The Aspire Team

Sinéad Butters MBE

Chief Executive

Sinéad has been Chief Executive of Aspire Housing since 2006. 

Sinéad grew up in Staffordshire, studied at Keele University and is one of its founding “fellows” in recognition of her achievements and Aspire’s support for North Staffordshire communities.

Sinéad is Chair of Barnsley-based Berneslai Homes and a Non-Executive Director at Goram Homes and was Chair of national housing network PlaceShapers for five years. Sinéad continues to be a voice for change, sharing her passion for community-based solutions to the housing crisis.

In recent years, Sinéad has received an MBE for services to housing, two honorary doctorates for work supporting communities was named ‘Chief Executive of the Year’ in the 24Housing Awards, and has seen Aspire receive the Queens Award for Enterprise; a first for housing.

Dan Gray

Executive Director of Place

Dan is an experienced property professional, who joined Aspire in 2005 and leads the Development and Home Ownership Sales, Strategic Asset Management, Landlord Compliance Services, Repairs and Maintenance, Sustainability, Facilities and Health & Safety teams.

Before joining Aspire, Dan worked on regeneration programmes for a Local Authority and also spent several years in the United States developing town centre regeneration schemes. His motivation comes from revitalising the neighbourhoods and communities served by Aspire Housing and seeing the positive difference this makes to the lives of our customers.

Andrei Szatkowski

Executive Director of People

Andrei is an experienced housing professional at board, executive and senior leadership level.  Andrei has over 25 years' experience within local authorities and housing associations across the North West.

Andrei joined Aspire Housing in July 2018 and leads the Neighbourhoods, Customer Services, IT, Business Intelligence, Marketing & Communications and Human Resources.  Andrei is passionate about making a difference to our customers and is focused on ensuring Aspire Housing customers receive the best service possible.

Andrei is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), Non-Executive Director and Chair of Audit at Blackpool Coastal Homes and is a Non-Executive Board Member at Weaver Vale Housing Trust.

Andrei is married with three grown up children and a dog. He enjoys cycling, travel and wine.

 

Andrew Palmer

Executive Director, Finance

Andrew was appointed Executive Director of Finance in early 2023, having initially joined the company in 2021 as Director of Financial Services. With more than 18 years’ senior management experience in the housing sector, Andrew has an acute view of the challenges we face, and brings enthusiasm and creativity to our team. He holds a strong positive record of business transformation and modernisation of processes.

 

Andrew is a fellow member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Before joining Aspire, he worked for Walsall Housing Group for a number of years with responsibility for a large Finance Team. Andrew enjoys walking his dog, socialising with friends and spending time with his wife and daughter.

 

Sinéad Butters MBE

Chief Executive

Sinéad has been Chief Executive of Aspire Housing since 2006. 

Sinéad grew up in Staffordshire, studied at Keele University and is one of its founding “fellows” in recognition of her achievements and Aspire’s support for North Staffordshire communities.

Sinéad is Chair of Barnsley-based Berneslai Homes and a Non-Executive Director at Goram Homes and was Chair of national housing network PlaceShapers for five years. Sinéad continues to be a voice for change, sharing her passion for community-based solutions to the housing crisis.

In recent years, Sinéad has received an MBE for services to housing, two honorary doctorates for work supporting communities was named ‘Chief Executive of the Year’ in the 24Housing Awards, and has seen Aspire receive the Queens Award for Enterprise; a first for housing.

Aman Dalvi

Aspire Housing Chair

Aman Dalvi has worked in senior positions for many years, including as Chief Executive of three different organizations where he had led multi-disciplinary teams. Aman has extensive experience in Planning and Regeneration and, in his career, was Executive Director of Development & Renewal in a major London Local Authority. Aman was also a ministerial appointment on the boards of English Partnerships and the Olympic Park Legacy Company, has served as Chair of a number of organisations which include the Anchor Trust and PA Housing, and at present is working as an advisor to a major private real estate company.

 

In 2000, Aman Dalvi received an OBE for services to housing.

David Woodward

Audit Committee Chair

David is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant. He has held a number of senior financial positions with organisations based in the Midlands, including Express Dairies plc. He was Finance Director of train operator Midland Mainline and coach operator National Express. His executive experience has been in large customer focused organisations and has seen the successful delivery of strategy development and execution, turnarounds, business transformations, cost re-engineering, acquisitions, disposals and major projects.

