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Our staff and trustees

Place2Be’s staff and trustees lead the way in improving children's mental health, with a wealth of experience in a variety of sectors.

Catherine Roche

Chief Executive

Catherine Roche

Catherine began her career in teaching before completing an MBA and joining KPMG. In 1996, her pro bono support for Place2Be inspired her to join the charity as Chief Operating Officer, and then Deputy CEO. In 2014 she became Chief Executive and has driven the organisation’s growth. In 2019 Catherine was elected to the Board of the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network.

Executive Team

Dr Niki Cooper

Dr Niki Cooper
Clinical Director

Niki is a trained counsellor who joined Place2Be in 2002 as a School Project Manager before moving into the Learning Team where she co-authored Place2Be’s Postgraduate Diploma course. As Head of Learning, she developed Place2Be’s professional qualifications pathway. She was appointed Clinical Director in 2019.

Nick Herod

Nick Herod
Chief Financial Officer

Nick qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young in Manchester and has since worked with a mixture of corporates and not-for-profit entities. Nick was CFO at Place2Be from 2013 to 2018 and returned as CFO in February 2020.

Alistair Crawford

Alistair Crawford
Interim Director of Learning and Practice

Alistair is a former Royal Navy officer and helicopter pilot. He has a MSc in Leadership and Management and was formerly Chief Operating Officer of Mental Health Innovations where he successfully built and launched the Shout 85258 support service.

Wande Showunmi

Wande Showunmi
Director of People and Culture

Wande is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, with a post-graduate degree in personnel management and a Level 7 CIPD accredited certification in organisational development and design. Before joining Place2Be in 2021, she led HR teams at Livability, the National Autistic Society and Homes for Haringey.

Jacqui Segal

Jacqui Segal
Director of

Jacqui has over 20 years’ fundraising experience including at Shelter, Macmillan Cancer Support and Whizz-Kidz. She held senior positions at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity where she was responsible for raising an annual income of £9m, and chaired the charity’s Leadership Group.

Sarah Williams-Robbins

Sarah Williams-Robbins
Director of Marketing and Communications

With over 20 years’ experience in marketing and communications, Sarah has held senior roles in media organisations including the BBC, where she delivered change-management programmes and launched high-profile brands. Sarah began her career in the Civil Service and NHS, working on national health promotion campaigns.

Dame Benita Refson DBE


Dame Benny Refson DBE

Benita is the Founder and former Chief Executive of Place2Be. A qualified counsellor and school governor who has supported children throughout her career, she was awarded an OBE for her services to children and families in 2007 and a DBE for her services to education in 2016.


Simon Mackenzie Smith

Simon Mackenzie Smith (Chair)

Simon has 30 years’ finance experience. He is Chairman of UK and Ireland Corporate and Investment Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and sits on the Heart of the City Council.

William Russell

William Russell (Deputy Chair)

William is the current Lord Mayor of the City of London. A former investment banker, he is Director of Red Savannah, Congham Hall Hotel and Knightsbridge Schools International.

Aamir Ahmad

Aamir Ahmad

Aamir was founder and CEO of furniture retailer Dwell. He was awarded Lloyds TSB Asian Retail Entrepreneur Jewel award in 2008. Aamir has worked as a foster carer with disadvantaged LGBT teenagers and is a Non-Executive Director at East London NHS Foundation Trust.

Sandy Begbie

Sandy Begbie CBE

Sandy is Chief Executive at SFE and holds several senior and Non-Executive roles including Chair of the National Advisory Board, Career Ready. He was awarded a CBE for Services to Business and Social Inclusion.

Anuja Dhir

HHJ Anuja Dhir QC

Anuja was appointed as an Old Bailey Judge in 2017. She also sits in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and is a Judicial Appointments Commissioner. She was Governor of the City Academy Hackney and is currently Governor of (Haberdasher) Borough Academy and a Trustee for Mansion House Scholarships.

Stephen Dorrell

Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell

Stephen is a former Secretary of State for Health and the first elected Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee. He is a businessman and advisor on Healthcare and the Public Sector.

Liz Greetham

Liz Greetham

Liz spent 30 years in the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, primarily in assessing clinical trials. She was the CEO and board member for Drug Abuse Science which developed medications to treat alcoholism and drug addiction.

Sian Hill

Siân Hill

Siân was a Financial Services Tax Partner at KPMG LLP and, for three decades, advised clients on international corporate tax issues, particularly in relation to mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring and re-organisations.

Elpha LeCointe

Elpha LeCointe

Elpha is a barrister practising in all areas of the law relating to children. She has extensive experience in care proceedings, adoption and private law disputes within families.

Adrian Levy

Adrian Levy

Adrian is a Corporate Partner and Global co-Head of the Real Estate Sector at Clifford Chance LLP. He has over 25 years' experience in corporate finance transactions in real estate.

Charlie Mayfield

Sir Charlie Mayfield

Charlie is former Chairman of John Lewis Partnership. He also Chairs the Productivity Leadership Group, is President of the Employee Ownership Association and a British Museum trustee. He was knighted in 2013 for Services to Business.

John Murphy

John Murphy

John is Chief Executive of Oasis Community Learning, one of the UK’s largest multi-academy trusts. With over 30 years’ experience, John has dedicated his career to raising the bar for all young people and closing the attainment gap for the disadvantaged. John co-authored the bestselling self-help guide for teachers Why are you Shouting at Us?.

Dr Margaret Murphy

Margaret is a qualified doctor and a psychiatrist specialising in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is a Clinical Advisor at the Anna Freud Centre, a tutor on the University of Cambridge medical undergraduate course and an Advisor at the Care Quality Commission.

Stephen Scott

Prof Stephen Scott CBE

Stephen is Professor of Child Health and Behaviour at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. He is Director of the National Academy for Parenting Research, a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Maudsley Hospital and Chair of the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Louise, Countess St. Aldwyn

Louise, Countess St Aldwyn

Louise holds a Diploma in Humanistic Counselling and Supervision and has worked for over 20 years as an addiction therapist. Louise recently trained at Place2Be and did a Place2Be school Counselling Placement.