Helen McMillan - Chair
Helen has had a close association with Hope for Children since 2001 and became a trustee in 2010. During this time she has been lucky enough to visit many of our projects, and has been instrumental in many fundraising events and activities. As a result of the pandemic, Helen has become semi retired from her business career in the hospitality industry, giving her enough time to take on the great privilege of the Chair’s role, which she began in 2020. Local to Hemel Hempstead, Helen first became aware of Hope for Children when she had a chance meeting with our founder, Bob Parsons. Helen loves to travel and explore the great outdoors enjoying walking, running, skiing, canoeing and occasional sailing, with her husband Julian and small dog, Coco
Adrian May - Vice Chair
Adrian has over 30 years of international cross functional business Project and Programme Management experience centred in the Sales, Marketing and Supply Chain functions. He is skilled in project management and change management techniques. Projects include organisation redesign, IT, process redesign, supply chain redesign, M&A and strategy definition. He worked for a number of blue chip companies but is now working as an independent Management Consultant for a FTSE 250 company in Bath on a global programme in the Commercial division.
Adrian has been a fund raiser for Hope for Children for about 15 years including running the London Marathon a number of times (I forget how many), the Marathon des Sables three times and last year he took on the Prudential 100 on his bike!
Amanda has been a trustee of Hope for Children for over 5 years including a year as our Chair. Outside of Hope she works in technology with a focus on digitally transforming organisations in the not-for-profit sectors. She has recently joined Nottingham Trent University as Director of Digital Technologies. Previously she has had roles in the charity sector leading tech at Macmillan Cancer Support and Versus Arthritis and at NHS Digital as Digital Services Delivery Director, leading on Widening Digital Participation, Urgent and Emergency Care and the development of a digital profession to enable the NHS to grow the capabilities and skills to deliver user centred digital services. She has over fifteen years’ experience in the digital world, having started her virtual journey in the car industry at Vauxhall Motors back when the web was all about sexy Flash microsites. As the web changed to be more personalised and user-centric she moved to the charity sector at Diabetes UK to revolutionise their web offer and then worked on public sector digital engagement at the Metropolitan Police. She has been voted as one of the BIMA Top 100 digital influencers, Eventbrite’s 100 movers and shakers and ‘Leader for Good’ by EY and 10 digital ladies. She is a huge fan of making life simple and engaging for the user and ensuring value for money through strategy, research, evaluation, and agile delivery processes.
I have been a trustee since last 2016 and am always hugely impressed with the work that goes on. In my work life I have two main roles. The first is to act as a mentor or coach to senior people and their teams. This mainly involves giving them time and space to think things through and then helping them to do the things that have decided that they want to. The second is as a consultant, working on projects to support clients as they work to operate in new and better ways. Recently this has included smart working, well-being, gender diversity and training. The common thread is that for me, it’s all about the people. I am on the board of a number of small companies and run my own consultancy business called Network for Skills. Before this I held senior roles in Transport for London, The London Mayor’s Office and City & Guilds. In my real life, I have been married to Clare for 26 years and have two grown up children. These three keep me sane and make me put my laptop and phone down so that I do “life” things as well as work. These include travelling, eating out and going to see live music / theatre. When I have head space I like to read and listen to music as well.
I joined the board for Hope for Children in December 2017.
I studied law at Oxford and have been a qualified solicitor since March 2007. I started my career at Linklaters LLP specialising in corporate mergers and acquisitions and corporate advisory work. I then moved to the corporate department of the London office of US firm, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. I left private practice in June 2015 and moved into a more commercial role as senior legal counsel at Smiths Group plc (a listed company in the FTSE 100) where I was primarily responsible for coordinating and driving divisional acquisition and sale processes and advising on commercial contracts and corporate governance. Since January 2017, I have been Associate General Counsel at CTF Development, a privately invested real estate development and asset management company operating primarily in the hospitality industry. CTF own Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, KHOS, Pentahotels and New World Hotels & Resorts, amongst other businesses/assets. I am responsible for supporting and growing the hotel brands in EMEA and all legal matters affecting the existing hotel portfolio including providing legal and strategic advice to senior management on acquisitions, divestments, development projects, financing’s and other company initiatives.
