Our trustees bring wide-ranging skills and experience to help steer the direction of the charity and support financial growth.
Neil Sachdev - Chair of Board of Trustees
Neil Sachdev MBE joined the Board as Trustee and Chair in July 2023. Neil has a strong and successful track record of serving as a Non-Executive and within corporate governance, strategy, change management, and climate change sustainability. He currently serves as Chair of the HM Land Registry Board, Chair of the East West Railway Company (EWR Co), overseeing the delivery of a new direct rail link between Oxford and Cambridge, and as Chairman of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation Board for the Ministry of Defence. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Network Rail Property Limited.
Previously, Neil was the Group Property Director of Sainsbury. Before that, he served for 28 years with Tesco, where he was the Stores Board Director responsible for property and operations for the UK business.
Neil was awarded an MBE for his work in relation to Energy Efficiency & Sustainability and an MBA from Stirling University, which he studied part-time while starting his career at Tesco.
Owen Forster - Trustee
Owen has worked in the energy industry for over 20 years in a variety of commercial and business development roles in both the UK and abroad and studied engineering and environmental studies. He has experience working on boards of renewables companies as well as previously being a trustee and vice chair of a large occupational pension fund. In his spare time, Owen enjoys spending time with his young family, music and learning.
Owen Forster joined the Board in July 2022.
Nigel Frost - Trustee
Nigel Frost joined the Board in July 2023. He has a strong track record in retail and visitor attractions and he is currently Head of Merchandising and Supply chain for Highgrove Enterprises, previously acting CEO. Prior to this, Nigel held the positions of Merchandise Manager then Business Change Manager at English Heritage. With his extensive retail and visitor attraction experience, Nigel will be a great support to the development of the shop amongst other areas of the charity.
Martin Green - Trustee
Martin spent his career as a senior manager in operations, firstly for Asda and Nestle and later as a consultant working in the UK, Europe and China. Martin has been a guide at Westonbirt since 2008 and was the volunteer coordinator for 5 years from 2012. As a trustee, Martin's ambition is to ensure that all visitors leave the arboretum better informed and with some of the passion for Westonbirt and its trees that Martin has enjoyed for over 30 years.
Martin Green joined the Board in April 2019.
Paul Isherwood - Trustee
During my career in senior scientific and technical roles within the food & drink industry, I managed cross-functional, collaborative teams of people, developing and launching new products, meeting quality, food safety and regulatory standards. I achieved an end-to-end supply chain agreement to reduce the company footprint, by focusing on innovations in packaging, increased recyclability, savings in energy & water use, plus carbon impacts.
I am passionate about sustainability and the long-term protection of the environment and believe that my skills and experience will be of great value, bringing ideas that will inspire people through education, participation and conservation. In addition, by adopting a hands-on, getting things done approach, I look forward to helping develop the science, learning and recreation facilities.
Paul Isherwood joined the Board in July
Martyn Smith - Finance Trustee
Martyn recently joined the Board as our Finance Trustee. With a degree in Natural Sciences, a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a career in finance within the private sector working with both public and private businesses, Martyn now runs his own consultancy business. Martyn has several years’ governance experience and brings a strong strategic approach to our financial management. He has enjoyed visiting Westonbirt for over 35 years.
Martyn Smith joined the Board in January
Sian Troupe - Trustee
Sian has a background in risk management and governance, having worked in the Financial Services sector for over 15 years. In her role as a trustee, Sian brings a strategic and operational risk management challenge and perspective as well as Board experience. Sian lives locally, has been a passionate member of Westonbirt for many years and is keen to support the arboretum’s future development.
Sian Troupe joined the Board in July 2022.
Rachel Walker - Trustee
Rachel has worked in HR for over 15 years for a variety of organisations, including 6 years as HR manager for the Tower of London with the charity Historic Royal Palaces. Rachel can use her experience of working as an HR leader within a visitor attraction and charity to help develop and support the Friends' people strategy. Since relocating from London to Wiltshire in 2018 she has enjoyed exploring Westonbirt with her family.
Rachel Walker joined the Board in April
Christian Walker - Trustee
Christian Walker joined the Board in July 2023 having worked in the landscape and heritage sector for over 20 years initially as a Landscape Architect but latterly managing estates and properties for the National Trust. He brings experience of both visitor and landscape management along with developing business vision and strategy and delivering against it. He has a desire to see the Friends go from strength to strength having been a visitor for many years watching his young family grown up who love Westonbirt.
Alaana Woods - Trustee
Woods joined the Board in July 2022 and has
over 15 years commercial and operational experience, working for some of the
UK’s largest healthcare providers.
As a Commercial Director for Bupa's provision business, Alaana is responsible for market positioning, sales strategy and client management of their 7,000 corporate customers. Prior to Bupa, Alaana was Director of Business Development at Nuffield Health. Starting her career at BMI Healthcare, where she set-up their international division.
Awarded Inspirational Leader of the Year 2022 by Cover-Women in Health and Protection, Alaana is a well-respected and regular speaker on workplace wellbeing, with a focus on women's health and equality.
Living ten minutes from Westonbirt with two young children and a dog means she spends a lot of time at the A rboretum and it has a special place in her heart.
We are privileged to have the endorsement of a Royal Patron and an ambassador who support our charity's work
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