Our Senior Leadership Team

Tom Cavalot (Head of Airplay)

What is your background?

I joined One YMCA in 2022 having spent 11 years as part of the Airplay project as youth worker, regional manager and in my current role. My previous experience is in youth work, fostering, project management and digital media.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

Leading a small, passionate central team to ensure the successful delivery of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s flagship Airplay youth support programme at RAF Stations through a partnership of YMCAs.

What is your ambition?

To develop a high quality service that best supports the communities it serves and empowers young people to belong, contribute and thrive. I also still harbour ambitions to one day be bitten by a radioactive spider.

What are your personal interests?

Spending time with family and friends. Being a bang average sportsman across a range of disciplines. Playing video games, watching movies, reading and relaxing.

Joe Kennedy (Head of HR)

What is your background?

I joined One YMCA in July 2014 and before that worked for a medium-sized, national charity.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

No two days are the same! One of the most important things I do is to be responsible for maintaining an effective HR Team which supports colleagues to be at the top of their game.

What is your ambition?

To be faithful to our mission through enabling more people to belong, contribute and thrive.

What are your personal interests?

Father of two. Lover of the music of Fleetwood Mac. Occasional guitar player. Bit of a photographer. Armchair politician. Sometimes to be seen running (ok, shuffling) round local area in an attempt to stay healthy!

Donna Lawrie (Head of Marketing, Communications and Fundraising)

What is your background?

I’ve worked for One YMCA since April 2015 and in this role since April 2020. Before this role I worked for One YMCA as Executive Assistant and Marketing Coordinator. Previous experience was within the hotel industry at IHG and Hilton Hotels.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

Leading a small, energetic and passionate marketing, comms and insight team. We work with all teams across One YMCA with an aim to raise the awareness of how our services can help even more people belong, contribute and thrive in our local communities

What is your ambition?

My ambition is that more people recognise the great work of One YMCA so even more people can benefit from the support that is available to them and they can reach their full potential

What are your personal interests?

Spending time with my husband and two children, catching up with friends and family, yoga and eating out !!

Nicola Lee (Head of Therapeutic and Specialist Services – YMCA & ECP)

What is your background?

I joined ECP and YMCA in April 2020. Previous to this I worked at Families First Bedfordshire and at Bedford Borough Council for 11 years.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

Working with a highly motivated and passionate teams to deliver accessible therapeutic and specialist support services in the community to children, young people and adults. Developing new and existing professional relationships to strengthen and expand our offer of support, writing contract/funding reports to evidence impact and secure further funding, promoting our amazing services!

What is your ambition?

Enable more children, young people and adults to access quality support through the creation of a facilitators training platform, to share our learning in our many areas of expertise.

What are your personal interests?

I love a good family walk with our cute dog, I love my morning workouts at the gym before my little ones wake up, and will settle down most nights with a Netflix series!

Michael Lyne (Head of ICT & Digital)

What is your background?

I’ve worked for One YMCA for 5 months and previously worked as Head of Technology and Facilities at Asthma UK (merged with the British Lung Foundation in December 2019 to form the Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership); previously worked for The Stroke Association and a software supplier to the charity market.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

Developing the ICT strategy to support Mission 25.

Managing outsourced ICT support companies to ensure they deliver the best service possible to our staff.

Preparing tenders and proposals to improve ICT provision.

Giving guidance and advice to colleagues on best practices around use of technology.

Work with colleagues on project groups to deliver technology-relate improvements to our systems.

What is your ambition?

To provide the best possible infrastructure and digital tools for our staff, so that they are able to deliver the best possible service to the people they support.

What are your personal interests?

Outside of work: reading (anything, especially literature), football (Chelsea F.C. and the Republic of Ireland), travel.

Tim Roberts (Head of Christian Mission)

What is your background?

