Heads of Department

Lindsey BarrassLindsey Barrass

Head of Learning and Development

Lindsey leads the Learning and Development department and oversees our organisation-wide training and development programmes to support our people to professionally and personally grow to achieve their potential. Lindsey also manages our team-building and recognition events to celebrate our incredible staff team. Lindsey joined The Challenge after volunteering for our NCS programme in the summer of 2011 and being inspired by our mission.

Lindsey lives in South East London and has a degree in Sociology from the University of Sussex.

Richard Bell

Head of Public Affairs, Policy and Research

As Head of Public Affairs, Policy and Research, Rich is responsible for maintaining positive relationships with policy and decision makers across government and parliament on behalf of The Challenge. The team which he heads up also works to produce original research and policy analysis reflecting and promoting our organisational mission, and supports the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration. Rich joined The Challenge in 2014 to lead the Secretariat to the Social Integration Commission. Prior to this, he worked as a political and policy adviser in local government and on a range of political campaigns – including Ed Miliband’s campaign to become Leader of the Labour Party.

Rich lives in East London. He holds a BA in English Literature from Queen Mary, University of London and an MSc in Public Policy from University College London, and is the author of numerous reports on community cohesion, localism and immigration policy issues.

Tim Bevans

Head of Regional NCS Programmes – South

Tim heads up the NCS Programmes team for London and the south. He joined The Challenge in January 2016 and is responsible for ensuring that NCS Programmes provide a high quality and positive experience for the young people who participate – right through from the initial set-up to delivery on programme and beyond.

Tim joined the Challenge following a career as a senior leader in the Further Education sector, leading on areas related to student experience and inclusion. He has worked as an OFSTED nominee and led his last college to consecutive OFSTED outstanding judgements for residential provision. He is a qualified teacher and youth worker and is passionate about inclusion, safeguarding and quality. Tim has also lead successful international expeditions for young people to countries including Nepal, Morocco, Tanzania, Costa Rica and Thailand.

When not at work Tim is dad to two children, runs a touch rugby club and is trustee of a charity supporting young people and adults with disabilities.

Colin Cliff

Head of NCS Curriculum

Colin heads up the Curriculum department focusing on the development of the National Citizen Service programme and ongoing graduate support. He joined The Challenge in October 2010 following over 10 years working in a variety of roles within the youth sector ranging from church based youth work, detached community work, and youth club provision.

Colin lives in South East London, and is married with two daughters aged 6 and 3. He is a professionally qualified (JNC) Youth and Community worker and has a degree in Youth and Community Work with Practical Theology from Ridley Hall College, Cambridge.

 Edward Cook

Head of NCS Sales & Marketing

Edward oversees our sales and marketing team working to ensure that young people from all backgrounds across the UK get to take part in NCS. He has been with The Challenge since working on NCS in 2011. Prior to joining The Challenge, Edward had a varied career including 9 years working in broadcasting, latterly as a journalist on New Zealand’s state broadcaster’s evening news. Following that he worked for a Maori tribe (Iwi), managing youth development programmes and supporting significant social and economic development projects. Seeking a qualification in youth development, Edward trained as a secondary teacher and travelled to the UK, where he taught in Bristol prior to joining The Challenge.

Edward recently appeared as an extra in a Bolivian beer commercial. He has been a board member of Scouts New Zealand and the Asia Pacific Scout Region and an advisor to the board of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement. Edward has a degree from the NZ Broadcasting School, and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching – Secondary from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

Mark Cornish

Head of Finance

As Head of Finance at The Challenge, Mark is responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of our Finance team. He joined The Challenge in September 2014 from Bowel Cancer UK, where he held the position of Director of Finance and Resources before becoming Chief Operating Officer. Earlier in his career, Mark qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and subsequently joined the British Wool Marketing Board, where he rose to become the Finance Director of the main operating subsidiary.

Mark is married with 3 children and a border terrier called Tommy, and enjoys walking and sailing. He is a co-opted member of the Charity Finance Group’s finance sub-committee, is a Director of his children’s local senior school, and has a degree in Economics from Bradford University.

Mike Crowther

Head of Regional NCS Programmes – North

Mike heads up the programmes team across the Midlands and North, ensuring the high quality delivery of National Citizen Service across the region. He joined The Challenge in November 2009 with 7 years experience running residential youth work programmes across the UK and USA.

Mike lives in Leeds and has a 6 year old daughter, Taylor. He loves the outdoors and enjoys cycling, running and football. Mike has a degree in Physical Education and PGCert in Sport and Exercise Science from Leeds Metropolitan University.