He has previously been a Non-Executive Director at the Hinckley & Rugby Building Society where he was Vice Chairman, Senior Independent Director and chair of the Audit and Compliance Committee. Additionally, he has held a Non-Executive Directorship with Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust where he chaired the Audit Committee and completed a short interim term as a Non-Executive Director with United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust as Chair of the Finance, Performance and Estates Committee.

Currently, he is a Non-Executive Director with National Savings and Investments and chairs the Audit and Risk Committee. He is a Trustee with the charity Consumers’ Association trading as Which? where he chairs the Strategic Finance Committee and is a member of the Group Audit and Risk Committee. Also, he is also an Independent Committee Member of Trent College’s Finance and Estates Committee.

Liz Barnes

Vice Chair

Liz joined the organisation in September 2021. At that time she was completing her office as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Staffordshire University where she served for 6 years completing 35 years in Higher Education.

Liz grew up near Stafford, attended college in Stoke-on-Trent and her first teaching job was at Longton High School in 1983.

With a passion for education, Liz is a member of 5 Academy Trusts; co-Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent Opportunity Area; and is a Governor of 2 Universities.

Liz was awarded a CBE in 2019 for her services to Higher Education and became a Deputy Lieutenant of Staffordshire in 2020.

Marina Barrett

Customer Board Member

Marina spent most of her working career in public sector, providing financial management of the externally funded neighbourhood renewal and economic development projects, delivered in partnership with private and voluntary sector organisations and Stoke on Trent City Council.

Maria holds a postgraduate qualification of Master of Science in Financial Management (with merit) at Manchester Metropolitan University. Marina is an Associate of Chartered Management Institute.

Mike Lawton

Mike is a senior executive with Michelin Tyre plc.  He has held strategic roles within private sector organisations both in the UK and as an expatriate. He began his career with Waterford-Wedgwood in the late 1980s and with Austin Reed in the 1990s. Mike's corporate experience includes strategy definition within sales, marketing, communication (including digital technologies), customer management and finance.

 

Mike has a decade of experience in the housing sector working with both general housing and specialist care providers. Mike is a resident of Newcastle-under-Lyme and is committed to the local area. Mike has an MBA from Staffordshire University.

Paul Northcott

 Paul  is the Staffordshire County Councillor, representing the Newcastle Rural division. He is also the newly appointed CCSM (Community Cabinet Support Member) for Newcastle-under-Lyme and is the Vice-Chairman of the Council’s Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee and Audit and Standards member. Paul sits on Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council where he serves as councillor for the Loggerheads ward. He is the Cabinet member and Portfolio Holder for Planning and Growth covering Development Control, Planning Policy and Local Plan, Planning Enforcement, Land Charges, Operational and Commercial Property Management, Strategic Transport, Economic Development (Operational), and Facilities Management. He has a keen interest in local housing provision.

 

Paul’s 40 years of experience professionally has been in Mental Health, Social care, the Home Office and Civil service, management of hospital services experience and he now devotes time to the Forensic Child and Adolescent Psychology service arena in a consultancy/practitioner capacity for the private sector part time. He is also a post graduate and services trainer.

David Hunter 

David is a retired Chartered Accountant, having spent over 37 years in practice gaining wide experience of accounting for and auditing of social housing providers and credit unions with a firm specialising in providing audit and financial consultancy services to the not-for-profit and charity sectors.

He has particular interests in risk management and governance in regulated sectors and has previously been Vice-Chairman of a local stock transfer housing association.

Neale Clifton

Neale is a retired Chartered Town Planner who has spent his whole 40-year career in Local Government. Over the last two decades he has operated in several roles within Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Executive Management Team where his responsibilities have included Town Planning, Strategic Housing, Regeneration and Property.

 

Additionally he has fulfilled a number of Regeneration partnership roles including a non-Executive Director position with the former North Staffs Regeneration Zone. More notably Neale was responsible for coordinating the Borough’s input into the Housing Market Renewal programme, Renew North Staffs, working closely with Aspire Housing as a key delivery partner.

