Our people

The work of SEA is informed by ‘Experts by Experience’ – a group of women who speak openly and honestly about what they have gone through so that they can be a force for change. The charity is led by Director, Dr. Nicola Sharp-Jeffs who is supported by a growing team and Board of Trustees.

DR. NICOLA SHARP-JEFFS – FOUNDER AND Chief Executive

Nicola is an expert in economic abuse as it occurs within the context of coercive control. She has worked in the violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector since 2006 in policy-influencing and research roles.

In 2016, Nicola was made a Winston Churchill Fellow and travelled to the United States and Australia to explore innovative responses to economic abuse. It was her determination to ensure that women in the UK have access to the same responses that led her to establish Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA).

Nicola is also an Emeritus Research Fellow in the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), London Metropolitan University and a Visiting Senior Fellow in Social Policy at the School of Law and Social Sciences, University of Suffolk.

Awareness and Education Team

Georgia Powell – Communications Officer

Georgia has worked in communications, marketing and events within both the commercial and voluntary sectors for over 10 years. In her previous role at a youth charity she was responsible for the project management of youth-focused marketing campaigns, a number of which focussed on gender equality – including raising awareness of healthy relationships and period poverty. Georgia is also an integrative therapist and yoga teacher.

Katy Blanchard, Information and Resources Officer

Katy has worked in the voluntary sector for eight years in editorial roles for several charities, including a large charity focused on the rights of women and girls globally. Her career has focused on working with experts to write and edit material that informs and inspires, breaking down complex information to help people understand their circumstances and the options available to them. She has also worked as a trustee for a charity supporting young people with learning disabilities.

Jasbinder Kaur – Training Officer

Jasbinder is a trainer valued for her ability to work well with a wide range of audiences including workforce professional development and community outreach to  vulnerable adults. Drawing on over 25 years in the charity sector she brings a lively and highly engaging approach to her workshops and training,  tacking complex and sensitive issues with passion and sensitivity.

Advocacy Team

Christina Govier – Banking Advocate

Christina has worked in the voluntary sector as an advocate supporting survivors of domestic abuse over the last 5 years. She has worked in a number of different settings providing advice on the National Domestic Violence helpline, within a refuge setting and providing advocacy and training to GP’s and patients. Christina has specialist knowledge and interest in economic abuse, having worked closely with survivors facing this form of abuse she has a solid understanding of the key issues this group face. She has also delivered an empowerment programme to survivors to support them to re-enter work, education or training.

Judy Barber – Domestic Violence Debt Advocate (DVDA)

Judy Barber has worked in the voluntary sector as an advocate and trainer for over ten years. In her previous roles she has worked in refugee resettlement, supported victims of forced marriage and honour based abuse and has taken part in educational programmes designed to raise awareness around violence against women and girls.

Stephanie Orr, Privately Owned Housing Advocate

Stephanie Orr has worked in the voluntary sector in various support roles for the last 6 years. Following an unusual pathway into the VAWG sector, her passion for supporting survivors of gender-based violence started whilst studying for a PhD in Chemistry when she began volunteering at her local Rape Crisis Centre, taking on a number of roles including regularly providing helpline support. Since then, Stephanie has worked as an advocate, supporting survivors of forced marriage and honour based abuse and working one-to-one with women and girls experiencing domestic abuse who were assessed to be at high risk of homicide or serious harm. Most recently, Stephanie has delivered a project in Children’s Services, training, consulting and working in partnership with social workers to improve responses to domestic abuse within a local authority.

Dal Lall, Engagement Officer 

Dal has had a dynamic career with over 17 years within the women’s sector. She has delivered, developed and managed needs-related core and specialist services to women, including facilitating empowering group work programmes for survivors of domestic abuse.

Dal’s expertise has also benefited a range of diverse third sector organisations, early years children’s services, young people, families and communities.  She is also a therapist and a family group conference coordinator.

Dal relishes opportunities that promote equality with a focus on the safety, wellbeing and inclusivity of all women and girls.

Policy and Research Team

Cyrene Siriwardhana, Legal and Policy Advisor

Cyrene Siriwardhana worked as a government lawyer with the Ministry of Justice. She also has extensive experience of policy work on gender equality and violence against women in Sri Lanka, where she headed UNDP’s national access to justice programme and prior to that the policy and advocacy team at Oxfam.

