Board of trustees
Kate Alcock was appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees at the beginning of July 2023. Kate joined the Board of Epilepsy Society in December 2015 and is the chair of the Appointments and Remuneration Committee until her appointment as Chair of the Board. She was also the link Safeguarding Trustee. She is an experienced Trustee with a long background in senior business management and political lobbying and was formerly the Vice-Chair of an HIV charity. A qualified Chartered Surveyor and HR Practitioner, she has acted for many large charities and not for profit organisations over her career.
Jackie Sullivan, Vice Chair of the Board, joined our Board of Trustees in 2022. Jackie has spent her career working within the NHS, predominantly in the acute sector. She has held roles at all levels of management with extensive experience in leadership roles within the NHS. Jackie joined Barts Health in March 2016 as Managing Director for the Royal London and Mile End Hospitals. She became Chief Executive Officer in 2019. Jackie was previously Chief Operating Officer of Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust following appointment in July 2013. She worked at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for 25 years, spending a significant period working for the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, Queen Square latterly as Divisional Manager. While at Queen Square she also worked closely with the Epilepsy Society. Previous roles at UCLH include Head of Operations, General Manager for Women and Children’s services for the UCH campus. Jackie will step down from full time work at the end of June 2022 and is pleased that she has been appointed as a Trustee of the Epilepsy Society and is excited about her new role with the Charity.
Peter Worthington was chair of the Board of trustees from November 2017 - June 2023. He has worked in the international energy and natural resources sector and is the chief executive of a small African focused oil and gas start-up venture. Peter is also chair of the Board of the London North West NHS Healthcare University Trust Board. His early career was spent in private and corporate commercial law in Australia.
Peter came to London with his wife Sarah, a law academic at the University of Cambridge, and their four children in 1995 after living in Moscow for four years. He enjoys walking, swimming and playing golf as well as theatre, history, physics and following medical advances.
Deborah trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew's Hospital, spending her clinical career in orthopaedic nursing before moving into nursing management. She has been director of nursing at several NHS trusts in London and became Deputy Regional Chief Nurse for NHS England South Region. More recently she moved back to a Director of Nursing post at the North Middlesex Hospital in North London, before retiring from full time work at the end of 2019. She is a Florence Nightingale Foundation Leadership Scholar and received the Chief Nursing Officer’s Gold Award for lifetime achievement in 2019
Deborah has two adult sons, the youngest of whom lives with epilepsy and lives on the London/Essex border. She is a Non-Executive Director of East London NHS Foundation Trust (a mental health and community trust), and is also a Trustee of Revitalise (a charity providing holidays for disabled people). In her spare time she is an avid crafter, making handmade cards which she sells to raise funds for her local church.
Jim was elected to the Board of Trustees in December 2015 and chairs the Life Sciences Committee. Following graduation he took a PhD in neuroscience and after postdoctoral research in the UK and The Netherland worked in leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on the discovery and development of drugs for psychiatric and neurological conditions.
From 2009-2015 he led GMEC, a not-for-profit company formed by six leading UK universities to foster biomedical translational research. He is a non-executive director at Imanova, a research based biomedical imaging company, and is Senior Research Fellow in Neuroscience at Heptares Therapeutics. Scientific advances drive improvements in treatment and diagnosis in all medical conditions and he is motivated to improve the lives of those who live with epilepsy through the continued application of world class biomedical science.
Professor Stephen Smith
Stephen was appointed to the Board in July 2018. He brings a wealth of experience related to public, private and third sector medical and health provision, research (including funding) and learning, and medical innovation .
He has a strong background in clinical practice (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), medical research teaching and administration / leadership at universities and medical schools (Cambridge, Glasgow, Imperial College, Nanyang – Singapore, Melbourne) and NHS (Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital) as well as non-executive roles related to health related research (Netscientific plc, Cochrane Innovations Ltd. United Medicine) and charities (Pancreatic Cancer UK).
He wants to give back to society, and feels that the Epilepsy Society is a worthy charity involved in research and care capable of transforming lives.
Andrew was appointed to the Board of Trustees in December 2021. Andrew’s daughter Imogen was diagnosed with epilepsy 10 years ago and he has witnessed first-hand the difficulties that she has since faced. Becoming a trustee is thus very personal for him and a way to contribute to a better life for all who face similar challenges. During his career, Andrew has been an auditor, a regulator, a finance director and a non-executive director. In the latter role, he has chaired Audit and Risk Committees. He has also had extensive involvement in the recruitment of senior individuals and of professional advisors. He challenges in a constructive way, is collegiate and works best in a team where the strongest argument rather than the loudest voice wins the day.
