Central Team

Brian Chernett


Brian is a highly motivated and experienced person having worked as a Chief Executive or Managing Director continuously for the last 50 years in both the for profit and Charity sectors. His experience with membership organisations gives him the particular knowledge to add value to the NCVO board. Brian is passionate about improving leadership and how to motivate leaders to be the best they can be.

Danny Kalman


Danny joined the leadership team of ella about 9 months ago with the responsibility to support Brian in seeking organisations that are willing to support ella is some form of collaboration. In addition Danny is in the process of Forum all those who are currently working for ella in some capacity as well as Forum people who may be interested to join us in the future. He is also speaking at a number of our Forum on the subject of recruiting, developing and retaining talent.

Danny left his corporate role at Panasonic in 2013 after working there for 21 years in a senior HR position. During that time he had a number of roles including being appointed the first non-Japanese HR Director for Panasonic’s European region and then for 7 years as Global Talent Director (based in Osaka, Japan). There his main two priorities was to establish and implement a global talent strategy and help to identify and develop those who had the potential to be Panasonic’s top executives in the future. Prior to Panasonic Danny had worked in the retail and construction sector, initially in marketing before shifting to HR.

In the 5 years since leaving Panasonic Danny has (as a co-author) had two books on talent management published, ‘Make Your People Before Making Your Products’, Wiley’s, 2014 and two years later in 2016 ‘Inclusive Talent Management’, Kogan Page. This second book was short-listed for management book of the year award in 2017 and its focus on Diversity and Inclusion has led to many speaking opportunities for Danny. Besides writing he has become an accredited executive coach, runs leadership programmes for a number of organisations (including for his previous company, Panasonic), is a senior lecturer at Middlesex University and acts as a talent management consultant for several companies.

Danny stated—‘I am really enjoying my involvement with ella as I am passionate about supporting those in a leadership role and feel totally comfortable with ella's values and charter’. I look forward to Forum those I have not yet had the opportunity to see’.

Mike Burnage


Age 21, working at Tesco, I found myself as General Manager overseeing 180 staff.

I was given a leadership role at such a young age for one reason – I had received the most wonderful and comprehensive 1:1 training which equipped me with every technique in the retail trade… and very quickly taught me the value of experiential learning.

My 30 years in the retail industry included a significant spell at the Landmark Group (one of the largest wholesaler buying groups in the UK), where I gained vital experience being responsible for wine importing.

Along the way I’ve keenly explored other industries, chairing the prestigious Champagne Academy in 1992 `{` and speak professionally on champagne`}` as well as being a mentor at the Prince’s Trust. Until recently I was also chair of the board of governors at Buckinghamshire’s largest secondary school.

But for the last five years, I have been MD at The Academy for Chief Executives.

Its is from the Academy that The Ella-Foundation has emerged. Having successfully worked with CEO’s from the commercial sector the Ella Foundation purpose is to provide the same leadership learning to leaders of charities.

Ella gives members the greatest experience ’ by offering peer group learning and 1:1 monthly mentoring.What’s so brilliant about the experience `{`and in my opinion priceless`}` is that members get:

*SKILLS – access to leaders with a cross-section of experience – effectively like having 11 non-exec directors on the payroll

*CONFIDENCE – a certain reassurance comes from getting buy-in on professional and personal issues from a highly skilled peer group

*TRUTH – no one’s competing and no one has an agenda so you can trust the unbiased, rich advice you’ll receive. How often is that the case in life?

If you lead a charity then get a taste for how it works, join us as our guest at a Forum.

Specialties: Business Coach, Business Advisor, Peer Group Training, Experiential Business Learning, Experiential Business Leadership, Mentoring, Coaching, Facilitation, Education

Phil Thompson

Head of Operations

Phil officially started working full time for ella-Forums CIC in April 2014, after helping on a voluntary basis set up a number of groups across the country from 2011.

ella gives it’s members the opportunity to meet up once a month to share issues and problems in a safe environment and hear from some of the best speakers around. Our aim is to “Inspire and develop Leaders of Charities and Social Enterprises” to grow their organisations”.

Personal Statement:
With accomplishments in all aspects of warehouse logistics and customer service management for over 30 years, Including responsibility for the buying of home entertainment products for three companies including Blockbuster Video for over 20 years.

Paul Anderson-Walsh

Executive Chair

Having begun his career with Schroders Paul has been an L&D practitioner since 1997. Paul has a vast amount of experience in facilitating high-level strategic change workshops. He has worked with a wide variety of organisations including: Cambridge University Press, Sir Robert McAlpine, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, The Design Council and The Walt Disney Corporation. He is highly regarded for his ability to help management teams work together. Paul is a Director of ella as well as being the Paul founder and director of The Grace Project – a charity dedicated to working with people to help them discover their identity and resolve issues of self-worth and self-esteem. Paul has written three books on the subject.


Steve Barton

Expert speaker on Marketing

Steve is a business leader with a successful track record of running award winning marketing services agencies, managing digital transformation for blue chip brands, and helping start-up businesses grow. Globalist with hands-on experience of building, motivating and developing teams in US, UK and across regions. Specialise in delivering profitable growth.

Regular speaker at conferences and corporate events.

Specialities: Digital Marketing, Integrated Communications, Managing C-suite relationships, Business Planning, Advising start-ups, One-to-One Marketing, Content Marketing, Advertising, Digital Transformation, Direct Marketing, Social Media, Word Of Mouth Marketing.

Jon Cremer

Expert speaker on Reading People

John Cremer is an award winning professional speaker. There aren’t too many people like him. His methods are playful yet provocative and he is renowned for delivering profound learning with a light, humorous touch. By combining the discipline of Reading People with extensive experience as a performing improviser he shows delegates and organisations new and effective possibilities in communication and innovation.