I have a number of contacts in the legal sector at external law firms who provide pro bono legal advice to charities. I am particularly keen to be involved in the development of the strategy for Hope for Children going forwards.
I’m a Chartered Surveyor (FRICS) by profession- I spent 10 years working in the UK for British Rail, Lowndes Queensway and Superdrug - managing, as well as buying and selling, property.I then decided to take a round the world trip for a year - I ended up getting a job in New Zealand as the Corporate Property Manager for ANZ Bank, where I worked for 3 years, before being promoted to manage the retail property for all of ANZ bank Australia- so moved to Melbourne. After nearly 7 years away, my father persuaded me to come home, and in a completely change of profession, to take over the running of the family publishing company, GMC Publication. Sadly my father died just over a year later, so for the past 18 years I have been running the family business with my brother. The company has grown enormously in that time to around 100 staff. I focused mainly on HR, legal and financial management - but turned my hand to what ever need dealing with. I have recently stepped away from the business, although still have an interest as a Trustee of the family Trust which owns it.
My connection to Hope stems from my father and uncle being at school and Boys Brigade with Bob Parsons. Bob sort their support when he established Hope, and upon my fathers death I told Bob I wanted to continue that support. The company over the years has published a lot of material for Hope. Now that I have stepped away from the business I have more time to follow my other interests, and get more involved with Hope.
I have, over the years, visited Hope projects in Uganda, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Geoff has worked in humanitarian aid and international development for close to 30 years, much of it overseas. He has served as Country Director for INGOs in Bangladesh, India, Palestine, South Suydan and Uganda, and he has been the CEO of ChildHope UK and Terre des hommes UK. His main focus has been on the management of change, including the establishment and strengthening of southern institutions, and programme development and management. Now back in the UK, Geoff has his own consulting company. He is married with three adult children and, when time allows, is a keen allotmenteer and long-distance walker.
I first heard of Hope for Children around 30 years ago when making the mistake of washing up with our founder Bob Parsons! Never to miss an opportunity Bob asked me whether I could spare 4 hours a year to help him with his kitchen table charity which he had recently set up. He told me of some of the projects with which he was involved: one caught my imagination. Hope for Children supported a garage style operation in Columbo in Sri Lanka, where unemployment was running at an unbelievably high rate and the country struggling with the ravages of civil war. This small charity made false limbs for children who had been injured when stepping on mines as they played in the countryside. The charity employed some of the parents of the children (often also with missing legs) to make what was called a Jaipur limb, a very basic but effective false leg for the injured children. It seemed to me to be a wonderful positive circle of hope for the children and their families.
I was hooked and committed to my four hours a year as a Trustee. Bob had been economical with the truth – I think our first trustees meeting lasted more than four hours! I shall always be indebted to Bob, as my decision changed my, and my wife’s life for ever - she is now the Chair of the Trustees.
In my other life I have been a solicitor for over 40 years, but I am trying my best to be retired now! I have had four children of my own and I am very happily married to Helen, who is gracious enough to continue to put up with me and my hair brained ideas!
Lauren is a multi award winning Personal Fitness Coach and keen ultra runner, having taken on several challenges including 100 mile race, CCC in the Alps (part of the UTMB series) and more recently the Marathon Des Sables (MDS), finishing 1st British lady and 8th lady overall. In doing so, she raised £12,000 for Hope for Children and is now part of the Coaching Team for future participants of the MDS representing our charity.
In July 2015, Lauren set up a women's only running group called 'Run Like a Girl' which has gone on to see great success, including winning several awards for Best Community Group and Best Running Group in West Midlands, Coventry & Warwickshire. Run Like a Girl has helped over 3000 ladies to get active and become part of the community.
When Lauren isn't running around the countryside or getting people active, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two young children who all love the outdoors, including camping trips and long walks.