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Breast Cancer Now employs a team of dedicated, professional staff to run and support all of our services on a day-to-day basis but the ultimate legal and financial responsibility lies with the Board of Trustees.
Jill Thompson, Chair
Jill is a qualified chartered accountant and worked for many years for Schroders plc, initially as an investment banker and then as an investment manager. After leaving the City, she worked for 8 years as an adviser for Citizens' Advice. She sat on the Investment Committee of the Girls' Day School Trust and is currently a board member at the Fund Raising Regulator. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and it was her experience of the tremendous support that Breast Cancer Care provided that caused her to join its Board as Treasurer in 2016. She worked intensively on the merger of the two charities and became Chair of the merged charity in April 2019.
I am now many months on from active treatment yet still use the Breast Cancer Now website as a valuable source of information, and doubt that I will ever stop using it. It was a godsend during the days of treatment and recovery.
Dr Andreas Makris undertook his medical undergraduate training at Oxford University (Preclinical) and Sheffield University Medical School (Clinical). He trained in Clinical Oncology at Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield and the Royal Marsden Hospital, London.
Appointed Consultant in Clinical Oncology at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, in 1997, he was appointed Honorary Professor of Clinical Oncology at Warwick University in 2022. A specialist in the treatment of breast cancer, he has published more than 120 papers related to breast cancer research. He is co-Chief Investigator of the OPTIMA Trial, which is investigating whether adjuvant chemotherapy can be avoided in women with high-risk early breast cancer.
Andreas has served as a clinical adviser to NICE and has been a member of the Scientific Committee of the Breast Cancer Campaign, and the NCRI Breast Cancer Group. He is co-Chairman of the UK Breast Cancer Group and Chairman of the UK Inter-disciplinary Breast Cancer Symposium.
Andreas was formerly appointed to the Board of Breast Cancer Now on 5 May 2022.
Andrew is a seasoned retailer and currently Chief Commercial Officer for Wilko Stores Limited, having previously been Chief Merchandising Officer and Senior Vice President at Asda Walmart. The bulk of his career was honed at Marks & Spencer PLC, although he has enjoyed spells working overseas in South Africa.
Andrew became a Trustee of Breast Cancer Now in 2019 having experienced first-hand the amazing work undertaken by the charity following his involvement in the Tickled Pink fundraising whilst at Asda.
Ann Pickering joined O2UK in 2004 and was appointed to the UK Board as HR Director in 2008. Prior to this Ann worked for Marks and Spencer, Fidelity and Xansa (now Steria) and is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel Development.
Since joining the company, O2 has achieved a Top 20 place three times in the ‘Sunday Times Top 100 Employers in the UK’ and 8th in the UK Best Places to Work. Ann was also recently recognized as one of the top 10 most Influential HR Directors in the UK.
Ann is a Trustee of Step Up to Serve a charity established in 2013 to make social action part of life for 10-20 year olds by the year 2020. She is Chair of the Advisory Board of Sheffield University Management School where she is also Visiting Professor of HRM and Employability.
Ann was appointed a Trustee of Breast Cancer Now in September 2017. The charity is very close to her heart as she lost both her mother and sister to the disease.
Barbara Brown was appointed as a Trustee in March 2018. Based in Glasgow, she has volunteered and been involved in a variety of fundraising events (including The Show Scotland) for many years. She is also Chair of the Board's People & Culture Committee.
Her positive experience with the team in Scotland led her to seek the opportunity to play a bigger part in the work of the charity at a national level. She is a career banker and invoice financier who held senior leadership roles at RBS Invoice Finance in Scotland and Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland. She is currently a partner at Positive Momentum Ltd, a Management Consultancy Practice.
A number of my close friends and family have been impacted by the life changing effects of breast cancer and I have witnessed first-hand what an amazing difference the support of the charity has made to their recovery. I have been particularly impressed by the inclusive culture throughout the organisation and I am proud to be associated with a charity where the vision and values are so compelling.
Chris is currently the Chief Marketing and Strategy officer for Mitie. He has held senior executive positions across marketing, innovation and strategy functions and across advisory (Bain & Co), FMCG (Diageo) and Healthcare (Bupa) industries. Prior to Mitie, Chris lead Global Strategy and Innovation for Bupa.
Chris was appointed a Trustee of Breast Cancer Now in September 2017 and combines broad experience in building high growth organisations with a deep passion to make a profound difference in people’s lives.
Claire Ryan is a Macmillan Consultant Nurse for Metastatic Breast Cancer at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Kent Oncology Centre.
