Meet the Team
Meet the Team
Supporting our Executive Team is a diverse team of passionate individuals who cut across a range of functions. Find out more about them below, and please do reach out if you're an organisation looking to connect.
Our development team is engaged in a range of activities, including community fundraising, high-profile events, epic challenges and individual giving campaigns, as well as collections for the retail division.
Rebecca Clarke: Deputy Director of Development
Rebecca leads our public fundraising team, supporting them in delivering everything from community fundraising to high-profile special events, epic challenges, individual giving programmes and everything in between. Rebecca has led events and community fundraising for charities and not-for-profit organisations for the last 13 years and loves the buzz of event day. Before joining Vision Foundation, Rebecca managed the special events for Women for Women International and Sparks. Rebecca enjoys running around after her toddler and exploring new places with them outside of work.
Syed Bahkt: Community Fundraiser and Collector
Syed is an Economics graduate from the University of East Anglia. He works in the fundraising team, assisting team members. His focus is on collections, and using data to forecast when boxes will be filled again. His previous experience is finance-related, and Syed has a qualification for CISI in Wealth and Investment Management and the CFA Investment Management Certificate. During University, he gained financial backing from several investment firms to form the first student-run Investment fund.
Syed can be found adding to the cultural enrichment within any dynamic through informed discourse on identity and multiculturalism. Well-travelled and multilingual, Syed has the ability to adapt to people, places, and challenges, especially when facing high-demanding environments. In his spare time, Syed can be found playing golf and polo, including competing at national competitions.
Becky Hopwood: Trusts and Foundation Manager
Becky is our Trust Fundraising Manager. She has over 20 years of charity experience, with the last 16 years as a Trust Fundraising Manager at a variety of different charities. Outside of work, Becky enjoys walking her dog and exploring new places.
Ruth Matthews: Community and Events Officer
Ruth works with our amazing supporters with anything from marathons and skydives to baked bean baths and golf days. Ruth has worked across a range of areas, including community fundraising, events, philanthropy and trusts over the last 10 years. Prior to joining Fight for Sight, Ruth managed fundraising and marketing at Edinburgh-based neurodiversity charity Salvesen Mindroom Centre. Outside of work, Ruth enjoys singing in a rockabilly band and working and performing with local amateur musical theatre groups where she lives in Edinburgh.
Olivia McDonald: Partnerships Officer
Olivia works within the High Value Team as the Partnerships Officer but initially worked as the Fundraising Assistant in the Public Fundraising Team for over a year. She enjoys working on events, (special or challenge) and building long lasting relationships with supporters. Before entering the charity sector, she worked part time in retail whilst getting her degree in History and Politics of the Americas from UCL. She also has experience in sales and has worked directly with charities including the British Heart Foundation and Battersea Cats and Dogs Home.
Olivia is passionate about raising awareness for sight loss and loves collaborating with the rest of the team to find ways to do this. Outside of work, Olivia enjoys music, travelling and socialising.
Mary-Anne Donovan: Major Donor Manager
Mary-Anne worked in the charity sector for over 11 years, working across a number of income streams including community, events, corporate and high value giving. She enjoys cultivating personalised relationships with donors and connecting individuals with causes close to their hearts.
Outside of work, Mary-Anne enjoys spending time with her family, long country walks or can be found soaking up the vibrant offerings of the City.
Francesca Revell: Senior Individual Giving Officer
Francesca is a born and raised proud Londoner and passionate about making the city she loves open and accessible for all.
Francesca has over 12 years of experience working in the charity and not-for-profit sectors, working across a broad range of fundraising streams, including special and challenge events, community and corporates, legacy and in memory and primarily, individual giving. Francesca joined the Vision Foundation in February 2022 and looks after the individual giving and legacy programme. Striving for change and equality is what motivates her.
Francesca studied History at the University of Manchester, where she was sub-editor of the student newspaper. In 2012, she volunteered at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, which was a turning point in her career and one of her best and most positive experiences.
In her spare time, Francesca can be found enjoying everything London has to offer with her partner and their two young children. She enjoys trips to the theatre, yoga, and long pub lunches, following her beloved football team, QPR, and is also part of a virtual book club.
Matt Coleman: Corporate Partnerships Senior Manager
Matt has worked in the charity sector for ten years, focused on corporate fundraising. Before working for Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation, Matt worked for an international sight loss charity called Orbis UK, which focused on addressing the causes of avoidable blindness in low to middle-income countries. Matt is a keen cook outside work and enjoys cycling and attending music festivals.
Monica Smith: Philanthropy Manager
Monica has been working as a charity fundraiser for the last 13 years. Prior to joining the Vision Foundation, Monica worked at Variety, the Children’s Charity, as their Trusts and Legacies Manager and at Gingerbread, as their Trusts and Grants Manager. She is also a trustee and treasurer of Metro Blind Sport.
