Guide Dogs' Trustees

The information below will tell you more about the Chairman and the Board of Trustees. For further details, please contact the Association Secretary by phone on 01189 838772, by post to the Central Office address or by email:

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Jamie Hambro - Chairman

Jamie Hambro was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2015.

Jamie is Chairman of James Hambro & Partners. He was an Executive Director of Hambros Bank, co-founder of the original J O Hambro Group and Managing Director of J O Hambro Magan before going on to found J O Hambro Capital Management. He was Chairman of Hansteen Holdings and a Director of Primary Health Properties plc and is Chairman of Wiltons Holdings Ltd.

Jamie was previously a Trustee and Chairman to the Henry Smith Charity, a large grant-making body for almost 25 years.

Amanda Ariss

Amanda Ariss was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2012.

Amanda is passionate about the right of disabled people to live independently. She is an equality, diversity and inclusion consultant and a consultant partner of Equality Works Ltd. She is also a part time postgraduate student and occasional private chef. Amanda’s executive career includes spells in broadcasting as executive director of the Creative Diversity Network, in the voluntary sector as chief executive of the Equality and Diversity Forum (now Equally Ours) and in the public sector as head of policy and research at the Equal Opportunities Commission. She was awarded an OBE for services to equality in the 2015 New Year Honours list.

Amanda is a trustee of opera company Upclose Productions and a volunteer usher at Southwark Playhouse theatre.

Paul Baker

Paul Baker


Paul Baker was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2020.

Paul retired from a 40-year career in Banking in 2014 where he served as Chief Procurement Director, Chief Operations Director and finally Chief Property Director. He is currently Vice Chairman of a Property Services Group. Paul lost his sight in one eye in 2015.

Clare Black

Clare Black was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2013.

Clare has personal knowledge and experience of being a parent of a blind child as her eldest son, who is in his 3rd year of university, has been blind since birth. She is passionate about ensuring that visually impaired children and young people are provided with the correct support to allow them to reach their full potential and live an independent life.

She works at FinTech industry body Innovate Finance as Head of Communications & Diversity, and is also a financial derivatives markets consultant for the past 10 years at Contango Markets. Prior to this, she worked at Reuters for 14 years.

Clare is a trustee of Blind Children UK (Formerly the National Blind Children’s Society) and has been a Director of Women in Listed Derivatives since 2010. Clare lives with her husband Clive and sons in Surrey. She enjoys running, cooking, gardening and travelling the world for work and with her family.

Kate Crofts

Kate Crofts was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2018.

Kate has been an energetic advocate for equality and inclusion, in particular the rights of disabled people, for many years. She is qualified in social sciences, communications and leadership and her career in local government includes facilitating complex partnerships and embedding whole system working across communities, ensuring strategies and initiatives have inclusion built into them at every level. Kate’s other achievements have included co-founding a community interest organisation which offers advice and support to mothers who have visual impairment.
Outside of work, Kate enjoys a busy family and social life with her husband and two teenage children. Kate is on the waiting list for her second guide dog.

Rob Deakin

Rob Deakin was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2018.

Rob is a Partner at Capco, a Management Consultancy, which provides advice on technology and delivering business change initiatives to FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies. He is a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET). He has previously worked for a range of charities in India and southern African countries developing social enterprise business models.
During the past ten years he has been a boarder to four Guide Dogs in training. This experience has served as inspiration for numerous fundraising adventure challenges, including swimming the English Channel solo and running the London Marathon three times.
Rob lives in Brixton, South London and is a Bob Dylan fan.

Lynne Hill

Lynne Hill


Lynne Hill was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2020.

Lynne is a veterinary surgeon by profession with more than forty years of experience in practice, industry and academia. Lynne has been involved with a number of veterinary organisations including BSAVA where she became the first female President, and the BVA - sitting on a number of committees and their Council.

Mark Johnstone

Mark Johnstone


Mark Johnstone was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2020.

Mark is a Chartered Accountant with extensive executive and non-executive experience in the not-for-profit sector. He is currently Chief Financial Officer of The Kennel Club, prior to which he was Finance Director of The Royal Society of Medicine. In due course Mark will take over chairing the Guide Dogs Audit & Risk Committee.

Dr Mike Nussbaum

Mike Nussbaum


Mike Nussbaum was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2012.

Mike’s first career as a research chemist was cut short by failing eyesight, but Mike soon forged a second career in local government and public policy development. Mike worked with communities in some of the most challenging local authorities in the UK, initiating pioneering work in social inclusion and in urban regeneration and design. Since retirement Mike has taken on various roles in the national voluntary sector but particularly in promoting and developing the role of volunteering.

Mike also sits on the board of Shaw Trust and supports numerous other charitable organisations. Mike has also been Vice President of Volunteering England. As a young activist he was involved in a wide range of social action programmes and by 18 was chairing national youth organisations, arranging charitable fundraising events, and leading youth summer schools.

