Senior Leadership Team
We have an ambitious strategy: double survival within 10 years and halve the harm brain tumours have on quality of life within five years. Our Senior Leadership Team are responsible for shaping our goals and ensuring we achieve them.
For more information about our Senior Leadership Team, including more about their role and how they’re helping us achieve our goals, click each team member below.
Dr Michele Afif – CEOAs a former Consultant Paediatrician with a special interest in Paediatric Oncology, I have a long experience of looking after children diagnosed with all forms of cancer, including brain tumours. Whilst I witnessed improvements in the care and outcomes for other tumour types, no amount of training can prepare you for the realities of looking after a child with a brain tumour or the profound impact this diagnosis has on each affected person and those around them. I came to The Brain Tumour Charity because, mirrored in The Charity’s ceaseless quest towards finding a cure and reducing the harms associated with this cruel set of diseases, I could see my own passion to overturn the entrenched narrative around brain tumours and fundamentally improve outcomes. A skilled communicator, I intend to use my particular combination of leadership, legal and clinical expertise to add momentum to The Charity’s drive towards the unashamedly ambitious goals of doubling survival and halving the harm, and in so doing, pay lasting and meaningful tribute to the courage and fortitude of all those who have lived with that diagnosis, or been lost to it.
Gina Almond – Director of FundraisingAfter a career spanning over 20 years’ in the global commercial world within the media and publishing environment, I joined The Brain Tumour Charity from Blind Veterans UK, where as Head of Income Generation I built a team from scratch to implement a new five-year growth strategy. Introducing several new creative initiatives including DRTV and face-to-face fundraising, I was instrumental in growing the income by £2.8m in 2 years (from £25.3 to £28.1m) and ensured the first two quarters of 2020 were the charity’s most successful for fundraising in the last five years. Previous to this role, I held a number of significant posts in the publishing sector, including Global Marketing Director for Taylor and Francis as part of their senior executive team. My role as The Brain Tumour Charity’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing has a remit to lead and grow primarily digital-first fundraising and marketing teams in order to raise money and awareness. These teams span all areas of supporter engagement including trusts and foundations, legacies, corporate partnerships, philanthropy, special events and challenges. It is a shock to many people when they discover that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40. The ambition of The Charity to double survival and halve the harm that brain tumours cause, and the unapologetic speed with which they want to achieve these aims, is inspirational, and I am looking forward to harnessing this passion and drive of the team to generate the awareness and income that this disease deserves.
Catherine Fraher – Director of Services and Digital HealthThousands of people every year have their lives turned upside down by a brain tumour diagnosis. My job is to make sure The Brain Tumour Charity is here to support each and every one of them in the most effective way, whenever and however they turn to us. That means embracing digital technology without abandoning our personal approach, which is obviously easier said than done – but we embrace a challenge. I came to The Brain Tumour Charity from Age UK, where we harnessed technology to transform and expand the charity’s services, resulting in a huge increase in the number of older people and families accessing support (and six awards!). No-one can deliver that kind of change on their own or without listening to and empowering the people who matter most – the ones who need and use support services. I’ve always been a passionate advocate of collaboration and the importance of inspiring a community to deliver a shared goal, whether that’s in the charity sector or at the commercial organisations where I’ve had senior roles, including eBay, Guardian Media Group and the Financial Times. More than anything, I’m a problem-solver. Show me an obstacle to better-quality services and I’ll find a way through it or around it.
Liam Heffernan – Director of Finance & GovernanceI joined The Brain Tumour Charity because it has set unashamedly ambitious goals of doubling survival and halving the harm caused by brain tumours. Furthermore, it goes about achieving those aims by challenging everyone to be the best they can be and making the charity as effective as possible. I’m a Chartered Accountant with over twenty years’ experience in industry, most recently leading finance for a $1.5 billion turnover global electronics distributor through a business transformation. Transformation is a crucial aspect for all organisations these days, as technology accelerates the rate of change, and managing that process requires skill and judgement. I’m keen to play my part in the journey of driving the transformation in the treatment and care of those with brain tumours. I love the challenge of working with a great team to do amazing things, which is why the opportunity to join The Brain Tumour Charity was one I couldn’t refuse.
