Wes Cuell – Chair
Wes has more than 40 years of experience working in social care, primarily in services for children and young people as a qualified social worker.
He worked for many years in local authorities including Luton, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire as the head of services and was director of services for children and young people at the NSPCC until 2011.
He has a special interest in the support of vulnerable children and families and in safeguarding which included chairing a local children’s safeguarding board and being a board member of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Service (CEOP).
Wes chairs the Hertfordshire Adoption Panel and, having been adopted as a child, has a lifelong interest in and commitment to the role of adoption in transforming the lives of children.
He lives with his wife in Woburn and has two grown up children and grandchildren who live in the USA. Wes is a keen long distance walker, sailor, trombone player and fly fisherman and loves to travel.
Philip Lewis – Vice Chair and lead trustee for organisational development and IT
Philip is the operations and commercial director of a company that develops resilience in the cyber and cybersecurity market. He has more than 30 years’ experience leading and motivating teams to maintain and grow businesses that need to adapt quickly to changing requirements.
Philip lives in Berkshire with his wife and his son, who was adopted through PACT. He has three older children who are now all adults and have ‘flown the nest’ and through which he has his first grand-daughter. Having adopted through PACT, Phil wanted to give something back to the charity that gives so much to others; both through adoption and their work with on community projects.
Bob Kapp – Lead trustee for digital development
Bob has spent more than 20 years in commodity trading with director experience across multinational and start-up companies in the US and the UK. In 2019, Bob co-founded a film production company based in Los Angeles, creating great stories across film, television, and digital channels. In addition, he is involved in a variety of different projects ranging from sustainable food brands to energy market disruption technologies.
Bob lives in Berkshire with his partner, Lisa, and their two children who were adopted through PACT.
Kim Gelling – Lead trustee for marketing
Kim is committed to using business as a force for good: she has spent more than six years on the board at Ella’s Kitchen, previously as head of making friends (marketing director in grown-up language) and recently as head of making deals (commercial director). As a passionate B Corp, the certification means that Ella’s Kitchen meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
Kim said: “I am very impressed with PACT’s ability to combine professionalism and passion to support families. I am looking forward to bringing my expertise from business and creating a strong brand to support PACT’s future development”.
Kim previously worked in the consumer products division at L’Oreal in national account manager and marketing roles.
She lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and two children and enjoys running and cycling to explore the countryside.
Rene Baron – Lead trustee for safeguarding
Rene is an experienced practitioner who has had the privilege of working within a multitude of roles during her 26 years as qualified social worker. Registered with Social Work England, she has worked in front line roles and management as well as holding positions such as Child Protection Chair, Independent Reviewing Officer and Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
Rene brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to PACT in the areas of legislation, policies and procedures, and she has an excellent understanding of the different specialised areas in Children Services. She also brings her experience of leading child protection conferences, strategy meetings, allegations meetings, and acting as LADO overseeing investigations, as well as delivering training, coaching and mentoring to staff across various services.
She is passionate about ensuring that the needs of our most vulnerable are kept at the centre of everything we do.
Edgars Smatovs – Treasurer
Ed is originally from Riga, Latvia and currently lives in London. He has been in the UK for the best part of 10 years and studied at the University of York and the University of Padua in Italy as part of his ERASMUS exchange programme.
Ed is a CIMA qualified accountant and has spent the last seven years in various finance roles, including financial reporting, business partnering and FP&A. His current role is in the financial services sector, working as an FP&A Manager in the largest private-sector pension scheme in the UK.
He has been involved with charitable organisations mostly in a fundraising capacity and is looking forward to his role as a trustee at PACT.
In his free time, Ed enjoys playing football, cycling, running and snowboarding.
Rev Judith Sumner – Lead trustee for communities
Rev Judith Sumner was ordained in 2016 and is an associate minister at Reading Minster. Before ordination, she was a primary school teacher and has experience in mental health chaplaincy.
Judith’s faith is deeply rooted in inclusivity and a commitment to each and every person’s value and worth and as part of the Minster team, she has responsibilities for safeguarding and pastoral care.
She said: “Through my role at the Minster, I have recognised the importance of charities who support the most vulnerable in Reading. I have worked with PACT, particularly Alana House and seen the difference they can make and it is a great privilege to have become a trustee.”
Judith and her husband Andy have grown up children and a dog and have lived in the Reading area for 30 years.
Dean Hunter – Lead trustee for HR
Dean originates from Aberdeen, where he worked as a police officer after completing his university degree in 1997. He was regularly frustrated in that role as he wanted to do more to be supportive to families and children who needed help and the system didn’t seem to have the resources to assist. Dean then spent 15 years in the corporate world as an HR Director working and travelling across 30 countries.
In 2011, Dean established an HR advisory company which he ran until 2021 when he became Chair person. The now employee-owned company supports over 800 clients and Dean has worked with many global and local charities to help them strategically engage and retain their people. Dean is also a non-executive director in the tech space, supporting the company to scale by creating a world class culture.
Dean has a 20 year old daughter and he lives in London with his partner George and their 18 month old spaniel. He has several friends who are single parents and he is proud to be able to be a support for them and to play a big part in their children’s lives.
Dean brings his HR and organisational experience to PACT which he believes “is an essential organisation to give families and children the best chance possible in life” which he is extremely passionate about.
Chris Foote – Lead trustee for adoption
Chris qualified as a social worker in 1974 and has specialised in the field of adoption and fostering for most of her social work career. Between 2002 and 2013, she was a member of PACT’s adoption service as a social worker and team manager. Following her retirement, from 2013 to 2021, she continued to work part-time for PACT as a contract social worker and adoption panel member.
For the past eight years, Chris has been Safeguarding Governor and latterly Chair of Governors at a local primary school. The school has a strongly pastoral ethos which has chimed with Chris’s commitment to improving life chances for all children.
Chris strongly supports PACT’s inspirational and innovative work with children and families within both birth and adoptive families. During her time at PACT, she was privileged to undertake the initial steps to expand PACT’s adoption support service, which has now developed into the FACTS therapeutic service, Strengthening Families service and Adopter Champions team. Chris is keen to continue to serve PACT in her role as the lead trustee for adoption.
Since 1986, Chris has been stepmother to her husband’s three children and also has one birth daughter, so has first-hand experience of blended families. She now lives in Oxfordshire with her husband, a retired Anglican clergyman, and has eight grandchildren. In her spare time, Chris enjoys walking, playing in a recorder band and orchestra, folk dancing and travelling with her husband in their caravan.
Sangita Manek – Lead trustee for legal
Biography coming soon…
Courteney Clifford – Young trustee
Courteney was originally from the Midlands before being adopted and she now lives in Berkshire with her family and two dogs.
She studied and achieved her Level 3 Diploma in animal management and went on to get an FdSc in animal behaviour and welfare.
Courteney currently works at a children’s theme park and joins the trustee board as a young trustee to gain further understanding of all aspects of adoption. In addition she is able to provide valuable insight from her own experience into what it is like for the adopted child growing up in that environment.
Her hobbies include walking, reading, playing video games and spending time with her dogs.