Central Team

Brian Chernett

Co-Founder

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.

Amy Malik

Chief Growth Officer

Amy was appointed Board Director in October 2020; she has considerable experience in the charity sector. Since 2012, Amy has been a member of Pilotlight, a non-profit organisation that enables skilled business leaders to provide expertise and advice to charities and social enterprises across the UK. She has also acted as a mentor to a number of CEOs of charitable organisations. In addition to being a trustee of Tender, Amy is the Chair of its Development Board, with the aim to ensure sustainability and growth through fundraising, income generation and profile-raising. Furthermore, she volunteers as a peer supporter to expectant and new parents in her local community.
With a career built over 25 years in management and IT consultancy, Amy has worked with a wide range of public and private organisations in the UK and Europe. She’s currently a director at Kalimia Consulting, specialising in business transformation, strategy development, transition planning, service proposition development, marketing and communications.

Mike Burnage

Co-Founder

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.

Since then I’ve keenly explored other industries, chairing the prestigious Champagne Academy in 1992 as well as being a mentor at the Prince’s Trust. For the last five years, I have been MD at The Academy for Chief Executives.

It is from the Academy that ella Forums emerged. ella Forums gives members the greatest experience by offering peer group learning and 1:1 monthly mentoring.

Julie Pelych

Chief Membership and Development Officer

Julie was appointed to the position of Chief Membership and Development Officer in August 2021 and is a Director of ella Forums. In her role, Julie is responsible for recruiting and developing chairs, member benefits, speakers, membership retention, renewals and supporting the growth of the membership base. Julie is also the Chair of the Southern Forum, and is passionate about developing individuals, teams and organisations to reach their full potential and to achieve great outcomes. She has extensive experience of Leadership Development and Executive Coaching and uses a strengths-based approach in her work, underpinned with the latest research in neuroscience.
She has worked with a diverse range of private and public sector organisations including retail, engineering and construction businesses as well as the NHS, housing associations and large charities. Julie is a Chartered Member of the CIPD, holds post-graduate diplomas in HR and in Executive Coaching and Leadership Mentoring, and is a Master Practitioner in NLP as well as a qualified user of a wide range of counselling techniques.
Prior to setting up her own business in 1995 Julie was an HR Director in a blue chip global business and spent 11 years working as an HR professional in the public transport, engineering and FMCG sectors.

Danny Kalman

CEO

Danny has been CEO of Ella Forums since 2019 and prior to taking on the role he was on Ella’s leadership team and co-chair of one of Ella’s forums. In his corporate life his career was mostly in HR and for a short time in Marketing. His last role was at Panasonic where he worked for 21 years where he had a number of positions including becoming HR Director for Panasonic Europe and for 7 years Global Head of Talent.
Since leaving Panasonic in 2013 Danny has co-authored two books on Talent Management , become an accredited executive coach and a part-time senior lecturer on leadership at Middlesex Business School.
‘ I enjoy my role at Ella as I feel that I can share my experiences of promoting good and effective leadership in the charity sector and in particular both speaking at and attending our groups’

Phil Thompson

Head of Operations

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

Phil's experience includes 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.