Monica led the development of a £1 million Major Appeal to mark the Vision Foundation’s centenary anniversary in 2021. Monica, who is severely sight impaired, has 3 children, who have all flown the nest, and enjoys many sports – tandem cycling, sailing, swimming and blind tennis through Metro, which she absolutely loves. She wants to excel in everything she does, challenge perceptions about what people believe blind people can do and be a role model for other visually impaired people.
Joanne Kelly: Community and Events Manager
Joanne started her career as a Pontins Bluecoat. This is the role where Joanne realised that she had a real passion to manage events. A few years later she graduated from the University of Suffolk with a events management degree.
Since graduating Joanne has nine years’ experience in managing mass participation fundraising events and challenges for St Elizabeth Hospice. She has also worked for a top 50 law firm, heading up the events portfolio that include, conferences, webinars, dinners and networking events. Her passion and motivation comes from wanting to make a positive difference to people’s lives using her fundraising and events knowledge.
In her spare time, you can find Joanne on a court playing league netball, spending time with family, catching a musical or watching her favourite band Westlife.
Pauline Bailey: Supporter Care Officer
Details to come
Cat Barry: Individual Giving Manager
Cat has worked in the charity sector for 27 years, first cutting her teeth in the world of trading for the Alzheimer’s Society then onto individual giving for The Children’s Society and St John Ambulance before joining Fight for Sight in March 2022. As Individual Giving manager, Cat plays an important part in engaging our supporters to help fund ground-breaking research through appeals, regular giving, weekly lottery and Gifts in Wills so that together we can have a real impact on the lives of those affected by sight-loss. In her spare time, Cat enjoys song writing and other creative outlets, and long walks with her partner and gorgeous Romanian rescue dog.
Simran Panchal: Fundraising Assistant
Simran has been working in the charity sector since 2018 where she has played integral roles in various organisations such as Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund, London Politica, Care International, and OcuMel UK, to name a few. Simran has recently taken up the role of Fundraising Assistant with a focus on assisting the Fight For Sight / Vision Foundation team with a range of tasks during the exciting time of the new merger!
Academically, Simran honed her skills at the London School of Economics, diving deep into Social Policy with Economics. Her dissertation critically evaluated the dynamics of elite boarding schools in the British landscape. Bridging societal gaps and alleviating social inequalities are the driving forces behind her endeavours. Beyond the world of academics, Simran contributed towards conservation initiatives in places like Costa Rica and Madagascar and imparted foundational skills at an orphanage in Kolkata, and enjoys being active in the world of volunteering.
In her spare time, Simran has a keen interest in travel. Each journey offers her a chance to immerse herself in new environments, learn about unique communities, and contribute through meaningful volunteer work. When not on the move, Simran appreciates unwinding with music, diving into a good book, and having novel experiences with family and friends.
John Claxton: Community Fundraiser and Collector
Details to come
Chris Sutton: Database Manager
Details to come
The aim of the communications team is to amplify the messages around the great work our organisation does to save sight and change lives from research to social impact and beyond.
Josie Robson, Marketing and Communications Manager (Interim)
Josie is our interim Marketing and Comms Manager while Kim is on maternity leave. She’s here to make sure the brand, reputation and profile reflect the values of our organisation and to shout about the impact of our work, as well as the work of the charities we support. Her experience ranges from marketing and comms for big companies like Sony and John Lewis, to brand-building for start-ups, including the B-Corp, Pact Coffee. Prior to joining Vision Foundation, Josie was working with Croydon Vision as a Brand Building and Tone of Voice consultant. When she’s not on comms, she can usually be found cycling, scooting or running around after her three young sons.
Sarah Kidner: Head of Communications and External Affairs
Sarah Kidner loves to tell stories and believes that they can be a force for good. For over 25 years, she has worked as a writer, editor, and content strategist. Starting out as a technology journalist, Sarah has since worked in the not-for-profit and charity sectors, including for major brands Which? and for the British Heart Foundation.
Outside of work, you'll find her running, slowly, over the South Downs or walking with her husband, daughter and a butch springer spaniel called Squeaky.
Megan Steinberg: Senior Communications and Fundraising Officer
After moving to London, Megan worked in theatre management in London’s West End; most recently as a Head of Department at the Donmar Warehouse. Through the pandemic, a career change welcomed Megan into the Vision Foundation team. She is passionate about accessibility and providing a platform to amplify the voices of marginalised groups.
Outside of work, Megan enjoys long walks around London looking out for cute dogs, nights out to the cinema and trips to the theatre.
Louis Hendry: Communications Assistant
Louis has worked in social media management since 2019, starting off promoting theatre productions and going on to work on various podcasts. Moving into communications is an exciting change, especially given the opportunity to work towards making online spaces more accessible, something Louis is already incredibly passionate about.
Kim Creus: Marketing and Communications Manager(Currently on Maternity Leave)
Kim has worked in the charity sector since 2012, mostly in organisations which champion positive behaviour change, from active travel to oncology. She’s passionate about bringing authenticity to communications by sharing impactful stories. Out of work, Kim can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables with her toddler son.
The Research and Innovation Team works with our research community to deliver funding for research that can save sight and change lives.
