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People

Kirsty McHugh

Chief Executive

Kirsty is ERSA’s Chief Executive. Previously, Kirsty spent nine years at Business in the Community, the national charity dedicated to responsible business, leading work on regeneration and local delivery. Prior to this, Kirsty led policy work at the British Chambers of Commerce, focusing on local and regional affairs, employment and training policy. Kirsty was a councillor for 12 years, holding portfolios for crime prevention, housing and regeneration. She has chaired the board of a major PFI scheme and served as a director of a social housing company. Kirsty is a fellow and board member of the Institute of Employability Professionals and a trustee of an international enterprise charity.

Sam Windett

Head of Policy and Communications

Sam is Head of Policy and Communications at ERSA. Previously, Sam was Head of the Policy and Public Affairs team at the public service provider A4e, working there from 2010 to 2015. Prior to that, she led Action for Children’s parliamentary work in Westminster for three years, particularly supporting them in their rebrand from National Children’s Homes and winning ‘best stand’ at Labour party conference. Sam started the first five years of her career in international consultancy, becoming an Account Manager in Hill and Knowlton’s public affairs team specialising in VCSE, health and public sector clients. Before that, Sam worked for MPs in Ottawa and Westminster, covering their parliamentary and constituency offices during the 2000 / 2001 General Elections.

Roger Horne

Head of Membership Services

Roger has been working in the welfare to work industry for over 15 years. Prior to ERSA, Roger was at TBG Learning/The Rehab Group, a third sector organisation primarily working with disadvantaged people, in a number of Business Development roles. Roger was previously Head of Business Development at the time of the Work Programme competition. In has extensive experience working with commissioning bodies including the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and its predecessor the Learning and Skills Council, the Young people Learning Agency (YPLA) and Further Education Colleges.
Jack Thurston, Membership and Communications Officer

Jack Thurston

Membership and Communications Officer

Jack joined ERSA in October 2016. Prior to that, he was an Insight and Engagement Officer at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England. During his time with CQC, he helped create and deliver the annual provider survey, which was sent out to over 7,000 providers. His previous roles include working as a Communications Assistant at Health Education North West London, one of the thirteen Local Education and Training Boards overseen by Health Education England.

Olivia Buse

Executive Officer

Olivia joined ERSA in September 2016. Olivia has over 15 years experience in finance and administration, having worked in both the private, public and not for profit sectors. She was in her previous role as Finance Administrative Support Officer at Hackney Learning Trust for 11 years, and organised school transport for children with complex special needs.
Laura Benfield, Events and Marketing Manager

Laura Benfield

Events and Marketing Manager

Laura joined ERSA in October 2014. Laura has over 12 years experience working with professional forums, government departments, charities and professional institutes to deliver a range of successful events including awards, conferences, congresses, AGMs, workshops and exhibitions from concept to delivery. Laura is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Ed Brown

Public Affairs and Communications Officer

Ed joined ERSA following a year and a half working at public policy communications consultancy, Champollion. In this role he delivered public affairs and public relations campaigns for a range of clients in the social and education policy sectors. Prior to this, he worked as a policy officer for the housing-with-care trade body ARCO. Ed holds an MSc in European Politics from the LSE.

Amanda Abraham

Finance Officer

Amanda joined ERSA in July 2016. Amanda has over fifteen years' experience of finance within different organisations. Her last role was a Finance Administrator for The Association of British Theatre Technicians, a membership organisation for technicians working within performance theatre.
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