Tanya Dunne

Head of Customer Services

Tanya oversees The Challenge’s Customer Services team, which guides, advises and helps thousands of applicants to apply to our programmes every year from all walks of life across the UK. She joined The Challenge in November 2012 following thirteen years with the British Council, where she held information management, change consultancy, customer service, and Country Director roles, working across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Tanya has travelled to 70 countries, mainly across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and trained as a women’s self defence instructor in Disneyland Florida. She has a degree in Modern History and Politics from the University of Liverpool, a diploma in Information Science, and further qualifications in coaching and MBTI.

Thora Eberts

Head of Step Forward

Thora joined The Challenge in March 2017 to take on a new role as the Head of Step Forward, the organisation’s apprenticeship programme. As Head of Step Forward, Thora is responsible for setting the future direction and growth of the programme, ensuring we are delivering a high quality training experience for our apprentices and employers and supporting young people from a variety of backgrounds across London to successfully enter employment. Prior to joining The Challenge, Thora spent eight years working with Teaching Leaders, a national charity dedicated to addressing educational disadvantage by developing middle leadership capacity in challenging schools. Thora held a variety of roles at Teaching Leaders, most recently as Midlands and South West Regional Director.

Thora is a native of Berkeley, California, has a BA in Modern Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MA in Post Modern Literature from UCL. Thora is passionate about education, social justice, the Pacific Ocean and tacos.

Rosie EvansRosie Evans

Strategic Operations Senior Manager

Rosie leads Step Forward’s Strategic Operations & Innovation team who are responsible for ensuring Step Forward’s financial sustainability and missional impact in the future, and for providing business and process analysis and project management support to Step Forward’s other teams. Alongside this, Rosie also works for the Operations and Performance Director to deliver pan-programme projects. Having worked as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company, she joined The Challenge in 2013 to design and launch a new programme to deliver social integration, before becoming the Head of the Secretariat for the Social Integration Commission.

Rosie lives in west London with her husband where she plays National League hockey at Barnes Hockey Club and leads the band in her local church. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and a MPhil in Medieval History, both from the University of Cambridge.

Delia Gibson

Head of Operational Effectiveness

Delia heads up the Operational Effectiveness department focusing on supporting the organisation with continuous improvement to ensure it operates on firm foundations both now and in the future. She joined The Challenge in October 2015 following several years working in the private sector in a variety of roles, predominantly as a project manager and more latterly specialising in implementing operational change programs.

Delia lives in East London with her husband and she has a degree in English Literature from The University of Sheffield.

Antony HawkinsAntony Hawkins

Head of Strategy

As Head of Strategy, Antony is responsible for coordinating and supporting the organisation to deliver the strategic projects identified in The Challenge medium and long term strategy, working closely with the Director team and the Board of Trustees. Antony also leads on the other areas of work for which the Strategy team are responsible: impact measurement of The Challenge’s programmes, and ideation and development of new interventions.

Prior to joining The Challenge, Antony was a Senior Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company where he led multiple projects on education and employability in the UK and Middle East. He has also worked extensively in the fields of both policy and social enterprise on employability and welfare to work.

Antony began his career as an English teacher in Japan, and retains a passion for travel and the Japanese language. He is an avid cyclist, recently completing a 900 mile tour of the 88 temple pilgrimage on Shikoku Island. His other extra-curricular passions are playing the piano and ukulele, craft-beer brewing, karaoke and theatre.

Antony holds an MA in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford and an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD Business School.

Rebecca Hick

Head of HR

Rebecca leads the HR team responsible for ensuring a full HR service to the business and the implementation of HR strategy that upholds the organisation’s mission and strategic aims.

Rebecca joined The Challenge in April 2015 after 10 years HR experience. Before joining The Challenge she worked predominantly in energy and resources, where she developed a strong generalist profile working across regions and cultures in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, America and Australasia. Her areas of expertise include talent management, employee relations, remuneration and reward, and organisational development. She has a degree in Human Resources Management & Business Law from Edith Cowan University, Australia.

Emma Jenkins

Head of Development and HeadStart

Emma is responsible for the strategic development and operational management of our HeadStart programme alongside the organisation’s fundraising and development activities. She joined the Challenge in 2012 as Grants and Statutory Fundraising Manager. Prior to this, Emma managed a team of fundraising consultants at Generate Fundraising, leading on varied and inspiring fundraising campaigns, from building flagship homeless centres and children’s cancer units to raising funds to sustain local youth services. She also worked as Head of Strategy and Business Development for DHA, a legal advice and homelessness charity, where she secured funding for one of the country’s first Community Legal Advice Centres.

Emma has a degree in English Literature from the University of Leeds.

Rick Miles

Head of Step Forward Recruitment

Rick manages a team of account managers who work with third sector and private organisations and nurseries to increase takeup of professional apprentices across 6 skilled pathways: Accounting, IT, Business Support Services, Hospitality, Early Years Education, and Social Media and Digital Marketing. Rick joined The Challenge in 2011 as a temporary member of staff working on the National Citizen Service summer programme, before joining the organisation permanently as a manager in the organisation’s Staffing team. Before joining The Challenge, he worked in agency recruitment for 5 years and as a teacher for a year.

