Alison Copus

Alison Copus is a Marketing Consultant.  Born in Bridgend, she graduated from the University of Bristol.

She has specialised in international marketing and has worked in a wide range of industries from financial services to airlines, digital media and education, with senior marketing roles at American Express, Virgin Atlantic and TripAdvisor.  At Virgin Atlantic, Alison was a part of the management team that grew the airline from 4 to 40 aircraft. She launched The Branson School for Entrepreneurship in South Africa to provide a business education and seed funding for young people from the previously disadvantaged community.  Whilst at TripAdvisor, Alison was initially responsible for European marketing and subsequently for the launch of new revenue streams globally. Before returning to Wales, Alison was CMO for Nord Anglia Education. During her tenure, the international schools group grew to 43,000 students and doubled in value.

Sam Evans

Hailing from Porth in the Rhondda, Sam has dedicated his professional life to improving the outcomes and expectations of some of the most vulnerable people in society. Whether through democracy, tech or education, he is an experienced senior leader who puts measurable impact at the heart of everything he does.

Sam’s early career was spent in teaching, undertaking Teach First’s Leadership Development Programme in Coventry, before taking up a role in Westminster with the European Commission. There Sam oversaw both the Commission and European Parliament’s education and outreach programmes in the UK. Following the UK’s departure from the EU, he led a series of democracy and education start-ups to national scale, aiming to give young people in the UK direct access to the levers of power. He is currently helping Robert Peston to run his social mobility charity as its Head of Programme (Experience).

Sam has a degree and Masters in History, is a former Primary School chair of governors and a former member of Plaid Cymru. He’s a keen squash player and can often be found with a racket in hand.

Leena Farhat

Leena Sarah Farhat is studying for a masters in Language Technologies at Bangor University where she has a special interest in working on technology for low resourced languages. She grew up across the world and completed her schooling in Geneva.

She is the Diversity Officer for the Welsh Liberal Democrats and experienced campaigner. She has expertise in rural affairs, diversity issues and Welsh language topics. She consults on a range of diversity and equality work, in a Welsh context. She is passionate about creating an open and tolerant Wales with a strong global outlook.

Dr Elizabeth Haywood

Elizabeth has been Chair of the Independent Remuneration Board of the Senedd since 2020.  She is an experienced Non-Executive Director and Chair. She was previously a Board member of Natural Resources Wales and Chair of its Flood Risk Management Committee, a Board member of Scottish Power Energy Networks, Hendre Group, Leonard Cheshire, an independent member of the Welsh Audit Office’s Remuneration Board, and inaugural Chair of WCVA Services Ltd. She chaired the Welsh Government’s Ministerial Task Force on City Regions.

Her early career was spent in the European Parliament and the Welsh Development Agency, before being appointed Director of CBI Wales, Communications Director of the Association of Train Operating Companies and then running an executive search firm based in Cardiff and London.


She has an economics degree from Cardiff University, a PhD and an honorary doctorate from Swansea, was the recipient of the first Welsh Woman of the Year Award and is an honorary Fellow of Trinity St David’s University. She recently took up writing and had her first historical novel published in 2021.

Kelly Huxley-Roberts

With a Masters in Adult Education for Social Change and ten years’ experience in community development, participatory research, and community organising, Kelly brings expertise in strategic campaigns, citizen engagement and influencing.

Originally from Anglesey and now based near Wrexham, Kelly started out studying Spanish and German at St Andrews before moving to South America and beginning a career focussed on building community power for positive change. She now works as Wales Policy and Partnerships Manager for Lloyds Bank Foundation, a role which focuses on strengthening partnerships and increasing the influencing capacity of charities in Wales. She was previously People, Campaigns and Learning Lead for TCC Wales, where she worked with community groups and allies to influence on issues related to poverty alleviation, equity and inclusion in Wales. 

Kelly speaks intermediate Welsh, and in her spare time is an active member of the Clwb Clebran in Wrexham, which aims to promote Welsh-language use in Wrexham. She is also developing an initiative called NEW Thinking Space, which is all about getting the new thinkers of North-East Wales to come together and think differently.

Ben Joakim – Chair

Passionate about building a more prosperous and sustainable Wales, Ben is an experienced executive and non-executive leader, having held a number of senior roles in multiple sectors, across Wales and internationally.

