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

Sarah Mullen - Chair of the board

Sarah has twenty five years of experience of working in the public sector, in both local government and central government.

She has held a number of senior roles leading strategy and policy development and managing change. These have included Director of Spending at HM Treasury and most recently, Assistant Chief Executive at the London Borough of Camden.

Sarah is also the Chair of Respect, a charity committed to ending domestic abuse.

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 technology start-up Fospha, where she led the organisation to develop an online behavioural analytics platform.

Verity has been a very active Bliss supporter since the death of her first son who was born 'too sick' 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.

Alan Edwards

Alan has over 25 years' experience in business to business technology marketing. He has held a number of leadership positions and is currently Senior Vice President for global marketing at AVEVA, a UK headquartered global software business. Alan has developed particular experience in driving transformation and change through marketing.

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 seven year old twins who were born 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.