Board membership is open to all. From time to time Orwell will advertise vacancies in the local press and on our website. Alternatively, please contact the Chief Executive’s Personal Assistant on 01473 228602 to register an interest in future vacancies.
A board member would normally serve for a period of 9 years and work with at least one of the committees. The committees would cover the areas of Audit, Governance and Remuneration.The posts are remunerated and would involve a commitment of around one day per month.
Ms Kim Newman - Chair
Ms Kim Newman, BSc (Hons), FCIPS, MBIFM, FCMI, MInstLM, MIAM, MIOD
Kim joined the Board of Orwell in March 2015,now holding the position of Vice-chair, Chair of the Governance Committee and the Audit and Remuneration Committees.
With a background in commercial management, business strategy and experience with collaboration/partnership working, Kim is the founder and Managing Director of PML, a specialist Performance Improvement Consultancy within the housing, property and professional services sectors. Prior to setting up PML in 1995, Kim spent a number of years at Capita,Turner and Townsend in various leadership roles.
Kim has accumulated over 25 years’ experience of working at board/senior, strategic, tactical and operational levels and she has written and implemented strategies for a range of housing, public and private sector clients. Kim is also a best-selling co-author of Fit for Purpose Leadership 2.
Outside of work Kim is currently a Director of a Residential Management Company on the Fellowes Plain Development in Norwich.
In her spare time Kim enjoys reading, visiting the cinema, is a keen photographer and enjoys visiting the North Norfolk coast.
Helen Driver - Vice-Chair
Helen joined the Board of Orwell Housing Association in March 2019. Helen is currently Head of Investor Relations at Aviva plc, responsible for the group's financial communications with shareholders and the investment community. Helen was formerly Head of Global Equities at Aviva Investors, and prior to that Investment Director at Standard Life Investments in Edinburgh, where she was responsible for investment analysis of UK-listed companies and managing UK Equity pension funds and portfolios. Helen is a graduate of Loughborough University and holds the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation.
Since 2013, Helen has been a committee member of the Assets & Liabilities Committee of the Futurebuilders England and Modernisation Funds, managed by the Social Investment Business on behalf of the Cabinet Office.
Helen grew up in Suffolk, and after her investment career took her to Frankfurt, London and Edinburgh, she returned to the county with her young family in 2012. When not supporting her children on the football pitch or in the swimming pool, Helen sings in a choir and enjoys getting out and about in the Suffolk countryside.
Alastair Thomas - Board Member
Alastair Thomas, BSc (Hons), FRICS
Alastair joined the Board of Orwell Housing Association in March 2012. He is Chair of Orwell Homes Limited and also sits on the Remuneration Committee.
Alastair is a Chartered Surveyor and the founder of the Equity Estates Group in 1990 that undertakes commercial and residential property development, investment and asset management, principally in East Anglia and the South East. Uniquely the Group also undertakes the delivery of park and ride schemes and to date has designed, planned and delivered over 3,000 spaces for both Essex and Suffolk County Councils, including Ipswich’s first park and ride at Copdock.
Prior to joining Orwell Housing Association, he was a non-executive director of Pathmeads Limited (a subsidiary of Genesis Housing Association) and Chairman of the Regional Committee for East Anglia.
A keen sportsman, his passions are watching cricket and fly fishing for salmon and trout. Alastair is also a qualified ECB Level 2 cricket coach.
Barbara Thorndick - Board Member
Barbara Thorndick, OBE FCIH BA (Hons)
Barbara joined the Board in March 2016 and sits on the Audit and Governance Committees.
She is the former Chief Executive of West Kent Housing Association, which under her leadership was the first housing association in the country to be awarded top marks by government inspectors for delivering excellent services to residents. In 2007/8 she set up the Placeshapers Group of housing associations to help represent the interests of community-based housing associations who further their work through locally based partnerships. In 2008 she was awarded the OBE for services to social housing.
In 2010, Barbara decided to move into the world of consultancy and through her company, WKT Associates, she now provides coaching services to managers in social housing and supports a consortium of housing associations she helped set up in 2011 called ‘Give us a chance’. This consortium, which she recently converted into a non-profit company, helps associations who provide training and employment opportunities for long term unemployed residents.
Barbara is passionate about the benefits of social housing. She believes that everyone has the right to a decent, affordable and secure home.
When not working, she enjoys walking, gardening, reading, painting, travelling, theatre, film, art and music.
Jeanette Alfano - Board Member
Jeanette Alfano, MBA BTech (Hons)
Jeanette joined the Board of Orwell in March 2015. She is currently the Director of Technology and Transformation for Optivo, a new housing association born from the merger of AmicusHorizon and Viridian Housing. Optivo has 44,000 homes in the Midlands, London, Kent and Sussex. Her responsibilities include the integration of all the core systems and the plans to transform Optivo into a Digital Enterprise.
Jeanette has spent her career in technology roles, starting in computing in 1978. She is passionate about the use of technology as an enabler for corporate success and has worked in both the private and public sectors, including six years as a Principal Lecturer in Technology at the University of Northampton.
She is involved in our tenant engagement strategy and brings to this her experience of working with colleagues on the implementation of award winning Resident Governance at AmicusHorizon.
When not at work Jeanette enjoys walking and cycling in the Kent countryside.
