Our expert Trustees use their skills and experience from other industries to guide and advise RSBC.
Chair of The Society - Patrick Plant
Patrick joined the Board in October 2014. Patrick is a partner at global law firm Linklaters. He has been with Linklaters for over 30 years and during this time spent eight years as Global Head of the Real Estate Department. Patrick also sits on the Board of The British Library and the Council of The Royal College of Art.
John recently retired from full-time work as the Clerk / Chief Executive of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, an established City of London Livery Company, which has supported the RSBC for many years providing John with an insight into the Charity.
Prior to that John worked in senior marketing and business development roles in both the commercial and charity sectors, more recently in local government. John has also successfully run entire businesses.
John has a strong record of teamwork, development of new ideas, communicating with different interest groups, prioritising decisions and working within a specific budget and timescale. John has a passion for the work of RSBC, and now has the time to devote his
energy, commitment, people and business skills to help the Charity.
Valerie May BA
Val has over 30 years’ experience in education the majority in special needs. At 27 she became Deputy Head of Little Heath School in Essex. She later founded the Beth Marie Centre in Sevenoaks while working for Kent Local Education Authority.
When West Heath, the school formerly attended by Diana Princess of Wales, went into receivership in 1997 she campaigned to keep it as a school. This was successful and led to the establishment of The New School at West Heath. Val served as Principal and CEO for 10 years and Ambassador for a further year.
Val joined the Board of RSBC in 2011. She is also a Governor of Dorton College, RSBC’s Further Education College.
Martin Doel CBE
Martin was appointed as the first Professor of Leadership in Further Education and Skills at University College London Institute of Education in April 2016 after having previously been the Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC) from 2008; AoC represents and supports Further Education Colleges. Prior to this Martin served for 28 years in the Royal Air Force in a wide range of operational support and command posts. His final appointment was as Director of Training and Education for all three Armed Services.
He was appointed OBE in 1998 for work in support of operations in the Balkans and for his contribution to Anglo-German relations, and CBE in 2016 for services to further and higher education.
Martin’s particular research interests at UCL (IOE) are concerned with the distinctive contribution that further education can make to national prosperity and individual well-being, and the leadership challenges facing further education providers of all kinds. Martin joined the Board of RSBC in 2015.
John is a qualified solicitor, formerly a partner in Nabarro Nathanson (now part of CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP) specialising in corporate finance; Managing Partner from 1989 to 1993. From 1998 to 2012 he was a director and shareholder of Neville James Group, a “boutique” market-making and fund management business specialising in the mid-term endowment policy sector. John is now retired.
Since 1992 he has been a Trustee of a privately endowed grant-giving charity which specialises in medical research. He was a Trustee of The Eyeless Trust/Royal Blind Society for the United Kingdom from 2003 and, upon merger of that charity with the Royal London Society for Blind People in January 2017, became a Trustee of the new Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC).
Honorary Treasurer - Peter Knott
Peter is a Managing Director in the Green Investment Group at Macquarie Capital based in the United Kingdom. Prior to the acquisition of UK Green Investment Bank plc by the Macquarie Group in August 2017, Peter was the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director, having originally joined on the launch in 2012 as the Chief Risk Officer. Prior to that, Peter had held a number of senior roles at Standard Chartered, including Group Treasurer, Consumer Banking Group Chief Risk Officer and Group Head of Operational Risk.
He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte in London and spent the early part of his career with Jardine Fleming in Hong Kong and Tokyo before moving to New York with JPMorgan Chase as CFO for the Global M&A and Investment Banking Coverage groups.
He is an Advisory Board member at the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment at Imperial College Business School and joined the Royal Society for Blind Children as a Trustee in 2017.
Fazilet Hadi has lived experience of blindness, losing her sight as a child. She is very committed to the work of RSBC, believing that it makes a real difference to the lives of children with sight loss and their families. Fazilet is Head of Policy at Disability Rights UK and is on the Disability Advisory Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She is also a Non-Executive Director at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.
Fazilet started her career as a solicitor working in Law Centres. She then held senior equality roles within local government and was a director at RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) for twenty years, stepping down as Deputy Chief Executive in 2018.
Callum Russell has been an RSBC Trustee since February 2022. He is blind since birth and is the founder of CrystalEyes, a bespoke consultancy that helps broaden the horizons of people living with sight loss and other disabilities, allowing them to fulfil their potential in either higher education or employment. Callum previously worked for Sight for Surrey and Surrey Police championing inclusivity. He attended mainstream School before going to the University of Birmingham to read modern languages (French, Italian and Spanish). He has also travelled widely, particularly in South America, and is a keen musician and sports fan.
Callum joined as a trustee of the Royal Society for Blind Children on 24 February 2022.
Lola is an NIHR Clinician Scientist within the Population, Policy and Practice department of UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, and a Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmic surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Her work investigates the determinants of outcome for children with, or at risk of, eye and vision disorders, and how best to translate these findings into changes in practice and policy. Lola is passionate about science communication, and promoting EDI in research.
Lola joined as a trustee of the Royal Society for Blind Children on 24 February 2022.
Helen is an award winning Creative Director with over 20 year’s experience. She’s had an exciting career, working in top London agencies across print, TV, social, gaming and experiential. Most recently, she’s set-up an industry leading, in-house creative agency for Shelter.
Whether it’s directing TV ads for big brands or advising tech start-ups, Helen brings a positive, anything’s possible attitude. She has a track record of building and leading highly creative, effective and; most importantly, happy teams. Together, they create attention-grabbing ideas that make people take action.
Helen joined as a trustee of the Royal Society for Blind Children on 11 April 2022.
Celso is a member of the leadership team at Waymap, a London-based tech business that is focused on developing inclusive wayfinding (navigation) apps for smartphones. The Waymap app was built for persons who are blind, but is growing to provide an inclusive solution for all forms of disability.
He is a CFA charter holder and a qualified Chartered Accountant, by training. Celso previously worked at Deloitte in London, in their Private Equity / Equity Capital Markets Assurance team. During his time there he moved to Poland to help scale their offshoring efforts, before returning to London.
Celso joined the RSBC as a trustee on 24 February 2022.
Sabira has set up Evolve Sustainability, a consultancy helping businesses in their net-zero journey.
A chartered accountant by training, she has had experience in finance roles focused on investment appraisals, cost management and restructuring programs. Keen about social impact, Sabira has previously mentored with The Girls’ Network and worked with Bridges for Enterprise on a Healthcare system project in Ethiopia.
Sabira joined as a co-opted trustee on 24 February 2022.
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