Simon joined MHFA England as Chief Executive in October 2018 and has been responsible for setting the organisation’s new strategic vision to improve the mental health of the nation through its mission to train one in ten of the population in mental health skills, knowledge and awareness. He has also been instrumental in leading the organisation’s commitment to become a truly anti-racist social enterprise, and is the executive sponsor for MHFA England’s race equity programme.
Simon is a respected thought leader on the subject of mental health, workplace wellbeing, equality, diversity and inclusion. He writes regularly for the MHFA England blog, contributes to media articles and plays an active role on mental health and wellbeing events, either chairing or contributing his expertise as a speaker or panellist.
Before joining MHFA England, Simon dedicated his career to working with young people and has a long track record of championing difference and creating platforms for people’s voices to be heard. In doing this, Simon has worked on some of the most talked about and complex social issues of today: sex and relationships education, sexual and reproductive rights, volatile substance abuse, Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship and LGBTQ rights. He is driven by a passion for a better, more inclusive society where everyone can be themselves.
With over 20 years working with young people Simon has been involved in several projects and initiatives to promote positive wellbeing and mental health. He has written over 40 publications on all aspects of PSHE and Citizenship.
In his roles at the Sex Education Forum, National Children’s Bureau, sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook and, most recently, as Chief Executive of the National Union of Students (NUS), Simon has considerable experience in balancing the competing agendas of various high-profile organisations and stakeholders, finding ways to build consensus and collaboration to achieve positive social outcomes.
Simon received an OBE in 2011 for his services to the voluntary sector and young people. He was recognised as a 2020 Global Diversity Champion in the Global Diversity List and the 2021 Pride Power List. He is Chair of the Dying Matters Campaign and the Support After Suicide Partnership. Prior to these voluntary roles he has held a number of trustee positions including trustee and vice chair of the Black Health Agency (2004 – 2011), Chair of Diversity Role Models (2012 – 2015) and vice chair of Stonewall (2015 – 2021). Simon is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. He enjoys running, equestrian eventing and walks with his dog.
Director of Development and Deputy Chief Executive
Fionuala has been involved with MHFA England and the development of its training courses since 2006 and was an original member of the National Training Team. Fionuala supported the Chief Executive and senior leadership team by assisting with the implementation of the organisation’s initial governance, before taking up her current post in 2020.
A registered mental health nurse with a BSc in Health and Social Care, Fionuala has over 30 years of experience working in the public sector, working within mental health services as a nurse, manager, provider and commissioner.
With experience at working across all levels, Fionuala has commissioned services from large local and national providers in addition to small user led and independent organisations to deliver improvements or support business development. She is a dynamic leader, with proven skills in organisational transformation change and service improvement within health and social care, able to negotiate with stakeholders and ensure the objectives of programmes are met.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Eleanor is an accomplished communications professional, people leader and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). She has 25 years of experience delivering integrated marketing and communications campaigns designed to achieve behaviour change through awareness and knowledge building.
From 2001 until 2015 Eleanor ran a consultancy business, offering communications and marketing services to a range of clients, including those from the commercial, public and third sectors. Before this, Eleanor was Head of Public Relations for the Central Office of Communication, managing a team of experts and agencies to deliver best in class campaigns across multiple government departments.
Over the course of her career Eleanor has worked on recruitment campaigns for the Royal Air Force, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, public safety campaigns for the Department of Trade and Industry and Home Office, and health campaigns for the Department of Health and Social Care. More recently she has directed the conceptual design and delivery of My Whole Self, MHFA England’s cultural change campaign focused on workplace mental health and the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and other identities.
Eleanor holds a BSocSci in Political Science from the University of Birmingham and a CIPR Diploma (with Distinction) in Crisis Communications. She won the 2020 Women in Marketing award for Best Marketing Leader in Creating Change in Health and Wellness. Eleanor is also a trained Mental Health First Aider and is an all-round advocate for population wide improvements in mental health knowledge, awareness and skills.
Director of Delivery
Sarah’s career has been dedicated to working within membership organisations with a strong social purpose. These organisations include mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises - all of whom have reinvested their profits for social good.
Sarah started her career in the development of organisational culture and customer experiences within the financial services sector and soon developed a passion for considering diversity and wellbeing in the design and development of customer, member and employee experiences. This led to Sarah becoming the Head of Diversity & Wellbeing at the Co-operative Banking Group and driving award winning thought leadership in her field to improve the experiences of over 6 million members and 12,000 employees.
During this time Sarah was involved in the development of the Equality Act 2010 guidance and codes of practice by providing advice to the government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to influence the law particularly in relation to the provision of goods and services as well as the development of sector guidance in applying the Mental Capacity Act in the provision of financial services to vulnerable adults with the Financial Services Authority.
Sarah has since broadened her career with Director level roles leading on HR, HR Consultancy, Membership and Charity Management.
In 2021, Sarah graduated with a Master's in Business from the University of Bradford having focused her research and dissertation on the Employee Mental Health & Wellbeing Needs in the Social Enterprise Sector.
Sarah now leads on the delivery of MHFA England training and consultancy to clients and community organisations as well as the training, development and quality assurance of our MHFA England Instructor Member community.
Director of Finance and Operations
Pardeep Dhoofer is Director of Finance and Operations at MHFA England. He has been a financial professional for over 25 years with over ten years in a leadership role. He most recently worked in higher education, leading the Reporting & Financial Planning team at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), a Russell Group university. He has previous experience of charity, property, retail and financial services sectors.
Having gained an Accountancy & Finance degree from the University of Greenwich, he later qualified in 2009 with Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) where he is now a member of the South London branch committee. He is also a mentor on the CIMA mentoring programme.
Pardeep is passionate about the third sector and organisations focussed on providing positive social impact. Having spent seven years at the British Heart Foundation, he is now Treasurer and Trustee at Headway East London, a charity supporting people affected by brain injury. He is also a supporter of the National Deaf Children’s Society.
Pardeep is an advocate of equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Having previously been a member of the Professional Service Equality Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group at QMUL, he is now part of the Diversity Working Group at Headway East London.
He prides himself on strong leadership and team development and has enjoyed taking the lead on several improvement projects while challenging existing processes and methodologies.