She has been a registered nurse for 31 years, and has worked in Breast Oncology for 25 years. Claire gained her general nurse training from University College London Hospital, and completed her cancer nursing training at The Royal Marsden Hospital.
Claire has developed two cancer services during her professional career. She developed a Clinical Trials Unit at the Kent Oncology Centre, and was the Lead Research Nurse for West Kent for over 17 years. Her clinical focus was within the portfolio of clinical trials for breast cancer. During that time, she recruited more than 4,000 patients into clinical trials.
In 2014, Claire was appointed to establish and develop a service for patients diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Claire is one of a few Consultant Nurses in the UK working within the field of breast cancer, and was one of the first nurses in the UK to have a focus purely within the specialty of metastatic breast cancer.
Claire lectures widely at national and international conferences, chairs national meetings, and sits on expert management groups as well as Department of Health and pharmaceutical advisory groups. She has provided mentorship, coaching and education for peers and the nursing community for their own professional and service development within the specialty.
Claire is a longstanding advocate for Breast Cancer Now and has contributed to the development and delivery of information services. She has delivered podcasts and webinars for Breast Cancer Now’s internet services on treatment for metastatic breast cancer, and reviews the patient literature.
Claire’s longstanding experience, working both with people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, and multi professionals within clinical practice will be of immeasurable value in bringing patient insight and direct experience to the board. More than that, her calm pragmatism and passion for supporting others will allow her to contribute greatly, as we track our impact and progress with our strategy.
Dr Georgette Oni (MBChB, MRCS, PhD, FRCS Plast, FEBS) is one of a handful of plastic and reconstructive surgeons in the UK who are dual qualified also in breast surgical oncology. Her plastic-surgery training was in the East of England (Cambridge, Norwich, Chelmsford, London) where she became highly skilled in all types of breast reconstruction. She was a prestigious TIG national Oncoplastic Breast Fellow and is now a Consultant at Nottingham Breast Institute, one of the leading units for Oncoplastic Breast surgery in the country.
She offers the full range of breast procedures, from oncoplastic breast conservation through to microvascular free flap breast reconstruction. Georgette is also the 2021/2022 International Fellow for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Her PhD research was conducted in the world-renowned plastic surgery unit at UT Southwestern in Dallas. She has authored more than 50 publications, has given numerous international presentations and has co-authored a book chapter on breast reconstruction.
She is a steering committee member of the Nottingham Breast Cancer Research Centre and is involved with national and international research collaborations in conjunction with the University of Nottingham. Georgette was one of the 2020 Lady Estelle Wolfson emerging leader fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS Eng). A member of BAPRAS, ABS, and BAAPS, Georgette is the specialist advisor on oncoplastic breast surgery and assistant editor (Annals, plastic surgery section) for RCS Eng.
A mentor to aspiring female surgeons, particularly from a BAME background, she is a keen teacher, lecturer and health advocate, especially overseas where she has been involved in health outreach programs and breast health education.
Georgette, who is a founder of the ‘Let’s talk about…Black Women and Breast Cancer’ annual conference, was formerly appointed to the Board of Breast Cancer Now on 5 May 2022.
Mark Astaire was appointed as a Trustee in 2016, and sits on the Board's Risk & Governance Committee. Having been involved with a number of charities, Mark was attracted to Breast Cancer Care because of the care and support focus of our work.
He has an active interest in the arts and education, and among other things is the founder and head of the judging panel for the Astaire Art Prize at the Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh.
Mark is a member of the Sky News Board and the University of Edinburgh Business School Advisory Board.
I have been impressed by the high levels of commitment and professionalism of the Breast Cancer Now team. I am keen to make a positive contribution to the charity's important work.
Pascale is CEO of Shelley Capital, a financial advisory firm she founded in 2009. A French national, Pascale has worked in London throughout her 24-year career; first as a management consultant with Arthur Andersen and then as an investment banker at UBS, DLJ and Lehman Brothers, where she was most recently Managing Director with responsibility for Hedge Funds and Private Equity clients.
Pascale was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and for 10 months juggled work, cancer treatment and two children under the age of six. Towards the end of her treatment, her employer Lehman Brothers collapsed in the midst of the financial crisis. These events prompted some career and lifestyle changes and she started her own business the following year. Pascale was a trustee of Breast Cancer Campaign from 2012 and is fascinated by groundbreaking research work in areas that resonate deeply with her personal experience.