 

Jenny Danson  

Jenny is the owner and director of an Interim leadership company and has worked in a range of senior interim roles mainly within the housing sector.  Jenny was Executive Director of Housing Services at Metropolitan Housing.

 

She also has experience of leading major transformational projects for public and private sector clients; senior operational roles with BAA plc at Heathrow and Gatwick airports; and operational and commercial roles in facilities management. 

 

Pat Baker

Pat has worked in housing management and development for over 40 years. She established her own housing consultancy company in 2004 and has worked on a wide range of housing management and development projects across the country, ranging from large scale regeneration projects, shopping centre redevelopment, development of Extra Care schemes, housing strategy development, restructuring and change management.

Originally working for Derby City council for 12 years, Pat then moved to South Yorkshire Housing Association as Housing Services Director and then became Development Director, again for South Yorkshire Housing Association. Pat was also Head of Development at Castle Vale Housing Action Trust, Keynote Housing Group and Midland Heart.

Pat has previously been a board member of Ashram Housing Association and was Chair of York Housing Association.

Pat has a BA(Hons) in English and a the CIH professional qualification in housing.

Jane Atherton

Jane Atherton brings over 30 years’ experience of working at a senior level within the social housing sector.

Jane Atherton runs her own HR consultancy practice supporting organisations to be great places to work. Prior to this, Jane was the Group Director of People and Risk at the New Charter Group in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester and Chair of Ashton Pioneer Homes.

David Woodward

Audit Committee Chair

David is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant. He has held a number of senior financial positions with organisations based in the Midlands, including Express Dairies plc. He was Finance Director of train operator Midland Mainline and coach operator National Express. His executive experience has been in large customer focused organisations and has seen the successful delivery of strategy development and execution, turnarounds, business transformations, cost re-engineering, acquisitions, disposals and major projects.

He has previously been a Non-Executive Director at the Hinckley & Rugby Building Society where he was Vice Chairman, Senior Independent Director and chair of the Audit and Compliance Committee. Additionally, he has held a Non-Executive Directorship with Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust where he chaired the Audit Committee and completed a short interim term as a Non-Executive Director with United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust as Chair of the Finance, Performance and Estates Committee.

Currently, he is a Non-Executive Director with National Savings and Investments and chairs the Audit and Risk Committee. He is a Trustee with the charity Consumers’ Association trading as Which? where he chairs the Strategic Finance Committee and is a member of the Group Audit and Risk Committee. Also, he is also an Independent Committee Member of Trent College’s Finance and Estates Committee.

Marina Barrett

Customer Board Member

Marina spent most of her working career in public sector, providing financial management of the externally funded neighbourhood renewal and economic development projects, delivered in partnership with private and voluntary sector organisations and Stoke on Trent City Council.

Maria holds a postgraduate qualification of Master of Science in Financial Management (with merit) at Manchester Metropolitan University. Marina is an Associate of Chartered Management Institute.

John Capper

Independent Director

John is a chartered accountant who has spent over 40 years in public practice, first with KPMG and then with a fast growing regional practice where he led the private sector across the UK, covering audit, reporting, taxation and corporate finance.

 

He still managed to fit in a number of treasurer roles, most notably with The Scout Association, one of the leading UK charities with dual royal patronage. As a senior trustee, he was chair of the audit, risk and finance committee and oversaw considerable change from 2003 to 2010 including a very successful centenary year in 2007.

 

Now running his own consultancy practice providing non-exec director and part-time FD roles, business coaching and a regulatory affairs role with 17 international accounting networks at a European level.

Joanne Kennedy-Reardon

Independent Director

Joanne is a Chartered Director who gained a breath of experience with the alternative energy and clean tech sectors over the last two decades and is a positive changemaker in both fighting against global warming and supporting the restoration of our degraded ecosystems.

Whilst her early career was spent in financial roles in the traditional manufacturing and engineering sectors; social responsibility, sustainability of resources and the impact of business activity on the environment and individuals within society are at the core of the businesses that she has supported. Joanne is currently involved in a Non-Executive capacity with several not-for-profit organisations and is Chair at the British Taekwondo Council.

Joanne’s professional activities are further underpinned by her other professional Fellowships gained with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, the Institute of Internal Auditors, and the Chartered Management Institute.

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