Our Board of Trustees

Valerie Michie

Chair

Valerie is CEO of Choice Care Group, a community provider of residential and supported living services for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions.

Before joining Choice Valerie was CEO of the Huntercombe Group, a hospital provider focused on brain injury and mental health. Prior to that she had leadership roles at Serco and Alfred McAlpine following a varied consulting and accounting career with KPMG.

Previously Valerie was Trustee and Chair of the audit committee of PRIME, The Princes Initiative for Mature Enterprise.

Dr. Sarah Davidson MBE

Deputy Chair

Dr Sarah Davidson is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in a specialist, nationwide NHS service for children and families at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

She is also the Head of Psychosocial and Mental Health for the British Red Cross where she leads on psychosocial and mental health programmes and strategy for the support of service users and the workforce.  She was the Chair of the International Federation of Red Cross’ and Red Crescent’s European Network for Psychosocial Support which includes 52 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies (2015-2019). Her 20 years on charity boards include being Trustee (2000-2003) and Vice Chairman (2004 – 2007) of the British Red Cross, Trustee (2009 – 2012) and Vice Chair (2012 – 2015) of Interhealth and Trustee (2008 – 2014) and Vice Chair (2014 – 2017) of the National Children’s Bureau.

She was awarded an MBE in 2008 for service to the Red Cross having supported the Red Cross and Foreign Office response to those involved in the South East Asian tsunami in Thailand in 2005.

Margot Crowther

Treasurer

Margot has been an accountant for over 25 years. She started work in a professional firm and then moved into internal audit. After a while, she then moved to working in the creative and film industry and then into the charitable sector. Over the years she has also been a voluntary treasurer for a number of small charities.

Terrence Collis

Following a career in Corporate Communications particularly in the Financial sector, Terrence has taken on a number of Trustee Board roles.  He is currently Chair of Trustees for Maytree – a Sanctuary for the suicidal in London, a Board Member and a member of the Audit Committee of St Christopher’s Hospice in South East London. He has been a Trustee of the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and a member of the Finance, Resources and Audit Committee since 2014.  Terrence is delighted, and slightly surprised, that in 2020 he has become is a founder Trustee of the Board of the newly independent Junior Common Room of Van Mildert College Durham University, where he studied for his degree nearly five decades ago. More recently he was a Trustee and Board Member of British Red Cross 2004 – 2011 including two years as Vice Chair.

Terrence was a volunteer at Central London Samaritans for 35 years.  He has volunteered at The Listening Place since it started, is a Supervising Volunteer and is involved in much of the training of Volunteers.

Richard Spence

Trustee

Richard is a psychotherapist in London and an Executive Coach who works with leaders, boards and teams internationally.

Previously, he was a film and television director in the UK and America.

Richard was a volunteer at Central London Samaritans for 15 years and a co-director. He was the first Chair of Trustees for The Listening Place.

Robyn Doran

Robyn is Chief Operating Officer for CNWL NHS TRUST, a large community-based organisation with a £550 million turnover and over 7,500 staff spread over 150 sites. Robyn started working for CNWL in 1988, has worked in the Trust for over 30 years, and has worked in most directorates across the Trust.

Robyn has worked as a non-executive director in the private sector, as well as in many voluntary sector organisations, and also served on the Government advisory board for drugs and alcohol for a number of years. After qualifying as a registered psychiatric nurse in New Zealand in 1983, she has held a number of positions in management across various mental health, addiction, offender care, learning disabilities and other community services, in New Zealand, Australia and England.

In 2005 she completed her MSc in Change Agent Skills at Surrey University. Robyn has an interest in maximising individual’s potential and building dynamic and effective teams working within in complex environments. She has recently completed a Diploma in coaching and her drive as a leader is to maximise others’ potential.

Robyn led the NHS provider response to the Grenfell disaster, and more recently has been doing targeted work in Brent regarding health inequalities and Covid-19.

Alex Winter

Alex is Secretary to the Board.  He is an Honorary Psychotherapist at Camden Psychotherapy Unit and has in the past been a volunteer at both Samaritans and The Listening Place. He also sits as a Trustee of the Mrs Smith and Mount Trust, which makes grants to beneficiaries in various fields.

Stuart Blieschke

Trustee

Stuart’s background is in finance and he has worked as an investment professional for a number of international financial institutions in Asia and the UK including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Pacific Alliance Group, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. He is also the founder of London based Curatic Capital Limited. He is Australian by background, and relocated to the UK after fifteen years in Hong Kong.

Stuart has held various directorships and is currently a director of various private investment entities. He is a Chartered Accountant, former member of the Australian Restructuring, Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Flinders University of South Australia.

He has been a Listening Volunteer at Meade Mews since December 2019. Having seen first-hand the amazing work of everyone at The Listening Place and the impact its vision and mission has on the lives of those who may feel life is not worth living, Stuart sees TLP not only as a highly valuable service but an absolutely necessary one in our community, especially in these challenging times.

Sonia Inniss

Trustee

Sonia is the Managing Consultant of Consultants at Work where she has led multiple change projects across several professional services firms in the city of London, in the insurance and banking sectors in London and the Channel Islands and within Further and Higher Education in Scotland and England. The focus of her work always is with the leadership of organizations as they address the challenges to adapt and develop, which are posed by their clients and communities.

Before undertaking a Masters degree in the Business School of the University of Bath, the formative years of her professional development were spent working in adult outpatient psychotherapy settings in individual and group work following her clinical training.

Sonia served for eight years as a Governor of Lewisham College, becoming its Vice Chair, leading its Human Resources Committee and being a member of the Audit Committee.

Caroline Lien

Trustee

Caroline is an independent management consultant, primarily working with purpose-led organisations in health, social care and a range of charities. Prior to working independently, Caroline was Operations Director and Strategy Director at Comic Relief where she led many years of Red Nose Day and Sport Relief campaigns.

She is currently Vice Chair of Imperial Health Charity (which has a large volunteering service), and Trustee of the Talent Fund. She was previously a Samaritans volunteer and a community volunteer for NCT where she strove to improve women’s mental health through social connections.

Phalisha Kerai

Trustee

Phalisha is currently a Civil Servant at the Cabinet Office working to improve diversity and inclusion within the Government Commercial Function. Prior to this, she worked at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse focussing on Learning and Development and, before that, worked in HR for a large private sector company.

Phalisha has been volunteering at The Listening Place since April 2019 and is both a supervising and listening volunteer. During this time, Phalisha has seen the positive impact that is made from having a safe space to talk openly about suicidal thoughts and she is passionate about the work that TLP does to support people during these immensely difficult times.

Other Board Members

Sarah Anderson CBE

CEO

Sarah set up The Listening Place in July 2016, having recognised the gap in statutory services.  She was a volunteer at Central London Samaritans for 37 years, during which time she spent 3 years as Director.  She has been running The Listening Place as the unpaid CEO ever since!

Sarah has worked in the private sector, public sector and now the third sector: having originally worked in HR in a large private sector company, Sarah has run a number of businesses and social enterprises in the past, as well as being a NED for many businesses in the commercial sector.

Previously, a Public Appointments Assessor, where she chaired the recruitment for Chairs of Public Bodies for many Government Departments; she was also a Commissioner for the Commission for Equality and Human Rights and ACAS and a non-executive director of JobCentre Plus.  She was the author of The Anderson Review for Government.  She used to chair the SME Council of the CBI, where she sat on the President’s Committee.

The only roles outside The Listening Place that she now holds are as a member of the State Honours Committee; as a Chair of Judges for the annual Everywoman awards for women running their own businesses and as lay advisor to the Independent Investigation into discrimination in the Conservative Party.