Ahead of our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 6 October 2022, we are pleased to introduce our new Board members. Find out more about their backgrounds and the roles they will be filling.

All new appointments as well as the appointment of trustees for a second term of office are to be ratified at the AGM.

New members of the Board of Trustees

Irma Donaldson, deputy chair

I qualified as an SLT in 1993 from De Montfort University and since then have worked for the NHS. I started working in a rotation post with adults in community hospitals and children in community clinics and special schools. I subsequently worked in a variety of community and acute settings supporting the communication and swallowing needs of babies and children with complex special needs, including autism diagnostics and intervention. I worked in Brent, Lambeth, Haringey and West Essex before starting in Hertfordshire in April 2012. I am currently a specialist services manager (CAMHS and Autism Pathway lead) in Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust. I completed the NHS Leadership Academy’s Ready Now Programme in 2019 – a programme for senior staff from a Black, Asian and ethnic minority background. I was a 2021 nominee for the Positive Role Model (Race, Faith and Religion) Award in the National Diversity Awards for my work with NHS Ready to Rise – a collective of senior staff working to influence change in the NHS for staff from a minoritised ethnic background.

Twitter: @IrmaDonaldson19

Dharinee Hansjee – general trustee

I obtained a BSc in speech therapy and audiology in South Africa in 1995. I have spent over 25 years working predominantly with adults in hospital and community settings across the country and abroad. Since 2010, I have taken on the leadership of teams within the NHS and education sectors. I achieved a master’s degree in advanced practice (leadership) through King’s College London in 2012. Whilst maintaining a clinical career, I delved into academia with visiting lecturing roles and assumed a part-time senior lecturing position, whilst continuing to work and lead within the NHS. I am currently the programme lead/course director for the BSc speech and language therapy course, delivered across University of Greenwich and Christchurch Canterbury. My expertise lies within swallowing in the older adult population, which was acknowledged by taking up the role as RCSLT national advisor for dysphagia (dementia) in 2016. I have collaborated and led on publications, international presentations, national guidance, and research. I was awarded a Fellowship by the RCSLT in 2021 and awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in April 2022.

Twitter: @DharineeHansjee

Eve Baird – general trustee

I qualified as a speech and language therapist from the University of Sheffield in 1999 and my first speech and language therapy post was as a generalist SLT in Lincolnshire. Over the years I developed my interest in working with individuals with complex communication needs and behaviours that challenge services across a variety of settings including high secure mental health services. I have been in leadership and management roles since 2012 including Rampton SLT service manager, associate director of AHPs for forensic services in Nottinghamshire, and quality improvement and assurance lead in Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT). I am currently the associate director of operations for specialist services in LPFT. The services I am responsible for include child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), adult eating disorder services, veterans mental health services, and mental health services for adults with intellectual disability and/or autism. In addition to my substantive role, I also work as specialist advisor for the Care Quality Commission and was a member of the NICE/SCIE Guideline Committee for supporting decision-making for people who may lack mental capacity.

Twitter: @EveBairdLPFT

Helen Robinson – country representative for England (North)

I graduated from Leeds Beckett University in 2003 and began working as a community paediatric therapist in Bradford. I spent the first twelve years of my career there, initially specialising in cleft lip and palate but then moving on to work with complex needs, autism and then AAC. This quickly became my passion and I have spent the past fifteen years working with children and adults who use AAC. I currently job share to role of AAC service lead for the Barnsley Assistive Technology Team, delivering specialised AAC services for Yorkshire and Humberside. I am interested in leadership and service development. I have an ILM Level 5 qualification in coaching and mentoring and I enjoy supporting AHPs with their career development using this. I am developing my career as a clinical academic and in 2020 I completed the National Institute for Health Research Internship programme. I am a committee member of the UK SLT Pride Network and am passionate about supporting SLTs, assistants and students to bring their authentic selves to the workplace.

Twitter: @HelenATSLT

Marian Brady – trustee for research

I am an experienced speech and language therapist, working in hospital, community and educational settings in Ireland and the UK before leaving the NHS as a senior stroke rehabilitation specialist to complete my PhD at the University of Strathclyde. I joined the Chief Scientist Office-funded, Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, becoming the founding director of the successful multidisciplinary stroke rehabilitation research programme in 2000. I chair the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists – a research network of over 270 aphasia researchers across 40 countries, funded by the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia. I am a member of the Cochrane Stroke Group and Aphasiology Editorial Boards and I hold an Honorary Chair at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. I was awarded the Robin Tavistock Award (2017), and an RCSLT Fellowship (2019) for my contribution to aphasia research and practice.

Twitter: @MarianBrady

Members continuing on the Board of Trustees

As well as our new members, many of our current Board are staying on in their positions. You can read their biographies on our about us page.

  • Sean Pert, taking over the position of chair
  • Richard Cryer, honorary treasurer
  • John Humphrey – lay member (digital)
  • Leasil Burrow – lay member (HR/OD)
  • Pauline Downie – country representative for Scotland
  • Viki Baker – country representative for England (South)
  • Rosalind Kyle – country representative for Northern Ireland
  • Frances Johnstone – general trustee
  • Angela Shimada – general trustee
  • Janet Chambers – general trustee