Susie first got in touch with Mermaids in 1999, when she needed support for herself and her daughter. She then became a trustee and Chair and has held the position of CEO since January 2016. Over the last five years, she has helped the charity to reach out to thousands of children, young people and their families. As someone who has worked in the third sector for 20 years, Susie is committed to ensuring that all children are respected and loved unconditionally. She says: “I am passionate about working for Mermaids because without Mermaids, I would have been lost. As a parent, all I could find about gender diverse kids was a single paragraph in a book. Speaking to and meeting others was a lifeline for me. I don’t want a single young person or their family to feel as helpless and isolated as I did so many years ago.”
Dr Belinda Bell
CHAIR OF TRUSTEES
Belinda is passionate about supporting fellow social entrepreneurs to develop and scale their ventures to help make the world a better place. She designs and runs programmes giving entrepreneurs the skills and knowledge they need to have the impact they seek. She has established a range of social enterprises herself including those focusing on finance, ageing and young people. Belinda also teaches Social Innovation to Masters students and on various academic programmes at Cambridge Judge Business School. Belinda holds a professional Doctorate by public works, a Masters Degree in Community Enterprise and a Batchelors degree in Social Anthropology. She is the parent of three young adults, one of whom is transgender.
Kasia is a CIMA qualified Chartered Global Management Accountant and has a MSc degree in Finance Management from AGH University in Krakow, Poland. She has over 14 years’ experience in UK charity accounting. Kasia currently holds a role of Head of Finance and Operations at Peace Direct, where she is responsible for financial management, HR, IT systems and information security. She is a mum of two young people and is committed to making the world a more welcoming place for all.
Grey is a passionate advocate for the rights of trans children and young people, having come out to the world as a trans person (transmasc/non-binary) about 25 years after they
came out to themselves. As Advocacy Director at the civil liberties and human rights NGO, Liberty, Grey oversees Liberty’s strategic litigation, policy work and campaigns, advice and information service, and Liberty’s investigative journalism unit, who all work together to protect rights and hold the powerful to account. Grey’s professional background is as an anti-discrimination and human rights lawyer, including a stint as Legal Director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Grey is also a trustee of Trust for London, a charitable foundation which tackles poverty and inequality in London, is training to a be a priest in the Church of England, and is a parent to three teenagers.
Joe is passionate about making a difference to the lives of trans young people and their families by helping them to avoid unnecessary suffering and to achieve everything that they dream of in life. Joe has over 20 years engineering and manufacturing experience of which the last 15 years have been in leadership positions. He currently works as a Manufacturing Plant Director in the UK, having previously held similar positions internationally. Joe is experienced in strategic planning and operations and he holds a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Warwick. Over the last few years Joe has been volunteering with AKT in Manchester, a charity that supports LGBTQ+ young people in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment.
Jaimin works as an actuary in the insurance industry. He is on the committee of the LGBT+ network at his current employer, which he helped launch. He is also the treasurer of a peer-to-peer support group for trans men and trans masculine people. As an Indian trans man Jaimin is aware of some struggles trans people of colour may be facing. He is committed to transforming the world into a place where all trans and gender diverse people are thriving. Jaimin supports other charity initiatives including the Hemraj Goyal Foundation, who provide resources and aid to a range of women’s and children’s charities around the world, including in the UK and India.
Dr Katie McDowell
Katie has spent a large portion of their career campaigning and advocating for young people. They are currently a junior doctor in paediatrics but formerly had a successful career in policy, public affairs and campaigning, working with a range of young people’s organisations including three years at young people’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent. Katie also spent two years as an elected representative on the steering group of cancer charity coalition, the Cancer Campaigning Group, and served as a primary school governor for four years. As a queer, non-binary and neurodiverse human, they are passionate about ensuring that trans young people have access to the support and advice they need to be their authentic selves.
Meet some of our amazing team…
Lui is a non-binary lawyer who transferred to the third sector in 2018. Outside of work, they love to play football and watch detective dramas. They are passionate about the work Mermaids does because they believe every young LGBTIQA+ person should be able to be themselves without fear.
Director of Communications, Fundraising & Digital
Laura joined Mermaids in 2021 and is committed to using the power of effective communications to advocate for and support trans, non-binary and gender diverse young people and their families. As a school governor and founder of an LGBTQIA+ staff network in a previous role, this work is a central thread running through her life. When not working you can find her hanging out with her cat Bernard or trying not to get another tattoo.
Digital Engagement Manager
Former Editor-in-Chief of DIVA magazine, Carrie joined Mermaids in 2021. They believe in the power of storytelling to change lives and is committed to helping empower trans and non-binary young people to imagine a better world. When they’re not working, you’ll find them exploring Edinburgh on their bike, scrolling endlessly through TikTok or in a downward dog – though not all at the same time.
Local Groups Manager
Rosanna joined Mermaids in 2018. Having worked within the voluntary sector since 2004 at charities such as Epilepsy Action, CLIC Sargent and York Mind, she is passionate about healthcare and wellbeing and is dedicated to defending a person’s right to be who they want to be.
Helpline Service Supervisor
Andrea “found” Mermaids as a parent in early 2018. After attending a Residential with her young person, she moved to become part of the Helpline Volunteer team in the latter part of 2018 and enjoyed it so much she began a staff role in January 2020. Working on the Helpline is such a rewarding role and Andrea strives to make callers feel like she felt after her first call. If she can do that, then she knows the day has been a good day.
Alex qualified as a commercial solicitor at Allen & Overy LLP in September 2020 before moving to Mermaids. She is a trans woman, having come out at law school and transitioned during her training contract. Alex focusses on using strategic litigation and other legal work to improve the lives of trans, non-binary and gender diverse children and young people in the UK. Alex also co-hosts the Mermaids podcast, She Said, They Said.