I joined One YMCA in April 2021 as the new Head of Christian Mission. I have been serving as Senior Minister of Wellspring Church for over 22 years, a role I continue part-time alongside my work here.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

Working with leaders and staff across the charity to build on our strong Christian foundations and, as part of this, supporting and overseeing the brilliant Chaplaincy and Connect teams.

What is your ambition?

To see the Mission25 vision become an experienced reality. To see every staff member, service user and partner organisation freshly and authentically inspired by the life, example and teaching of Christ.

What are your personal interests?

I’m a passionate Watford fan and I love family barbecues, early mornings, muddy walks, long cycle rides, daily gym visits, design, photography, good movies, inspiring books and long evenings with good friends.

Katie Sandys-Renton (Head of Legal Services & Compliance)

What is your background?

I have worked in a variety of legal environments, including private practice, a long spell in a retail company and a local authority.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

Making sure that One YMCA are legally compliant and providing legal support for delivery of new project.

What are your personal interests?

Travel, yoga and art galleries.

Cornelius Sanwo (Interim Head of Finance)

What is your background?

I joined One YMCA in June 2022 having spent most of my entire career (30+ years) within Social Housing in the UK, half with two larger organisations, Network Housing Group and Circle 33. The rest of my working career is spread between the leading BAME Housing Association (ARHAG) and the leading disabled Housing Charity (Habinteg) in the UK.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

The organisation is going through a period of rapid expansion and my role, as the interim Head of Finance, is to ensure that the team is well motivated and continues to get the basics right such as on our statutory/compliance reporting and the timely; collection of all the monies due to us, and finally that we pay all our bills on time. In addition, I need to also ensure that we have sufficient monies for our larger expenditure such as maintaining/improving our buildings. Finance cannot do these alone. We believe if we win the support of the rest of the organisation, we can achieve all our objectives.

What is your ambition?

To transition to N.E.D (Non-Executive Director) roles within the social housing sector.

What are your personal interests?

Outside of work, I am passionate about giving back to my community and I have been instrumental in the development of a vibrant old schools’ network, NSF (UK), where members have raised thousands of pounds for school projects back in Africa.

Linzi Schier (Head of Family Support – FCS & ECP)

What is your background?

I’ve worked for One YMCA since 2018 and have 30 years’ experience of working within an early years or family services role.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

I lead the family support and children’s centre services to provide high quality support, information, advice and guidance to respond to the needs of families across the communities in which we serve. This often involves working with a wide range of Partners, and together we develop new ideas, programmes and services.
I also have the privilege of working with an amazing team of almost 130 colleagues who are some of the most enthusiastic and dedicated people I know!

What is your ambition?

My ambition is for every parent, child, young person and member of the team to reach and fulfil their ambitions, reaching their full potential.

What are your personal interests?

I like nothing more than spending time pottering in my garden. When I’m feeling slightly more energetic, then my other love is walking; although I often find myself wishing I had paid more attention to learning to read a map.

Kirsty Stuart (Head of Children’s Activities Programme)

What is your background?

I started with One YMCA in September 2015 as an Outreach Worker for the Children’s Centre Group. More recently I have been managing a team within the Family Support Service before moving into the role of Head of Children’s Activities Programme in May 2021. Before starting with One YMCA, I worked in Early Years Settings and have a passion for enabling children and families to achieve the best start in life.

What are your main day to day responsibilities?

The primary focus of the my role is to lead and co-ordinate on the delivery of a range of activities for children during school holidays and also term time activities for under 5s and their families.  I also spend a lot of time with my team to develop their skills and ambitions so that together, we can create a success culture which enables us to impact on more families.

What is your ambition?

To double the impact of the work that we do with children from 0-18 years and their families through high quality and enriching sessions which enable them to reach their full potential, as well as to further raise awareness of our wonderful organisation and show people what we can do!

What are your personal interests?

Spending time with my 2 year old son, watching him grow and develop each day. I also have a keen interest in travelling and enjoy the sights and cultures of many countries, with Spain being one of my favourites. I am also a Football and Motor sport enthusiast!

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