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Our board of trustees

Our board of trustees

At Plan International UK, we are governed by our Board of Trustees. The Board meets regularly and is responsible for setting our strategic direction, as well as for our overall governance and overseeing our management.

New trustees are chosen in consultation with the full Board, making sure that, collectively, the Board has the skills and experience needed to enable us to operate effectively.

Meet the board and find out what motivates them to volunteer for us.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond


Professor Sir Ian Diamond became Chair of Plan International UK in 2018. Sir Ian is Chair of British Universities and Colleges Sport, Chair of Edinburgh College and a board member of UK Research and Innovation. He was previously Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, the Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council and Chair of the Research Councils UK Executive Group. Prior to this he was Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Southampton, where he had been for most of his career. He chaired the Welsh Assembly Government’s Higher Education Review for Wales in 2016 and was elected to the UK Academy of Social Sciences in 1999. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and holds honorary degrees from the universities of Cardiff and Glasgow and Curtin University.

In a volatile world in which poverty and gender inequality remain all too evident, never has the work of Plan International UK been more important, and never has it been more pressing to show the UK public why that’s the case.

- Sir Ian Diamond, Chair, Plan International UK

Gillian Smith


Gillian has been a board member since 2014, and became Deputy Chair in June 2019. She is Of Counsel in the London office of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, an American law firm. Previously she was a partner, and head of the Finance Department, of S.J. Berwin LLP, a City law firm. Gillian has also served as Company Secretary to KidsOut (a national charity for disadvantaged children) and as the legal adviser to Emergency UK (a medical charity).

Gillian is a law graduate of the University of Cambridge and is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales.

I love being involved with an organisation which is committed to supporting the rights of children.

Gillian Smith, Deputy Chair, Plan International UK

Olivia Beecham


Olivia has been a member of the board since 2016. She works at the Department for International Development (DFID), and has had a number of roles within the British Government including working on social protection and improving data in developing countries. Before joining DFID, Olivia worked at Palladium, an international development consultancy, where she was part of the Governance and Accountability division, and has previously worked for a number of charities including Action Against Hunger and International Service. Olivia has a background in youth leadership and teaching, both in the UK and in Peru, and as a result is particularly passionate about the benefits to society a quality education can bring. 

 As a young woman I am passionate that every woman and child has an equal opportunity in today’s society. As the youngest trustee on the Plan International UK board I help ensure young people’s voices are represented at the heart of the organisation’s decision making.

Olivia Beecham, Plan International UK Trustee

Hannah Burgess


Hanah has been a board member since 2014. She’s also a member of the Audit, Finance and Risk committee. Hanah is a chartered accountant with nearly 20 years’ experience working in both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. After qualifying from PwC, she went on to work in the financial services sector before taking on a senior finance role at ITV. Hanah has spent the last five years working for large UK charities in both financial and strategic planning roles and is currently the Finance Director at Parkinson’s UK. Before that, she was Finance and Resources Director at Anthony Nolan and Finance Director at the Health Foundation.

Being able to offer my skills to support such a brilliant charity was an incredible opportunity for me and one which I’ve learnt and developed a lot from.

Hanah Burgess, Plan International UK Trustee

Amanda Ellingworth meets Plan staff in Sir Lanka


Amanda's first career was as a social worker, specialising in child protection. More recently she has held a portfolio of non-executive directorships and trusteeships in the field of health and social care. Amongst other roles, Amanda is currently a non-executive director on Plan International’s International Board and on Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Board. She is also Senior Independent Director of Barnardo’s. Amanda joined Plan International UK as Chair in 2016 before being elected onto the International Board in 2017. 

Plan International UK’s work, with adolescent girls in particular, has been inspirational. The organisation provides quality education for girls while also tackling abuses such as child marriage and FGM.

- Amanda Ellingworth, Plan International UK Trustee

Jane French


Jane has been a board member since 2012. She served on the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee and Remuneration Committee until the end of 2018, and is now Chair of Development Works, a new, wholly-owned subsidiary of Plan International UK, which focusses on large development contracts. Jane also represents Plan International UK at the Plan International Members’ Assembly. Passionate about promoting diversity with equal access to education and economic opportunity, Jane is a governor of Goodenough College and trustee of New College (Oxford) Development Fund. She is an Ambassador for ACE Africa, which works in rural Kenya and Tanzania to support communities struggling with HIV. She was also a long-standing member and trustee of Pilotlight, a capacity-building charity helping other UK charities to become more effective in alleviating social disadvantage. Jane is Global Head of Compliance for Wealth Management at Deutsche Bank and has spent her career in international banking. 