Cameron Miller – Director of Policy & StrategyI re-joined the organisation in 2023 because it was such an exciting time in its history and I wanted to help drive forward our ambitious goals towards 2030. I have spent nearly 20 years working in politics, life sciences and influencing. Initially getting involved in the Labour Party at university, I went on to volunteer for Helen Clark and the New Zealand Labour Party during the 2008 General Election, before coming back to work for a backbench Labour MP and on Ed Miliband’s leadership election campaign. Following this I decided to hear first-hand what people were experiencing within the NHS and worked in support for The Patients Association and then directly with the brain tumour community at the newly merged The Brain Tumour Charity. Having spent many years listening to those issues, I moved back into policy and advocacy roles, utilising the information that I gained during my time working with the community on the challenges that they faced. I have subsequently spent four years working in industry, working in-house and at an agency, helping to bring new treatments to market and environment shaping alongside patient organisations, government bodies and other key stakeholders. There is still so much work to do to ensure that those diagnosed with a brain tumour live longer and better lives.
Kath Howard – Director of People and Culture
I joined The Brain Tumour Charity after twenty years working within People & Organisation Development and Occupational Psychology across the private, public and charity sectors. Much of my career to date has been spent working within organisations with a social mission, including working for the palliative and neurological care charity, Sue Ryder, and for Save the Children and Samaritans. I have supported organisations to develop positive and inclusive cultures, and have achieved this in large organisations such as the Ministry of Defence as an Occupational Psychologist, in professional firms, and also within start-ups such as Hitachi Consulting. A common thread through all my experience has been my desire to bring greater humanity and care into workplaces, and to role model this through all that I do. Another common thread has been my motivation to work for organisations that support vulnerable people, their families, and their communities.
I am inspired by the work of The Charity, its employees, volunteers and the wider community, and the organisation’s tireless energy and ambition to create change. I, like many others, was not aware of just how little research funding is directed toward brain tumours, but I feel grateful to be part of an organisation that has clear and ambitious plans to change this. I hope through my work in driving the people agenda here at The Charity, and through my role on the senior leadership team, I can play a part in creating change for and with people impacted by a brain tumour diagnosis.
Simon Newman – Chief Scientific Officer
Throughout my career I have always been passionate about translating discovery science into clinical benefit. As scientists we are privileged to be working at the cutting edge of research. However, what really matters is delivering improved outcomes for patients and their families.
I have spent 30 years working in life sciences research, from my PhD in Biochemistry to my most recent role at UCL developing research strategies and securing funding to drive research towards clinic benefit. As an academic at Imperial College London, I contributed to over 60 peer-reviewed papers which have been cited over 3,000 times. This work led to the formation of Sterix Ltd where we took a drug (Irosustat) from bench to bedside and progressed additional compounds (STX140, STX681) through pre-clinical studies before the company was sold onto to Ipsen.
Having experienced academia and biotech I moved onto a new challenge of founding Target Ovarian Cancer’s research programme as their first Director of Research. Whilst funding new research was exciting, the real inspiration was working closely with women living with ovarian cancer and their families and putting them at the heart of our research programme. Prior to joining UCL, I was CSO at Nanogenics a biotechnology company developing novel platforms for gene therapy delivery: during my time with Nanogenics we raised over £12.5M of private capital.
I am now inspired to be part of the team tasked with delivering The Brain Tumour Charity’s ambitious goals of doubling survival and halving the harm brain tumours cause and I look forward to working with the whole community to deliver this.
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We’re raising the benchmark
We’ve been recognised as Charity of the Year 2018 for our pioneering approach, innovative research solutions and, above all, our community-centred approach to everything we do.