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Tom McLaughlan – Chair

Tom has witnessed the power of conversation – how it brings
communities together and ensures everybody feels connected – and so
he’s thrilled to be a part of chit-chat’s mission.

He’s been lucky enough to work in business, government and the third
sector, enjoying time based in Japan and Belgium as well as the UK. In
his last role, he was Managing Director of European Government
Relations at one of the world’s largest professional services
businesses, where he and his team worked to develop meaningful
relationships and ultimately support the company’s growth. He also
served as a coach and mentor, helping people exploit their strengths
to the full.

Tom was a trustee at the Helen Bamber Foundation for seven years and has worked very closely with several other third sector organisations, including the National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) and Young Enterprise. He enjoys photography and loves hill-walking with his German Wirehaired
Pointers, Flo and Theo.

Abby Chicken

Abby is an activist and campaigner, both for environmental and social justice. She has spent the past 4 years as Director of Volunteer Engagement for Pride in London, and in her day job builds campaigns around environmental sustainability. She is the sworn enemy of the plastic bottle and the straw. She believes that the world is a wildly beautiful place and as humans we can be better citizens of the earth and better neighbours to other species by being connected to each other and to nature. And what better place to start than with a chit-chat? Getting to know different world views is the very first step.

In her spare(!) time, Abby likes nothing better than getting out into the woods with her baby boy and a camera.

Anthony Morris

Anthony is thrilled to be a part of chit-chat. Conversations can be so powerful; not just for the many millions of people in Britain who are coping with loneliness, but for everyone.

Anthony has worked with a variety of consumer facing businesses. He is currently Director of Data, Analytics, and Insight at Dixons Carphone where he is responsible for driving more effective use of data across all areas of the business.

Prior to joining Dixons, Anthony worked for the strategy consultancy Booz and Co, specialising in due diligence and turnaround of businesses in the fast-moving consumer goods sector.

Anthony has an MBA from the London Business School and Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Bristol University. Anthony has two children and enjoys cycling, long walks with his family and the dog, and building contraptions in the shed.

Lorna Ferguson

chit-chat’s mission, to make meaningful conversations accessible to all, is something that Lorna believes will have far-reaching impact on the mental and professional health of the nation.

Collaborative working is at the heart of Lorna’s approach and she has spent her career working to build communities of practice to encourage the flow of knowledge, opinions and insight.

Lorna is a programme and project management professional with a specialism in knowledge and change management. Over the last 7 years, she has worked as an interim director and consultant delivering knowledge and change programmes in professional service firms.

Apart from all this, Lorna is Mum to Jack (13) and Daisy (9), who both take meaningful conversation to a new level!

Senthooran Ramachandran

Sen is an ardent supporter of chit-chat and endorses the positive impact it has, and will continue to have. Connecting people through conversion within a safe space makes chit-chat a vital cog within the well-being framework.

Sen has over 10 years worth of experience within the financial services sector. He is also a qualified accountant. Via his experience in leading global teams, he recognises the importance of conversation and communication as vital infrastructure for positive well-being. Having someone listening and engaging is especially reassuring in the current fast-paced and digital world.

Sen is also active within the education sector and takes pride in his volunteering efforts. In his own time, Sen’s taken up playing online chess in the hope of becoming a Grandmaster soon!

John Valentine

John is a huge fan of chit-chat’s work – believing that we are all social animals who need to stay connected for any of us to move forward. John has worked in various third sector or purpose-driven organisations for the last 8 years, building partnerships and co-creating with individuals from all sectors. So working with an organisation that exists to bring us all together is right up his street!

Besides chit-chat, John is currently working in business development, somewhere in the middle of the charitable and justice sectors. In his own time, he answers to a small black cat and performs various duties as commanded.

James Sullivan

James is currently Head of Legal & Company Secretary at Monzo, a UK challenger bank. He has over 20 years’ experience as a solicitor and have held senior legal, compliance and operational roles in several regulated financial services firms. Originally a modern languages graduate, James transferred into law and also holds an MBA from City University’s Business School. Away from work, he loves to travel and walk his weimaraners, although as he recently became a father of twins, most of James’ spare time is now spent at home with his husband.

James is really excited about supporting chit-chat’s growth and delivery of its vision. Our world has become so rushed and busy, with people increasingly relying on social media or feeling lonely. It’s great to find somewhere that people can come together to communicate socially in a human way and without labels.

 

Aaliya Manji

Aaliya left her engineering degree at UCL in her second year to be Chief of Staff at an EdTech startup, focused on interactions and high quality learning experiences at university level.

Through her work, she began to understand the true power of conversations and staying connected, leading her to jump at the chance of joining chit-chat’s Youth Advisory Board when she first heard about the mission. After a couple of great months contributing to chit-chat’s young peoples’ strategy and recruitment, she took up the position of Chair on the Youth Advisory Board.

In her spare time, Aaliya loves building things with her microcontrollers and 3D printer, making lists and looking after her plants. She is returning to university in October 2020 to actually finish her degree, finally.

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