Our trustees

Group picture of 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

Jason Parker - Chair of the Board

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.

Verity Baldry

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.

Alex Burrows

Alex has been a supporter of Bliss since the early arrival of his daughter in December 2012 at 26 weeks – which has since included 2 Wolf Runs and the Birmingham triathlon so far, with more fundraising activities promised.

Professionally, Alex is a Director at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham and holds a number of roles focused on railway policy, strategy and innovation.

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.

Emily Drayson

Emily is a trustee of Bliss Scotland, and 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.

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.

Neil James

Neil is the Managing Director of Blueglass Consulting Limited where he advises companies on cross-functional transformation programmes. He has 20 years’ experience as a commercial leader in the pharmaceutical industry with a background in sales, marketing and general management.

Neil has a daughter who was born prematurely but is now in good health.

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 at 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.

Tania Seale

Tania is an experienced healthcare and research professional with over 30 years’ experience across the not for profit sector, NHS and academia.

Tania originally trained as a general nurse graduating in 1986, and went onto complete a biomedical science degree and a PhD in health services research. Tania is skilled in research management, health services delivery, strategy development and has strong analytical skills.

Tania currently works with the Lymphoma Research Group at the Division of Cancer Services, Manchester University who have a special interest in the late effects of treatment for lymphoma in long term survivors.

Tania had premature twins who are now 22 years old and one of the twins has experienced long term difficulties related to the prematurity.

Out of work Tania spends most of her spare time with her three tearaway dogs and competing and training with her very pampered horses.

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.

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.

Charlotte Witteridge

Charlotte's daughter was born 12 weeks premature in 2013. Now a thriving little girl, Bliss played an important part in her family's neonatal journey. Already a supporter of Bliss, being a Trustee allows Charlotte to extend this support and give something back to a charity that is special to her family and that she is passionate about.

Professionally, Charlotte is the Head of Volunteering for Sense. Charlotte brings over 10 years' experience working in both local and national charities within a disability and hospice setting, with volunteering her area of specialism. She is a sector wide leader of volunteering, and an advocate for the involvement of volunteers in enabling charities to meet the needs of the people they support.

Morven Finlayson

Morven Finlayson

Morven is a Trustee of Bliss Scotland, and is a Scottish Solicitor with more than 20 years’ experience of high end commercial Real Estate and Corporate Commercial advising. She is currently Company Secretary and in-house legal advisor to a well known Scottish Nursing Agency while also providing services for large scale infrastructure projects in conjunction with one of the world’s largest legal firms.

Morven is married with two children and lives in Glasgow where she enjoys being outside as much as possible, good food and wine. She was introduced to Bliss Scotland through a friend who received excellent support with the birth of her premature twins.