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Meet our Board and Leadership Team. 

Our Board

Our Board members have an interest in Ƶ's mission, bringing key expertise and representing our stakeholders. Our Board meets four times a year to make strategic decisions for Ƶ.

Members have four main duties:

  1. Safeguard and promote the values and mission of Ƶ.
  2. Determine the strategy and structure of Ƶ.
  3. Ensure Ƶ operates in an effective, responsible and accountable manner.
  4. Ensure the effective functioning of Ƶ’s Board.


Our Board members 

John Coughlan CBE

John is the Chair of the Ƶ Board, appointed in March 2023. John recently retired as CEO of Hampshire County Council, with many years’ experience leading and improving children’s and adults’ services across several local authorities and was awarded a CBE for his national work.


Suzie Bailey

Suzie has been a Trustee on the Ƶ Board since 2018. Suzie heads the leadership and organisational development team at The King’s Fund, an independent health and care charity. Prior to this Suzie was director of leadership and quality improvement at NHS Improvement, and worked as an operational manager in the NHS for over 21 years in acute, community and mental health providers. She is passionate about improving care through the development of people and healthy working cultures.

James Bullion

James joined the Ƶ Board in 2022. James is Executive Director of Adult Social Services in Norfolk and served as ADASS President in 2020. He is also the ADASS national Director co-lead for Social Care and Justice, and ADASS lead for Assurance.


Gillian Day

Gillian joined the Ƶ Board in 2022 and is Chair of the Finance and People Committee. Gillian is a chartered accountant and chartered director with over 25 years’ experience and is currently Director of Finance and Corporate Services at the Housing Ombudsman Service.


Peter Chambers

Peter joined the Ƶ Board in 2024. Peter has over 30 years of experience in governance, risk and control in the UK and the Middle East, primarily in senior internal audit roles. Peter started his career with PwC, where he spent ten years as the appointed auditor for several NHS and local government bodies, providing a good understanding of the social care landscape. In addition to his non-executive roles, Peter maintains an up-to-date knowledge of best practices in governance, risk, and control by working on various projects in a freelance capacity.


Mark Ward

Mark has been a member of the Ƶ Board since 2019. Mark is CEO of Borough Care, a residential social care provider operating in the North West, and for the past 20 years has been a leader, CEO and Non-Executive Board member in a diverse range of not-for-profit organisations.


Naser Turabi

Naser joined the Ƶ board in 2022. Naser is Director of Evidence and Implementation at Cancer Research UK, his work focuses on accelerating the adoption of innovation and reducing inequalities in access. He leads CRUK teams conducting evidence review, data analysis, policy and implementation research, and health systems engagement. Previously he has been a senior manager in the NHS, including as a Cancer Alliance director in London, as well as an earlier career in public sector strategy and research.


Bill Mumford

Bill joined the Ƶ board in 2022. Bill has over 40 years’ experience in the health and social care sector, starting as a live-in care assistant at Barnardo's. More recently he was the CEO of Eden Valley and Jigsaw Hospice for adults and children in Cumbria and before the CEO of the charity MacIntyre. Bill is Non-Executive Director of NICE having joined the board as its first social care representative; Chair of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group; Chair of the National Market Development Forum and Director of the Winterbourne Joint Improvement Programme. In additional to his non-executive roles Bill continues to work in a freelance capacity specialising in quality auditing, leadership development, mentoring and facilitation.


Penny Fell

Penny joined the Ƶ board in 2022. Penny brings over 20 years’ senior level experience, skills and knowledge in leading health and social care organisations, in public, private and social enterprises. As well as her work in social care, Penny has held other leading roles: in the NHS; nationally at the Disclosure and Barring Service that reports directly to the Ƶ Office; and has worked in partnership with the NHS, and with local authorities in London, Liverpool, Bristol, Surrey and Sefton. She has a strong strategic track record in governance and scrutiny, integrated commissioning, change management, overseeing high-quality service delivery, and successful new business generation. 


Our leadership team

Our Leadership Team meets regularly to set our strategic and operational direction based on our business plan. 

Oonagh Smyth, Chief Executive

Photo of Oonagh Smyth

Oonagh Smyth is CEO of Ƶ. For seven years she was Executive Director of Strategy and Influence at Mencap leading a directorate of around 500 people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Oonagh has held roles at the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and the Northern Ireland Equality Commission, senior roles in Westminster Equalities Partnership and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. She is a former Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, which is a cross-sector alliance of 80 social care organisations influencing at the highest government levels.

Georgina Turner , Director of Engagement


Georgina has over 10 years of experience in the Social Care and Health sectors. Her previous role at Ƶ was programme head for employer engagement with responsibility for developing and implementing approaches to engagement with specific groups of employers, and managing the delivery of nationwide services and programmes.

