Julia Jones (Chair)

Julia is a fellow member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of People and Development). She is an experienced HR professional who has worked at HRD/board level for a top 40 accountancy firm and top 200 law firm in Gloucestershire. Having set up her own HR and management training business she now works with, and advises organisations on HR strategy, Organisational change, management/leadership training development and coaching.

Julia has experience of working in challenging environments with multiple stakeholders at board level, she quite adept at dealing with differing opinions, negotiating, debating and bringing about consensus on the best way forward. A natural problem solver with a pragmatic approach.

In her work as a HR professional, Julia has come across many situations where professional counselling has helped and supported employees through difficult and challenging times in their careers and personal life. She is passionate about raising awareness of mental health in the workplace and is looking forward to working with and promoting GCS going forward.

Emma Payne (Vice Chair)

Emma is a corporate solicitor with over 15 years’ experience in private practice and in-house roles.  Her current role involves advising on a wide range of transactions including company and business acquisitions, restructurings, fundraisings and joint ventures. Emma has a sound business acumen and considerable expertise in working with a wide range of businesses to solve problems and implement change. Having personally benefitted from counselling some years ago, Emma is thrilled to have the opportunity to use her skills to assist GCS to make counselling available to a wider audience within Gloucestershire.

Nigel Brabbins (Treasurer)

Nigel has 35 years’ commercial business experience. He graduated in hospitality management in 1980 and enjoyed a long and successful career with Forte Plc. Nigel then completed an MBA and moved in to business services, holding executive positions in logistics & distribution, promotional merchandise and security services. Since 2002 Nigel has been Chief Executive of IT/software companies, utilising new technologies for service delivery and has significant knowledge in e-learning and data security.

He led Ultrasis Plc for 8 years, a company providing Computer delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) for the treatment of mental health conditions and software programmes for physical health and wellbeing. These were used by the NHS as part of the IAPT programme and in organisations to support employee wellbeing. Nigel has maintained his interest in the field of mental and physical health and is looking forward to supporting GCS in its continued development.

Nigel is a Chartered Director and Fellow of the Institute of Directors.

Kath Rooksby – (Trustee)

A 25 year career in the public and voluntary sector, Kath is currently part of NHS England/Improvement’s Nursing & Quality team in the South West. She leads on the General Practice Nursing 10 point plan that sets out primary care workforce priorities to retain, retrain and recruit primary care nurses in line with the GP Forward View and NHS 10 Year Plan deliverables. Kath’s career spans patient and public engagement, complaints and quality and safety project management.  She has an MSc in Health and Social Care Leadership Management and PGCE which she completed at SGS College during her time as Lecturer in Health and Social Care.

Kath has co-authored articles published in Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing on the subject area; service user feedback and experience of healthcare services and young carers experiences of support services.

Kath believes that change is possible through empowerment and recognising the value that counselling can bring to support and improve a persons health and wellbeing, is keen to contribute what she can to the development of GCS.

Nicola de Iongh (Trustee)

Nicola is an independent Management Consultant focusing on strategy, Organisational development and change. She has 20 years’ experience, mainly in the Financial Services sector, of delivering significant organizational, cultural and procedural change in complex organizations. During this time, she has built expertise in HR, Communications, IT and programme delivery. She is also an experienced coach, trainer and facilitator who has worked with executives and teams to develop their professional capability.

Nicola has a degree in French & Russian and an MBA. She is a PRINCE2 registered practitioner, a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Chartered Management Institute and the Institute of Directors.

She is passionate about mental health issues and the impact that counseling can have on individuals and groups, and she is excited about using her experience to help grow GCS as a Trustee.

Jim Laidlaw (Trustee)

Jim qualified in medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1989. After Junior Doctor training, he qualified in psychiatry and has worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist in Gloucestershire since 1997. Later in his career, he worked in a variety of medical management roles before retiring, as an Associate Medical Director, in early 2020. Since then he has returned to work part time for the local NHS as well as running a consultancy business and undertaking other medical roles.

Jim is an advocate for counselling and brings to GCS a broad knowledge of mental illness, an understanding of the local NHS and experience in clinical governance.

Lynn Emslie (Trustee)

A career covering acute healthcare, mental health, health in criminal justice and Local Authority social services, Lynn originally qualified as a diagnostic radiographer before qualifying as a social worker and working in a wide range of health and community settings.

Focusing on mental health and people with complex needs, Lynn championed the requirement to improve access to services, based on a person-centred approach, and reduce health inequalities.

Working strategically across the Department of Health and NHS, Lynn worked to inform policy by linking academic research into service development; including the voluntary and private sectors. She then led NHS commissioning and quality monitoring within NHS England and supported the establishment of local, regional and national governance structures.

Working as a senior manager, Lynn gained in-depth experience of partnership working within and across a wide range of sectors and strategic development across Government departments.

Lynn now works independently and holds several Non-Executive Director, Special Advisor and Trustee roles across the not-for-profit and regulatory sector. She has also published the Jasper and Milo series of books for children and is developing an approach to encourage First Reading.

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