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Our team

The Centre’s small core team is made up of a thoughtful and skilled group of people working together to design, develop and deliver cutting-edge projects and programmes, with and for the youth sector.

Bethia McNeil

Bethia is the Centre’s Chief Executive, and has been with the Centre since its launch in September 2014.

Prior to joining the team to set up the Centre, Bethia worked at the Dartington Social Research Unit, the Young Foundation, the National Youth Agency and NIACE (now the Learning and Work Institute), in a variety of policy and research roles. She has also worked in further and higher education as a teacher and trainer.
Bethia leads the Centre’s strategy and relationships with its many partners and collaborators. She is also part of the project teams for the Centre’s main strands of work, including the Youth Investment Fund and the Youth Programme Quality Intervention (YPQI) Pilot. Bethia is particularly interested in the relationship between quality and impact in youth work and provision for young people, and in the theory and practice of measurement, especially within collaboratives. Bethia is a 2012 Clore Social Fellow and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Nottingham Trent University.
Outside of work, Bethia likes being close to water, wandering round historical buildings and re-reading the novels of Michael Connolly. She loves music and reading about new ideas. She is a Trustee at Datakind UK and a Non-Exec Director of Isledon.

Steve Hillman

Steve is the Centre’s Chief Operating Officer and joined the Centre in October 2018. 

Prior to joining the Centre, Steve was Director of Policy and Impact at the Foyer Federation, a national charity supporting young people experiencing homelessness.  Whilst at the Foyer Federation, Steve led on developing a Theory of Change for the UK Foyer network, and developed a revised impact measurement model that was also aligned to the Foyer Federation’s Quality Assurance process. The Foyer Federation was one of the Centre's 'early adopters’ and, as a result, Steve has been engaging with and supporting the Centre's work since its foundation.
Steve leads the Centre’s Finance, HR, and systems functions, as well as having oversight of our portfolio of grants and contracts.  He also supports the Regional Networks.  His interests include the relationship between organisational development and impact, measuring impact in complex settings, and the use of innovative methods of research and evaluation.
Outside of work, Steve enjoys spending time with his two teenage daughters (when he can track them down).

Mary McKaskill

Mary is the Centre’s Research and Methods Lead, and has been with the Centre since August 2017 when she joined us from Project Oracle.

Mary also has experience as a freelance consultant and direct work with young people in the US, the UK and Indonesia. She holds a BA double major in Anthropology, Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University and a MA in Applied Anthropology and Community Development from Goldsmiths, University of London. Anthropology continues to inform the way she works.
At the Centre, Mary works with youth organisations to support their development towards truly meaningful evaluation practice. She does this through the design and delivery of training, one-to-one support, and working with thematic or place-based cohort programmes. Mary is particularly interested in how organisations can use evaluation in ways that have a practical benefit to children and young people. She is on the Clore Emerging Leader programme June – November 2019.
Outside of work, Mary enjoys running (slowly), spending time on the canal, and almost always has a crafty project on the go. She plays improv comedy with the all-women group In Stitches and also facilitates workshops with them.

Catherine Mitchell

Catherine is the Centre's Organisational Learning Lead, and joined the team in August 2019 following the transfer from Generation Change.

Prior to this role, Catherine has worked in youth social action at Student Hubs, most recently leading on the organisation’s people and culture, programmes, and impact work.

In her work as Programme Manager, she oversees delivery of our 12 month improvement programme for youth organisations, ensuring all organisations are well supported through their journey and working closely with the Centre to bring together learning on best practice. Catherine is particularly interested in how we learn and share across networks, and how the sector can support both individuals and teams to thrive and create impact through meaningful activities.

Outside of work, Catherine enjoys running and boxing, borrowing other people’s dogs, and helping to organise live, intimate gigs in the local community.

Josef Fischer

Josef is the Centre’s Data Lead and has worked at the Centre since June 2019.

Previously, Josef worked in the further education sector and was responsible for support provision for learners with disabilities, mental health difficulties, and learning differences as well as students with welfare and safeguarding concerns. Understanding the critical role that high quality data plays in planning, delivery and evaluation led Josef to roles in data analysis, web application development, and data modelling in the UK and Europe.
Josef’s role at the Centre is to assist the team to efficiently collect, analyse and model its data in order to draw meaningful insights that can inform research and practice development. Josef is also working on web applications that will share insights with the Centre’s partners in a collaborative manner.
Josef is a keen walker and will happily climb mountains if placed before him. Passionate about the role of science in the environment, computation and politics, Josef will read and watch anything that provides new information and insights in this landscape.

Sarah Rose

Sarah is the Centre’s Resources Manager, and has worked at the Centre since January 2018.

Prior to joining the Centre, Sarah worked at The House of St Barnabas, a social enterprise pledging to break the cycle of homelessness and social exclusion in London.
At the Centre, Sarah works to support the team logistically in the delivery of the Centre's work. She is particularly interested in operational efficiency, workplace culture and effective governance within not-for-profit organisations, and works to uphold the highest standards of these at the Centre.
When not at work, Sarah is usually out for dinner, at the theatre or running around Golders Hill Park. Sarah loves solo travel and planning where she’s going to venture off to next.

