BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Fiona has worked as an affordable housing development professional for about 25 years. She has worked with many communities to successfully deliver both Community Land Trust and co-housing projects, including the Roman Barn scheme at Worth Matravers and The Threshold Centre in Gillingham. Fiona was also instrumental in gaining lottery funding for a public art project as part of an award- winning public library and housing scheme in Bournemouth. She has also delivered a number of Extra Care schemes in the south of England. As well as new build schemes, she has also been involved in several regeneration projects in central London.
She has worked at director level in a corporate environment and played key roles in business transformation initiatives. Fiona has a keen interest in taking a holistic approach to sustainability issues in a housing and community setting. More recently, she has been working with a number of local authorities who are starting to directly deliver their own housing again, advising on strategy and approach.
JOSE DE PABLO
Jose de Pablo has been an Investment Director at Octopus Healthcare since 2015 sourcing, executing and managing investments within a range of healthcare sectors, especially retirement living and care homes. He has over 18 years of experience in various healthcare related roles, including real estate development, investment and corporate finance. Prior to Octopus, Jose worked at Colliers International (Healthcare), providing strategic and corporate finance advice to major UK and international real estate funds, lenders and operators. Previously, he executed international healthcare investments for a London family office, and spent seven years working on the international expansion of US-based care home group Sunrise Senior Living. Jose holds an MBA from INSEAD.
Now a freelance consultant, Gilly was most recently Head of UK Grants at Comic Relief which she joined as a grants officer 20 years ago and where she was responsible for the development, implementation and review of the UK grants strategy. She has always ensured that the needs and rights of marginalised people are reflected in the organisation’s work.
She originally trained as a social worker, and worked in a north London social services department in child protection before moving to the voluntary sector in the early 80s. She worked with young people in a variety of voluntary organisations, and settings including youth offending and homelessness agencies.
Her early housing and homelessness work included establishing the first supported housing for young lesbians. She has previously chaired domestic abuse and housing organisations and was a co-founder of the Ellen Gee Foundation which aimed to provide evidence based research to inform the funding strategies of charitable funders to ensure they met the needs of LGBT people. She was awarded an OBE for services to domestic violence in 2007. Her combined work and volunteer experience stretches nearly 40 years.
Gilly has a strong interest in the delivery, quality and dignity of care for older people, informed most recently by both parents moving to a care home.
James’s career has included time as a teacher in Kenya and Honduras, as a journalist with the BBC World Service in Africa, and as an editor at GQ Magazine. In 1994, he established Radio for Development (later Media for Development- MFD) which used media to strengthen isolated communities in over 30 countries worldwide. Through MFD, a range of new initiatives and social businesses were launched, including Inside Job Productions (IJP), Prison Media, and Young Dads TV.
James now chairs the board of directors at IJP and is co-founder of Pridecast Productions, a global communications initiative in partnership with the advocacy group All Out which aims to reduce the social isolation experienced by younger LGBT+ people in the Global South and to support them in bringing about social change.
Paul McDermott is a director and partner at Trowers & Hamlins who has advised various London councils, the GLA and Homes England on legal and governance issues surrounding social care and older people’s housing as well as specialising in development/regeneration and public funding.
Director & Chair of the Board
Until recently Geoff was Principal and Chief Executive of Greenwich Community College (GCC) a large further education college in South East London. In this role he played a prominent part in the development of an international/global dimension to vocational education and training. For a number of years he was the Chair of the British Council’s Advisory Forum on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). He participated in a number of Ministerial visits overseas to promote British TVET and presented at conferences across Europe, in the USA, Canada, Australia and China. At GCC he was responsible for developing award winning partnerships with local employers and served on several regional and national committees for the Association of Colleges.
Geoff was also very active in the Institute of Directors as a member of the Central Committee and played a leading role in engaging young people in developing their enterprise skills through an innovative and competitive approach to business development during Global Enterprise Week. Outside the world of education and training, Geoff had a parallel business career initially in the retail world and subsequently in the entertainment business. In this he was involved with his partner in developing and running what became the largest agency for dancers and singers in the UK as well as a production company and costume manufacturing business.
Geoff is the Chair of Trustees of Bird College – a performing arts college in South East London. He is also the Chair of Trustees of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival – Britain’s premier outdoor theatre festival.
Alastair is CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). SSE supports more than 1,000 social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs each year with learning and connections, through its global network of 11 schools.
Alastair became a social entrepreneur when he joined SSE’s very first cohort in 1997.
Alastair is also a trustee of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation and the Cabrach Trust, and has previously held trustee roles at Social Enterprise UK, UnLtd, Access and the Akram Khan Dance Company.
Alastair heads up the senior management team at SSE, which includes the managing director, director of programmes and learning, and director of development and external affairs.