Hello. I wanted to take the opportunity of the newsletter to introduce myself. I’m really delighted to have joined IAPB. I gained some insight into the challenges people with sight loss face when I worked at the Royal National Institute for Blind People developing their strategy. Avoidable sight loss and blindness is an injustice. Eliminating it would transform the lives and opportunities of millions of people. So I’m very much looking forward to working with you on such an important mission. I know I have big shoes to fill in taking over from Peter Ackland. But I’ve really appreciated the warmth and friendliness with which I’ve been welcomed.
Let me give you a bit more background about myself. I have always been interested in achieving social impact and social change and have looked for opportunities throughout my career to do so. For the past three years, I have been the Chief Executive of OPM Group. OPM is an employee owned social purpose business which provides public engagement and social impact research and evaluation services.
I began my career in as a manager in the National Health Service. I worked for 10 years developing primary care services in south London. During that time, I did some international work with the World Bank in Russia and the Aga Khan Health Services in East Africa, again helping develop primary care. I then changed direction and became a diplomat when I moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where I worked for the next 14 or so years. My roles there included a posting to New Delhi, and leading the UK’s efforts on behalf of the international community to tackle the drugs trade in Afghanistan. I left government service in 2013 when I joined RNIB. I’m married to Judith, who works for the UK’s Department for International Development. We live in London with our children Joel, 15 and Kirstin, 11.
At the moment, I’m listening and learning. I had the opportunity to attend the April Board meeting in Dubai. I appreciated the openness about the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. But I felt there was a real will and energy to tackle and take advantage of them. I’ve been really impressed by the willingness to work together both within the sector and with partners outside.
I hope I will meet many of you at the Council of Members meeting in Hyderabad in September. But I’m keen to talk to as many people as possible before then. Over the next few weeks, I plan to hold some conference calls with groups of members, particularly those I haven’t yet met. Please let Emma Foote (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you’d like to join one. In the meantime, do get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to discuss. And come and see us if you’re passing through London.