Staff Alison Baum, CEO and Founder Alison is an Oxford University science graduate with a background at the BBC where she worked on programmes including Horizon and Tomorrow’s World, communicating key scientific and medical breakthroughs. She has used her leadership and executive production experience to pioneer the development of innovative resources including DVDs, art and mobile apps to support the emotional and physical transition to parenthood. Before launching Best Beginnings, Alison set up an internet-based social enterprise called Express Yourself Mums, providing information and products for new mothers. In 2006, she founded Best Beginnings and wasted no time: within just four weeks, the charity formed and led a coalition of more than 35 organisations, including five Royal Colleges and UNICEF, to lobby for the implementation of the Breastfeeding Manifesto. A year later, Alison won the Sheila McKechnie Foundation award for Health and Social Campaigner of the Year. In 2014, Alison was awarded CPHVA Campaigner of the Year and Woman of Democracy. In January 2017 she was awarded an OBE for services to Tackling Child Health Inequalities. Twitter: @alisonbaum Communications, Content and Digital Matthew Black, Head of Digital Matt has been with Best Beginnings since May 2017. Initially working in operations and embedding project delivery, he has since moved into Digital Projects to manage agile product development and evolution of Best Beginnings' digital roadmap. Matt prioritises data and effective collaboration in his work, and strives to combine these elements into delivering accessible tech. Born and raised in Bermuda, Matt studied Modern Languages at Durham University. His passion for languages has taken him all over South America, where he worked for a fundraising cooperative in Buenos Aires that connects local charities with international funding bodies. After graduation Matthew dipped his toes into the world of financial audit before finding his way to Best Beginnings where he has had the opportunity to work on a diverse set of projects and effect the positive change that drives him. Email: [email protected] Jake Elgood Field, Digital Lead Jake became part of the Best Beginnings team in September 2019 as a Digital Product Manager. His main focus is the Baby Buddy app, ensuring it delivers on the needs of its users as well as thinking ahead to the future in terms of ways it can improve. He grew up in London then studied History at the University of York. After graduating he worked for two years at a startup, before joining Best Beginnings. His greatest achievement is probably reaching the dizzy heights of number one in England in the official Fantasy football league. Email: [email protected] Jenny Mcleish, Content Writer A qualified barrister, committed to working to improve the lives of disadvantaged families, Jenny joined Best Beginnings in 2011 as a researcher, writer, advisor, trainer and campaigner. Her areas of expertise include inequalities affecting young parents, migrant parents and parents living with mental illness, with a broader focus on maternity services, volunteer and peer support, poverty and nutrition. She has been part of diverse projects such as the national evaluation of Sure Start, the NICE committee on nutrition for low income pregnant women and children, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s work on pregnancy- and maternity-related discrimination in the workplace. Alongside her role at Best Beginnings, Jenny is a Health Services Researcher at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, and is studying for a PhD on perinatal mental health and peer support at City University, London. She is also the Strategic Coordinator for the National Teenage Pregnancy Midwifery Network. She finds that having one foot in the voluntary sector and the other in the academic sector enables creative cross-fertilisation. Like the rest of the Best Beginnings team she could do with few extra hours in each day! Nicola Cadbury, Early Years Digital Partnership Lead Nicola joined the Best Beginnings team in February 2020 to lead our cross-sector partnership work, which will pool early years expertise from frontline professionals, voluntary sector, academia and statutory bodies. The Early Years Digital Partnership will deliver support to parents and families through digital initiatives, ensuring they can easily find accurate and accessible information to support them on their parenting journey, and enabling children to get the best possible start in life. With a background in campaigning and communications work, Nicola is an experienced project and partnerships manager. For nine years she led the Send My Friend to School campaign coalition, working to ensure a quality education for every child globally. Recent work includes managing cross-sector partnerships and campaigns for the National Literacy Trust. She is passionate about ensuring that every child is able to realise their rights to nurturing care, health and education. Email: [email protected] Rupert Housden, Content Officer Rupert is yet another international team member. He was born in Melbourne, Australia and then raised in Cork, Ireland from the age of nine. Now living in London for the last three years, he has been following his interests in creative media, while also travelling around the globe, working in sustainability management. Best Beginnings inviting him in as Content Lead has proven to be the perfect mix