Current officers and governors


David Weaver

Vice Presidents

Professor Dame Sue Bailey
Luciana Berger
Jabeer Butt OBE
John Cowley
Nancy Rowland
Julia Samuel

Board of Governors

Our Governors are elected, appointed or co-opted to oversee our strategic direction and the management of the Association. Representing and accountable to our members, their role is to provide strong leadership, enhance our decision making and to make sure that we achieve our objectives.

Natalie Bailey, Chair

I first joined the Board to contribute to the necessary change in counselling access and counselling provision. After serving as a Trustee for three years, I was elected Chair of BACP in 2019.

I’m currently working as a further education college counsellor and in private practice while undertaking a doctorate in psychological trauma.

I started my counselling and psychotherapy training 12 years ago after working for a decade in financial services. My master’s research focused on the lack of support available to the families of children with autism. I have since worked extensively in various settings, including the NHS, and secondary and further education

Michael Golding

Michael Golding, Deputy Chair

Counselling has been a thread running through my life for the last 30 years. During this time I’ve also worked at senior management level within the not-for-profit healthcare sector and I continue to support NHS and other senior professionals as an executive coach.

I’ve been a CEO, board member and national advisor and have learned to appreciate the need to balance these multiple perspectives and that we must always be careful which we choose to privilege over the others. I’ve also established a private counselling and supervision practice in Essex. I joined the Board in 2020.

Sekinat Adima

Sekinat Adima

As an integrative counsellor, I’ve been working with vulnerable clients for many years focusing on the issues of domestic violence.

Currently, I’m working on a new Department of Work and Pensions initiative that focuses on emotional outcomes for children in low-income families who might not otherwise be able to access counselling, using a mentalisation-based treatment (MBT) model. I joined the BACP Board in 2020.

Julie May

Julie May

I began studying to become a counsellor in 1999, working on placements with several charities, before finding employment with a local authority and then an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). I launched my private practice in 2007.

In 2011, I founded the West Street Centre, a group practice providing facilities for counsellors to start up and develop their own businesses. I manage the practice together with my own caseload of clients and supervisees.

I was awarded a professional doctorate from University of Brighton in 2017, with my study exploring how clients choose their therapist and awareness of the profession’s regulatory status on this process. I joined the Board in 2019.

Kate Smith

Kate Smith

I started training as a therapist in 2006 and have been involved in the education of practitioners and therapy research since 2010. I’m now a career academic running a university department incorporating counselling, nursing and bioscience. I’m also a supervisor, practitioner and researcher in the pluralistic approach to therapy.

Originally from southern England, I’ve lived in Scotland for nearly 18 years. I joined the Board in 2020.

Vanessa Stirum

Vanessa Stirum

I have a fascination and interest in what makes people tick, and these drivers have resulted in a wonderful career, firstly as a probation officer, then as a trainer and supervisor and finally as a divorce mediator. They've given me the opportunity to find out about people’s lives, often in a crisis situation, and to play a very real part in their development.

I started my journey with BACP as a member of the Register Advisory Board. I was then invited to join the Board in 2017 as an appointed member. I’ve recently taken over as chair of the Audit Committee. My role is to look from the outside at the organisation so that it can be properly questioned and challenged, while also being supported.

Punam Farmah

I've been a teacher of psychology, sociology, religious education, business skills and health and social care - supporting vulnerable learners and those with additional support needs. I've worked with colleagues to ensure inclusive access to the curriculum, shaping teaching and learning, as well as delivering CPD. I've recently become a tutor of counselling, working with undergraduates to shape their journey as integrative counsellors and I'm a counsellor in private practice with an interest in supporting mental health awareness and engagement in the South Asian community.

My experience of teaching and learning has provided me with an insight into how the discipline of psychology is viewed and experienced and its impact upon on the wider world. My experience as a counselling tutor has shaped my abilities to nurture safe and ethical practitioners who are equipped to make a difference to society.

Senior management team

The day-to-day management of the Association is delegated to Hadyn Williams, Chief Executive Officer, and his senior management team:

Hadyn Williams, Chief Executive Officer
Fiona Ballantine Dykes, Chief Professional Standards Officer and Deputy Chief Executive
Martin Bell, Head of Policy and Public Affairs
Grace Gardiner, Head of Member Services
Caroline Jesper, Head of Professional Standards

Suky Kaur, Head of Stakeholder Relations
John O'Dowd, Acting Registrar
Adam Pollard, Head of Marketing and Engagement
Chelsea Shelley, Chief Officer for Membership and Operations
Tolu Aluko, Head of Governance, Assurance and Risk
Richard Smith, Head of Operations
Dr Clare Symons, Head of Research

Meet our senior management team.

Board delegated committees

We have four committees which support the Board by focusing on strategic business areas. Each committee is made up of lay and member volunteers and is chaired by a Trustee.

Following a restructure in 2021, these committees are:

  • Finance, Risk, Audit, Policy and Performance Committee (FRAPP)
    has delegated responsibility for our financial strategy and budgeting processes as well as managing our risk profile, audits and performance against strategy. (It combines the functions of our former Finance and Policy Committee (FaPC) and Audit, Risk and Performance Committee (ARaP))
    Chair: Alwyn Li

  • Governance, Remuneration and Nominations Committee
    has delegated responsibility for considering and determining the framework for the remuneration of our senior staff members. It also supports nominations to the Board of Trustees. (This committee was formerly the Remuneration and Governance Committee (R&G).)
    Chair: Michael Golding

  • Public Protection Committee
    has delegated responsibility for developing our public protection strategy. It supports the functions of the BACP Register, including professional conduct.
    Chair: Vanessa Stirum

  • Research Committee
    has delegated responsibility for developing, informing and monitoring our research strategy, overseeing our research procedures, policies and plans, and approving and reviewing research projects.
    Chair: Kate Smith