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Back to Our People

Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees is drawn from across the public, private and voluntary sectors. It is committed to our mission; to empower young role models to help children from disadvantaged communities succeed in school.

headshot of Jonathan Beebe
Jonathan Beebe
Chair of the Board of Trustees at City Year UK

Jonathan is Chair of the Board of Trustees of City Year UK. He is an experienced financial services executive currently serving as Chairman of the Fintech software provider Red Deer. He also serves as a Strategic Advisor for Marble Bar Asset Management and as a non exec director at TMT Analysis. He previously held senior roles in the investment banking sector including Head of Global Equities at Barclays and Head of European Equity Trading at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He is also an active private investor consulting with various start up companies and Financial Tech Venture Capital funds.

In addition to his work at City Year, Jonathan has also previously provided executive consulting to other charities through the Pilotlight programme.
Having previously mentored young students from challenging backgrounds in America, he took up the opportunity to mentor a City Year UK volunteer following his move to London and has tutored year six pupils in Tower Hamlets.

These experiences convinced Jonathan of the incredible potential impact of City Year. Both by providing inspirational ‘near peer’ support to help disadvantaged pupils succeed and offering young adults leadership experience through a combination of volunteering and its careers and training programme, City Year is truly making a difference in our communities across the UK.

Who is your hero?
Just one example but Stan Brock who founded the charity Remote Area Medical. Seeing people devote their lives to a cause bigger than themselves is still an incredible source of inspiration for all of us.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
David Foster Wallace - "This is Water". A fascinating take on the freedom education can bring, but also the struggles facing all of us each and every day. It is rare to hear such honesty and insight about what it takes to lead a positive and impactful life.

What is your best career advice?
Intellectual curiosity can be the difference. Choosing to learn and explore on your own is what creates the possibilities to grow. It is the most common trait I’ve seen from successful and happy people.

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headshot of AnnMaura Connolly
AnnMaura Connolly
Chief Policy, Advocacy & International Relations Officer, City Year, Inc. President, Voices for National Service

For more than two decades AnnMaura has worked to expand opportunities for young people to serve across the United States and around the world. She serves as President of Voices for National Service, a coalition of service organizations that work together to advance citizen service policy. AnnMaura is also a member of City Year’s Management Executive Committee, overseeing City Year’s international work, public policy, and public affairs.

After college, AnnMaura served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in California where she led a counseling program for refugees. After returning to Washington, AnnMaura held senior positions at Youth Service America, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the AmeriCorps Anniversary Committee and the Grantmaker Forum on Community and National Service.

AnnMaura holds a B.A. in political science from the College of the Holy Cross. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program and the Leadership Council of the Service Year Alliance, and on the Boards of Directors of My Good Deed, City Year South Africa and City Year UK. In January 2015, AnnMaura was selected for the inaugural class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a project of the Johnson, Bush, Clinton and Bush Presidential Libraries.

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headshot of Matthew Davies
Matthew Davies
Head of Global Transaction Services, EMEA, Bank of America Global co-head of Corporate Sales, GTS, Bank of America

Matthew Davies is head of Global Transaction Services (GTS) for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Bank of America. He is responsible for developing and executing the integrated strategy for the full end-to-end transaction services business in the region, including cash management, trade finance and commercial cards. In this role, he is a member of the Regional Executive Committee and the EMEA Philanthropy Board.

He is also global co-head of Corporates Sales, GTS where he leads the delivery of the firm’s transaction services solutions to corporate clients across the United States, Latin America, Asia and EMEA.

Prior to joining the bank, Matthew worked for Citigroup for 12 years in various roles located in London, Chicago, Amsterdam and Dubai.

Matthew is passionate about education and social mobility and has devoted significant time and focus to this area over the last 10 years.

Who is your hero?
Elon Musk. Nothing is out of reach and no objective is unattainable. The greatest minds in the automotive industry told him it was impossible to take on the major manufacturers and succeed and that the world was not ready for electric cars. He proved them all wrong. He has done the same with space travel. The sky is not the limit!

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"To Kill a Mockingbird". It resonated strongly with me when I first read it 30 years ago and is more relevant today than ever before.