Georgina is an experienced and programme and project manager with specific insight into the adult social care market and its supply chains, grant investment and management and stakeholder engagement.

Georgina has a BSC Honours in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration and is a Trustee of People Matters (West Yorkshire).

Jane Brightman , Director of Workforce Strategy

Jane Brightman

Jane Brightman is our Director of Workforce Strategy, and is leading on the development of the adult social care workforce strategy for England.

Jane has over 30 years of experience across the adult social care sector including frontline care, leadership, education, digital transformation and national policy.

For 10 years she was Director of a private training organisation specialising in adult social care delivery before going on to national roles supporting training and development in social care.

Jane spent two years at NHSX (now NHS Transformation Directorate) in the blended Digitising Social Care programme as Assistant Director, leading and delivering on the White Paper commitments.

Jane facilitates an online network of leaders in social care with over 8000 members. In 2022 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Arden University for services to social care.


Jenny Paton , Director of Strategy, Impact and Policy


Jenny Paton is the Strategy, Impact and Policy Director at Ƶ.

She has supported the cultural and charity sectors in a strategic capacity, most recently as Head of Strategy and Impact for Mencap before joining Ƶ.

Jenny is Vice Chair of the Mental Health Foundation. Previous roles include supporting the Wellcome Trust – a global charity dedicated to improving health –to improve diversity and inclusivity.

From 2011-2014, Jenny was Executive Director and joint Chief Executive of Camden People’s Theatre. Jenny continues to support a number of small arts organisations with strategy on an informal basis.

Mike Harvey , Commercial Director


Mike Harvey is Ƶ’s Commercial Director. For over twenty years Mike has worked in public, private and VCSE organisations to increase social inclusion and reduce deprivation across a range of specialist areas.

Having worked extensively on policy, solution design, bidding, and operational management he has secured over £1B of public service contracts and led transformation programmes to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and financial sustainability of several organisations.

A natural innovator, he has sat on numerous boards and working groups for, and made recommendations to, a diverse variety of stakeholders ranging from Ofgem and the CBI to the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice. Mike also regularly volunteers to support young people though a programme called “inspiring the future” and was trustee of a North East charity supporting female offenders for over five years.

Ruth Stickler , Director of People


Ruth has been in HR for over 20 years and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

People are central to quality social care that supports those who need it, and our people here at Ƶ are crucial to enabling us to support those working in our sector. Ruth’s focus is on ensuring that Ƶ is an excellent employer, creating a culture which is values led, where everyone feels a sense of belonging and that our people can utilise their knowledge, skills and expertise in support of the social care workforce.

Sarah-Jane Dale , Chief Operating Officer AOD | Director of Development Ƶ


Sarah-Jane is also Chief Operating Officer of (part of the Ƶ Group). She has held senior roles in health and social care workforce, organisation and business development for over 10 years.

Sarah-Jane has led strategic and operational business development in a range of sectors, working with both dedicated teams and remote associates, across the UK and Ireland, and has been a key partner leading pioneering work focused on dignity in care across northern Europe.

Sarah Jane is an experienced organisation development practitioner committed to collective and compassionate leadership. A Masters level qualified software engineer, social science graduate and lean business improvement facilitator.

Sue Shaw , Finance Director

Sue Shaw

Sue has a BSc Honours degree in Economics and Statistics from Leeds University and a Diploma in Entrepreneurship from Manchester Business School.

Sue is a qualified Chartered Accountant, who trained with one of the big four international accounting and auditing firms. After qualification she gained experience including corporate taxation, receiverships/ liquidations/ bank security reviews and due diligence.

She has managed a portfolio of audit clients including commercial companies, pension schemes and a portfolio of charitable, not for profit, voluntary sector and social housing clients mainly based in Yorkshire.

Sue joined Ƶ nine years ago and has worked in finance and accountancy for over 25 years.

Tristram Gardner , Deputy CEO


Tristram Gardner is Deputy CEO of Ƶ. He has held several senior leadership positions across central and local government and has particular experience of working in the adult social care sector.

Prior to joining Ƶ, Tristram was the Deputy Director for Adult Social Care Workforce Strategy and Capacity at the Department of Health and Social Care, where he advised ministers on care workforce policy as the country emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic. Before that, he held positions at the Department for Levelling Up covering local government finance, strategy and community development.

In local government, Tristram was responsible for adult social care enterprise, projects and commissioning support at Surrey County Council. At Surrey he worked closely with service managers, frontline staff and commercial, digital, financial and people teams to improve services for people who draw on care and support.