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Our people

We are a team of passionate people working together to restore young people’s hope for their future. Find out more about what this means to our leadership team, staff and trustees.

Our people

Janet Legrand

Janet Legrand QC (Hon)

Chair of our Board of Trustees and member of our Finance and Investment Committee, and Organisational Development Committee

With over 30 years in the legal profession, Janet was Senior Partner and Board Chair of global law firm DLA Piper, and is now the Senior Lay Member of Court at the University of Edinburgh. She has significant governance experience in higher education with roles at University of Cambridge, City, University of London, Advance HE and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. She is a member of the Advisory Panel of IntoUniversity and was a founding Board member of PRIME, the legal profession’s social mobility alliance, and has been Deputy Chair of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission.

'I’m passionate about ensuring that young people can achieve their full potential, whatever their start in life. For me, hope means belief in a better future. Hope really matters, because that combination of desire and positivity helps us to thrive and makes us more likely to achieve the future we desire.'

Libby Lane

The Rt Revd Libby Lane

Vice Chair of Trustees and member of Organisational Development Committee

Libby became the Church of England’s first female bishop at a service in York Minister in 2015, when she was appointed the Bishop of Stockport, she now serves as the Bishop of Derby. 

'Children and young people have always been at the heart of what I do. When Jesus was asked about what matters, he brought a child among them and said “of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Every day children and young people in our country are vulnerable and at risk. The issues they face are both intimately personal and deeply systematic. So being part of The Children’s Society, which works tirelessly to support such children and address these inequalities, is indeed working for the Kingdom.'

David Ramsden

David Ramsden

Trustee and member of our Finance and Investment Committee

David Ramsden has been Chief Executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust since December 2016. From 2006 to 2016 David was CEO of BBC Children in Need as it raised over £400 million and diversified its income base with new programming and commercial partnerships. 

‘Every child deserves a childhood where they can be safe, happy and given the chance to reach their potential.  The Children’s Society is a special and positive organisation as it brings people with skill, experience and passion together to make a difference for children and young people who really need our help and support.’

Diane Blausten

Diane Blausten

Trustee and Chair of the Organisational Development Committee

Diane is an independent consultant, executive coach and mentor. She has over 30 years human resources experience in the charity, aviation and retail sectors, and is the former Director of Organisation Development and Human Resources at the health and social care charity Jewish Care. 

'Children are our future, the life blood for our society.  Being able to contribute my time, skills and experience to an organisation that truly makes a difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in society, is really motivating and rewarding.' 

Jim Clifford

Jim Clifford OBE

Trustee and member of the Risk, Audit and Compliance Committee

Jim is Director and CEO at Sonnet Advisory & Impact, and was formerly a Partner with Bates Wells Braithwaite heading the Advisory and Impact Teams, running a range of services to social and private sector organisations. He was awarded the OBE in June 2013 for his services to social investment. 

'My life was changed immeasurably following my adoption through the Children’s Society over fifty years ago, and I grew up in a family of supporters. My life as a therapeutic parent to my own ten adopted children has shown me how much need there is for so many young people who don’t deserve what society throws at them. The Children’s Society is prepared to go where no other children’s charity will to tackle that and I am so happy to take even a small part in making that happen.'

Florence Knoll

Florence Kroll

Lead Trustee for Safeguarding and member of Risk, Audit and Compliance Committee

Florence is the Director of Children’s Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. In her route to this role, she has been a Probation Officer, Youth Justice Social Worker, managed the Youth OffendingTeam at Southwark, held senior roles in Youth Crime Reduction in Hackney and run the Early Help and Preventive Service in Kent. 

'The Children's Society is an amazing organisation that puts children at the heart of everything they do. It is aspirational and ambitious to make a real difference for children’s lives. It has an energy that inspires you get involved. It is inclusive and genuinely considers diversity and how we can together contribute to transforming lives.'

Nasima Patel

Nasima Patel

Trustee and member of our Risk, Audit and Compliance Committee

Nasima is a Social Worker who led on the early development of services for sexually exploited and trafficked young people nationally for which she received a lifetime achievement award.  Nasima is currently leading the child protection and children in need services in Newham. 

‘Hope means a life that is lived in colour, with kindness, care and laughter. This can only be achieved in a just and caring society which we are building. The Children’s Society always put the needs and rights of children and young people at the centre of all it does. We work with passion, intellect and creativity to give all children a good childhood.’

Chris Gillies

Chris Gillies

Treasurer, Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee and member of Risk, Audit and Compliance Committee

Chris has 40 years experience working in business in the UK and internationally. For 30 years, he's been giving his time and skills to many different charities and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

'One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank balance was, or what kind of house I lived in, or which car I drove.  But the world may be different because I was in some way important or helpful to the life of a child.  Young people are our future – they have enormous potential.  I want every young person to have an opportunity to realise that potential and be the best that they can be.'