Dr Kathryn Royal – Research and Evaluation Officer

Dr Kathryn Royal has a background in both practice and research in the field of violence against women and girls. She completed her PhD at the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse at Durham University in 2019. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Kathryn’s research examined how media coverage of rape affects victim-survivors of sexual violence. She has also been an active and committed volunteer for her local Rape Crisis Centre for over 7 years, taking on a number of roles in this time, including regularly providing helpline support.

Operations Team

Sian Scholes – Operations Manager

Sian started her career in the charity sector, working for 11 years in the areas of service coordination and leadership. This included providing line management support to service managers and indirect management and support to operational teams across 3 large complex services. Sian joins SEA after three years of working within the cyber security sector.

Jo Elkington – Fundraising Officer

Jo has worked in the charity sector for over 15 years, mainly in programme development and grants fundraising roles. Her work has focused on overseas development, humanitarian relief and human rights. She is experienced in grant contract management and developing tools and processes to support this, and she has a particular interest in partnership working and capacity building.

Trustees

Cathy Millis  – Chair of Trustees

Cathy is an HR professional who has held HR Director roles in UK & International organisations leading significant multi-channel and multi-market transformational change programmes. Now running her own business as an Independent Consultant focusing on Strategic HR, Executive Coaching & Training.

Sue Lewis – Trustee

Since leaving the Treasury in 2011, Sue has held a number of Board and advisory roles. She currently chairs the Financial Services Consumer Panel; and is a Trustee of the People’s Pension; and of StepChange debt charity. Sue also sits as a consumer representative on several financial services industry bodies. She also advises overseas clients on financial education, financial inclusion and consumer protection regulation.

Sue spent most of her career as a senior civil servant, advising government ministers on policy issues including financial services, early years, children and young people, and gender equality.

Janqui Mehta – Trustee

Janqui Mehta has 13 years’ experience in media and communications. She has developed large scale, national awareness campaigns on a range of social issues, most recently at Smart Energy GB, where she is responsible for media relations for the largest single consumer engagement and behaviour change campaign of this decade – the nationwide smart meter rollout. She worked on national awareness campaigns for national domestic violence charity Refuge for four years.

Richard Walsh  – Treasurer

Richard Walsh has worked in the Banking sector in a variety of roles for international banks over the past 16 years. His current day to day role in the restructuring team of a Canadian bank involves managing a portfolio of distressed credits with a view to minimising loan losses and maximising recoveries, in addition to recommending the Collective Provision for the UK division over the past 3 years.

Ruth Mason – Trustee

Ruth is currently the Business and Development Lead with Women’s Aid for their Change That Lasts Programme where she supports independent women’s sector organisations with practice improvement,  sustainability and governance alongside strategic commissioner engagement. As a qualified counsellor focusing on the needs of young people, Ruth also runs training events for local frontline voluntary sector staff focusing on staff welfare and reducing vicarious trauma.

Jonathan Speight – Trustee

Jonathan has extensive experience over 25+ years at COO Level within the Financial Services Industry working globally in UK, Singapore, Oman, Germany, Hong Kong, Thailand and Mexico, with broad exposure in a range of management roles covering Trade Finance, Risk, Internal Control, Relationship Management, Debt Restructuring, Human Resources and Compliance. His experience covers managing geographically dispersed and international teams to support and deliver cost savings, efficiencies, strategic change, execution of programmes, as well as build revenue and deal pipelines.

Annabel Griffiths – Trustee

Annabel is a solicitor with a broad-based practice which covers public and private law Children Act 1989, Domestic Violence, Community Care and Court of Protection. Annabel has particular expertise in representing victims of domestic and sexual violence, forced marriage and so called ‘honour based’ violence. Annabel is also a CAADA qualified Independent Domestic Violence Advocate and has a thorough knowledge of the dynamics of controlling and abusive behaviours.

Sarah Williams-Gardener – Trustee

Sarah has over 25 years business experience across a variety of sectors, in stakeholder relationships, comms & marketing and government affairs. Most recently Sarah was a founding member of Starling Bank where she developed an interest in Financial Inclusion. Proud to have led on initiatives to create financial inclusion via empowerment such as the creation of the “Gambling Block” which gave freedom for customers to customise and control their spending. Having undertaken several CEO roles, Sarah is currently the CEO at Hope for Children.

Katie Sayer – Trustee

Katie has 19+ years experiences working in the Financial Sector as an experienced Director and leader of strategic initiatives across global organisations. Her experience covers business transformation, target operating model, operations strategy and strategic cost reduction programmes and has delivered large scale complex portfolio of projects from offshoring and cost reduction programmes through to regulatory change.