of these two paths: working to benefit communities whilst continuing to use and hone his creative skills. Email: [email protected] Measha Fields, Social Media Officer Measha joined Best Beginnings in 2019 as an intern, during her final year at university. After graduating with a degree in Media & Communications, Measha joined the team full time as Social Media Officer, helping Best Beginnings to tell their story online. Measha is passionate about empowering parents from all backgrounds and reducing social inequalities across the UK. Email: [email protected] Embedding Programme Carly Bond, Head of Delivery Carly Bond has been a community development practitioner for over a decade. She worked with Social Action for Health for 8 years, with a focus on mental health projects where she oversaw the Maternity Service Liaison Committee programmes (Now Maternity Voices Partnerships), across 4 East London Boroughs. Carly managed the Big Local in White City and Wormholt, which is a resident-led Big Lottery community development initiative which aims to empowers local residents with their own budget, to identify and take action on issues that affect their area. Carly loves travelling, family constellations workshops, Game of Thrones and singing with a dub/reggae band. Email: [email protected] Desk phone: 020 3675 9452 Hazel Meyer, Consultant Facilitator Hazel is born and bred in South Africa. After an eleven-year gap from employment, spent raising her children, she decided to move away from relief and development work and requalified as a Breastfeeding Counsellor. She worked for three and a half years with the Health Visiting service in Kingston-Upon-Thames as an Infant Feeding Support Worker where she helped them achieve Stage 2 of Baby Friendly accreditation and set up a breastfeeding peer support programme. She is currently setting up another breastfeeding peer support programme in Surrey, is Chair of her local Maternity Voices Partnership group, and lectures student midwives at Kingston University on breastfeeding. Hazel joined Best Beginnings as a consultant facilitator in April 2016, which enables her to follow her passion of getting multidisciplinary groups together to ensure that parents are getting the best support they can possibly get along their parenting journey. Cathy Williams, Consultant Facilitator Cathy originally trained as a primary school teacher. She then went on to manage a Sure Start children's centre for eight years. During this time, she delivered parenting courses and baby massage, provided breastfeeding support, and co-wrote a postnatal course which is delivered county-wide. Cathy has worked for many years as a volunteer supporting new parents, including as a breastfeeding peer supporter. She now works independently offering antenatal and postnatal courses and retreats. Sandra Griffiths, Consultant Facilitator Sandra, who hails from the West Midlands, has spent over 20 years creating and delivering innovative and sustainable programmes, campaigns and events to support the health and mental wellbeing of minority ethnic communities in London, particularly working with those from Africa and the Caribbean. In 2010 Sandra founded ‘Red Earth Consultants Limited’ a public health consultancy, which facilitates social change and promotes dialogue to improve the mental wellbeing of marginalised and racialized communities in the UK. Since 2012, Sandra has also been working across the UK as a consultant and coordinator for ‘Time to Change’, a national campaign tackling mental health stigma. She has worked as a consultant in partnership with the NHS, associated mental health charities, a wide variety of third sector organisations and stakeholders to enhance their capacity to achieve their goals and improve health outcomes. This has been done by reviewing and developing strategies and policies, undertaking research and delivering equality training and engagement programmes. Sandra joined the Best Beginnings team in August 2017 and has been instrumental in framing the Perinatal Mental Health module of our embedding process. Evaluation and Research Nilushka Perera, Head of Evaluation, Impact and Policy Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Nilushka joined the Best Beginnings family after completing her Master’s degree in Public Health in 2016. With a strong interest in research, behavioural health and a background in Psychology, Nilushka is the Evaluation and Impact Lead for Best Beginnings where she explores the impact of all the charity’s work through a public health and wellbeing lens. Nilushka has worked with multiple communities, encompassing children, parents, health professionals and corporate organisations. She also has experience in teaching and working with rehabilitating communities dealing with conflict and disaster in Sri Lanka. She spends her free time singing, travelling and reading. Email: [email protected] Rose Davidson, Policy and Impact Lead Rose joined Best Beginnings as a volunteer in 2018 before moving into her role as Policy and Impact lead in February 2019. Born and raised in London, Rose moved to South Africa after school where she studied Politics, History and Transitional Justice. During this time, and whilst working at a charity addressing HIV and gender based violence, Rose developed an interest in health inequalities and their determinants. She completed a Masters in Medical Anthropology at UCL where her dissertation explored factors affecting the use of perinatal