SMK Supporters and Funders

Team, Trustees and Patrons

Sue Tibballs
Sue Tibballs, Chief Executive

Sue Tibballs, OBE

Sue Tibballs is a campaigner, strategist and commentator who has worked at the forefront of the social change sector for over twenty years. Currently Chief Executive of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation, previous roles include Chief Executive of the campaigning charity, the Women’s Sport & Fitness Foundation (now Women in Sport); Projects Director of the social and consumer trends consultancy, The Future Foundation, and Women’s Campaigns Manager at The Body Shop.

As a leading social change practitioner, Sue offers exceptional knowledge and experience of campaigning, social marketing and behaviour change. In her twenties, she devised the award-winning “Bag ‘n’ Bin It” campaign for the Women’s Environmental Network and co-founded the Women’s Communication Centre which hosted the ground-breaking ‘What Women Want’ campaign; at The Body Shop she was responsible for the global roll out of the pioneering ‘Ruby’ campaign which first made the connection between body image and self-esteem; as Chief Executive of the Women’s Sport & Fitness Foundation she oversaw a spectrum of campaigns aimed at unlocking the potential of women’s elite sport and improving school sport for girls. Most recently, Sue has overseen strategy and marketing for an innovative behaviour change programme aimed at helping more women get active.

Sue is regularly asked to give comment to the media and has twice been asked to serve as a retained Ministerial advisor. Sue has a degree in English & Philosophy from the University of Glasgow; an Honorary Degree from Liverpool John Moore’s University for her work in women’s health; and was awarded an OBE for “services to sport” in the 2013 New Years’ Honours list.

Sue is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and Patron of Crystal Palace Ladies’ Football Club.

Contact Details:
020 3770 0401

Megan Poyiadzis
Megan Poyiadzis, Events and Programmes Officer

Megan joined SMK in January 2015 after previously working within the NHS  as a Retinal eye screener/grader, testing patients for any signs of sight-threatening eye disease caused by Diabetes. Megan is currently in her second year studying for a BSc in Community Development and Public Policy at Birkbeck University, due to her passion for social justice and civil society issues. She has covered modules including community-based project development and management, leadership and governance in local communities and social conflict.

In the past Megan has volunteered for a Childs charity, organising half term activities, such as painting and cooking classes for primary school children. She has also participated in voluntary Christmas events for a Childs charity, wrapping presents donated from organisations such as John Lewis and Hamleys and helping to decorate a selected venue for vulnerable children and families to celebrate on Christmas day.  

Contact Details:
020 3752 5644

Graciela Guerrero
Graciela Guerrero, Finance and reporting officer

Graciela Guerrero joined SMK in August/September 2015 coming from an accounting and financing background. In her career, Graciela volunteered as an administrator for Home Start Haringey who worked with distressed families dealing with poverty, domestic abuse & other social or economic disadvantages.

Prior to joining us, Graciela worked as a purchase leger officer for the NHS as part of the Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust, which specialised in the therapeutic welfare and treatment of patients struggling with mental health issues. Previous to that she worked at Fortismere School as admin officer at the finance department and often volunteered in running and organising events the school set up for both private parties and the local community. 

Graciela graduated with a BA in Accounting and Management with Finance at Birkbeck University in July 2014. She has a keen interest in traveling and has recently developed a passion for yoga and meditation.

Contact Details:
020 3770 4043

Rachel Nye
Rachel Nye, Project Manager- The Social Change Project

Rachel has spent her career in the third sector working both front line with local authorities and charities such as Solace Women’s Aid, and as a researcher and campaigner in the sector.

Rachel was co-director of the IC Change Campaign which seeks to bring about ratification of The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) by the UK Government. This campaign successfully saw a private members bill on the Istanbul Convention brought through parliament in 2016/17 (Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence [Ratification of Convention] Act 2017). For this work she was awarded the Gender Equality Sheila McKechnie Campaigner Award.


Rachel is currently campaign co-ordinator of the What Women Want 2.0 campaign which aims to make women’s voices heard and influence public and political debate. 

Contact Details:
020 3752 5642


Louise Hanson, Chair

Louise joined the Association of British Insurers in August 2012. Before that Louise worked for 12 years at the consumer group Which? as Head of Advocacy and led their work on a range of issues including energy markets, consumer rights, retail and personal finance.

Previous to that Louise worked in campaigns and public affairs at Oxfam and Townswomen’s Guilds and was heavily involved in campaigning on the labelling of GM food and the Drop the Debt coalition.