Sean Fox: Senior Research Manager
Sean works in the Research and Innovation team where he works to ensure Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation fund the most impactful research and is collaborating with those who are also passionate for supporting sight loss research. Prior to Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation he worked at a cancer research charity and in Japan for a national funding agency supporting infectious diseases research, including COVID-19 research during the pandemic.
In his free time he enjoys being outdoors, either hiking or snowboarding, but more likely walking the dog in his favourite local park.
Joanne Hawkins: Grants Assistant
Joanne joined the Fight for Sight Research and Grants team over 7 years ago, initially as a volunteer for the first 2 years. She helps the team with admin tasks such as invoicing and chasing and collating Researcher reports during the course of the grant. Joanne has her own sight loss issues and has been a regular visitor of Moorfields Eye Hospital over the last 10 years. She understands the importance of research, which has helped with her own sight loss experience, known as Birdshot uveitis. Outside of work, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, going to the theatre and gym and looking forward to her next cruise.
Steven Smith: Grants Manager
Steven joined the charity sector and Fight for Sight directly after completing a PhD in Biochemistry in 2017. Steven is pleased to be part of a team that works with our amazing research community to enable progress in vision research.
Rosie Sturt: Research Officer
Rosie works within the Research team to support the delivery of our grant schemes. She joins the charity sector following a brief stint in the private healthcare sector and the completion of her degrees in Psychology and Public Health.
Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, going to music events and discovering new areas in London, particularly ones with fabulous charity shops.
The Social Impact Team helps distribute funds to sight loss organisations that work to inform, include and empower the visually impaired community. Our work focuses on what people can do, rather than what they can’t.
Kerry Firth: Grants Manager
Kerry is passionate about bringing her own personal and professional experiences of living with sight-loss to the role of Grants Manager. Having completed a PhD in music and managed a freelance operatic career, she feels at home when evaluating projects, building exciting relationships, and being involved in initiatives that directly address barriers faced by visually impaired communities. Kerry has been featured on both TV and radio with her accessible cooking, shopping, and gardening content, and was a disabled students studies advisor when at University. She loves pushing boundaries and changing societal attitudes. In her spare time, Kerry enjoys watching Disney movies, cooking, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. Kerry runs a YouTube Channel Life with Kerry.
Stephen Portlock: Grants and Administrative Assistant
Details to come.
Meryam Drouazi: HR and Facilities Assistant
As an HR & Facilities Assistant, Meryam aids in day-to-day HR processes and initiatives while also working on the ground in retail shops to help with projects. Prior to working at Vision Foundation, Meryam worked in educational and community settings, such as being a teaching assistant and working as a language teacher for those seeking asylum in the UK. During this time, she studied International History and Politics at the University of Leeds.
Outside of work, Meryam enjoys spending time with family, trying new recipes, and visiting new places.
Elnaz Faghihi: Finance Manager
Elnaz graduated with a First in Mathematical Sciences from Oxford Brookes University before embarking on a career in finance.
In the past 11 years, she has worked for many non-profit organisations, including The Royal Marsden and Blood Cancer UK, making her way from an intern to Finance Manager. As well as her day job she has also embraced the voluntary sides of the charities, being heavily involved in fundraising events and most recently supporting the NHS during lockdown. Away from work, Elnaz lives in South London with her partner, enjoys rainy days, bingeing terrible tv shows and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Cheryl Lee: Resource Manager
With over 25 years’ project management experience in the private, public & non-profit sector, Cheryl helps run the charity’s operations. With a strong interest in healthcare, Cheryl also works in private practice as a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist. When she’s not working, she loves spas, swimming and baking nutritious and naughty treats.
Anita Lamont: Database and Project Manager
Anita joined the team as Database and Project Manager in February 2022, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge about donor management and Fundraising CRM’s. Anita is part of the Finance and Operations Team and works alongside the Finance Team and Fundraising Team, as well as supporting the organisation in a Project Management capacity.
Outside of work, Anita enjoys spending time with family and going for long walks with her two dogs.
Jess Malcolm: Executive Assistant and Administrator
Jess has an extensive background working as an Executive Assistant in various industries, including for football pundits, but she has loved working in the charity sector. Jess’ previous charity experience includes door-to-door marketing for charities, including the National Deaf Children Society & British Heart Foundation.
Outside of work, she is happily kept busy with her two children and two cats and proudly supports Liverpool Football Club!
Jessica Norfolk: Finance and HR Assistant
Since studying music technology at college, Jessica has been working for a hire and sales company assisting with finance and administration. She is also halfway through studying for an accounting qualification, which will be a valuable asset in her role.
Having a disability herself has provided Jessica with the motivation to succeed, and she is thrilled to be working for a charity that supports other people with their personal struggles.
Outside of work, Jessica enjoys the gym, music, films and being with friends and family.
Gerry Radjen: Finance Officer
Full details to come.
Sam Mamphey, Finance Manager
Details to come
Russ Gill: Head of Operations and Change
Details to come.
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