Meet the team
Director of Nursing and Director of the National Workforce Skills Development Unit
Chris joined the Trust in November 2016.
As well as her role as Director of Nursing, Chris is the Director of the National Workforce Skills Development Unit and oversees the Trust's work on perinatal mental health.
Previously she had been the Dean of Healthcare Professions at Health Education England's north central and east London local office.
Chris has over twenty years experience in the NHS, higher education and health policy. Her previous roles include Deputy Director of Education and Assistant Chief Nurse at Great Ormond Street, Programme Manager at the Department of Health, and Programme Director at the Royal College of Nursing.
She is a registered children’s nurse, general nurse and nurse teacher.
Deputy Director of the National Workforce Skills Development Unit
Ian is a podiatrist by professional background but has spent most of his career in training, education, human resources and organisational and workforce development.
degree is in podiatry but he also holds a Master’s degree in management and is
a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
He spends way too much time and money indulging his favourite pastime of theatre in all its forms.
Senior Programme Lead
Rob supports the Deputy Director with running the Unit, engaging with stakeholders across the country and has leadership across the core project work.
Rob has spent most of his career working on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme at both a regional (London) and a national level – latterly being the Health Education England (HEE) IAPT national workforce programme lead and deputy national mental health lead. Rob also spent some time working at University College London (UCL) running the Psychological Interventions Research Centre, managing a number of evaluation projects of mental health and addiction services.
All of his spare time is taken up with music. He plays the guitar for his band and regularly tours Europe writing and releasing new records.
Amber is a registered mental health nurse with over 15 years’ experience in the mental health sector. She has worked in inpatient settings for a large proportion of her career and at a senior level across a range of settings in both the NHS and private sector. Her experience spans psychiatric intensive care, forensic settings, practice education, policy and strategy design and one-to-one patient consultation. In addition to her nursing qualification, she has a PGCert in Clinical Neuroscience and an MSc in Psychiatric Research. She also holds a specialist training and assessment qualification.
In her spare time, Amber enjoys music, comedy and quizzing.
2020-21 Project: Learning disability nursing post-qualification awards
Sue joined the team in September 2020 as project lead for the learning disability nursing continuing professional development awards framework. She had previously retired in March 2020, but found that baking and embroidery are just not her thing!
Qualifying as a registered learning disability nurse in the early 1980’s, Sue's professional career led her from the institutionalised care model that previously dominated life for people with learning disabilities, to a career in nurse and health care education, followed by a period of working for the Welsh Government.
After qualifying at the Hull Hospital Group, Sue went to Northampton where she supported the modernisation of care for the people who used those services. Moving to York in 1986 and after a short period at Claypenny Hospital, she went on to North Yorkshire Social Services where she was part of the registration and inspection team for care homes.
The family then moved to South Yorkshire and Sue undertook her teaching qualification to become a nurse teacher and through changes in structures became part of the team at the University of Sheffield. She went on to do a specific Masters’ Degree in Learning Disability Policy at the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York.
In 1999, Sue became subject head for nursing at the University of Hull, following a period of time leading a project for the then Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority on workforce development for mental health and learning disabilities. This was followed by the role of Associate Dean back at the University of Hull.
In 2015 Sue made a move to Cardiff and the Welsh Government as Nursing Officer for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, where she felt honoured to work on key national policies in both areas. These included her involvement in the development of the ambitious programme 'Improving Lives' - a cross governmental commitment to reviewing the services for people with learning disabilities in Wales.
Sue firmly believes that without learning disability nurses, the rapid movement of people from institutions to person centred forms of care would never have happened.
Recognising that there is still some way to go and with an emphasis on reducing health inequalities, restrictive practice and upholding people’s rights; Sue sees the work of the team at the NWSDU as being a central part of that agenda. This will be achieved through supporting and providing development opportunities for our existing learning disability nursing workforce to undertake the nursing awards framework.
Natalie is a clinical psychologist who has been working with people with learning disabilities and their support networks since qualifying from her doctorate in 2016. In her role as a clinical psychologist, Natalie has a particular interest in dementia, physical health and supporting transitions from child to adult services.
Prior to completing her doctorate in clinical psychology, Natalie worked across a range of mental health settings, including child and adolescent mental health, eating disorders services and supporting people with acquired brain injuries.
Natalie joined the Unit as a clinical adviser in January 2021 and is looking forward to being involved in projects that support the development of both the mental health and learning disability workforces.
In her spare time, Natalie enjoys discovering new music, saying hi to dogs, and reading.
Senior Project Manager
- Band 6 Aspiring Manager Leader role for mental health
- National Mental Health Workforce Development Collabrative
- New roles
As a Senior Project Manager, Joanna has responsibility for operational effectiveness of the Unit.