What is your best career advice?
The most influential person in your career trajectory is you. It seems an obvious thing to say but so many people think that if they work hard, the opportunities will just come to them. The reality is that working hard is just the entry ticket – navigating beyond the entrance is very much down to the individual.

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headshot of Patrick Flaherty
Patrick Flaherty
Managing Director, Credit Suisse

Patrick Flaherty is a Managing Director of Credit Suisse in the Global Markets division, based in London. He is the Senior Relationship Manager for our large Hedge Fund and Asset Manager clients in Europe, running the sector coverage with Key Account Management responsibilities across the bank.

Patrick was previously responsible for the Prime Services clients in Europe, running all the client facing businesses across financing for hedge funds including origination, consultancy and Capital Services. Prior to that, he was Head of European Equity Sales in London.

He joined Credit Suisse First Boston in 1998, from HSBC where he was Head of European Equities Sales. Between 1994 and 1996, he established HSBC James Capel’s European Emerging Markets Equities Sales and Research team. Prior to that, Patrick was a European Equities salesman in London and Sydney.

Patrick holds a BA (Hons.) in Economics from Birmingham City University. He is Chairman of the Credit Suisse EMEA Corporate Citizenship Foundation, and is also a member of the Teach First National Development Board. “City Year is an inspiring organisation. I spent a day wearing the City Year red jacket and serving alongside the corps members at a school in Hackney. It was a great experience and it was obvious the corps members were gaining as much from the experience as the children they were mentoring. The corps members make a big difference to the children in schools but they also develop new skills themselves, making them more competitive in the job market.”

Who is your hero?
My mother, who guided me with her positive attitude and her strength to cope even in the most difficult circumstances. She taught me to empathise with people from all walks of life.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell - for the way it illustrates how the actions of a single individual can be the catalyst to a global event, or can start a trend that eventually becomes the accepted norm for how to do something, and thereby changes the course of history!

What is your best career advice?
Let your light shine, be open to opportunities and adaptive to change.

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headshot of CYUK Trustee Kasey Hooper
Kasey Hooper
Chief Marketing Officer, 80 Acres Farms

Kasey has 15 years of experience in the consumer industry, and is focused on scaling sustainable technologies to be commercially viable. She is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at 80 Acres Farms, an indoor farming company with the goal of disrupting today’s lengthy & inefficient food chain.

Previously, Kasey was the Chief of Strategy at Avon Products leading up to the Natura/Avon merger which formed the world’s largest B Corporation. Kasey was also Head Merchant at Crate & Barrel (a U.S. based consumer company) for 5 years, leading the commercial P&L for the Crate & Barrel business unit. Prior to Crate & Barrel, Kasey worked for McKinsey & Company in their Washington DC and Chicago offices, where she consulted international consumer and retail businesses across a range of topics.

Kasey received a BSE in Mechanical Engineering and a BS in Economics from Duke University, and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in London with her husband and two children. Kasey is passionate about supporting children and young adults in their development – in her own life, she has constantly been amazed at how much passion and impact younger generations can bring. Prior to moving to the UK, Kasey was on the Retail Advisory Board at Syracuse University to provide guidance to undergraduates in their transition to the professional world.

Who is your hero?
There are many people who I look up to. As a mother myself, I find mothers who immigrate to a new country so incredible - I am in awe of their ability to navigate both motherhood and a new country at once.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
“Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss – I have kept my copy since childhood, and still pull it out when it’s a particularly tough week.

What is your best career advice?
Design a career to play off your strengths – and first and foremost, focus on building and growing those strengths. As far as your weaknesses: be hyperaware and manage them, but don’t spend too much time trying to change them – it’s all part of the package.

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headshot of CYUK Trustee Sachin Jogia
Sachin Jogia
Chief Technology Officer and Technology Group Director, Ofcom

Sachin Jogia is the Chief Technology Officer and Technology Group Director at Ofcom. As Chief Technology Officer, Sachin leads Ofcom’s work to support innovation across the sectors we regulate including broadcasting, telecoms, wireless services and post.