Louise was a member of the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner’s Consumer Board and a Trustee of the Personal Finance Education Group (Pfeg) and currently sits on the National Council of Voluntary Organisations Campaign Effectiveness Advisory Group. Louise also represented Which? on the Executive of the European consumer organisation BEUC and on the Council of Consumers’ International.

Matthew Downie
Matthew Downie, Vice-Chair

Matt Downie is Director of Policy and External Affairs for Crisis, where he is responsible for UK wide political, communications and research strategy. Matt began his career at Shelter and went on to lead award winning policy and campaigns teams at Action for Children and the National Autistic Society. Political successes include the Autism Act 2009, stopping the extradition of Gary McKinnon to the US on charges of computer hacking, establishing a multi-million pound Government savings scheme for children in care, and most recently a successful campaign to introduce a new criminal offence of emotional child abuse.

Matt is a trustee for the Sheila McKechnie Foundation and for the Share Foundation, and is a governor at a school for disabled children in north London.

Alastair Wilson
Alastair Wilson

Alastair Wilson, Chief Executive of the School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). SSE’s core service is a year-long ‘action learning’ based programme consisting of a combination of expert and witness sessions, project visits, individual tutoring and mentoring. Alongside the core programme SSE also delivers Start-Up, Scale-Up, Transition to Trading & Spin-Out programmes. SSE has schools in 8 UK locations, Canada and Australia ( Alastair is also a trustee of Social enterprise UK.

Nigel Saxby-Soffe
Nigel Saxby-Soffe

Nigel has had a distinguished career in finance spanning both the corporate and NGO sector. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG before joining J. Henry Schroder & Co., where he was an Investment Banking Director. In 1994 Nigel joined ActionAid as Director of Finance where he oversaw the development of the ActionAid International federation of international development organisations operating in 50 countries and was responsible for ensuring its financial integrity and improving its financial performance and accountability.

Nigel was a Non-Executive Director of the Sussex Ambulance Service NHS Trust from 1994 – 2004. Nigel is also trustee of Practical Action and Article 19.

Nigel is married with two children and lives in Sussex.  He joined the SMK Board in May 2010 and is a member of the SMK Resource Committee.

Kierra Box

Kierra Box has been campaigning for over 10 years, since co-founding Hands Up for Peace, a youth campaign against the Iraq War, in 2003. Kierra was one of the earliest winners of the Sheila McKechnie Award in 2006, and through the Foundation was able to develop further work to galvanise young people to campaign. Kierra ran youth organisation Hands Up until 2009, when she moved to working full time with a partnership supporting resident action and services in a disadvantaged area of London. During this time she held positions as a Trustee of the Young People Now Foundation and a member of the Department of Health Sexual Health and HIV Independent Advisory Group.

Since 2011 Kierra has continued to support local campaigning in a voluntary capacity, as an organiser of homeless support group The SockMob and a trustee of homlesness organisation Streetlytes. She is also a speaker for Save the Children and a volunteer for student action charity Envision.

Kierra is currently head of Communications and Member Services at Community Matters – the National Federation of Community Associations – where she has also been leading the national youth programme since 2011, providing support to voluntary sector organisations working with and for young people and representing them within policy. She joined the Sheila McKechnie Foundation board in December 2012.

John Rudkin, Chair of the Resource Commitee

John is a Chartered Accountant and was appointed as Treasurer on the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Board of Trustees in October 2008. John knew Sheila from his work with Which? where he currently works as an Internal Auditor. He is a Director of Tradewind Heights RTM Limited.

Susan Smith

Susan Smith has been the editor of Third Force News, Scotland’s third sector weekly, newspaper since 2005. In that time, TFN has covered the introduction of Scotland’s first charity laws, campaigned against cuts to third sector services, supported the fight for the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland to retain its independence from Lloyds Banking Group, and overseen the growth of TFN to reach 25,000 third sector professionals each week. The last few years have seen the development of TFN digital, which now reaches a further 15,000 people a month.

While at TFN, Susan set up the annual Scottish Charity Awards, which has been running since 2007. She also helps organise events for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ Communications Network.

Susan is a journalist who has previously worked for Holiday Which? magazine, the Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News. In her spare time, she has organised a series of fundraising activities for MakeIT4Africa, a Scottish charity working in Ghana, including an Edinburgh Fringe Festival Comedy Gala. She enjoys arts and cultural activities and currently writes a blog on Scottish literature.

