Meet the Leadership Team
Ben graduated from University College London with a degree in Physiology, the study of which broadened an interest in human science and led to a move into mental health. As Managing Director of Advent Advocacy, Ben has built upon the principle of providing the highest possible quality advocacy for all clients and providers, regardless of size, location or specialism. Advent Advocacy’s team bond and hard work is a feature that is evident and runs deep throughout the company.
A focus on innovation and providing space for creative opportunities for team members has been a theme of leadership over the past decade. This has given rise to new models of advocacy delivery in markets traditionally not provided with regular support, as well adding value to the way in which advocacy is reported on and commissioned. Advent Advocacy is accredited with the Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM) awarded by the National Development Team for Inclusion, a testament to the excellent standard of advocacy delivered.
Ben enjoys spending time with family and also likes the simple pleasures of a good spiced rum and coke. He can be found trying his hand at any sport and is currently playing (very badly) football and basketball.
Norya aspired to bring together her passion for legislation and supporting people after graduating with a degree in Bachelor of Laws from the University of Lincoln. As a Volunteer Coordinator she oversaw relationships between volunteer staff and third sector organisations, maintaining compliance, in addition to promoting volunteer accomplishments. Norya’s passion for mental health and working with people led to a career in leadership within business and the education sectors, working in partnership with businesses to help young people and adult learners fulfil their potential.
As part of Advent Advocacy’s Operations team, Norya is responsible for managing, monitoring, and evaluating the breadth of activities within the company. Norya ensures the team are value-led and is continually focussed on improving our services so that they may empower as many people as possible.
Norya is trilingual, speaking Farsi, Dutch and English and in her spare time loves to cook and disappear into a good book.
Services and Deployment Manager
Romy is the Services and Deployment Manager at Advent Advocacy. Her focus is ensuring the safe, efficient, and consistent delivery of advocacy to all sites across the country. Romy manages the Deployment Team who support her to monitor regional deployment of advocates and prioritise service continuity. Alongside Operations, Romy designs and delivers advocacy schedules to accommodate service user need, as well as the everchanging risk given the pandemic ensuring the safety of stakeholders.
Having worked with Advent Advocacy since 2013, Romy continues her practice as an Independent Mental Health Advocate. Romy holds a BSc in Psychology from Aston University and her drive to support and empower people to take control of their lives and truly focus on their needs and wellbeing is central to her advocacy work.
Outside of Advent Advocacy, Romy enjoys long muddy walks with her dog. This is usually followed by good food and a box set.
Human Resources Manager
Jan has been HR Manager for Advent Advocacy since early 2018. Prior to joining, Jan’s career was established in local authorities, she took early retirement in 2017 and planned a ‘gap year’. However, the lure of a part-time HR post in Advent Advocacy during the season of advent meant the gap year is still outstanding.
Jan is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (Chartered MCIPD) and believes that HR should actively contribute to business and people development. Continuous improvement in ways of working that grow the company and support all employees to be the best they can be, in the job they do, whilst feeling valued are points of focus for Jan. That the company provides advocacy services was the draw to the role and complemented her volunteer role in a charity supporting families going through periods of crisis.
When not at work Jan is a keen, but creaking, equestrian and also likes spending time with her dog and cat, family and friends, painting, gardening and signing numerous petitions about the environmental issues.
Business Development Manager
John-Paul graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Arabic with Management which led him to studying and working in locations across the Middle East. Combining corporate experience with a passion for the third sector and education, including voluntary roles for Amnesty International (AIUK) and City Year UK, John-Paul has been supporting the drive behind new innovative projects within Advent Advocacy, such as UniAdvocates and UNITED, which aim to shape the way advocacy is viewed and employed in new settings outside health and social care.
John-Paul manages business relationships with current purchasing organisations, seeks out new business and establishes links with local authorities, through tendering and spot-purchase arrangements. Drawing on experience in PR and Communications, John-Paul also supports through involvement in outreach activities and delivering face-to-face presentations.
Outside work, John-Paul likes playing music, rock-climbing and sharing in mindfulness-based practices. He has also recently taken time out to train as a teacher in order to broaden his skills base, which has added value to his role in promoting and growing mental health advocacy within the education sector.
Staff Development Manager and Safeguarding Lead
Claire started her journey into mental health, completing a BSc in Psychology at Staffordshire University, alongside working as a Mental Health support worker. Inspired by these experiences Claire, then continued her studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, achieving an MSc in Forensic Psychology. Through practical on-the-ground experience combined with learning about the sector through her academic studies, Claire felt that a lot of people who are in care settings are not always kept at the centre of their care and that their wishes and views could often be overridden by professional decision-making.
Taking this passion forward as Staff Development Manager and Safeguarding Lead for Advent Advocacy, Claire provides support to advocates to enable them to develop their skills and knowledge. The aim is to provide clients with the best possible advocacy service and Claire ensures that advocacy is offered to all clients equitably, that they feel supported and listened to throughout their care pathway, facilitated by our team.
Claire loves travelling in her spare time, whether within the UK or abroad, and finds this an enriching way to maintain her own wellbeing and broaden her knowledge. Alongside this Claire loves spending time with her family and pets and going on walks, made especially easy to do living within the Peak District.
Service Manager for Quality Assurance
Susan has been with Advent Advocacy for over 6 years and has helped develop the Quality Assurance Team into what it is today. She feels her decade prior experience in newspaper design, stood her in good stead for the role, given the attention to details and copy-editing skills required. Susan started out as a graduate from Newcastle College with a HND in Newspaper Design and Information Graphics, returning to higher education in 2011 to undertake a degree in Psychology and Counselling at Teesside University. During this time Susan also supported at James Cook University Hospital as one of eight Therapeutic Care Volunteers as part of a pilot scheme at the hospital. The scheme grew and there are now over 500 volunteers – a legacy which Susan is particularly proud to have been part of. Building the foundation which led into advocacy, Susan would help by chatting to patients, trying to put them at ease, facilitating activities or even just holding their hands whilst serving at the Dementia Wards.
Susan loves spending time with family – her son, partner and dog, Cleopatra as well as with her mum, three sisters and their families. Susan also collects teddy bears and including a collection of original Care Bears from the 1980s! Susan also takes a keen interest in Taekwondo, achieving her 3rd Dan Black Belt and teaching the martial art to children and adults for many years.
Deputy Human Resources Manager
Kerry has worked in Human Resources for 6 years, in various sectors including retail, hospitality and health. Kerry joined the Advent team as a Human Resources Assistant, to provide support for the growing team and has been an invaluable and increasingly pivotal member of Advent Advocacy since.
Kerry gained an understanding of business through her A-levels, which opened her to insights into Human Resources. Her passion to work in Human Resources started there, and she went on to gain a Level 5 Diploma in Human Resource Management. The skills gained have supported Kerry to progress in her career, and she now provides support to our Human Resources Manager, Senior Management and advocacy team.
In her spare time, Kerry spends time with her two young children and her husband. Kerry likes to visit national trust parks around the UK and enjoys finding new places to visit.