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Our leadership team

Our senior leadership team have ultimate responsibility for driving our strategy. And more importantly, achieving it. From how we invest and manage our money to lobbying for policy change for people with spinal cord injuries, meet the people charged with leading us to success.

nik hartley spinal injuries association ceo profile

Nik Hartley OBE

chief executive

Until he joined SIA in 2019, Nik had worked his whole life in the humanitarian field across Africa, the Caribbean, South America and South Asia. International development is Nik’s passion. He helped to build an award-winning global model enabling young people to lead humanitarian efforts in their own nations. That even led to 2,000 young Sierra Leoneans gaining expert frontline roles to tackle the Ebola Crisis in 2014-16. Nik lives a breezy 35-minute bike ride from our HQ in Milton Keynes. When not attending to his two children, you’ll often see him watch the topsy-turvy fortunes of his beloved Stoke City FC. On the last count Nik has lived in, worked in or visited 74 countries.

svetla stallwood sia finance operations

Svetla Stallwood

director of finance and operations

Svetla started in 2018 and leads a team to look after our workforce and manage every aspect of our resources. She’s an ACCA-qualified accountant and a charity finance specialist. Her motivations are about leading change so that people can ultimately work better in organisations. When not making our office run like clockwork and overseeing IT, legal and governance, Svetla spends quality time with her husband, three children and resident cat. A keen traveller, she loves being in nature and outdoors – and has a thirst to learn about other cultures while exploring the world.

anna saunders sia investments partnerships

Anna Saunders

director of business development

Anna oversees our fundraising activities and drives excellent relationships with our partners. 

She has over 20 years’ fundraising experience in the voluntary sector, having worked for a range of health, youth, education and disability charities. Originally from a commercial background, Anna’s volunteering in Africa changed her priorities and she subsequently joined the charity sector. A qualified dog agility instructor, in her spare time Anna competes in dog agility competitions. Her great-grandfather won the Irish Grand National in 1905 on a horse called Red Lad.

Mark Ridler Spinal Injuries Association

Mark Ridler

director of programmes

For 40 years Mark has practiced as an engineer and designer. He became spinal cord injured at T10 after a motorbike accident and since then he has been a director for BDP, the UK’s largest architectural practice, designing and winning awards internationally. During this time, he has mentored for BackUp Trust, served on various boards including the SIA 2018-2022, and for two years as non-executive director for an NHS trust in the East of England until joining SIA as director of programmes in 2023.

With adult children having flown the nest, he now has the time to indulge his love of the arts and can be found frequenting the galleries, cinemas, and music venues in and around his home city of Cambridge.

Dan Burden head of services SIA

Dan Burden

head of services

Dan became spinal cord injured at T6 after an accident in Egypt. He returned to work two years later, as an access and partnerships officer in local government.

He now leads our advocacy and campaigns team, which is responsible for all of our campaigning work. Most recently he led the team to put SIA at the forefront of the Stop The Pressure campaign to highlight the risks of pressure sores for SCI patients.

 

Jo Neale Spinal Injuries Association profile photo

Jo Neale

head of investments and partnerships

Jo joined us in 2018 specialising in securing income from grant-makers. She has worked in fundraising for over 13 years gathering experience in events, direct marketing, community fundraising and bid-writing, with people-centred causes always close to her heart. She now leads our fundraising activities and builds strong partnerships to enable us to grow and develop our work.

At home, her two children keep her busy but given half a chance she’ll indulge her love of the outdoors and climb the odd mountain. She also has a passion for arts and crafts with watercolour being her favourite medium.

Naomie Stanford-Jones SIA Profile Photo

Naomie Conway

head of communications and campaigns

Naomie joined us in November 2021 as head of comms and engagement. She has gained a wealth of communications experience in her 17-year career, starting out as a newspaper journalist, before moving between in-house and client-side comms and most recently managing the national internal communication channels for a nationwide company. She loves getting to know people, sharing their stories, and developing her team along the way. She is not afraid to challenge the norm and asks questions to get to the nub of any issue or challenge.

In her spare time, she loves live music, pilates, travelling and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Dave Bracher Spinal Injuries Association Profile Photo

Dave Bracher

head of people and culture

Dave became spinal cord injured in 2008; his SCI was caused by a combination of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM). These rare neurological disorders attacked his peripheral and central nervous systems respectively, causing damage to his spinal cord at T10.

Having benefitted hugely from the support of SIA whilst undergoing his rehab at Stoke Mandeville, Dave initially worked as a volunteer for us before being elected as a Trustee. He served 3 years on the board from 2011-2014, including 12 months as Vice-Chair, before standing down and becoming our vocational support manager. Three years later in 2017, Dave became campaigns manager and led on all our campaigning activities before being promoted to head of people and operations.

Dave has completed several fundraising challenges for us, including the London, Paris and Berlin Marathons and the London to Paris and Budapest to Vienna bike rides. He’s often to be found at Wembley or Twickenham indulging his love of sport, and has also (in his younger days) sailed around the world, having competed in the BT Global Challenge round-the-world yacht race.