Dan Gaul - Board Member
Dan was previously head of service for Suffolk County Council and was responsible for the council’s 16 residential care homes for older people. He was lead manager for the department’s capital programme and coordinating the development of specialist housing services with district and borough councils. He has also had management roles within procurement and corporate services.
Dan is an active sports player, an avid life-long Liverpool Football Club supporter and can be seen at a range of music gigs across East Anglia. He spends a considerable amount of time trying to tame an unruly large garden.
As well as being a Board member, Dan is involved in our tenant involvement strategy.
Cynthia Alers - Board Member
Cynthia Alers, MBA MA MISSoc
Cynthia Alers joined the board of Orwell Housing in March 2017 and also sits on the Audit and Assurance Committees. She is currently head of Morrow Sodali UK, a global consultancy specialising in stakeholder engagement, capital markets intelligence and corporate governance.
Cynthia has worked in finance for most of her career, holding senior positions in investor relations, corporate strategy and corporate communications for companies including JP Morgan, Sage Group, Laird plc and Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR), where she worked on a wide range of strategic reviews, capital-raisings, IPOs, corporate restructurings, and acquisitions. She is also experienced in working with the government and public sector with the Continuing Care Committee, Ofwat, and the Industry and Parliamentary Trust.
Prior to joining the board of Orwell Housing, Cynthia was a board director with the Newcastle East Multi-Academy Trust (NEAT) where she was Finance Director during the merger of the member schools and establishment of the new multi-school academy trust. Previously she was a board director with the Port of Dover, where she chaired the audit committee.
Dayle Bayliss - Board Member
As a Chartered Surveyor, eight years ago Dayle’s desire to deliver construction services from a different perspective led her to found Dayle Bayliss Ltd, a Surveying, Design and Project Management Consultancy. This gave Dayle the freedom to exercise her collaborative approach to construction projects, as well as tackle the challenges of skills and diversity in construction. Dayle has already won national and local business awards, including East Anglian Daily Times Young Business Person of the Year 2012, Project ‘@TheRec’ Winner of the 2015 East of England RICS Regeneration Award and highly commended accolades for her work. Dayle has been recognised on the Suffolk 100 of Economic Influencers 2017 and in 2018 one of Suffolk’s Inspiring Women.
Not content with running a successful practice, Dayle is passionate about breaking down myths and barriers that exist around construction careers. This has led her to work on the NALEP Construction Sector Skills Plan and Chair of the 2017 Suffolk Skills Show. She is a member of the NALEP Skills Advisory Panel and the skills lead for the Construction Sector Group, Building Growth. Her experience culminated in being appointed as Chair to the Department for Education Employer Advisory Panel (Construction – Design, Surveying and Planning board), the task-group set up for the development of the new T-Levels. Dayle is also enthusiastic around enterprise, new business and innovation in Suffolk. Her appetite to support entrepreneurship has led her to being former Vice Chair the Board for Menta, the Suffolk Enterprise Agency and board member for both the Suffolk Chamber Central Suffolk and Suffolk Business Women Boards.
A Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Dayle is formerly a Member of Governing Council and a member of the Board of Trustees for Lionheart, the Benevolent Fund for RICS members. Both posts enable Dayle to make rewarding contributions to the RICS, especially helping colleagues who experience financial, social or wellbeing difficulties.
Ian Pinches - Board Member
Ian is a qualified accountant (FCCA) with a background in senior management and Senior Executive Director within the Social Housing and Care industry.) Coupled with a decade of Non-Executive experience gained across a variety of public sector organisations, Ian also has a decade of experience establishing and running a multi award-winning business operating in the Hospitality sector. Ian has been a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts for over a decade.
Brett Rennolds - Board Member
Brett has a proven track record in Business Development, Care & Support, Governance and Audit & Risk. As a voluntary and public-sector specialist, he works with organisations, groups and individuals to enable development, change and growth, enjoying the challenges associated with change management, co production and stakeholder engagement, primarily it’s the ‘winning of hearts and minds’ that drives him. Brett identifies solutions to challenges collaboratively, inclusively and transparently. Colleagues would describe him as authentic, and person-centred, whilst maintaining a positive, proactive attitude when faced with adversity.
Lauren Bayliss-Fuller - Board Member
Lauren currently works at Futures for You, delivering the National Careers contract. She has also worked in a variety of people focused settings, concentrating on providing outstanding information, advice and guidance to individuals and communities who face barriers to work and learning.
Recently Lauren has taken advantage of varied CPD opportunities including safer recruitment training, suicide intervention and first aid, safeguarding of children and adults and updating her skills and knowledge to support those facing challenges with mental health. Through her professional practice she has engaged and supported organisations focussing on drug and alcohol rehabilitation, domestic violence victims, mental health charities, DWP and a range of adult learning providers. Lauren has also recently been appointed as a parent governor at a local primary school.
Stuart Appleby - Board Member
Stuart is Head of Health & Human Sciences and a lecturer in Humanities and Business Management within the department of University Studies at West Suffolk College. For the past ten years he has been actively involved in Orwell Housing’s resident steering group, giving him a critical lens through which to view the inner workings of Orwell as it has developed and evolved. As a firm believer in affordable social housing, Stuart is committed to raising the profile of tenant representation and tenant engagement within Orwell to ensure the best possible outcomes for all stakeholders. He is also a staunch advocate for the significant number of socio‐economic benefits social housing can bring people within local and regional communities.
Orwell is delighted to welcome Lauren and Stuart and looks forward to their valuable contribution at future board meetings.