Rick has a degree in Management from the University of Leicester and a PCGE from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Will ParsloeWill Parsloe

Head of Legal

Will manages the Legal department which advises on a wide range of contract, regulatory compliance and risk issues that come out of The Challenge’s work.

He was previously the Head of Legal at the NSPCC/ChildLine and the English National Opera, prior to which he worked in a private law firm for several years.

He lives in south east London with his wife and daughter, is a qualified solicitor and has a degree in Archaeology.

Jonathan Pilgrim

Head of IT

Jonathan heads up the nascent IT department, which is newly formed as a discrete entity at The Challenge. The IT Department delivers the end user computing devices, infrastructure and services that enable The Challenge to deliver a scalable, secure and cost-effective technology platform to its various offices and mobile users.

Jonathan has previously worked at non-profits including Amnesty International and Sue Ryder and has also spent time in the education and hospitality sectors. Jonathan is a trainee step-dad to two terrific girls and is therefore learning to embrace the best kinds of chaos. He lives in Cambridge and depends upon his folding bicycle.

Jonathan has a BSc in Pharmacology from Kings College London and an MSc in Neuroscience from The Institute of Psychiatry.

Ellen Rutherford

Head of NCS Sales

Ellen oversees our engagement with the thousands of young people we sign up to the National Citizen Service every year, working as part of our national Sales team and with our local delivery partners. She joined The Challenge in 2009 as manager of the South London and Surrey Sales Team. Prior to this, she worked for The Prince’s Foundation for Children and The Arts.

Ellen has a degree in English Literature from The University of Sheffield.

Jessica Shepherd

Head of Communications and Campaigns

As Head of Communications and Campaigns, Jessica oversees a team whose role it is to raise the profile of The Challenge, social integration and our programmes in the media, across government and among the public. Jessica and her team work to ensure that The Challenge becomes the go-to expert on social integration and that our research, policy reports and public mobilisation campaigns are widely disseminated.

Jessica joined The Challenge at the beginning of September after working as Head of Communications (Education and Student Affairs) at University College London. Before that, she spent her career as a journalist at The Guardian for more than eight years as Education Correspondent and a News Editor. She’s passionate about languages and speaks French and Italian having lived in Milan and Aix-en-Provence for her degree. She helped start up the Education Media Centre, a small charity that pairs academics with journalists to improve news coverage of education issues.

Rachel Slade

Head of NCS Programmes and Staffing 

Rachel joined The Challenge in 2011 and is responsible for leading the Programmes, Staffing and Curriculum departments in the operational set up and delivery of our NCS programme. Rachel has worked in a number of different roles within the organisation ranging from a front line leader working directly with young people to managing the strategic direction of the organisation’s NCS delivery. Rachel has previously worked with two youth and community charities, Depaul UK and UnLtd, with a focus on communications, marketing and PR.

Rachel has a first class honours degree from Goldsmiths College, University of London, in Anthropology and Communications.

Dominique Standring

Head of Innovation

Dominique heads up the Innovation department, which is responsible for providing a business analysis and project management function in support of the other NCS departments.

She has worked for The Challenge since 2011, when she joined the Central Operations team as an intern. Until August 2016 she was the Senior Projects Manager in the Systems team, overseeing the delivery of 20+ new Salesforce systems.

Dominique has a degree in French and German from the University of Bristol.

Chris Stansfield

Head of NCS Delivery Partnerships

Chris supports and oversees our Local Delivery Partners, which are a variety of organisations who are subcontracted to work with us to deliver the NCS programme across the country. Local Delivery Partners deliver 25% of our NCS places nationally. Chris helped set up the first programme The Challenge ran in 2009 and then joined in 2011 to oversee our NCS delivery in West London. Chris has previously worked in International Development for charities working in Latin America and South Africa.

He enjoys playing touch rugby and has a degree in Mathematics and Sports Science from the University of Birmingham and a Postgraduate Certificate in Charity Management from LSBU.

Josie Whitworth

Head of NCS Staffing

Josie leads our staffing department, which recruits, assesses and contracts mentors, leaders and other staff to work on the National Citizen Service with The Challenge. She has worked for The Challenge since 2010 – including as Head of Programmes and Staffing (maternity cover), Head of Programmes for the South of England, and in a variety of front-line delivery roles. Josie also co-founded the organisation’s Birmingham office. Prior to joining The Challenge, she worked for the National Youth Advocacy Service and Priory Psychiatric Hospital supporting programmes for at risk young people. For the last ten years she has volunteered as both a Director and Council member for ATE, an educational trust running residential holidays.

Josie has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Birmingham.