His easy going, mischievous approach invites you to take yourself less seriously and to embrace novel approaches to personal interactions. His apparent tranquility and calm belies an ability to strike a chord with audiences that is so deep and personal, that it is as if he’s known the whole audience from childhood.

It is this understanding of who you are that he uses in his keynote speaking and group training events to such great effect. John shows you how to use this awareness to your advantage. He invites you to feel secure in who you are and helps you understand much more about your role in life. As a bonus, you gain some of the secrets of how this magic works.

Roger Harrop

Expert speaker on Business Growth

Roger Harrop has spent over 25 years leading international businesses, including a plc, which puts him in a unique position to deal with present-day business challenges.

Based in Oxford in the UK, hes an international business growth speaker who inspires and entertains audiences with his acclaimed Staying in the Helicopter® programmes. Over 20,000 CEOs, business leaders and others in over 45 countries have achieved transformational change through his thought-provoking, entertaining talks laced with real-life stories and humour.

Roger is also an author, business advisor, mentor, consultant and independent director.

He has unusually wide leadership experience from small start-ups to multinationals and from high-tech products to basic commodities, people-based service businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Roger spent seven years as Group Chief Executive of a FTSE quoted, high-tech industrial group with 12 sites across 4 continents. The UK Government mentioned it in its Competitiveness White Paper. The US Forbes magazine included the group among its list of the top 100 overseas companies. Two business schools have used it as a benchmark case study on culture change and business re-engineering.

Roger has tutored on a leading leadership and teambuilding programme for over 25 years.

Hes a keen mountain biker and classic car enthusiast.


Winner of the Professional Speaking Award of Excellence
Twice Speaker of the Year with The Academy for Chief Executives
Fellow and Past President of the Professional Speakers Association
Certified Speaking Professional Global
Inducted into The Academy for Chief Executives Speaker Hall of Fame
Member of The Global Speakers Federation
Liveryman with The Worshipful Company of Marketors
Chartered Engineer
Fellow and former Vice-President of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Accredited SME business advisor and Fellow of The Institute for Independent Business


Ellie Pendred

Chair - Emerging Leaders Group

Ellie was a Senior Manager for three years at teenage cancer charity ‘Teens Unite’. She was the key support to the CEO accelerating progression within the charity and taking a lead role on key projects namely; fundraising marketing and relationship management.

Ellie’s main strength lies in using innovation and initiative to devise and execute fundamental projects that lead to growth. She was a member of ella for two years in her previous role and has now brought this experience to her new roles as Director of Communications and Chair of the first ella for Emerging Leaders Group.

Natacha Wilson

Chair - Cambridge Group 19

Natacha is the founder director of Cambridge Insights a Learning and Innovation consultancy designed to help leaders and educators worldwide “be the change they want to see in the world”. She studied social sciences and marketing in Paris and started her career in the creative and innovation sectors. For the past 10 years she worked for the University of Cambridge at Judge Business School and the Centre for Personal and Professional and Development.

Natacha is an experienced trainer and facilitator and a lecturer for the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She is also a Fellow of Cambridge Marketing College and a mentor for the Accelerator Programme at Cambridge Judge Business School and the International Women Entrepreneur Foundation. Natacha is also on the Board of Social Enterprise East of England.

Jason Langford-Brown

Chair - Birmingham Groups 14

Jason is the Chairman of our Birmingham Group and also the Managing Director of Lucid a Business Improvement Practice whose programs are designed to enhance business performance and develop leadership capability. Jason also still manages his own Advisory and Non-Exec portfolio both here in the UK and globally. Before starting his own practice Jason was a board level leader with a diverse range of experiences from entrepreneurial start-ups to being a Director of a FTSE 250 corporate. Jason’s success has led to him to being awarded Fellowships of both the Institute of Leadership and Management (InstLM) and the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM) He was also MINDSHOP’s Top UK Advisor for 2013.

Snéha Khilay


Snéha is a specialist diversity and leadership consultant/ trainer working in the UK and internationally providing support to a wide range of organisations over the past 20 years on how to develop a strategic and operational approach particularly in relation to the changing stance on cultural diversity equality and unconscious bias.

Snéha is a prolific writer and conducts mediations and investigations into allegations of bullying and harassment and has worked on some high profile cases. She qualified as a NLP Master Practitioner and is an accredited Business Executive coach.

Andrew Jacobs

Chair - Group 2

Andrew built his family Food Import business to revenues of $100 mln p.a. and is one of the global industry leaders on a United Nations project for more nutritious and sustainable foods. Andrew now spends most of his time as a Social Action activist with Citizens UK and coach/mentor to charities and social enterprises through his extended network & ella forums.

Karen Szulakowska


Choosing to leave the private sector in 1999 when I questioned what my life purpose was; I have worked with a wide cross sector including public NGO sector helping people become the best they can be through conversations workshops and 1:1’s. Ella’s approach fits perfectly with my view that people have the answers within and a large part of our work is creating the space for this to happen. My skill set includes; Operational & Strategic experience Academic knowledge from my studies of holistic viewpoint gained from years of my own personal practice.

Les Broude

Chair - London Group 7

A Chartered Accountant by background with an extensive knowledge of finance and general management through international roles in the Mars Group and senior executive roles with Barclays Bank. He is currently a Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair for the Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust and a Trustee and Audit Committee Chair at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability.

He coaches in Career Transition at Penna Plc bringing his broad finance and management experience as well as knowledge of Interim Management.

He joined ella in 2014 and runs Group 7. He is a Trustee on the ella Foundation Board.

Peter McCann


Peter McCann is the Chair for the Worcester region. He's also a Senior Business Executive Coach, Non-Exec and a BigData Intelligence specialist.