Jo Hickman Dunne

Jo is Project Manager and the lead for the Centre’s work on youth voice. She joined us in December 2019

Prior to this, Jo’s love of research led her to completing a Ph.D in youth experiences of outdoor education (the option to conduct research whilst canoeing and camping was an attraction too). Jo has developed her knowledge of the youth sector through working for the Outward Bound Trust, and also currently teaches human geography at Loughborough University.
Jo supports the Centre’s research and insight activity, working across our portfolio of projects to analyse and communicate the data we collect. Jo is particularly interested in understanding how young people experience and access youth services and how we can use research to centralise youth voices in the development and implementation of youth provision.
When not at work, Jo can usually be found running… everywhere. She doesn’t like to spend too much time sitting down

Tom Burke

Tom is the Centre’s Interim Executive Director. He joined the Centre in March 2021.

As a teenager, Tom was actively involved in child rights and youth work organisations and he has a long history of engagement in youth sector domestically and globally. He is an experienced freelance consultant working with a range of children and youth organisations primarily leading research and evaluation projects; wider capacity development and training; and interim leadership. Much of his work has focussed on youth participation; equity, diversity and inclusion; and safeguarding. He has previously worked for the Children’s Rights Alliance for England and as Deputy CEO at Y Care International, the international development agency of the YMCA in the UK & Ireland. He holds a PgDip Educational and Social Research Methods from the Institute of Education.

Tom supports the organisation across the breadth of its projects and in operational planning and delivery.

Outside of work, Tom spends most of his time with friends eating and drinking with a pretence of theatre, film, clubbing and the occasional country walk.

Hannah Warsame

Hannah is the Centre’s Communications Officer and joined the Centre in February 2021.

Hannah joined the Centre in February 2021 and is responsible for our day to day comms activity and leads on strategic comms planning for external projects.

With a background in PR, media relations and digital comms spanning over six years across the charity, arts and tech sectors, Hannah specialises in audience and engagement, helping nascent and mid-sized organisations create and deliver impactful campaigns, and strengthen their online and public profiles. She has also led and executed comms and media strategies for high profile events and figures, including influencers, government officials and Royal households. Outside of work, Hannah is a keen playwright and writer, previously holding a three-year residency at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

Soizic Hagege

Soizic is the Centre's Enterprise Development Manager and leads our Enterprise Development Programme. Soizic joined the Centre in March 2021.

Soizic is an entrepreneur expert and project manager with extensive experience and a passion for making a difference through transformative learning experiences, diversity and inclusion endeavours, and impactful entrepreneurship.

She has led an array of programmes, roles, and events from the capital of the United States to the jungle of Panama, and has taught enterprise development to American MBA students in South Korea, to Brazilian students in the USA, and to many more throughout Central and South America. She has also done research in Ecuador, Tunisia and the EMEA region, and helped cross-sector and corporate partnerships grow in the UK.

Zunaira Mahmood

Zunaira Mahmood is the Centre's Research and Projects Assistant, and joined us in September 2021

Zunaira joined the Centre in September 2021, with a background in social sciences research and a particular interest in social mobility through education.

Zunaira supports our Organisational Research Lead and assists on Centre-wide research projects. Prior to joining us, Zunaira was involved with grassroots charity 'IntoUniversity' as part of their mentor programme and worked alongside her university as a widening participation ambassador. 

Dr Lucy Maynard

Lucy is the Centre’s Interim Director of Projects. She joined the Centre in November 2021 and will be with us until early 2022.

Lucy has a long history with the Centre as a former Trustee, as well as one of the Early Adopters and a Regional Network Lead. This history provides a great foundation for Lucy to support and lead our breadth of projects.

Lucy has a PhD in wellbeing development, focusing on youth empowerment and critical pedagogy. Until recently, she was Head of Research and Development at Brathay Trust. She is committed to shared learning, open working and collective sector development and innovation. Lucy has recently co-authored her third book entitled ‘The Practitioner Guide to Participatory Research with Groups and Communities’, which is aimed to be stripped back, fun, and accessible in order to engage more people in research.

Outside of work, you will mainly find Lucy riding her bike up and down Lake District hills.

Our Associate network

The team is supported by a committed network of associates who strengthen our work with their specialist knowledge and expertise. We are currently looking to work with  freelancers who have skills, knowledge and experience in one or more of the following areas::

  • Evidence, impact, evaluation and improvement in social programmes
  • Collective impact and shared measurement approaches
  • Scoping and developing shared data solutions
  • Building communities of practice
  • Youth-focused public policy and system dynamics
  • Familiarity with both qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Training and facilitation

The full associate role description can be found here.

For more information on becoming an associate with the Centre, please contact Sarah Rose at