Executive Group

The Executive Group is responsible for the day-to-day running of the MS Society.

Through the Chief Executive they report directly to the Board of Trustees, and are responsible for all aspects of the day to day running of the Society.

Contact the press office to speak to any of our spokespeople.

 

Michelle Mitchell Michelle Mitchell OBE - Chief Executive

Michelle has been CEO of the MS Society since 2013. She joined the organisation after witnessing the devastating impact that living with MS can have on individuals and families.

She has overseen a major realignment of our strategy. This has refocussed the charity on the things that people with MS have said are important to them. This has included championing major initiatives to highlight the injustices that people with MS and their families can face when accessing treatments, services and welfare benefits.

Michelle has extensive voluntary sector experience at a leadership level. She is a Non-Executive Director of NHS England and is a trustee of the MS International Federation. Michelle is also a managing member of the Progressive MS Alliance. She has been a trustee of the King’s Fund and the Power to Change Trust.

Before joining the MS Society, Michelle Mitchell was Director General for Age UK. Prior to that, Michelle was Chair of the Fawcett Society.

Michelle has a BA in Economics, an MA in Politics and Administration and an International Executive Diploma from INSEAD. Michelle is an alumna of the Innovations in Government Programme at Harvard University JFK School and of the Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management programme at Harvard Business School.

In 2016 Michelle ran the London Marathon to raise vital funds for MS research.

Follow Michelle on Twitter.

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Paul Amadi – Director of Engagement and Fundraising

Paul Amadi is a highly regarded, knowledgeable and progressive fundraiser with over two decades of  experience in the sector.

Over his fundraising career, Paul has improved the performance of some of the UK’s most high profile  charities. He joined the MS Society in 2015 and is leading the organisation to double investment in MS Research. Prior to this Paul was Director of Fundraising at Diabetes UK where he increased income by over 25% during his three-year tenure, income growth that was facilitated by securing the Tesco Charity of the Year partnership and its subsequent extension into a groundbreaking consortium with the British Heart Foundation. Before this, he was Director of Fundraising at NSPCC where he led a team of 400 raising in excess of £130m per annum. Before this, he held similar posts at RNIB and Leonard Cheshire.

In addition to these high profile leadership roles, he has always made a contribution to the sector, both as a speaker and most notably as Chairman of the Institute of Fundraising, the representative body for professional fundraisers. More recently he has been Chair of the International Fundraising Congress – Europe’s largest gathering of fundraising professionals and suppliers. In acknowledgement of this fact, Paul was recently voted the 11th most influential person in Fundraising in Fundraising Magazine’s annual sector poll.

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Vicky Annis - Executive Director of FinanceVicky Annis - Executive Director of Finance, Strategy and Impact

I’m really excited to be joining the MS Society. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to use my professional skills to help people affected by MS.      

Before joining the MS Society I was the Director of Finance and Corporate Resources at England Netball, building on over 20 years’ experience in various non-profit organisations including the NHS, local and central government and various charities. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA) and a graduate of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA).

My areas of responsibility include Finance, ICT and Facilities Management, basically supporting and enabling everyone within the MS Society to achieve such a worthwhile aim.

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Genevieve Edwards - Director of External Affairs

I was hugely honoured to join the MS Society in March 2017 to lead the charity’s impressive policy, public affairs, campaigns, media relations and VIP supporter teams.

Having seen the impact of MS on a close friend, I’m determined to play my part in increasing public and political engagement with the issues that matter most to people living with MS. It’s vital that the UK’s health and care systems provide the right treatment and support to people with MS who rely on them to live life to the full.

I came to the MS Society after 15 years with sexual and reproductive health organisations, most recently from Marie Stopes International where I was Director of Policy, Partnerships and Communications. Before that, I was Executive Director of Fundraising, Health Improvement and Communications at Terrence Higgins Trust. Previously, I spent 10 years in domestic and international children’s charities including Save the Children and Action for Children.

I believe in the power of stories, well told, to change minds and change lives. I start every day determined to learn, to influence those who can help, and to make a difference. I cycle, surf (badly) and love toast.

All that and more on twitter @genedwards

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Patricia Gordon - Acting Executive Director of Services and SupportPatricia Gordon - Director, MS Society Northern Ireland

No two days are the same and not a day goes by where I’m not inspired by the MS community.

After 30 years working in health and social care, the last 12 at Chief Executive level within a health trust in Northern Ireland, in 2007 I decided to do something different and joined the MS Society as Director of Northern Ireland.

I was so pleased to be able to maintain a link with health and social care, the many colleagues I had made in the voluntary sector and to work to support people affected by MS.

The role has allowed me the opportunity to encourage policy makers to focus on enhancing the range of services that people with MS require – whether it be access to neuro-physiotherapy or the latest drug treatments. It has been super to see the range of services our groups provide and continue to expand across the UK to better serve those affected by MS.

In 2012 I provided Director leadership to Scotland and had the pleasure of working with the reformed Scotland Council. I took up the role of Acting Chief Executive in February 2013, following the departure of Simon Gillespie to the British Heart Foundation, until Michelle Mitchell joined us as our new Chief Executive in September 2013. I also provided Director leadership to the newly formed Services and Support Directorate prior to Rosemary Watt-Wyness joining the organisation in 2014.

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Ed Holloway - Executive Director of Services and Support

Seeing the impact of MS first hand has made me incredibly passionate about the work of the MS Society. I’m honoured to be responsible for ensuring we continue to meet the changing needs of people affected by MS, and provide high-quality and impactful services.

