair of Brook Young People and has also served on the boards of Plan UK, Leap Confronting Conflict, Interact Worldwide and he currently serves on a board committee for The Children’s Society.

Leon also published the young trustees guide and has helped numerous charity boards diversity their boards. Between 2017 and 2020 Leon was the Co-Chair of the international taskforce responsible for convening the Commonwealth Youth Forum with the UK Government.

Angelica was appointed to the Services and Safeguarding Committee in February 2024. Angelica is a senior civil servant, who leads policy, strategy and programmes across the public and charity sectors on social, science and innovation policy. Currently Angelica is the Deputy Director for Care, Reform and Grants at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, responsible for adult social care and children’s services. Previously, she worked on the Covid-19 response within the Cabinet Office to protect vulnerable citizens and established a programme for multiply disadvantaged adults. Passionate about creating positive societal change, diversity and inclusion. Angelica was a Trustee for Healthwatch Islington.

Anna was appointed to the Resources Committee in February 2024 and the People, Nomination and Remuneration Committee in March 2024. Anna brings over 25 years’ experience leading strategy, sustainability and corporate affairs for multi-national listed companies, most recently at BT Group and as Chief Sustainability Officer for Dentsu. She has in-depth experience of corporate governance, with a focus on Environmental, Social Governance, and served on both the Risk and Sustainability Board Committees at Dentsu.

Anna is a passionate advocate for gender equality, education and health. She has a track record of developing multi-stakeholder partnerships and campaigns that change lives for women and children all over the world. She has been recognised for her contribution to sustainable development winning the ‘Changing Lives’ award at the Broadband World Forum and the World Economic Forum’s ‘New Vision for Development’ award for her work on BT’s Connecting Africa programme, as well as Grand Prix’s at the World Media Awards and The Drum Awards for the ground-breaking “Draw The Line against Malaria” global advocacy campaign. In 2023 she was named Edie’s Sustainable Business Leader of the Year.

Anna is a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership and a member of the global advisory board for the HRH Prince of Wales Business and Sustainability Programme. She is also a member of the Business Commission to Tackle Inequality, sits on advisory boards including Sustainable Brands and AdNetZero and was a former adviser to the UK government on digital inclusion.

Craig was appointed to the Resources Committee in February 2024. Born in Southampton, Craig transitioned to private foster care at 15 and pursued a politics degree at Winchester University. As a trustee for the local YMCA during his studies, he contributed to governance and vision.

Craig’s career spanned digital strategy in the NGO sector. Ordained in 2019, he served at Christ Church Winchester, spearheading national outreach to UK prisons and joining The Archbishops’ College of Evangelists.

In 2022, Craig became Vicar of St Paul’s Weston-super-Mare, aiming to renew the town and restore lives. He is also Governor of his local school. Craig is married with three children.

Kenna-Sian was appointed to the Services and Safeguarding Committee in February 2024. She is Regional Director at Two Saints Limited, a charity which provides housing and support for vulnerable people across Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Berkshire. With responsibility for monitoring performance against the annual business plan and KPIs. She takes the lead in securing new business and maintaining and developing professional networks to raise the profile of the organisation both regionally and nationally to support growth and sustainability as an organisation.

Before this, Kenna-Sian gained over 15 years experience in Local Government with management and leadership responsibilities for statutory and non-statutory housing functions, attaining a Diploma in Housing Practice through the Chartered Institute of Housing and Diploma in management and leadership through Chartered Management Institute.

She currently serves on the Independent Advisory Group for Hampshire Constabulary and their Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel.


Shirely was appointed to the Services and Safeguarding Committee in February 2024. Shirley has over 30 years senior management experience in local government children’s services and Health Trusts. She has a wealth of experience in strategic commissioning of children’s social care services and safeguarding and was a former member of the Hackney and City Safeguarding Board, and non-executive Director (safeguarding lead) for a national children’s charity.

She has led service transformation projects across England with a focus on quality, performance improvement and inclusion. She has managed consultations with survivors and children to inform the design and delivery of domestic abuse services to ensure relevance and accessibility, and led policy development and strategic commissioning of domestic abuse services in Local authorities across England.
She is passionate about the engagement of service beneficiaries and community in the co -production of services.

Vicky was appointed to the People, Nomination and Remuneration Committee in February 2024. Vicky is an Executive Director at NHS Resolution and the Director of Advice and Appeals (formerly the National Clinical Assessment Service and the Family Health Services Appeals Unit), with the aim to resolve concerns about practitioner performance and offer fair handling of appeals and disputes between NHS England and primary care contractors. She is passionate about education, organisational development, the creation of fair, just and learning cultures and the resolution of performance concerns and has spent 20 years’ developing people and services.