mental health services within a highly deprived community in Cape Town. At Best Beginnings Rose has found a fun-loving and nurturing environment in which to affect positive change for families in the UK as well as to learn and develop new skills in evaluations, policy and community development. Email: [email protected] Parent Engagement Programme Agnes Agyepong, Parent Engagement Programme Manager Agnes is the Parent Engagement Programme Manager at Best Beginnings. Alongside this she is the Guys and St Thomas Hospital's Maternity Voices Partnership Chair and a School Governor where her work is centred around early years development. In 2018, she founded The GLOMAMA Awards, a prestigious annual awards celebrating the achievements of mums on social media, which encourages mothers to rediscover their "Glow" after pregnancy. She sits on the NIHR ARC Maternity and Perinatal Mental Health PPI strategy committee, is a founding member of the Maternity Mental Health SEL steering group and a Healthwatch Lewisham Committee member. Agnes has a BA (Hons) Public Relations and Communications Degree and a Master's in International Relations from Queen Mary University London. Prior to operating within the maternal health and early years development space she was a Recruitment Consultant for a leading global FTSE 250 recruitment company within the IT and then Oil and Energy sector. Agnes is passionate about developing better intercultural awareness and communication within our sector and ensuring the rights of women, mothers, and children are protected. Email: [email protected] Finance and HR Stephanie Knowles, Finance Director Stephanie is a Chartered Accountant with 15 years post qualification experience, following her training with PwC as a Charities Specialist. She has been working with Charities, SMEs and Start Ups as a Finance Director for several years, as well as being a Charity Trustee and School Governor. In recent years she has worked with a focus on women's health charities and companies. She has a passion for driving forward the aims of the Charity by maximising value and reducing risks. Stephanie has two children who keep her busy in her free time. Email: [email protected] Stephen Harris, Finance Manager Stephen is originally from Sydney. He is with us as an interim finance manager, and helping to move our financial operations into the cloud. Stephen also does similar work for other charities in London. When he isn't here, Stephen tries to get himself out to North Devon and Cornwall for a paddle at any one of our famous surfing beaches. Email: [email protected] Katarina Kent, Finance & Office Administrator I’ve been working for Best Beginnings since January 2017 as an administrative assistant for the office and finance department. My educational background is in economy and social work. I have a strong interest in medicine and psychology too. I am a mother of three beautiful children and understand all the challenges which parenthood can bring, so Best Beginnings is close to my heart. Email: [email protected] Kandy Rohmann, EA to the CEO Office Kandy has joined the Best Beginnings team as the EA to the CEO Office; she will be assisting senior management with day to day operations as well as project management. Her professional background is in Investment Banking and Asset Management, as well as the creative industries. Kandy has a BA (Hons) degree in International Business with Spanish and is also a qualified yoga teacher and hypnobirthing instructor. She is of dual heritage, born in the UK and raised in Grenada and New York. She is the proud Mother of two children and one fur baby. She truly believes in the incredible work of Best Beginnings and hopes to have an impactful future within the organisation. Email: [email protected] Maternity Voices Partnership Tara Martin, Maternity Voices Partnership Coordinator As Maternity Voice Coordinator, my aim is to reduce any gaps in inequity and service for women and new mothers across the borough by keeping language simple and inclusive for all. Email: [email protected] Volunteers Rebecca Liss, Fundraising & Social Media Volunteer Rebecca is a volunteer for Best Beginnings, assisting the fundraising team and supporting the creation of content across our social channels. She completed a degree in Philosophy, Ethics and Religion at the University of Leeds. Rebecca previously worked for a human rights law firm on their marketing and fundraising projects. This experience fuelled her desire to work for an organisation that focuses on eliminating the social inequalities that exist in our society and she hopes to make a real impact on the lives of disadvantaged families during her time with Best Beginnings. Stephanie Jones, Fundraising & Social Media Volunteer Stephanie started as a volunteer at Best Beginnings during the summer of 2020. Her focuses are fundraising and social media strategy. As a geography student at UWE Bristol, this opportunity allows Stephanie to identify inequalities across the UK, and use this information in her dissertation which focuses on disparities in health across the UK. Anoushka Kohli, Digital Research Volunteer Anoushka started as a volunteer during summer 2019 on the Comms and Content team, and is delighted to be back working with the team. Having just finished her degree at St Andrews, Anoushka is working with the Digital team as a researcher. This research will hopefully inform new and exciting digital interventions for Best Beginnings.