Our trustees

Find out more about the Bliss Board of Trustees, a mixture of professionals and parents with personal experience.

About Bliss' board of Trustees

Bliss’ Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for ensuring we deliver our charitable mission and spend our money wisely. At Bliss we work hard to ensure that trustees take effective decisions and bring value to delivering Bliss’ vision that every baby born premature or sick in the UK has the best possible chance of survival and quality of life.

Bliss has 10 trustees from diverse backgrounds in the charity, public and private sector, appointed following an open recruitment process. All Bliss’ trustees are voluntary and some have personal or professional experience relating to premature and sick babies. Others bring a range of expertise including finance, governance, HR, policy, commissioning, digital and marketing. Trustees at Bliss serve a term of four years, and can serve a maximum of two terms.

In 2018/19 our trustee attendance rate at full board meetings was 80 per cent. The board collectively reviews its performance regularly, and devotes time every year to discuss and agree how it can improve its added value. A performance review of each trustee is also conducted annually by the Chair and Vice-Chair.

Adding value and bringing wider perspectives to our work

However, being a trustee at Bliss is about more than attending board meetings. Trustees add value in many different ways, helping to bring different perspectives and challenge as well as their professional expertise. We believe that trustees who engage directly with the staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and supporters of Bliss outside of board meetings will have a deeper understanding of our work, and will therefore be able to take more informed decisions and act as a more effective critical friend. We also believe that it is important to bring alternative voices into discussions from time to time.

Our expectation at Bliss is that our trustees will contribute to our work by:

  • Participating in board and committee meetings and Bliss events
  • Providing professional expertise and access to their networks
  • Supporting fundraising
  • Taking on a specific role or providing advice on a particular project
  • Meeting informally with staff across the organisation
  • Meeting those affected by our work, for example through attending fundraising or campaigning events and visiting neonatal units

The Board also regularly invites external speakers – practitioners, parents or subject experts – to meetings and asks for honest feedback, and compares Bliss’ performance against other similar charities.

Meet our trustees

Verity Baldry - Acting Chair of the Board

Verity works for privately-owned investment group Blenheim Chalcot, where she has developed deep experience of business development and product management working across public and private sector markets; most recently in award-winning financial technology start-up Salary Finance, where she works with employers to improve the financial wellbeing of the UK's workforce.

Verity has been a very active Bliss supporter since the death of her first son who died shortly after his birth in 2007.

John Calder

John is a Partner at Baringa Partners, winners of 2017 Great Place to Work. He has 15 years’ experience in operations consultancy focusing on operational excellence, KPIs and performance improvement, digital transformation and data and analytics. He has lead a number of people and culture initiatives, focused on attracting and retaining millennial talent.

He brings widespread third sector experience from projects at Fareshare, Gates Foundation and Save the Children and a wide network of private sector C-Suite executives. John and his family have been actively engaged with Bliss since the loss of their precious daughter Chloe, born prematurely in late 2016.

Caroline Farrar

Caroline has more than 20 years' experience of working in public services, including in the independent sector, local government and the NHS. Currently working in commissioning at Merton Clinical Commissioning Group, she has also held senior roles in policy, performance and service development.

Amy Overend

Originally trained as an Adult Nurse, and specialising in adult intensive care, Amy moved into Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing in 2013.

Completing post graduate training to become a specialised neonatal intensive care nurse, the care of sick and premature babies as well as their families has become her passion. Amy has worked closely with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss and has helped with the creation of the National Bereavement Care Pathway for Pregnancy and Baby Loss, as well as speaking at a national conference about the nursing reality of neonatal organ donation.

Fauzia Paize

Fauzia is a consultant neonatologist the Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust. She has a special interest in bereavement and palliative care in neonates and is also a strong advocate for family integrated care and family support.

She has spent time working with MP’s as part of an All Parliamentary Group on baby loss, to highlight the lack of resources available to neonatal teams throughout the UK. She has worked closely with SANDS to roll out the National Bereavement Care Pathway which was produced in conjunction with Bliss and is the local lead for this.

Fauzia speaks nationally at conferences about neonatal medicine and has published several articles in this area.

Jason Parker

Jason is a Partner at KPMG, where he is the UK Head of Healthcare. He is an accountant by background and has over 20 years of experience working with NHS organisations on operational, financial and quality improvement issues. Jason has three children, one of whom was born premature.

Tania Seale

Tania graduated as a general nurse in 1986 and went onto complete a Biomedical Science degree and has a PhD in Health services Research.

Clinically, Tania has worked in senior NHS cancer services and patient facing roles. She additionally, has worked for over ten years in research in roles within the NHS, national clinical research networks, academia and the third sector.

She currently manages and develops research funding for a regional cancer research charity.

Tania had premature twins who are now 22 years old. Whilst both are physically well, Tania’s daughter has experienced significant long term medical, social and educational difficulties related to her prematurity. Tania has three dogs (one of which is her daughter’s magnificent service dog), one cat and four horses.

Mala Shah-Coulon

Mala is a mum to twins who were born in 2011 premature and sick after a placental abruption, but are now well and healthy.

Professionally she is an Associate Partner at Ernst and Young (EY) and runs the Corporate Governance team which seeks to provides boards with timely and practical advice on key governance and narrative reporting matters. She also sits on Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) Companies Committee.

Calvin Sellers

Calvin is an accountant through training, who now helps entrepreneurial small businesses (and charities!) survive and thrive in an ever-changing environment; through collaboration in developing strategy, operations, and financial frameworks. A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants having qualified around 30 years ago, he more recently completed an MBA at Imperial College in London to address a thirst to continue learning. It didn’t quite extinguish the thirst and Calvin is now completing a part-time Masters in Coaching and Behavioural Change at Henley Business School, and developing an Executive Coaching practice to sit along his CFO consultancy.

Taking on the role of Board Trustee and Treasurer at Bliss is a small way of saying thank you to the charity that helped protect the life of his daughter when she was born 11 weeks premature 23 years ago.

Calvin enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, and enjoys the social aspects of running, cycling and tennis.

Emily Drayson

Emily brings more than a decade's fundraising experience to the board. She works as a consultant, providing research and analysis to a wide range of charitable organisations in order to make their fundraising more targeted, efficient and effective. Based in the Scottish Highlands, Emily works with charities, cultural sector organisations and educational institutions from across the UK.

Between 2014 and July 2020 Emily served as a Trustee of the Institute of Fundraising; the institute, which serves as the professional membership body for UK fundraisers, was granted a Royal Charter in February 2020.