CHAIR OF TRUSTEES
LLM, Barrister, Solicitor, FRSA, FIoD
As Chair I bring my experiences of the legal and regulatory sectors and of having been in various trustee, governor and non-executive director positions for over 25 years. I own and run a specialist employment law firm and am active in Bristol’s business community.
I am also a Coach, working mainly with business leaders and professionals, focussed on the development of self-awareness, emotional intelligence and the use of positive psychology to promote growth, creativity, fulfilment and balance in work and life generally.
I have enormous respect for the skills and work of my fellow trustees and it is a privilege to be able to support their work though our charity.
TRUSTEE & CEO
Dr Clare Short
MB ChB, MRCPsych
I have worked in the NHS until recently as a Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist. As part of my work I have spent a lot of time in schools and I recognise the need for more support to address the well-being and emotional health of both students and staff.
Part of my role as a psychiatrist has been training medical students, trainee psychiatrists, social workers and teachers about emotional well-being.
Whilst respectful of the need for psychiatric diagnosis and medical treatment, I approach clinical practice in an integrative way so that the mind and body are not treated as separate entities.
I remain concerned that emotional distress is becoming over-medicalised and that this can be disempowering. I would like there to be more opportunities for staff to come together and reflect on their daily work.
TRUSTEE & SECRETARY
I work as a Gestalt therapist. For fifteen years I worked as an acupuncturist before choosing to pursue a specifically relational approach that Gestalt offers. The way I now work has also been shaped by being a father and through my own experience of Gestalt therapy.
From the outset, the Gestalt approach takes account of a person’s circumstances and believes that change relates to whether their situation supports or hinders them.
I like this contextual approach which views the problems a person is experiencing as situational rather than ‘their own’. This stance can help people whose problems having originated through lack of an attuned relationship can grow when such a relationship becomes possible.
This way of working relies on experience rather than knowing. And my capacity to be available to my own experience derives from the relational support of my colleagues and family.
TRUSTEE & TREASURER
Dr Isabel de Salis
MA, MSc, MBBS, PhD
I practice as a psychotherapist and have also trained as a doctor and taught and researched as an anthropologist.
I believe that it is focusing on being with others and ourselves, rather than seeking solutions to problems, that helps us to accept ourselves and support us in our work and relationships. Positive outlook, emotional honesty and respect for others provide us with good grounds for working with each other, and gives us space for new things to emerge. I love working with dreams, symbols and image making.
I have learnt from many people, including Malawian spiritual healers, menopausal women in England and young persons in CAMHS.
CONSULTANT EDUCATIONAL ADVISOR
Aurora has worked as a senior leader in a number of schools in Bristol, Reading and London.
As a qualified Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Special Educational Needs co-ordinator (SENDCo) she has led primarily on Inclusion but has also held curriculum and teacher development roles.
She is passionate about inclusive leadership in the broadest sense, that is how we build equity and care for all into the heart of our schools.
Alongside working with Openmind.ed, Aurora is writing a book Leading Mindfully for a Healthy and Successful School Culture, due to be published by Routledge in the summer.
INDEPENDENT SOCIAL WORKER
Chereece has a background in education and social work, including inclusion and SEND, safeguarding, outreach and therapeutic interventions.
She has worked within and alongside primary, secondary, specialist and alternative provisions schools for over 15 years.
She is passionate about the introduction of relational based therapeutic practice for children and families within the school setting as well supporting school staff through relative practice.
COMMUNITY ARTS ADVISOR
MENTAL HEALTH PRACTITIONER
Esme Hodes is an artist, facilitator and mental health practitioner based in Bristol. Her current practice engages with the environment; wellbeing; placemaking; all things edible; storytelling and collaboration. Her work engages with connection and relationships: to nature, community and self, in ways that aim to question, develop empathy and foster a sense of belonging.
Esme has experience working with children, young people and vulnerable adults in a variety of settings. These include community arts engagement, nature-based learning and health and social care. She is interested in cross-disciplinary projects that weave arts and storytelling into our everyday lives.
Derek O’Rourke – Vice Principal, St. Bede’s Catholic College, Bristol
Twenty-seven positive years in the Education sector has afforded me a host of wonderful
opportunities to accompany young people on their learning journeys. These paths, although signposted by a curriculum that suggests a common direction for all, have been extremely varied, unpredictable, and therefore hugely enlightening.
Senior leadership at a large Catholic secondary setting has enabled me in recent times to recognise the importance of ‘Wellness’ not only for our young scholars but also for the Adult members of our
College Team. Having accepted the huge challenge to ensure that the next generation are well equipped to take their place in society working towards the common good, we are minded to remember to look after one another, but also ourselves.
Specifically, our focus on Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Wellness significantly boosts our effectiveness to support the young people to be the best that they can be and to continue to ‘Walk