Chief Executive Officer:
Sue O’Hara worked in the commercial management sector for many years before joining BlindAid, having worked predominantly in Global Corporate Relocation as a senior policy and group move director for clients of FTSE 100 organisations in the private, public & third sectors. Additional experience also includes advertising and public affairs; as well as working as a voluntary bereavement counsellor for a number of years.
Andrew Blessley had a 30-year career with NatWest in various roles in the UK and USA, including Director of Retail Banking. He was Chief Executive of a grant-making charity, The Clothworkers’ Foundation, from 2001 to 2015 and is now a Trustee. He is also a trustee of South Square Trust and a member of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for the South East. He was appointed to the Board of the Charity in 2001 and was elected Vice Chairman in 2013.
Keith Felton is director of corporate services for Crisis, the national homelessness charity. Prior to this he worked in the financial services sector, most recently as head of finance and operations at Fleming Family & Partners. Keith is a chartered accountant and served as honorary treasurer prior to his election as chairman of the charity in July 2013.
Fran Hibbert has been the Chief Officer of MertonVision for 13 yrs. During her tenure she has increased services for people with a visual impairment locally and has strengthened the charity and relationships with social services, councillors, MP’s and local and national voluntary organisations. She has negotiated contracts with social services and the health sector, and had significant successful applications for funding to national funders. Fran feels strongly that Local societies are unique in what they offer individuals with a visual impairment. The value of local support and peer support is often crucial to those newly diagnosed with enduring sight loss. Our job is to support and empower people whilst coming to terms with their sight loss, and to continue this support as long as it is needed. Fran has a Post grad certificate from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators; Charity management and has served as a trustee on local and national sight loss charities. Fran was appointed to the Board of the Charity in July 2013
Katherine Cox graduated from the University of Manchester (UMIST) in 2001 and qualified as a Chartered Financial Analyst in 2005. Katherine has worked for the asset manager Schroders since 2001, including a four year secondment to their New York office. At Schroders Katherine has held roles in Business Development, Product Management and since 2009 has been a Client Director acting as the relationship manager for clients in the UK corporate pension and charity sectors. Katherine was appointed to the Board of the Charity in July 2013.
Angie Pankhania trained and qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 1991 with the National Audit Office (NAO). She worked for NAO for over 20 years as external auditor for Central Government Departments, NGOs, Commonwealth organisations and United Nations Development Programme as well as value for money reports. After leaving the NAO in 2007 she has worked mainly in the charity sector, initially as external auditor before joining deafPLUS, a small-medium size national charity in April 2009 as their Head of Finance. More recently she has also started working for Latin American Women’s Aid, a small London based charity, on a consultancy basis. Angie joined the Board of BlindAid as Honorary Treasurer in July 2013.
Kassim Gaffar completed an Msc in IT systems from London School of Economics and subsequently qualified as a chartered accountant with Deloitte in London. He has worked in the financial services sector since 1997, having held a number of roles in the corporate and investment banking arm of HSBC. He is currently Director of Techrun Technologies Ltd, a company that providing IT services to non-profit and social sector enterprises. He is Honorary Treasurer of the Prisoners Advice Service, a charity that provides assistance to prisoners. He also mentors a number of start-up businesses. Kassim was appointed to the Board of the Charity in November 2013.
A Cambridge graduate, Tim Barnard retired from full-time work as a solicitor with a large international law firm based in the City of London in 2013. His specialism in practice was real estate he advised a wide range of individual and corporate clients including charities on many aspects of real estate transactions. Tim was ordained a non-stipendiary Church of England curate in 2013 to serve in Amersham in Buckinghamshire and was appointed to the Board of the Charity in 2013.
Katherine (Katia) Ramo
Katherine is a Qualified Corporate and Commercial Solicitor in England and Wales at the global law firm CMS Cameron McKenna, London Office. She is active in all diversity related issues in the City of London. She is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum, Mineral Law, and Policy (CEPMLP), University of Dundee in Scotland. She holds a BSC, MPA, LLB, LLM with Merit in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution from Queen Mary University of London. Before then, she had an extensive career in international development working with governments and international aid organisations globally. Katherine has a passion for serving, assisting and advocating on disability issues, especially having become disabled herself few years ago. She was a service user of BlindAid for several years. She is the founder and chair of CMS ENABLE Disability Network. Katherine was appointed to the Board of the Charity in 2014.
Henry currently works for the London Borough of Southwark within their Sensory team.
Henry qualified as Rehabilitation worker for visual impaired people, in 1998, and completed a Post Graduate Management certificate in 2005 with University of Westminster. Henry has worked in several London Boroughs – including direct work with visually impaired people , managing Sensory teams , commissioning services and developing services for people with disabilities. Henry has served as a trustee of local and London wide charities and has experience of direct voluntary work and also supporting volunteer workers.
Henry is very aware of the limitations of local authority support to people who are visually impaired and wants to work with BlindAid to help develop local services that provide consistent support to visually impaired people that is not available elsewhere..