Our Senior Leadership Team guides our organisation

Armed with the knowledge, experience and expertise of their fields, our directors have the vision and perspective to drive our organisation forward, stopping the vicious circle of fear and harm that destroys childhood and wrecks community living.

Senior Leadership Team members are:

 

Mark Russell, Chief Executive

 

Mark Russell CEO of The Children's Society

Mark is committed to disrupting the disadvantage that many of our children and young people face today. Mark joined us in August 2019 and has a passion and determination to protect, support and speak up for children and young people.

Mark is from County Armagh in Northern Ireland and attended Queen’s University in Belfast. After a few years in the private sector, Mark moved into youth work – working in one of the most divided towns in Northern Ireland at the time, bringing Protestant and Catholic young people together in the run up to the Good Friday Agreement.

Before moving to The Children’s Society, Mark worked with children and young people for 20 years and was Chief Executive of social justice charity, Church Army.

‘I want children and young people to know that someone cares, someone listens and someone will help. So they can thrive not just survive.’

‘For over 20 years I have worked with young people and have seen how poverty, disadvantage and fear can trap children and radically change their present and their future. My dream is that every child should walk tall and be the best they can be’

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Follow Mark on Twitter @markrusselluk

Peter Grigg, Director of External Affairs 

Peter Grigg, director of External Affairs

'My favourite moment at The Children's Society was when I dressed up as a teddy bear and went to party conferences. We were doing a campaign about the impact of debt on children and we created a pretend payday loan company called ‘Ready Teddy loan’.

I went out to party conferences dressed as a bear, saying hello to MPs, it was a bizarre experience.

'One of the things that I’m proud of is developing a campaigns team. So the teddy bear to me symbolises the bold steps we’ve taken and the brave campaigning we’ve done.

'Growing up my parents were involved in different ways in the community. I feel that there’s a role we should all be playing to support families under pressure and I think charities do a grand job in doing that.'

Before this he was Director of Policy, Research and Communications at the Family and Childcare Trust and he headed up the policy and research function for a campaign to inspire young entrepreneurs. Peter lives in London with his wife and two young children and in his spare time volunteers to support a local community library and local school projects. 

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Joe Jenkins, Director of Supporter Impact and Income

Joe Jenkins, Director of Supporter Impact and Income

'One of the most powerful things to me about The Children's Society is the way we combine direct work with children and campaigning for systems changes. If you work directly with the people whose lives you’re changing, then that’s fantastic, but I also recognise that if you only do that work, you never really change the conditions that created the problem in the first place.

'We focus on groups of young people who fall between the cracks, they are being systematically left behind. I grew up on a  big council estate and I went to a  low performing school but I was fortunate to have a family that allowed me to thrive beyond that.

'I can see how a change in circumstances can enable a young person to thrive. I want all young people to have the same opportunities that I want for my own daughter. 

'I’m passionate about movement building – how do you connect people directly with the change they want to make in the world?'

Joe was previously Director of Engagement at Friends of the Earth, as well as Acting CEO. Prior to this, Joe worked with a wide range of different charities, including Royal National Institute of Blind People, NSPCC, British Red Cross, WWF and IFAW.

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Liz Walker, Director of Finance and Corporate Services 

Liz Walker, Director of Finance and Corporate Services

'I have a real passion for young people, I have nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews and I want other children to do as well as they are doing. Two of my nephews ran the marathon for The Children's Society and I loved seeing them get involved with our work.

'Other people have a passion for animals, but my passion is for young people.

'I believe in social justice, my father was in the police force and he would describe the issues of what he saw on the streets of Manchester. He was very protective and he never wanted us to work in the police force, but our family had a strong sense of social justice, which has compelled me to work for charity organisations.

'My ambitions for vulnerable people is to have a family, a community and a support system that really works for them.'

Most recently she was Executive Director of Resources and also Deputy CEO at Livability, which is a national Christian disability and community engagement charity.

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Dara de Burca, Director of Children and Young People

Dara de Burca, Director of Children and Young People

'My children bring me inspiration because they come from the care system and they have "messy lives". We often think that it’s all those people out there that have these complications in their lives, but actually it’s all of us.

They give me a perspective that means I look at families with great compassion because the young people are just like mine.

'My ambition for young people is a big and bold one – I want us to change the status quo. When I started here was it had been nine years since I’d been working with young people that were being exploited by gangs, and yet I can see that the issues now are still exactly the same. It really saddens me that change isn’t happening, so I don’t think we can just keep doing the things we’ve always done.'

Previously, Dara was Director of Services at CLIC Sargent and before that worked as Head of Youth Support in Hackney and as Service Manager for young people in Hammersmith and Fulham. She managed children’s homes and a young runaway refuge. She has been a teenage fostering and child protection social worker, and is also an adopter of two children.

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