Our board of trustees
Chair of Trustees
Kate works in strategy and governance at Nationwide Building Society. She was previously in the charity sector for over a decade, latterly as CEO at Oxford United Community Trust.
She is passionate about the needs of Oxfordshire's diverse communities, and has a particular interest in mental health and education. A one-time academic and qualified coach, she enjoys seeing people of all ages and backgrounds unlock their potential and achieve their goals.
Interests: walking and sometimes running; cooking; music and literature; football and particularly her home team Manchester City.
Yvonne is currently the chief executive of Cherwell District Council so really understands the local landscape and context in which we operate. Throughout her career she has been a CEO of a number of Local Authorities, currently holds a national leadership role within the District Council Network and works closely with central Government on many relevant agendas.
In Yvonne's day job she is a passionate advocate for the benefits that physical activity can have on both the physical and mental well-being of our communities / residents of all ages! Yvonne works closely with both National Bodies and Central Government with the aim to raise the profile of, and recognition that continued funding of such activity is essential. The positive role and influence AO activity has will become increasingly critical as communities strive to recover from the challenges Covid has presented.
Yvonne loves all things sport (even did a sport science degree a 100 years ago) but inherited a real love of footy from her Grandfather / Dad (fanatic Chelsea and Charlton Athletic fans respectively) and along with her long suffering husband has been a Crystal Palace season ticket holder until Covid work pressures intervened - go the mighty eagles!
On a personal note I am really privileged to take up this role and hope I can add value to the ambitions and activity of AO. I look forward to working alongside my Board colleagues and staff.
Following many successful years in leadership roles in the Energy Sector, Leanne decided to take a career break to focus on her children, and to pursue a passion for Triathlon. In this time Leanne actively volunteered in a number of roles, as well as completing her British Triathlon Level 1 coaching qualification, Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification. Leanne also progressed as an athlete qualifying for the GB AG team, racing the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice in 2019, completing a 70k Ultra Marathon, and qualifying for the World Championships in Utah.
Leanne now works part time on a freelance basis, whilst studying a BSc (Honours) Sport, Fitness and Coaching at the Open University. Leanne is extremely passionate about the benefits of physical activity on mental wellbeing and is excited to be working alongside a great team of people at Active Oxfordshire.
Amanda Pearce Higgins ACA MA (Oxon)
Knowledge and Experience:
- Qualified chartered accountant (ICAEW) with over twenty years experience working for one of the largest professional services firms (PwC), including three years living and working in Singapore
- Particular focus and interest in advising organisations on their Internal Audit and Risk Management capabilities
- Studied at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University (MA Metallurgy and Science of Materials), and recently returned to live in the county
Current role on the board: Trustee with a particular focus on finance, audit and risk management. Member of FRRAG.
Interests: Former county cricket and hockey player, and represented Oxfordshire in mixed hockey. Still a keen sportswoman and actively play a number of sports including hockey, tennis, golf and swimming. Full playing member of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Current Roles: Partnership Manager @ North Oxfordshire School Sport Partnership. FA Tutor for Level 1,2,3 courses @Oxfordshire FA.
Previous Roles: PE teacher, Head of PE & Head of House @ The Bicester School. Vice Principal @ Bicester Technology Studio.
Knowledge and Experience: Teacher since 2002 with a range of roles and responsibilities across the spectrum of a school. Alongside this have been coaching for more than 20 years mostly in Football. Passionate about creating positive environments for learning to take place and getting everyone more active.
The most unusual of the experiences is being a consultant to a range of sports books for young people in 2010.
Current role on the board: Closely aligned to the work of the organisation aligned to Children and young people.
Interests: Sport! Love playing, coaching and watching sport. Support the running of Moretonville FC as well as coach in the U8 & U16 age groups. Coach cricket in the summer to keep my hand in!
I practice what I preach by running and cycling as well as playing Golf and Badminton.
Current Role: Activity Manager for South Oxfordshire – Yellow Submarine
Knowledge and Experience:
- Responsible in current professional role for running activities for young people with additional needs in South Oxfordshire, as well as sheltered work experience for adults in Oxford City
- Various volunteering and coaching experience with a range of ages from teaching P.E. to 6 year olds to coaching university-aged netball players
- Studied Classics at the University of Oxford
- Completed Social Impact Internship through the Oxford Hub, now part of their Young Trustee programme
Current role on the board: Strategy and Nominations Committee
Interests: Dance; tai chi; going to the theatre; baking (and eating) cakes
Yemi joined Active Oxfordshire in September 2020. A practising environmental health officer with both public and private sector experience, she has a passion for improving human health and wellbeing. Yemi was an active member of various charities in her hometown of London, covering environmental sustainability and social responsibility. She is looking forward to seeing a better reflection of improved physical activity within the community.
In her spare time, Yemi can be found singing with Oxford Gospel Choir and developing her French language skills.
Favourite quote: "Be the change that you want to see in the world"
Current Role: Head of Change and Delivery, Save the Children UK
Knowledge and Experience:
- Charity sector experience as well as more than 15 years working across Banking, Insurance and Wealth Management
- Delivering organisational transformation through cultural, technology and process change
- Programme and Project Management
- Business Analysis, process re-engineering and problem solving
- Various volunteer positions at local sports clubs focusing on mental wellbeing, innovation and increased participation, diversity & inclusivity
Current role on the board: Trustee with a particular interest in tackling inequality and prejudice in our community. Member of FRRAG and Safeguarding and Welfare Champion.
Interests: Passionate about team sport and a regular participant at cricket, football and softball. Terrible occasional golfer and reluctant jogger.
In day to day life, Carl likes to weight train, do martial arts, swim, cycle, read graphic novels, study language, and listen to music. He also has a keen interest in public speaking which has seen him deliver motivational presentations in Oxfordshire based schools and networking clubs.
After graduating with a 2.1 in Business and Marketing, Carl decided to start his own business. He has always been passionate about health and fitness, so studied to gain qualifications in that area. Once these were completed, he saw the opportunity to create a health and fitness service which was focused on the needs of older adults. In the past 3 years he has helped hundreds to work towards their health goals.
Carl is very happy to be a part of the Active Oxfordshire team and hopes to use his experience to help increase the reach of physical activity in Oxfordshire.
Senior Independent Director
Previous Roles: Deputy Director of Public Health, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire PCT with leadership roles across Health Protection, Health Improvement and Healthcare Public Health.
Knowledge & Experience:
- Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health with over 20 years' experience working in senior public health roles across the NHS and Local Government
- Studied at St Georges Medical School (MSc Health Sciences) and Swansea University (BSc Pure Mathematics and Statistics) with experience in the delivery of top-class information analysis and performance reporting within the public sector.
Interests: I am an advocate for active travel to incorporate physical activity into everyday life. I am a keen runner, parkrun enthusiast and regular cyclist. Over the years I have participated in a range of competitive sport from petanque to women's rugby (loose head prop) and rowing (stroke of the university four). I am a huge fan of motorsport, particularly F1 and an avid supporter of cricket and cycling, attending live events whenever possible.
Associate Board Member
Rob has a background in computer based modelling and simulation and for the past decade has travelled the world focussed on helping companies develop their commercial capabilities. He is a long time Oxford resident, and an eager follower of all sports having played rugby, and cricket for local Oxford teams amongst others. When his family were younger he was involved in coaching and running local junior teams at rugby and football, and known to help out as a rugby referee when required. Nowadays, he is an enthusiastic golfer, loves hillwalking and spending time at the gym and looks forward to using his own experiences in order to assist others to lead more active lives.