IT Administrator & Data Controller
Alessa is a trans woman who joined Mermaids in the summer of 2021. She combines a strong background from corporate IT and data management with a personal passion to make the world a better place for trans people. Outside of work, Alessa loves spending time with her family. She sings in a transgender choir and enjoys live music, old French films, queer literature, sudoku, awful jokes and American football.
As Campaigns Officer, Iesha pays close attention to what impacts those the charity supports, while trying to influence change and make a difference through campaigning, and was instrumental in bringing the charity’s podcast She Said, They Said to life. They are a firm believer in the saying “be the change we want to see in the world” and an advocate for radical self-love and wellbeing.
Grants & Foundations Officer
Before joining Mermaids, Ethan’s background was primarily in research, working mostly on projects intended to improve the lives of gender diverse children, young people, and their families. Outside of work, Ethan enjoys spending time with his two rescue dogs, running long distances, and attempting to learn how to salsa dance.
Having worked in the charitable and education sectors and for the NHS, Amy started with Mermaids in July 2021. As a trans person, she knows first-hand the importance of the valuable services that Mermaids provides. Amy can occasionally be found on top of a large mountain or struggling through a triathlon… for fun!
Head of Digital & Communications
Leni joined Mermaids in 2021 and has a decade of experience working with a wide range of charities and political organisations in communications roles, including for Rainbow Migration and the Green Party. Leni is also a trustee of Consortium. Outside of work, she’s a big foodie and loves yoga, cats and sailing.
PR & Media Engagement Manager
Bex joined Mermaids in 2021 and is excited to provide a platform to gender diverse young people, including those from particularly marginalised backgrounds, to tell their story and incite real change. She is dedicated to positioning Mermaids as an authoritative voice on trans related issues and reshaping the existing narrative surrounding gender diverse folk.
Helpline Service Manager
Krystyna began working with Mermaids in 2016 after recognising the prejudicial treatment and intolerance faced by gender diverse children, young people and their families. A queer woman married to a trans man, she has campaigned for LGBTQIA+ rights for over 35 years, including protesting to repeal Clause 28 and for same-sex adoption.
Rachel has worked in a number of industries across both public and private sectors, most recently within education. Former Health Lead for Northern Pride and Presenter at Pride World Radio, Rachel joined Mermaids in 2021 and is excited to work for a charity which combines her professional experience with her passion for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Matt joined Mermaids in 2019 to lead corporate engagement and fundraising. He previously worked at Stonewall advising on LGBTQ+ inclusion within the retail and travel sectors and wants to see a world where all trans and non-binary people can be themselves and thrive. Outside of work, Matt enjoys cooking and walks with his French Bulldog, Yoshi.
Youth Rights Advocate Manager
Lee has been a youth worker for over 15 years and joined Mermaids in September 2021. He is passionate about youth rights and amplifying the voices of marginalised people. Lee loves all things football and when not at work will be playing 5aside, coaching or watching his beloved Leicester City. Lee considers himself a trans activist and wants to use his position within Mermaids to better advocate for gender diverse young people.
Trans People of Colour Youth Engagement Officer
Dr Abby Barras
Abby joined Mermaids as their Researcher in 2021, and passionately believes “the best kind of research always tries to make the world a nicer place for people to live in”. Abby lives by the sea with her partner and son, is a slow but enthusiastic sea swimmer and loves a stripy top.
Legal and Policy Officer
Digital Engagement Officer
Darren joined Mermaids in 2021. They have many years of experience working in the LGBT+ and charity sectors, and believe in the power of community and bringing people together. When they aren’t working, you’ll often find them reading fashion magazines, watching YouTube videos or at a drag show.
Helpline Service Officer
A graduate of the University of Winchester, Keith joined Mermaids in January 2021. He is passionate about supporting young trans and non-binary people’s wellbeing and wants to help create a world where they can thrive. His three loves are his rats, coffee, and brightly coloured dungarees.
Helpline Service Officer
Verity (Vez) Smith
Trans Inclusion in Sports Youth Worker
Verity is a gay trans man and has a disability. He played elite women’s rugby for a number of years and now plays in the wheelchair rugby UK superleague. He also supports D&I for the International Gay Rugby and World Gay Games. Verity is passionate that all young people should have access to sport, believing in education, not discrimination.
Helpline Service Officer
Helpline Service Officer
Having worked as a volunteer at Mermaids for over a year, Dan joined the staff team as a Helpline Service Officer in 2021. Prior to this, he has been committed to supporting young queer people through his voluntary work at ELOP, an LGBTQ+ mental health charity. Following his degree at King’s College London where he focused on LGBTQ+ health, wellbeing and belonging, he has been passionate about finding new ways to support the community.
With over 20 years’ experience in the third sector, Martin has studied training in the UK and Germany. His hope is that he can use this experience to work collaboratively with people to be able to create safe, supportive spaces for trans and non-binary young people. When not at work, most of Martin’s time is taken up with Eurovision, Doctor Who and cats.
Helpline Service Officer
Kerry is a youth and community worker who has spent much of her working life supporting and advocating for those facing adversity. She believes in the power of listening and ensuring people’s voices are heard. Having worked with children and young people for over 25 years, she wants to help create a wider understanding of the needs of trans, non-binary and gender diverse young people, so that they have access to timely and quality services to help them to flourish and thrive into their adult lives. She enjoys knitting colourful socks and beanies in her downtime.
Azia joined Mermaids in July 2021 working in the Training department. They identify as neurodiverse and queer. An animal-lover, they have a cat and have also had a dog and a snake in the past too. Azia likes to spend their free time listening to music, reading or watching television.
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