In 2005 Mike received a national ‘Year of the Volunteer’ Award for services to volunteering, and in 2008 The Open University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of over 40 years of public service. 

Mike is a Guide Dog Owner.

Michael Olaye 

Michael Olaye


Michael Olaye was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2020.

Michael is the Chief Growth Officer of International for The North Alliance (NoA), where he is responsible for leading expansion overseas. He served as the CEO and Group CTO at Dare and OLIVER respectively from 2016 to 2019 and has been recognised in the Financial Times’ Top 100 BAME influencers 2018, The Drum’s Digerati 100 and UK’s BIMA 100 most influential.

Polly Shute

Polly Shute was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2018.

Polly is currently consulting with Parallel Lifestyle, the world’s first inclusive mass participation event. She has been consulting and working in the charity and not profit sector for six years. At the British Heart Foundation, Polly was responsible for leading the growth of their current mass participation portfolio, more than trebling net income in two years, running a £20m appeal and developing new special events.
Prior to this Polly held senior marketing roles in the retail and leisure sector, including Wickes, Sainsburys and Whitbread.

She is a former Institute of Fundraising award winner and was recognised as a leader in Profit for Purpose at the 2019 UK Sponsorship Awards. 

Polly is in the top 20 LGBT+ leaders list by Outstanding and The FT and on the Pride Power List in association with the Guardian. Polly sits on the UK Out at Tech Committee and she was a Board member of Pride in London for four years.

Outside work, Polly loves to travel, is an avid cook and baker and a cat (and dog!) lover.

Ranjit Sondhi

Ranjit Sondhi was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2018.

Ranjit was born in India, and has lived, studied and worked in the UK since 1966. A graduate in Theoretical Physics, he founded the Asian Resource Centre in Handsworth, Birmingham in 1976. He was Senior Lecturer in Community and Youth Studies at University of Birmingham Westhill from 1985 to 2005.

He has served on a number of national regulatory and governing bodies. He was Vice Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality. He was a board member of the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the Radio Authority. He was a Governor of the BBC and Trustee of the National Gallery. He was Chairman of the Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust. He has been a Civil Service Commissioner and Judicial Appointments Commissioner. He has just completed a term of office at the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and the Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel. He is currently Vice Chairman of Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group and a Trustee of Citizens UK.

Jennelle Tilling

Jennelle Tilling


Jennelle Tilling was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2020.

Jennelle has more than 25 years of consumer marketing, digital and innovation experience with leading global FMCG and food retail brands. She spent more than 17 years working for Yum! Restaurants International in a variety of senior marketing roles – culminating in her serving as the Global Chief Marketing Officer for KFC, responsible for the company’s marketing, communications, innovation, digital presence and reputation in more than 125 countries.


Emma West

Emma West


Emma West was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2020.

Emma's background is in HR and has held senior roles in four FTSE 100 companies, including leading the Talent function globally for Cadbury, Unilever, Sainsbury’s and Burberry. She has led HR initiatives during significant periods of change specialising in talent management, leadership and organisation development and employee engagement.

Polly Williams

Polly Williams was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2014.

She is currently a Non-Executive Director of TSB Group plc, Royal Bank of Canada Europe Limited, Jupiter Fund Management plc and XP Power plc.

Polly is Chairman of the Guide Dogs Audit & Risk Committee and is a company nominated Trustee of the Guide Dogs Pension Scheme.
Polly and her husband Neil live in the Surrey hills with their son and daughter and a chocolate Labrador. She enjoys walking, travelling with her family and spending time at their house in Portugal.

John Wrighthouse

John Wrighthouse was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2012.

John is an HR and Communications Director having worked with a range of well-known brands across the retail, personal financial services and insurance sectors. He had a number of senior roles with Nationwide and was Group HR Director before leaving to focus on business turnaround working with FT250 companies to recover from commercial or regulatory failure. He is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Master of Arts in Employment Law.

He has been active in harnessing employee engagement as a driver of business performance and has worked with sector and employer groups in raising the bar for excellence in employment. John contributed to the work with the government in the abolition of the default normal retirement age and equality in the workplace.

John is a Trustee Director of the Nationwide Building Society Pension Fund. At Guide Dogs he is a Trustee Director of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Pension Fund and member of the Board Remuneration Committee.

John lives with his family in Gloucestershire and spends what spare time he has taking the family to various skiing, rugby, tennis and swimming events.

Mike Wroe

Mike Wroe


Mike Wroe was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2020.

Mike has more than 20 years of senior finance leadership experience across a range of services and technology businesses. He was Group CFO of Just Eat plc for eight years until 2016. While at Just Eat he led the transformation from a 40-person, venture-backed start-up to an international business with more than 2,500 staff in 13 countries, which entered the FTSE 100 in 2017.