Our Board of Trustees 

Niels de Vos, BA Hons Modern History, Oxford University (Chairman)

Niels de Vos has been CEO of UK Athletics for over 10 years, which is the national governing body for athletics in Britain. Under his leadership, the organisation delivered the best Olympic and Paralympic performance in 50 years at the London 2012 Summer Games.

Niels has significant experience in the charity sector, most notably in a previous role as commercial general manager at the Millennium Experience. There, he conceived and created the Children’s Promise Appeal, helping to raise an impressive £20m for UK children’s charities.

Born and bred in Birmingham, Niels has held a number of executive and non-executive board roles, including Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Birmingham 2016 Ltd, the BID committee for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. He currently co-chairs the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships, which will see the UK city host the major athletics event.

Salma Ali

Salma has worked within the NHS for over thirty years.  Having initially qualified as a Registered General Nurse in Birmingham in 1984 she went on to qualify and practice as a Midwife and then a Health Visitor into the 1990s when she entered her first role in management. Since then Salma has undertaken a number of different roles ranging from Primary Care Development Manager, Clinical Governance Lead, Director of Nursing and Quality in a Primary Care Trust and then onwards to work as a senior leader in a Clinical Commissioning Group in the West Midlands. Salma is currently working in NHS England, West Midlands commissioning a range of services across the West Midlands.

During her career Salma has developed many skills ranging from Board Level Executive and Corporate leadership to working as a System Leader in a complex and fast moving political environment across the West Midlands.

She has three children, and enjoys walking and baking bread and other delicious goodies.

Through her trustee role, Salma hopes to add value to service users, their carers and families and the local communities that support the Hospice.

Sharon Benton BA (Hons), CIM

Sharon's career in marketing and communications has spanned the commercial, public and third sectors. This included 10 years in the privatised utility sector responsible for both consumer and business to business marketing. She has worked as a consultant with SMEs and the Environment Agency and headed up the marketing and communications team at St Peter's Hospice in Bristol. Most recently she has taken roles in education and is now executive director of marketing and recruitment with responsibility for strategy and planning at Birmingham Metropolitan College. The College has over 25,000 students with 4 colleges based in Birmingham and the Black Country.

Sharon joined the Board of Trustees in July 2017 and was appointed Chair of the Communications, Fundraising and Marketing Steering Group in 2018.

Jonathan Crawford MRICS

Jonathan is a Chartered Surveyor and has worked in the Midlands commercial and residential real estate markets for over 20 years with a particular focus on investment, development and asset management. Prior to his election to the Board of Trustees he provided pro bono advice in respect of two of the Hospice’s properties. Jonathan became a Director of St Mary’s Hospice (Trading) Limited in January 2010 and joined the Trustees on the St Mary’s Hospice Charitable Trust Fund in January 2011. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2011.

Karen Elizabeth Dowman MSc Dip IHSM

Karen has recently retired after 40 years in the NHS.  She spent the first 20 years in various administrative and senior Management roles in the acute, community, mental health and services for people with learning disabilities sectors she then became Chief Executive of the Black Country Mental Health NHS Trust and its 4 successor organisations culminating in the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

She has wide experience of Boards at a senior level, corporate and clinical governance, strategic planning, financial, and risk management, knowledge of human resources and staff management, estate rationalisation and Partnership working with a variety of stakeholders with diverse communities.

Karen is well versed in working with the charitable sector and has been a Trustee, Chairperson and Finance Chair of Black Country (previously Sandwell) Women’s Aid for over 20 years.

Also since her retirement she has become a Trustee and Treasurer of Citizens Advice Sandwell.

Her passion for supporting those who, for whatever reason, are the most vulnerable in society remains undimmed. Karen joined the Board of Trustees and the Clinical Governance Committee in 2017.

Colin Graham BSC, MSc, AIOSH

Colin is the Associate Director of Clinical Governance at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, and brings a wide range of experience of risk management, governance, infection control, health and safety and emergency planning. Colin was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2009 and is a Board representative and currently Chair of the Hospice Compliance Committee (Environment & Risk) and Clinical Governance Committee. He has provided training and support on incident reporting, health and safety, risk assessment and managed major emergency drills for the Hospice.