Sachin spent nine years at Amazon in the UK and USA. Prior to joining Ofcom, Sachin was the General Manager for Alexa Smart Home International – overseeing tech and commercial development of the company’s voice-activated services and organisational leadership worldwide. A highly experienced technology leader, Sachin has also held senior technology and business roles at AOL and

Passionate about the application of ‘tech4good’ initiatives, Sachin chairs the British Heart Foundation’s Technology Advisory Group to accelerate tech advancement and innovation within the BHF. He has supported numerous initiatives to help elevate people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including the not-for-profit Amazon Future Engineer programme, was a founding member of their London Charity Committee and mentored trainee teachers at TeachFirst.

He is a digital and technology trustee and non-executive Director at City Year UK, as well as being a volunteer at BeTheBusiness, where he mentors senior leaders at UK-based small to medium-sized enterprises. Other interests include playing tennis and art, along with the bleeding edge of technology and retaining his roots in Physics through supporting the Institute of Physics and their numerous outreach initiatives.

Who is your hero?
Not just one: all the children that fight every day to get the education they deserve, and ultimately thrive, no matter their background. Their grit and determination will change the world for the better.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"Sapiens" – the depth of Yuval’s research and analysis into the history of humankind is unparalleled and inspirational. It drove me to really think differently about the world, our place in it, and how that has changed over the recent millennia.

What is your best career advice?
Always raise your hand and volunteer to take on new opportunities – even if you don’t think you have the bandwidth or skillset. The worst that can happen is that you’ll simply learn something new – the best could be carving out a new exciting career path, or a step towards a more fulfilling future.

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Michael Lynas
VP, Strategic Initiatives, CareerFirst Founder, National Citizen Service (NCS)

Michael Lynas is currently leading a new initiative, INTO CareerFirst, to support students at US and UK universities to be more employable and secure their dream job. He founded and led National Citizen Service Trust (NCS), the UK's largest personal and social development programme for 16-17 year olds. NCS is a government-backed Royal Charter organisation that has supported more than 600,000 students to build the skills they need for the future.

Prior to NCS, Michael worked as a senior advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron at No10 Downing Street from 2010-2013 and before that as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company. Michael is passionate about helping young people realise their potential and continues to serve as a Patron for National Citizen Service. He has an MA in Politics from Trinity College, Cambridge where he was President of the Union, and a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Bethia McNeil
CEO, YMCA George Williams College

Bethia is a trustee of City Year UK, having joined the Board in the summer of 2022. Bethia has spent most of her career in youth work and services for young people, and has focused particularly on evaluation and quality improvement over the last decade. She is currently CEO of YMCA George Williams College, which merged with the Centre for Youth Impact - of which Bethia was founding Director - in early 2022.

Prior to joining the team to establish the Centre for Youth Impact in 2014, Bethia worked at Dartington Social Research Unit, the Young Foundation, the National Youth Agency and NIACE (now the Learning and Work Institute) in a variety of policy and research roles. She has also worked in further and higher education as a teacher and trainer. Bethia is a Clore Social Fellow, and has also trained as a coach and action learning facilitator. She is also a trustee for Datakind UK and a primary school governor.

Who is your hero?
Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. I never fail to be deeply moved and inspired by her grace, compassion and focus in a world that wants her to be vengeful and bitter.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
The early Harry Bosch novels, by Michael Connolly. Harry Bosch is an introspective homicide detective in Los Angeles, and a traumatised Vietnam war veteran. His complex moral compass and singular focus on justice draws you into his dark world. I often think of one of his life philosophies: “everyone counts, or nobody counts”.

What is your best career advice?
I have two: “say yes to everything, at least once” and “always leave the door open”. In my experience, people who say yes to new opportunities tend to be offered more new opportunities! These can be opportunities for learning, to meet new people, to shift and shape your thinking, and to make connections with our existing experience. I also always try to “leave the door open” to return to conversations, options and ideas. The passage of our lives is complex, and I believe deeply in creating spaces to enact choices, rather than boxing ourselves in.

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Merary Soto-Saunders
Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), CVC Capital Partners

As the Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at CVC Capital Partners, one of the world's leading private equity and investment advisory firms, Merary has over 18 years of experience in the financial services industry, spanning HR, finance, and analytics. Her mission is to embed a strong culture of DEI within businesses, moving from a topic of discussion to a normal business practice. Merary advocates for employers and employees, interfacing between strategic and operational challenges, and providing resolutions with a culture of accountability and forward-thinking initiatives.

