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The Aspire Team

Sinéad Butters MBE

Group Chief Executive

Sinéad has been Chief Executive of Aspire Housing since 2006. Under her leadership the business has grown and broadened its services via the acquisition of Staffordshire’s largest apprenticeship provider, Achieve Training.

 

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.

Ian Gleave

Executive Director, Organisational Development

Ian started his HR career specialising in management development before moving into more generalist HR and management positions. His senior leadership experience spans public, private and not-for-profit sectors working in the airport, business outsourcing sectors and as an independent management consultant.

Ian joined Aspire Housing in 2015 following many years' experience working with a range of organisations in the social housing sector.

Ian is responsible for our human resources, learning & development, facilities, health & safety, and marketing & communications. He holds an MSc in Human Resource Management, is a Chartered Member of the CIPD and a member of the CIH.

Dan Canavan

Executive Director of Achieve Training

Dan joined Achieve Training in 1996, setting up the first gardening team and developing the Homeworks property management service, which now boasts more than 60 teams. Since then, Dan has worked in a number of roles across the business, including Director of Homeworks, and most recently Director of Training Operations, before being appointed Executive Director of Achieve Training in April 2020.

Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Dan has a real passion for the area and in particular the development and education of its young people. He is proud to have played a part in the growth and success of Achieve Training, which was set up by his father Sean Canavan in 1982.

Andrei Szatkowski

Executive Director, Customer Experience

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 on all housing services encompassing repairs and maintenance services.  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.

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

Mark Thrasher

Executive Director, Finance

 

Mark joined Aspire in August 2018, from Raven Housing, based in Surrey, where he was Group Director of Finance.

Mark has worked in the housing sector for over 20 years in a number of senior management positions. Mark was born in Stoke–on-Trent and grew up in Newcastle under Lyme and so has a real empathy and passion to make a difference to the lives of the people in the areas in which Aspire operates. Mark leads on Finance to ensure that we are aspire continues to be financially strong and to grow and develop the business, increasing the capacity to enable us to provide more affordable homes. 

Dan Gray

Executive Director, Property

Dan is an experienced property professional, who joined Aspire in 2005 and leads on development and home ownership sales, strategic asset management and landlord compliance services.

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.

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.

Alasdair Macarthur

Audit and Risk Committee Chair

Alasdair worked for 30 years in IT in large, blue-chip utility companies.  His skills and experiences cover portfolios and programmes, customer support, and a wide variety of business change management assignments including major cultural change programmes, organisational design and review as well as process re-engineering initiatives. These involved working across offices in England, Germany and India.

 

Since retiring Alasdair served for 4 years as a Trustee at Parents and Children Together (PACT) one of the leading adoption agencies in England where he chaired the Audit Committee and acted as interim Chair of that charity. Most recently he has worked on a number of ad-hoc consultancy assignments, providing business development support to some of the 26 Adoption Agencies across England & Wales, as well as ad-hoc coaching and support to the CEOs in these adoption agencies.

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.

Nicola Winn

Achieve Training Chai

Nicola is the managing director of Creative Bridge based in Lutterworth. She has previously worked in senior roles at Leicester Housing and the CIH.

 

She is a board member at The Marketing Group and previously sat on the boards of CIH and Foyer Federation. She is a member of the chartered institute of housing and the academy for Chief Executives.

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.

Ian Dale 

Ian is a retired chartered accountant who has spent his entire career in the financial services industry, working in senior finance roles in both the Britannia Building Society and more recently the Cooperative Bank.

 

He has extensive experience of leading finance departments through the changes experienced in the financial services industries, has been involved in a number of key acquisition and merger transactions and has served as a Director on a number of subsidiary company boards for both organisations. Ian is also a Non Exec Director of the Earl Shilton Building Society.

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. 

 

Alasdair Macarthur

Audit and Risk Committee Chair

Alasdair worked for 30 years in IT in large, blue-chip utility companies.  His skills and experiences cover portfolios and programmes, customer support, and a wide variety of business change management assignments including major cultural change programmes, organisational design and review as well as process re-engineering initiatives. These involved working across offices in England, Germany and India.

 

Since retiring Alasdair served for 4 years as a Trustee at Parents and Children Together (PACT) one of the leading adoption agencies in England where he chaired the Audit Committee and acted as interim Chair of that charity. Most recently he has worked on a number of ad-hoc consultancy assignments, providing business development support to some of the 26 Adoption Agencies across England & Wales, as well as ad-hoc coaching and support to the CEOs in these adoption agencies.

Martin Townsend

Martin has worked in banking and financial services for over 35 years, most recently in compliance and risk management. His previous experience includes product development, marketing, and project management. In addition to risk management work, Martin is a Tutor in the External Faculty of International Compliance Training Limited.

 

Martin’s non-executive experience includes current roles as an Independent Member on the Audit Committee of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and as Chair of Derbyshire Dales Council for Voluntary Service. Previously Martin spent five years as an Independent Member on the Audit and Risk Committee of Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association. Martin completed an 18-month secondment to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as a Policy Adviser working on the Housing Market Renewal Programme. A Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute, Martin has also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing.

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.

Sarah Tudor

Born in Stoke-on-Trent and a graduate of Staffordshire University, Sarah has over 18 years’ experience in corporate learning and development and in higher education. In addition to her wealth of experience in employer engagement and work-based learning, Sarah is an expert in higher and degree apprenticeships.

 

She works with the Department for Education, lobbying on degree apprenticeship policy. She is a guest editor and reviewer for UVAC’s Journal of HE, Skills and Work-based learning. Committed to lifelong educational development, Sarah is also Chair of Trustees of a 14-18 high school in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

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.

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