Joanna has over 16 years’ experience within the education and training sector in the NHS. She started her career in general management, working to increase responsibility in project management before she moved into programme operations management.
Joanna has a BA(Hons) in Business Management and an MSc in Strategic Quality Management. She has also gained the Chartered Manager status of the Chartered Management Institute.
She enjoys spending time with her two young children and her favourite past-times include painting, travelling, exploring nature and playing basketball.
Senior Project Manager
Raleen is a life scientist with a master’s degree in medical biotechnology from the University of Westminster. She is passionate about working for the NHS and has dedicated over ten years of her career to improve the lives of patients with challenging conditions.
She has worked for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NHS England. Along with experience of conducting clinical trials, Raleen has managed national and international projects committed to enhance care, treatment and diagnosis for people living with dementia, neurodegenerative disorders, mental health conditions and sickle cell disease.
Her previous role was particularly focused on programme managing ARISE; an EU funded initiative aimed at workforce training and development to implement newborn screening and improve the treatment of sickle cell disease in Africa.
Raleen enjoys teaching and as a NIHR GCP facilitator for South London she has trained research staff for over 8 years.
Raleen’s family is from India’s smallest yet one of the most sunny and beautiful states, Goa. She absolutely adores her three boys (one of which is her poodle puppy) and when she isn’t working her world revolves around them.
Team Administrator/PA to Senior Team
Jenny is an experienced executive assistant who comes to the Unit after 12 years at the disability charity Scope, where she was Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive and Chair of Trustees. Prior to this she worked in a variety of different temporary administrative roles and spent two years as a Verifier and Services Research Assistant at Which? magazine.
Born in London, Jenny spent her childhood in Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand and completed an Honours degree in English Literature at Otago University.
She is predominantly motivated by supporting leaders to be the very best they can be, bringing order to chaos and improving backroom processes. She also volunteers at the National Stalking Helpline (which is part of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust) one day a week.
Jenny loves dogs, the seaside and true crime.
Emily M. Lee
2020-21 Project: Learning disability nursing post-qualification awards
Emily is a Behavioural Clinician and Parent Educator for young children and families. She worked for many years in the States at an out-patient multidisciplinary clinic and family education centre - this consisted of mental and behavioural health services, positive parenting strategies, perinatal services, SLP, OT, MFT, and more.
Emily has her BSc in Health Care Administration from California State University, Long Beach and an MA in Psychoanalysis from Birkbeck, University of London with an emphasis in behavioural health, early childhood development and intergenerational trauma. This has expanded her psychosocial awareness, knowledge of contemporary generational shifts in behaviour, and cultural mindfulness.
For fun, Emily enjoys cooking, travelling, and spending time with family and friends.
Hannah has 13 years experience working in NHS arm's length bodies. The golden thread has been project management but she has worked in executive education, staff learning and development, events management and membership and stakeholder engagement.
Hannah is motivated by bringing order to complex and fast paced situations, alongside developing efficient processes with continuous learning. She is an advocate for supporting people but is ultimately passionate about getting to the heart of an issue to empower people and the systems themselves.
Hannah is a certified Agile Practitioner and has an post-graduate Advanced Award in Designing, Delivering and Evaluating Learning and Development Provision from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Outside of work Hannah’s interests are current affairs, human rights, horror films and exploring places, peoples and cultures.
Neil also works as a Research Consultant for a Biotech company based in the US, consulting on research practices adopted within the UK.
Neil studied Fashion Illustration at the London College of Fashion (UAL) and is currently working towards an MSc in Project Management from the University of Northumbria.
Outside of work, Neil enjoys drawing, sport and cooking.
2020-21 Project: The Diversity Project
Gracious is a registered mental health nurse. She has worked in inpatient and community settings prior to joining the unit. She also has an MSc in Management from University of Sussex. Her main interests are workforce development and wellbeing, HR change management and strategy.
Gracious is involved in global mental health projects in Zimbabwe.
Outside of work she spends her time travelling, going to the gym, listening to music, podcasts and reading.
Building on the mental health support workforce to meet service requirements
Maximising the contribution of Allied Health Professionals within Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism settings
Atiya has worked in the NHS for over 7 years and has experience leading projects in resourcing, with a focus on improving equality and diversity in the workplace.
She has also qualified with an Intermediate Diploma in Human Resource Management from Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.
Atiya has always been passionate about making a difference in people’s lives, whether colleagues or service users. She strongly believes that representation matters and is motivated in supporting initiatives that will create a more inclusive workplace for everyone.
Outside work, Atiya spends most of her time in the kitchen as she is a keen cook and a baker. She also enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring the great outdoors.