Our leadership team

Our senior leadership team have ultimate responsibility for driving our strategy. And more importantly, achieving it. From how we invest and manage our money to lobbying for policy change for spinally injured people, meet the people charged with leading us to success.

Nik Hartley OBE

chief executive

Until he joined SIA in 2019, Nik had worked his whole life in the humanitarian field across Africa, the Caribbean, South America and South Asia. International development is Nik’s passion. He helped to build an award-winning global model enabling young people to lead humanitarian efforts in their own nations. That even led to 2,000 young Sierra Leoneans gaining expert frontline roles to tackle the Ebola Crisis in 2014-16. Nik lives a breezy 35-minute bike ride from our HQ in Milton Keynes. When not attending to his two children, you’ll often see him watch the topsy-turvy fortunes of his beloved Stoke City FC. On the last count Nik has lived in, worked in or visited 74 countries.

Svetla Stallwood

director of finance and operations

Svetla started in 2018 and leads a team to look after our workforce and manage every aspect of our resources. She’s an ACCA-qualified accountant and a charity finance specialist. Her motivations are about leading change so that people can ultimately work better in organisations. When not making our office run like clockwork and overseeing IT, legal and governance, Svetla spends quality time with her husband, three children and resident cat. A keen traveller, she loves being in nature and outdoors – and has a thirst to learn about other cultures while exploring the world.

Anna Saunders

director of business development

Anna oversees our fundraising activities and drives excellent relationships with our partners. 

She has over 20 years’ fundraising experience in the voluntary sector, having worked for a range of health, youth, education and disability charities. Originally from a commercial background, Anna’s volunteering in Africa changed her priorities and she subsequently joined the charity sector. A qualified dog agility instructor, in her spare time Anna competes in dog agility competitions. Her great-grandfather won the Irish Grand National in 1905 on a horse called Red Lad.

Kathryn Hill

interim director of programmes

Kathryn joined us in March 2021 having spent her career working in the NHS and the charity sector, mainly in mental health and most recently at Carers Trust. Social justice and helping people fulfil their potential is what gets her up in the morning – along with her husband and two cats, Nina and Simone. Her leisure time is spent reading and she’s mad on musical theatre. Most intriguingly perhaps, she’s currently writing a novel. Watch this space.

Dan Burden

head of advocacy and campaigns

Dan became spinal cord injured at T6 after an accident in Egypt. He returned to work two years later, as an access and partnerships officer in local government. He now leads our advocacy and campaigns team, which is responsible for all of our campaigning work. Most recently he led the team to put SIA at the forefront of the Stop The Pressure campaign to highlight the risks of pressure sores for SCI patients. Dan’s currently on parental leave until November 2021.

Jo Neale

head of investments and partnerships

Jo joined us in 2018 specialising in securing income from grant-makers. She has worked in fundraising for over 13 years gathering experience in events, direct marketing, community fundraising and bid-writing, with people-centred causes always close to her heart. She now leads our fundraising activities and builds strong partnerships to enable us to grow and develop our work.

At home, her two children keep her busy but given half a chance she’ll indulge her love of the outdoors and climb the odd mountain. She also has a passion for arts and crafts with watercolour being her favourite medium.

Sarah Tennent

head of enterprise

Sarah previously worked with us for 6 years from 2009 and managed our corporate partnerships. As part of this role she was heavily involved in the launch of SIA Healthcare. Prior to returning to the SIA she worked for a specialist SCI care provider supporting with the setup of bespoke packages of care. Her previous partner of 5 years was SCI C5/6.

Sarah loves travelling to new countries, live music, cooking and is always searching for her next adrenalin challenge. In her spare time, she provides respite care and mentoring support for young adults who have been in foster care.

Naomie Conway

head of communications and engagement

Naomie joined us in November 2021 as head of comms and engagement. She has gained a wealth of communications experience in her 17-year career, starting out as a newspaper journalist, before moving between in-house and client-side comms and most recently managing the national internal communication channels for a nationwide company. She loves getting to know people, sharing their stories, and developing her team along the way. She is not afraid to challenge the norm and asks questions to get to the nub of any issue or challenge.

In her spare time, she loves live music, pilates, travelling and spending time with her family and friends.


Jen Sims

head of people and culture

Jen joined us in 2015 from her role as national support manager for a children’s charity.

Initially working as our volunteer co-ordinator, she also assisted our director of services with HR related activities and gained her Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development qualification in the summer of 2017.

Jen now leads our people and HR activities which range from recruitment, reviewing our staff benefits, embedding our learning and development, EDI and looking at new and exciting initiatives to enhance our culture with the support of our people team.

Jen loves to travel with her husband and is currently on country 55, he’s on 56 so the competition is on! She loves to socialise with friends and family, spend time with her puppy Luna and can often be found with her head in a book.