Cecilie Hestbæk

For the past three years Cecilie has worked for the think tank and consultancy, New Philanthropy Capital where she designs, plans and manages a range of complex research and consulting projects to improve the social impact of non-profits. As part of her role at NPC, Cecilie leads on consultancy proposals and manages the UK-wide programme, Inspiring Impact, which aims to improve impact practice- the way organisations use evaluation and evidence—in the voluntary sector.

Cecilie has served as a trustee of several campaigning organisations and was a student board member of one of the largest trade unions in Denmark, where she ensured that the introduction of a minimum wage for student internships was on the agenda at the national tri–‐partite negotiations. For the past two years Cecilie has focussed on political campaigning as an activist in the Green Party.

Sarah Wootton

Sarah has been the Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying for over 8 years with previous senior positions at the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Family Planning Association and the Abortion Law Reform Association. During her time at Dignity in Dying, Sarah has doubled the organisation’s income and reserves, and in addition established a sister charity, Compassion in Dying, to secure income from trusts and foundations, and to enable a more tax-efficient route for individual giving. She has also grown the team from Dignity in Dying’s original six members of staff to 25.

Sarah was selected to be a member of the International Women’s Forum in July 2015 and has also been a board member for the Women’s Resource Centre and Abortion Rights.

Rhea Stevens

Rhea currently works for Save the Children, Cardiff as their senior Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns Manager. Rhea previously worked as a Campaigns Coordinator for Age Cymru, where she developed and delivered the Rule Out Abuse campaign which secured the desired legal change to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

Rhea is currently an Advisory Board member for Children’s Social Care Research and Development and Institute of Welsh Affairs. She was previously a Volunteer Women’s Rights Champion for Cardiff Women’s Aid.

SMK Patrons

Our founding five patrons all knew Sheila and play an important ambassadorial role for the Foundation:

Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP
Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP

Gordon Brown was a friend of Sheila McKechnie for over thirty years and became a patron of the Foundation at the time it was established in 2005. Gordon Brown hosted the Foundation’s reception for the Sheila McKechnie Awards 2007. He has emphasised the importance of campaigners contribution to democracy in Britain and continues to support the Foundation’s work to develop the next generation of campaigners.

“To fight for justice is not some abstract idea – it is far more important than that. It is a practical demand that real wrongs must be righted, that injustices be rectified, that abuses be removed and unfairness’s remedied. Let Sheila’s energy, Sheila’s unending courage and, Sheila’s lifetime dedication to justice, inspire us and drive us forward in the days and years ahead”.

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin

Delyth has over 20 years experience as a campaigner and was the first Chief Executive of Breakthrough Cancer responsible for orchestrating the high level of awareness and momentum behind the issue of breast cancer in the UK. Sheila was a hugely important role model for Delyth throughout her career.

“It’s time we recognised the campaigners out there whose efforts help create a better future for their communities – the people who can be bothered, who write that letter and ask that question, who organise that petition and who could do even more with support, help and recognition. The Sheila McKechnie Foundation hopes to support, empower and name these campaigners and thank them for what they do for us all.”

The Lord Rogers of Riverside CH
The Lord Rogers of Riverside CH

Richard Rogers is an award winning architect and the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. He has received a number of awards including the RIBA Gold Medal in 1985, the 2006 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement (La Biennale di Venezia) and the 2007 Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal. Richard was awarded the Légiond’Honneur in 1986, knighted in 1991 and made a life peer in1996. Most recently, in 2008, he was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour.

In 1995, he was the first architect ever invited to give the BBC Reith Lectures – a series entitled ‘Cities for a Small Planet’ – and in 1998 was appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister to chair the UK Government’s Urban Task Force on the state of our cities. He was Chief Advisor on Architecture and Urbanism to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and has played an advisory role on design to the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. He has also been an Advisor to the Mayor of Barcelona’s Urban Strategies Council.

Jon Snow
Jon Snow

Jon is a broadcaster and writer, and currently presents the Channel Four news for ITN.

“We want to make it possible for another Sheila, another passionate informed campaigner, to break out and raise a voice from beyond organised politics on behalf of those denied rights and opportunities.”

Alan Grant

Sheila’s partner and formerly champion of education at the Financial Services Authority.

“Sheila’s eye for an issue worth campaigning about may have been largely intuitive, but her campaigns were always based on careful research of the facts, identifying practical solutions, and absolute integrity.”

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