Ben is currently the Chair of the IWA, working to ensure effective governance and strategy. He is also an Advisor at the Celtic Freeport, working closely with the CEO and partners to build a green investment and energy corridor for Wales.

Previously, Ben led strategy at Principality Building Society as a member of the Executive team. He was also a Board Member of Fintech Wales, helping finance and technology companies start and scale from Wales.

Ben spent a significant part of his career working across sub-Saharan Africa, investing in employment and enterprise initiatives across the region. He subsequently founded Disberse, a fintech company driving transparency and efficiency for global aid, influencing global policy.

Ben is a UWC Atlantic College and Cardiff University alumnus. He lives in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Jessica McQuade

Jessica is currently Wholescape Programme Manager for WWF UK, developing an evidence-based systems approach to restoration of the natural environment at a regional level. She has over 20 years of working in civil society, leading and enabling change to policy, politics and legislation in Wales including the Well-being of Future Generations Act, Environment (Wales) Act and the Equality Act 2010. This has led to extensive knowledge across the climate change and nature restoration agenda. She is currently working in depth on the ‘triple challenge’ of addressing these issues whilst transitioning to a sustainable food system. 

Jess also has many years experience of co-production and community empowerment, and is committed to inclusive policy making. Jessica recently relocated to West Wales from Cardiff and in her spare time campaigns with local groups on bathing water quality and river health. She is one of the first Future Generations Commissioner’s 100 Change Makers in Wales.

Helen Mortlock

Helen Mortlock is a Legal Director at Eversheds-Sutherland LLP.

Helen is a Legal Director within the firm’s national education sector group and has worked in this group since 1994. She leads an all service team which acts for the majority of universities and colleges in Wales and SW England, together with a number of institutions in London and SE England.

During the course of her career, Helen has undertaken a number of complex and high profile matters for Universities, including the reform of the model statute, the defence of claims brought by hourly paid staff claiming parity with standard academic staff, numerous restructurings, mergers and shared services initiatives, dealing with whistleblowing claims involving the research councils, and advice upon clinical academic contracts.

Anthony Pickles

Anthony Pickles is public policy lead for an international legal firm. He has worked in a number of policy roles in UK tourism, the global automotive sector and as Chief of Staff to the Welsh Conservatives. He has been a parliamentary candidate in general and European elections and has worked extensively in campaigns and manifesto delivery, helping coordinate the 2015 general election campaign in Wales.

He then went on to develop the UK tourism industry’s successful bid for a sector deal in the UK Government’s industrial strategy and acted as a spokesperson for the sector for a number of years. He believes passionately in Wales and it’s future success. He was educated at Aberystwyth and writes a weekly newsletter on devolution called ‘State of the Union’.

Sarah Prescott – Treasurer

Sarah Prescott is an experienced “big four” chartered accountant (Financial Conduct Authority) and CFO with a degree in Economics. She has lived and worked all her life in Wales and spent her career in the third sector, with a particular focus in social housing. She also has an interest in broader issues such as equality and diversity, history, learning training and development, economic regeneration, treasury and governance.

She is passionate about building a better Wales, values her family gave her (her father is a Welsh historian). She sits on the Board of Tai Pawb, the Welsh housing equality and diversity charity, and is active with Community Housing Cymru, the body which represents social housing in Wales, and with Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) locally and nationally (sitting on the local committee, the social housing panel, the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) panel and the ICAEW Wales Strategy Board).

Shereen Williams MBE OStJ

Shereen Williams is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales (LDBCW).

Prior to taking up the post with LDBCW in January 2019, she worked in local government for nearly a decade. As a local government officer, Shereen worked across Newport and Monmouthshire Local Authorities managing teams responsible for the delivery of strategic priorities including Migration, Preventing Violent Extremism, Equalities and Community Cohesion.

Before her local government career, she began her working life in Wales in the voluntary sector shortly after moving to Wales from Singapore in 2005. She has given numerous interviews on subjects around faith, extremism, race and diversity issues to both TV and radio.

Shereen has held several public appointments over the years including as one of 4 people appointed by open competition to the 16-member All Wales Convention. She currently sits as a magistrate on the Gwent bench and is a trustee of St John’s Cymru.