Meet our Key Trustees

Here at The Key, we're proud to have such a diverse Board of Trustees who volunteer their time, knowledge and skills on a regular basis.

Our Trustees are responsible for the overall control and strategic direction of our charity and work hard to add value in many ways as they support our team to inspire belief in as many young people as possible.

Meet our Key Trustees...

  • Andrew Silver, Chair of Trustees
    Andrew has held Group Director-level roles with multiple large national organisations including Virgin and Golden Tulip, where he played an imperative role in driving both change and growth.
    Now the owner of 360 growth Partners, Andrew and his associates partner with organisations and work with them to achieve their vision.
    Andrew also acts as a mentor to our executive team and supports The Key closely by chairing the Board of Trustees and sitting on the organisations Finance and Risk Sub-committee offering his expert advice whenever required.

  • Lieutenant General Robin Brims
    Born and brought up in the Tyne Valley, Robin Brims joined the Army in 1970 commissioning into The Light Infantry. He saw operational service in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Iraq. Robin worked in MOD Whitehall on The Army’s organisation and budget before retiring and becoming Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kurdistan-Hawler in Northern Iraq. His task was to reorganise the University in order to make it fit international standards.
    Robin is a Non-Executive Director of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo; and is on the Advisory Board of DroneShield an international company that seeks to provide protection to sites that are vulnerable to drone interference. In the North East he was a Trustee of Norcare for 6 years providing housing and support for the economically and socially excluded in order to get them back to independent living. In January 2016 he became Chairman of the Oswin Project that seeks to place ex-offenders into work on release from prison. He has been Chairman of Northumbria Historic Churches Trust since 2011 and is a Deputy Lieutenant in the County of Tyne and Wear and was previously the High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear in 2017/18 and was also the Chairman of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations for over 8 years.
    Robin seeks to release the genius that lies within all people by empowering them to make the best of their abilities, be aspirational and have a ‘can do’ attitude.

  • Emma Richards
    Emma is an HR professional who has worked in organisations ranging from large public companies to small family-owned businesses.  She spent the early part of her career working in the chemical industry in operational and strategic HR positions across the UK and Europe.  Subsequently she has worked freelance, both supporting HR directors with organisational change projects and working in small organisations with little or no HR support, including a business development project at The Key in 2016. For a period of 11 years, Emma was also non-executive director at Haulfryn Group Limited, where she chaired the Remuneration Committee until she retired from the Board in 2013.
    After many years in a broad range of HR roles, Emma’s expertise lies in understanding organisational needs and translating them into effective and practical people management practices

  • Leigh Thompson
    Leigh is a founder of 'gotPurpose?' which works with business leaders to develop business and purpose led strategies aligned to business goals that drive both commercial and social benefits. Leigh is well-known in the voluntary sector after previously being a Program Manager of a corporate foundation and a CSR advocate at many voluntary sector events.

  • Tom Thomas
    Tom is one of the most experienced Key Facilitators in the North East. He has been a member of the Key Board of Trustees for 15 years and has used The Key Framework both practically as a Facilitator and strategically, as the Manager of several youth organisations.
    Tom started working with young people in Stoke when he was just 16 giving him over 40 years of experience to date. His first taste of the North East was in Scotswood, Newcastle where he worked with some of the most deprived young people in the region. He then went on to work for the National Children’s Play and Recreational Unit where he was a Programme Director for Children Today in Leicester, an action research project into Best Practice in children’s play.

  • Mary Youngs
    Mary is a technology leader with a background in business systems, serving clients from start-ups to FTSE 100 businesses.  Most recently, her focus has been advising on the use of cloud technologies, for which she won the Salesforce Partner Award for Team Excellence, and was a finalist for Woman of the Year.  She has built and led digital professional services teams for small and large consultancies, and through multiple acquisitions & mergers, with most recent roles as VP of Cloud Sherpas (a high growth VC backed business) and MD at Accenture.  She is currently working as an independent consultant, advising a range of technology businesses on scaling and operations.
    Mary is passionate about making technology a great industry for everyone, supporting diversity, equality & education initiatives with volunteer roles at organisations including Stemettes, NE Futures UTC & The Girl's Network.  She is a Trustee of Newcastle Carers, with a focus on digital & youth services.

  • Liz Watchorn
    Liz has a wide range of experience gained in a variety of sectors from FTSE 250 companies, national charities to philanthropy, in Europe’s largest social funder. She has worked at The National Lottery Community Fund since late 2014 and is currently the programme manager for the Climate Action Fund. Driven by challenges and the opportunity to support continuous improvement, Liz has a strong social conscience with a personal focus on leadership, people engagement and social justice.

  • Lisa Eaton
    FCIM Lisa has twenty years of experience in delivering marketing and communications strategies for an extensive range of organisations. Lisa is a commercially focussed business leader, with a robust understanding of both the public and private sector. With her extensive marketing experience, Lisa co-founded Unwritten Group in 2014, and following a management buyout remains as Managing Director. The award-winning integrated agency delivers marketing and communications strategies to wide range of organisations and prominent UK brands. At Unwritten, Lisa manages a team of creative specialists and oversees the direction of the business, responsible for growth and diversifying the offer in response to market demand.
    As a prominent member of the North East business community, Lisa hosts the GINWAG podcast, where she interviews local business figures about their experiences. A passionate advocate for women in business, Lisa is a mentor with The Girls Network, guiding young women in establishing their career ambitions.

  • Terry Burke
    As Vice President Finance for Husqvarna, Terry joins The Key's board to support our growth ambitions and inspire belief in young people.