Sonia Gayle chairs the Risk and Governance Committee and was appointed as Trustee in 2017. In her spare time, she mentors executives and emerging talent, and is also a community volunteer for the British Red Cross. Sonia is an MBA graduate and Chartered Banker and previously worked in the financial services sector for over 25 years as a risk management executive. She holds the FT NED Diploma and is also a Fellow of the International Compliance Association and a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Since my breast cancer diagnosis in 2004, I have always valued the help and continuing support provided by Breast Cancer Now and share their vision of ‘wanting every person affected by breast cancer to get the best treatment, information and support’ (which I was fortunate enough to receive, and I continue to remain cancer-free.
Dr Ingunn Holen is Professor of Bone Oncology and team leader in the Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, UK where she also is science lead of the Sheffield Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre.
Ingunn has more than 20 years’ experience in working in advanced breast cancer, in particular in the context of translational studies in metastatic bone disease. She has published 120+ scientific papers with more than 6,500 citations and is a frequently keynote speaker at international scientific conferences.
Working in collaboration with colleagues across the world, her team has studied the effects of combining anti-cancer agents (targeting the tumour cells) with compounds that target the bone microenvironment. The Holen team has also established a range of complex model systems for studies of tumour growth in bone, including detection of single disseminated tumour cells in skeletal niches.
Ingunn has a long history with the charity having received funding from Breast Cancer Campaign early in her career: Chair of Scientific Advisory Board (2015-2018) and member (2006-2010), Chair, 1st Commissioned Research Advisory Board (Campaign, 2013); Member, Science Strategy Committee (2015-2020); Programme Committee member and session Chair, The Drug Research & Catalyst Forum (2019); BCN Tissue Bank, Tissue Access Committee (2011-2020); QQR evaluation panel for ICR (2019). Leader of the metastasis group, BCC GAP analysis (2013). She is also passionate about training the next generation of breast cancer researchers and acting as a mentor to support scientists at all levels of their careers.
As well as her established experience in the breast cancer field, and her long history with the charity and in understanding the complexities in breast cancer, Ingunn will provide a focused and highly analytical approach and provide strong check and challenge to the progress on delivering impact via our strategy. We are also pleased to have another board member based in Sheffield joining the board.
Professor Mitch Dowsett, FMedSci, PhD, is Professor of Biochemical Endocrinology at the Institute of Cancer Research and Professor of Translational Research in the Toby Robins Breast Cancer Now Centre, London. He was Head of the Academic Department of Biochemistry at the Royal Marsden Hospital for over 25 years.
He spent 5 years as the inaugural Head of the Centre for Molecular Pathology and 4 years as inaugural Head of the Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research at the Royal Marsden, roles from which he has recently stepped down.
Professor Dowsett’s research has focussed almost exclusively on breast cancer and predominantly on hormonal aspects of the disease and biomarkers of response with a research team of about 24 investigators.
He was closely involved with the clinical development of aromatase inhibitors and in the creation of national and international standards for steroid receptor and HER2 analyses (ASCO/CAP Guidelines Steering Committees). He co-chairs the International Working Party for Ki67 in Breast Cancer. He was the founding chairman of the UK NCRI Translational Research (subsequently Biomarker and Imaging) Clinical Study Group.
In 2004 he founded the Aromatase Inhibitor Overview Group that pooled data from aromatase inhibitor trials worldwide. He has authored approaching 700 published papers related to breast cancer, and given numerous named lectures including the 2007 William L McGuire Memorial Lecture and the 2014 Susan G Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction. He recently rotated off the Executive Board of the Breast International Group (BIG) after seven years and sits on the Executive/Steering Committees of several clinical trials.
He was a NCRI Senior Clinical Investigator for the permitted two 4-year terms and now has emeritus status. In 2013 he was appointed as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Mitch has also twice chaired the committee responsible for the UK Interdisciplinary Breast Cancer Symposium which we underwrite/support. Mitch will be retiring at the end of August 2021 but intends to retain a strong interest in breast cancer research.
As well as his obvious world-renowned expertise and credibility in breast cancer, being highly networked and influential in the breast cancer community, Mitch will bring strong strategic oversight and challenge to the board and is eager to learn more about our services and information.
Dr Nisha Sharma is a consultant breast radiologist and Director of Breast Screening and Clinical Lead for Breast Imaging at Leeds Wakefield and was responsible for overseeing the transition from analogue to digital mammography.
Nisha is a committee member of the British Society of Breast Radiology and in 2014, undertook a master’s course in leadership and healthcare supported by university of Birmingham and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Nisha is actively involved in research, having set up research projects of her own and participating in large multicentre trials as a co-applicant.
Nisha will bring expertise and perspective of a vital area of the breast cancer diagnostic pathway and will add real value to our governance in this previously underrepresented area. Nisha is extremely committed to creating change and her ability to focus on the bigger picture will be of great value to the board.