I was able to take my 16-year-old daughter to see the transformational work we do in Tanzania and Uganda. We were humbled and overwhelmed by the positive energy, the resourcefulness and will to succeed of the pupils, the enormous commitment of their teachers and the tireless support of the Plan International staff.

Jane French, Plan International UK Trustee

Spencer McHugh


Spencer has been a member of the board since October 2012. He is the Chief Marketing Officer for OTRO, and was previously Marketing Director at Sky, EE and Orange.

Prior to that he spent 12 years working for advertising agencies in a variety of strategic and planning roles.

When I found out about the hugely positive impact Plan International UK makes to children’s lives all over the world, I wanted to find a way to get involved.

Spencer McHugh, Plan International UK Trustee

Meredith is a Plan International UK board member


Meredith has been a member of the board since 2017. She is the Executive Director of Fundraising and Engagement at Marie Curie, the UK’s leading terminal illness charity. Meredith previously worked as an Investment Director at venture philanthropy fund Impetus Trust, where she helped set up a multi-million pound reducing reoffending initiative, and at Goldman Sachs, where she was latterly an Executive Director in the Investment Banking Division. Meredith also volunteers her time as a trustee of Trust for London and was previously a trustee of BookTrust, Hestia, Toynbee Hall, and the Junior League of London. She lives in London with her husband and three young sons.

My children are my biggest love – I would do anything to give them the best possible future. And it’s because I know how lucky they are that I also want to help other children achieve their potential.

Meredith Niles, Plan International UK Trustee

Lara Oyesanya


Lara has been a board member since 2014. She also represents Plan International UK at the Members’ Assembly. Lara is UK Counsel and Director, Legal at Klarna Bank AB. Before joining Klarna, Lara held a senior position at Barclays where, in addition to advising Offshore and Business Banking, she was a Trainee Supervisor and Secretary to the Global Legal Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Lara has also held senior positions both in private practice (Hammonds and McKinnells) and in-house (British Rail, RAC and BAE Systems), including a role as the head of legal at Lex, then part of HBOS. She is a contributing editor for Lexis Nexis Encyclopaedia of Banking Law and a member of Lexis®PSL Financial Services Consulting Editorial Board. Lara is a law graduate of the University of Lagos and is dual qualified as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and a solicitor in England and Wales.

The toughest moment of being part of the Plan International UK board was seeing the impact the Nepal earthquake had on communities, and in particular the young girls who could no longer go about their daily lives.

Lara Oyesanya, Plan International UK Trustee

Richard Street is a Plan International UK trustee


Richard has been a member of the board since 2015. He has worked as a businessman, a diplomat and NGO executive in over 60 countries with 30 years senior management experience in industry, and as CEO of the Prince of Wales Youth Business Trust. He has been a trustee of several charities and a governor of a leading UK further education college. He has worked with many international organisations including USAID, the ILO, the Inter-American Development Bank and the UN, for whom he was secretary of the Youth Entrepreneurship Group for the Millennium Development Goals. What he brings to Plan International UK is a wide experience in education, youth entrepreneurship and employability for marginalised young people, working with international agencies and setting up and managing local charities in over 15 countries.

We consider ourselves an expert organisation in making a better world for young people.

Rick Street, Plan International UK Trustee

Adam Wood is a board member for Plan International UK


Adam has been a board member since 2017. Through a career focused on diplomacy and international development, he lived and worked on four continents seeking to promote peace, security and prosperity, resolve conflict and reduce poverty. As British High Commissioner in Kenya he was centrally involved in ending the post-election violence in 2008. He also served as High Commissioner in Uganda and Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man, as well as working at the World Bank and European Commission. 

In my life as a diplomat, I was shaken by the cruelty that can be afflicted on young people, especially girls. Yet I also learned how whole communities benefit when girls are empowered, by completing education or postponing pregnancy.

Adam Wood, Plan International UK Trustee

Jobs and volunteers

We’re always on the lookout for accountable, self-assured and passionate individuals to join our team. If you think you’ve got what it takes then we'd like to hear from you - take a look at our current job openings.