Dr Sabena Y Jameel FRCGP, MBBS, BMedSci, DFSRH, M.MedEd

Sabena is a General Practitioner working in Aston, Birmingham. She is also Associate Dean for GP Education (Health Education England) with responsibility for GP training in Birmingham and Solihull and Foundation doctor training placements in GP across the West Midlands.

Sabena is also a part-time PhD Student at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues (Birmingham University School of Education). Her research explores Medical Wisdom, using Virtue Ethics as a research framework.

The Hospice has provided excellent care to loved ones and she is thrilled to be able to contribute to the future aspirations and development of the organisation. Sabena joined the Board of Trustees and the HR Committee in 2017.

Simon Jarvis MBA, BA (Hons), MCIM

Simon brings in-depth experience and a sustained record of success in the Healthcare and Commercial marketplace. Simon has an extensive background working in diverse organisations, managing communication, marketing and key front-line services across all levels. Simon is currently Head of Facilities at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Simon started his career in Hong Kong; working for the JW Marriott and Mandarin Oriental hotel groups, both leaders in the hospitality industry, with a reputation for excellence and a business model that demands exceptional customer service skills. Simon is also a CIM qualified marketer with over 20 years senior level experience in the public and private sector. He has a special interest in supporting service configuration and developing collaborative opportunities to further enhance the patient experience. Simon was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2017 and is Chair of the Information Governance Compliance Committee.

Stan Leyland, AIB

Stan’s career was in banking, having held numerous managerial appointments including regional management responsibilities before he retired. He has considerable experience in the field of financial management and has been a Director of St Mary’s Hospice (Trading) Limited since 2004 (he is now the Chair) and a Trustee of the St Mary’s Charitable Trust Fund since October 2009. Stan was a key member of the Hospice’s Premises Committee during two major refurbishment projects in 2009 and 2011. He also acts as an ambassador for the Hospice at cheque presentations and fundraising events. Stan was appointed to the Board of Trustees in November 2009.

Gurinder Mandla LLB (Hons) Solicitor

Gurinder is a Solicitor and joined the Board of Trustees in October 2011, having been an Association Member since 2001. He has the support of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, one of Birmingham’s largest Sikh Gurudwaras, in his role as a Trustee of the Hospice. Gurinder is able to bring a legal and analytical perspective to Board business.

Denise McLellan LLB (Hons)

Denise has a longstanding interest in palliative and supportive care, initially deriving from her role as cancer network manager 15 years ago. With 25 years of NHS management experience, latterly at Primary Care Trust Chief Executive Officer Level, in both providing and commissioning organisations mainly in the Birmingham area, Denise can support the health care system to make best use of the skills and experience of palliative and supportive care provided by this Hospice. She is a graduate of Birmingham University and longstanding Birmingham resident and currently works part time as an independent management consultant to the NHS. Denise was appointed to the Board of Trustees in November 2014.

Mike Russell, JP, FCA (Vice Chairman)

Mike is a retired senior partner of an international firm of accountants and business advisors. Having spent his career advising business across the spectrum of industry, since his retirement he has committed time to assisting charitable organisations. Mike was a key member of the Hospice’s Premises Sub-Committee during two major refurbishment projects in 2009 and 2011. He was appointed Trustee of the Board in 2004 and was appointed Vice Chairman in 2014. He was also Chair of the Finance Committee until 2018 and is Chair of the St Mary’s Hospice Charitable Trust Fund.

Andy Williams BSc, FCA

Andy is a chartered accountant and an Audit Partner at Ernst and Young LLP. He has over 14 years’ experience working in the UK, Canada and Australia. His client portfolio ranges from small privately owned businesses through to global FTE 350 companies and he has a blend of organisational, analytical, technical and commercial skills. This includes a thorough understanding of financial reporting encompassing the associated systems and control environment. Andy was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2016 and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee in 2018.

Dr Ken Deacon MB, ChB

Ken is a Medical Director at NHS England, working within North Midlands and previously across the County of Shropshire and Staffordshire. He is also the Company Director and General Practitioner at a local Healthcare Centre in Birmingham.

Ken joined the Hospice’s Association Membership in early 2018 and became a member of the Board of Trustees in October the same year. He is also a member of both the Clinical Governance and Finance and Audit Committees, bringing clinical expertise to these governance committees. Ken's wealth of skills and experience in the NHS will provide exceptional support to the Hospice in providing palliative and supportive care.