Having worked at the MS Society since 2008, and having a close family member with MS, I’ve seen first hand the difference the MS Society makes to the lives of people affected by MS every day. Initially I worked in the research team, before becoming Director of Strategy and Impact in 2014, and taking on my current role in January 2016. I’ve previously worked in a number of charities in the health and social care sector, including the Social Care Institute for Excellence and Help the Hospices.

In this role I’m responsible for all of the MS Society’s services and support to people affected by MS across the UK. This includes the work of our local groups, but also our nationally provided services such as our information resources, our MS Helpline, and our national grants programmes. My role is ensure those services are safe and high quality, meet the needs of people affected by MS, and ultimately make a real difference to the lives of people affected by MS. It’s a real privilege to be leading our services and support programme at such an exciting time for the MS Society, and in particular to work alongside our incredibly dedicated volunteers across the UK.

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Lynne HughesLynne Hughes - Director, MS Society Cymru

This is an exciting time to join the MS Society and I’m looking forward to working alongside people with MS to ensure they have the treatment, support and care to live life to the full. 

I’m originally from Aberystwyth but started my career in Sheffield as a nurse before going to university and becoming a Public Health Specialist. I returned to Wales in 1997 and have worked in a variety of settings in the health service, local government and voluntary sectors, focusing on young people and health inequalities. I led Oxfam UK’s Poverty Programme in Wales, worked for two Assembly Members at the National Assembly for Wales, and was County Councillor for St James Ward in Caerphilly 2008-2012. Most recently I’ve worked for the Royal College of Nursing in Wales.

I was deeply shocked about the poor access to treatment and support that many people living with MS have in Wales compared to other parts of the UK. Particularly in relation to disease modifying drugs and access to emotional support. While this is a challenging time for us all with local authorities and the National Health Service facing tough financial conditions, I’ve joined a vibrant team, both UK wide and here in Wales. We will strive to make sure that meeting the needs of people affected by MS is firmly on everyone’s agenda. 

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Susan Kohlhaas - Interim Director of Research

I’m delighted to be joining the MS Society at such a crucial and exciting time in its history.  Having worked for the MS Society for over six years in previous roles I have seen first-hand the impact that MS can have on people and am privileged to be coming back to lead our groundbreaking research programme.

I joined the MS Society in February 2017 having previously worked here from 2009 to late 2015 in various roles within the research team, most recently as Head of Biomedical Research. In 2016 I joined the National Cancer Research Institute where I led on the development of a new organisational strategy as well as overseeing their initiatives.

I have a PhD in cancer biology and cell signalling from the University of Leicester and postdoctoral experience in Immunology from the Babraham Institute in Cambridge.

My current role involves leading the development and implementation of the MS Society’s research strategy to ensure that our research programme has the greatest impact it can on people living with MS.

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David Prince - Executive Director of People

I'm thrilled to be working with such great people at the MS Society and in support of such a worthwhile aim too.

As a HR professional, my career has focused on providing quality support services aligned to the delivery of organisational goals. My key experiences, at the highest levels in large and complex organisations, have been in leading and delivering cultural change, leadership development and performance improvement.

I've been aware of the valuable work that MS Society does through my roles as HR Director at the National Autistic Society, at Care Tech Community Services and as Support Services Director at The London Ambulance Service. It didn’t take a moment for me to get excited about this position. I cannot think of a better way to put my experience and knowledge to good use.

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Nick Rijke - Interim Director of Policy and ResearchNick Rijke - Executive Director of Policy and Research

I was delighted to join the MS Society in January 2012. The opportunity to bring my eclectic experience to bear on MS, given my long standing connection to the condition, was a welcome challenge.

Previously I have worked in the private, public and third sectors, mainly specialising in communications, public policy and public affairs, but also covering medical and social research, NHS improvement programmes and, if you go back to the 1980s, my early career was in investment banking. 

Organisations I have worked for in the past include the National Osteoporosis Society, the Environment Agency, the Local Government Association, the House of Commons and Kleinwort Benson. Outside of work I devote time to my now ageing Labrador and to better understanding various branches of history. 

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Morna Simpkins - Director, MS Society Scotland

I'm delighted to be working with our team at MS Society to achieve the best possible outcomes for people with MS.

Most recently I was Chief Executive of Dundee Voluntary Action, a third sector infrastructure organisation. My role was to provide leadership and strategic direction, working with voluntary groups, volunteers, funders, community planning partners and other stakeholders.

Before that, I worked for Durham University Business School where I set up and managed a Centre for Entrepreneurship and was responsible for securing all funding. My experience also includes 12 years as Chief Executive of Brittle Bone Society, the only UK charity to be based in Scotland. During my time in this role, I worked with the local group network, medical professionals and others to improve the services to those with brittle bones and their families.

My passion and commitment is to the third sector and social justice. My team and I are devoted to making a real difference for people affected by MS.

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Dr Emma Whitcombe Appeal DirectorDr Emma Whitcombe - Director of Philanthrophy and Partnerships

I’m excited to be leading the launch and delivery of the most ambitious appeal in the MS Society’s history. With increased funding to spend on MS research, an end to the devastating impact of MS is within our grasp.

I joined the MS Society in March 2014 in the role of Appeal Director. Previously Director of Senior Relationships at the National Autistic Society, I’ve also held senior fundraising roles at charities including Save the Children and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I’ve developed and led high-performing, award winning major gift programmes, and have been fortunate to recruit and support high profile Development Boards. Before entering my career in charitable fundraising, I gained a PhD in Developmental Psychology and previously worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Sussex.

My role at the MS Society is to lead our major Appeal and help raise over £100m towards vital MS research which could help end MS as we know it. We’re now at a critical point in MS research and I believe more investment could unlock the breakthroughs which are on the horizon. We want to find new treatments that transform the experience of living with MS – in particular treatments that might slow or stop the progression. 

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