Our team

Our team


Our team support the Fellowship with a range of services and expertise.

Our team

Executive Assistant

Shahala Begum

Shahala supports the Chief Executive in all areas of her work, including managing diaries, projects and providing support to the Board and Council. Shahala has come from a banking background and now looks forward to being part of an organisation that provides funding for so many inspiring individuals. In her spare time Shahala loves to read, bake, and visit places with beautiful scenery.

Programmes Co-Director (job share)

Sara Buchanan

Sara Buchanan has overall responsibility for the selection of Fellows and supporting them while they learn from overseas and implement change in the UK. She is an experienced grant maker, with particular expertise in supporting pre-venture and start up social impact initiatives. She is a trained coach, a school governor and volunteer with her son’s football club and enjoys running, yoga and paddle boarding.

Programme Manager

Abigail Campbell

Abigail manages the Fellowship selection process and supports Fellows to make change happen in the UK. Previously Abigail worked at The National Lottery Community Fund and the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. A former local Councillor, Abigail is passionate about enabling civic participation and has run a wide range of festivals and events. Abigail reads a lot, runs a little and is an active member of her local climate action network.

Operations Coordinator

Ana Cole

Ana is the office coordinator, assisting with operations, overseeing facilities and providing administrative support across the staff team to ensure a smooth and efficient running of the office. She previously worked in hospitality and property management. In her spare time, Ana enjoys cooking, yoga and nature walks.

Communications Manager

Margaret Daly

Margaret has worked in marketing, PR and communications for 13 years in local government, the charity sector and for commercial organisations. She manages our online and offline content, including our website, social media, PR and publicity. She is the day-to-day contact for Fellows in promoting their Fellowship through our social media, blogs, or website. She can also advise on media issues and publicity. When Margaret isn't working she looks after two cats, paints and draws and usually has her head in a book.

Engagement and Knowledge Director

John Dunford

John Dunford oversees the engagement team supporting Fellows to amplify their work. John has a background in the charity and Tech For Good sectors with organisations such as Greenpeace, Oxfam International, and The Developer Society where he helped support hundreds of leading charities create more impact through their use of technology. Outside of work John is a trustee with both Concern Worldwide and Freedom From Torture, and he enjoys swimming, cooking, and playing chess -- all to a very poor level.

Research and Engagement Manager

Naomi French (on maternity leave)

Naomi researches and develops new Fellowship programmes on topical issues, working closely with subject-matter experts. She supports Fellows to share learning with their sector and connect them with our networks. Previously she worked in communications roles within the arts and publishing sectors. In her spare time, Naomi enjoys long walks in the countryside and exploring London’s vibrant cultural scene.

Finance Assistant

Bryan Hamilton

Bryan supports the Finance Director with day-to-day bookkeeping tasks such as recording financial transactions, preparing Fellowship payments and bank reconciliations. He has previously worked in the charity sector and publishing. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys listening and dancing to music, gardening and reading.

Programmes Co-Director (job share)

Sian Herschel

Siân Herschel has overall responsibility for the selection of Fellows and supporting them while they learn from overseas and implement change in the UK. She is an experienced grant maker and social investor, with particular expertise in making business equitable and environmentally responsible. She is a trained coach, loves food, dancing and wild swimming, and has two sons who keep her busy and entertained.

Research and Engagement Manager

Claire Hunte (maternity cover)

Claire researches and develops new Fellowship programmes on topical issues, working closely with subject-matter experts. She supports Fellows to share learning with their sector and connect them with our networks. Claire has extensive experience as a communications professional, journalist, and editor in the UK and internationally, and previously worked for the NHS. In her downtime, she enjoys pursuing sporting activities and making crafts, and is also a trained yoga teacher.

Data Manager

Jenni Lucas-Williams

Jenni looks after our data and IT systems and ensures the smooth running of the online application process for Fellowships. Previously she worked in the energy policy team at Citizens Advice and in the wine industry. Outside work, Jenni enjoys exploring the Essex countryside, gardening and sailing, preferably in warmer climes.

Development Director

Chris Mann

Chris manages our funding and knowledge partnerships, as well as wider fundraising activities that support the Fellowship. Previously he led fundraising at a large global disability charity, and prior to that worked in grant-making for Comic Relief and UK lottery distributors, amongst others. Outside of work, Chris is a trustee of an inclusive cycling charity.

Development Administrator

Tracey McGowan

Tracey helps to support the Development and Fundraising function of the Churchill Fellowship. Prior to this she worked in Executive Assistant and Office Manager roles within asset management and the charitable sector. Outside of work she loves to experience live music, theatre and travelling as well as trying new cuisines. She is a self-confessed chocoholic!

Ambassador Lead

Selina Mills

Selina leads our Ambassador programme where she is responsible for finding the perfect Ambassadors to represent the Fellowship globally and support our fundraising. Selina has a background in journalism and broadcasting as well as working more recently with disability charities. In her spare time she writes history books, opera librettos and binge watches bad psychological TV series with her husband.

Fellowship Manager

Nikesh Patel

Nikesh manages the learning phase of the Fellowships, both travel and online, and is responsible for overseeing our support for Fellows from their award until completion of their learning. Before joining us, he achieved a Master’s in International Relations from Kings College London. In his spare time, Nikesh enjoys watching and playing an array of sports, hiking and building customised keyboards.

Finance and Operations Director

Sarah Salethorne

Sarah is our Director of Finance and Operations, and has over 20 years experience within the charity sector. She will be overseeing the corporate side of the organisation supporting the CEO and the Senior Leadership Team with Governance & Compliance, Financial, HR, IT & Data Management. In her spare time, Sarah is a devoted wife and mother to two children, she sings, bakes and during the pandemic taught herself to Macrame.

Deputy Data Manager

Sandy Smircic

Sandy supports the Data Manager in looking after our data and IT systems. Before joining the team, she worked as a database administrator in the charity sector. In her spare time, Sandy enjoys cooking, taking care of her plants and exploring new countries.

Fellowship Officer

Ellie Smith

Ellie works with our Fellowship Director to help Fellows plan their research and provides support to make their Fellowships successful. She is fascinated by their diversity and the contribution they make to societal change. Ellie is also a PhD candidate at King’s College London, with an aim of guiding governments in atrocity prevention. Outside of work, Ellie loves CrossFit, baking and time with her Whippet.

Chief Executive

Julia Weston

Julia has been our Chief Executive since 2015 and is responsible for the overall management of the Churchill Fellowship. Prior to that she was Fellowship Director. She has worked in charities in the UK and internationally for over 20 years. In her spare time, Julia enjoys being outdoors (in all weathers), cooking (but not baking) and, during the pandemic, she taught herself to knit (though only scarves so far).

"It's a great privilege to support the Fellows who - through open-minded inquiry, perseverance and a passion for helping others - work to alleviate suffering and help so many people to realise their potential." - Bryan Hamilton, Finance Assistant
Newsletter Sign Up