Andrew was appointed to the Board of Trustees in December 2021. A senior executive with responsibility for running a P&L within a high performing business division of PwC. Experience of chairing committees to bring together diverse teams to support developing PwC’s position, marketing and business growth. Extensive international business experience working across diverse business cultures in Europe, US and Asia. Advising clients on developing strategic responses to external market developments and changes to regulatory demands. Building relationships with senior officials, government departments and regulators to help inform and shape critical decision making and develop talent for the future success of the business.
Tracie has a wealth of leadership and management experience within the field of special educational needs and disability; she worked for Scope for over 20 years, where she held two headships and ultimately rose to the position of Regional Director for the South of England. Tracie has experience of developing early year’s provision, establishing outreach and training services, providing strategic leadership to schools and developing Post 19 and adult services, including reprovisioning residential care to supported living. Tracie is currently the CEO of BeyondAutism and has been there for 7 years. Whether at home or at work, Tracie works to amplify the voice of people with disabilities and additional medical conditions, including epilepsy.
Karen has over 25 years of experience within life science research and is passionate about accelerating healthcare innovation to bring new medical solutions to those living with disease and placing the patient voice at the heart of that process.
Her experience spans exploratory research to product launch in a range of therapeutic areas, having held numerous global leadership roles in basic discovery science, pre-clinical and clinical development, R&D operations and portfolio management. She is currently a member of the Executive team at the self-funding medical research organisation LifeArc. Here she is accountable for shaping and leading a portfolio of ambitious research programmes focused on solving complex healthcare problems for underserved patient communities.
Prior to LifeArc, Karen held the role of VP Immuno-Oncology at the high-growth biotech BTG, where she was accountable for their immunotherapy research portfolio. She began her R&D career within the pharmaceutical industry at Merck where she gained a strong grounding in drug discovery and has a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Oxford.
Karen’s interest in joining the Epilepsy Society is to leverage the depth and breadth of her experience to improve health equity for those living with epilepsy.
Robin has worked as a Consultant Nephrologist in North Central London for the last 26 years, looking after and supporting people with chronic diseases. In addition to clinical duties, he has held senior medical manager roles at UCLH and the Royal Free Hospital and was a non-executive director on the Governing Body of Bucks CCG for 6 years. Throughout, Robin has maintained a strong focus on training, research and service improvement. He is looking forward to working with the Epilepsy Society.
Hannah brings significant experience as both a Solicitor-Advocate and also through her non-executive and executive career. Her non-executive appointments have included being on the board of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, two specialist insurance companies and the Lloyd’s Market Association. During her executive career, Hannah was on the board of two companies which operate within the Lloyd’s and specialist London insurance market, and was continually looking for ways in which to change and improve the speed and quality of service to clients. Hannah has a long track record of driving, managing and maximising positive change across organisations and industry in areas including governance, risk management, communication, culture, diversity and inclusion.
Hannah was diagnosed with epilepsy in her 40s, and this experience has reinforced her desire to bring positive input and collaboration to the Epilepsy Society and to everyone who currently and who could benefit from its work.
Executive Director of Strategy and Philanthropy at Cancer Research UK
Nick is the Executive Director of Strategy and Philanthropy at Cancer Research UK where he is responsible for developing the organisation’s long-term strategy and for the Philanthropy directorate – a strategic growth priority for the charity. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Union for International Cancer Control.
Prior to Cancer Research UK, Nick spent 10 years as a management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, Braxton Associates and Deloitte where he supported clients in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors on strategy, organisation and change projects.
Rae Avatar Barnett
Rae is Head of People at Laing O’Rourke. She in November 2021 and is accountable for delivering the people strategy focusing on strategic capability, advancing ED&I and promoting wellbeing. Rae has an extensive background in strategy, cultural change and people transformation across many sectors including Utilities, Trading and Technology. Prior to joining Laing O’Rourke Rae was the HR Director of British Gas services and formerly Chief of Staff at Centrica Trading. She is an active mentor of women, early talent and speaks regularly on improving ED&I in organisations. Rae is a Henley accredited Executive Coach. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her partner, 4 of their 5 children, two dogs and two cats.
Meet our president Countess Howe and our various vice presidents including Former British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Meet our senior team including our CEO Clare Pelham and our Medical Director Ley Sander who has who has been named as the world's leading expert on epilepsy in 2020.
The National Society for the Employment of Epileptics (NSEE) was launched in 1892 by a group of London philanthropists and medical men.