Merary is a founding member of Chief, a private network for women leaders. Merary is passionate about driving conversations on DEI, HR best practices, and innovative changes to promote business partnering. Merary is a proud mentor and was recently recognized on the UK Power List – most powerful people of African, African Caribbean, and African American Heritage (2023).

James Terry
Partner, Akin Gump

James Terry is a partner in Akin’s London office and focuses on cross-border and domestic financial restructurings, workouts and insolvencies, and advises clients in relation to strategic and legal issues concerning their distressed debt and special situations investments. He is consistently ranked in the top-tier by the major legal directories and quoted by Chambers and Partners as clients saying he is an “exceptional partner” with an “excellent reputation”.

Throughout his career, James has actively championed the cause of education equality and actively supports youth mentorship programs, shares his expertise and encourages young people to pursue their dreams.

Who is your hero?
Gil Scott-Heron. He was at the forefront of bringing social and political issues to the spoken word forefront through jazz, blues and soul - what is today rap music. His influence on modern music culture is often forgotten.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"Wild Swans" by Jung Chang is a book that exemplifies how opportunity and progression can fledge from struggle and oppression.

What is your best career advice?
I think it is so important to back yourself and trust your judgement when opportunities arise – it may open doors you never knew were there.

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headshot of Rodney Williams
Rodney Williams
Lead Project Manager, National Grid

Rodney Williams is a Lead Project Manager for National Grid and responsible for a team of engineers that deliver a programme of construction projects.

From 2016 – 2019, Rodney led ‘ONE’, National Grid’s multicultural employee resource group, whose ambition is to support the black, Asian and minority ethnic community at work. As Chair, Rodney relaunched the network, boosting membership by 95% and nurturing new programs such as the successful reverse mentoring scheme. Rodney also co-founded the ‘Development Programme for Diverse Leaders,’ a company-first course designed to accelerate and support BAME employees to positions of management.

Rodney was ranked number 2 in the EMpower and Yahoo Finance Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leader Role Models list 2020. His other key achievements include winning the National Grid Chairman’s Award for his efforts undertaken with the ‘ONE’ ERG and being selected to meet HRH Prince Charles. He has also been interviewed by ITV’s ‘Tonight’ program for his contributions to inclusion and diversity within business.

Rodney is an experienced speaker on inclusion in the workplace, having spoken at several INvolve events, Gastech conferences in Texas and Barcelona, and Business in the Community events. Outside of work, Rodney is a trustee for City Year UK, a youth social action charity, and an active member of UNISON.

Who is your hero?
Barack Obama – The challenges that he has overcome to be a success and what he represents really stand out. I recall being at a graduate careers fair in 2010 and seeing an image of him wearing the iconic red City Year jacket, this stuck with me and convinced me to be a part of City Year.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"Sovereignty" – Ryan Michler: this is a life changing book that can provide you with direction in life and put you on the path to being a success.

What is your best career advice?
“Fake it till you make it”.

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Stephanie Wu
Chief Transformation Officer, City Year

Stephanie Wu is the Chief Transformation Officer at City Year. She oversees the development and replication of City Year’s programs and school-based services, which are delivered by over 3,000 amazing City Year AmeriCorps members and Impact Managers in more than 330 schools in 28 cities nationwide. As a founding staff member of City Year, she has led multiple program initiatives that fueled the organization's national service and education strategies.

During City Year’s first decade, Stephanie developed and led in-school and out-of-school community youth programs. She was responsible for putting in place foundational concepts and practices supporting City Year’s culture, ideals, and youth development techniques, the core of which remain essential to City Year’s work in schools and communities. Her career at City Year started as an Impact Manager, leading teams of Americorps members in service and partnering with Boston communities to advance their priorities. She has also held other leadership positions such as Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President of U.S. Site Operations, and Senior Vice President for Human Resources. Prior to joining City Year, Stephanie was a journalist and worked in communications in the private sector. She is a graduate of Boston University with a dual degree in mass communications and political science. Stephanie currently serves on the Achievement Network board, and she is a Pahara Education Fellow and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

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