Senior Leadership Team
Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive
Jane became CEO of Working Families in September 2018. Jane has 12 years’ experience working in the third sector and has held senior leadership positions at a number of UK charities. She believes in the value of a fulfilling, balanced working life and its transformative power to create social connections, build self-esteem, and impact the wider community. She is a passionate advocate of equal opportunity for all.
Prior to joining Working Families, Jane served as Operations Director at Breast Cancer Haven. She has also served as Acting Chief Executive at SANDS and Head of Operations at Samaritans.
Jane holds a social science bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town in Industrial Sociology and Industrial Psychology.
Kirstie Axtens, Head of Employer Services
Kirstie has over 20 years’ experience working with employers by providing them with insight, knowledge and practical interventions to help them develop engaged and high-performing inclusive workplaces. Since the mid-1990s, she has been demonstrating to employers how to realise the business gains of supporting parents and carers in the workplace and introducing flexible working for all staff in order to create a more agile, effective organisation.
Catherine Gregory, Head of Marketing and Communications
Catherine became Head of Marketing and Communications at Working Families in September 2018. In this role, Catherine serves on the charity’s senior management team and is responsible for creating innovative marketing and communications strategies across a broad spectrum of channels and platforms.
Prior to Working Families, Catherine was Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications for Europe at the Urban Land Institute, where she oversaw the organisation’s marketing and communications activities across 14 countries. She has also held positions at the U.S. Department of Treasury and the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Catherine holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in media and public affairs from George Washington University.
Simon Kelleher, Head of Policy and Influencing
Simon joined Working Families in 2021 and leads the charity’s influencing work, amplifying the voices of both working parents and progressive employers to push for pragmatic changes to the world of work.
Prior to joining Working Families, Simon was Head of Education and Skills at the cross party think tank Policy Connect where he worked for 7 years to improve policy and raise the profile of further education in Westminster. Simon began his career teaching in the secondary sector and has extensive experience in the voluntary sector, most recently volunteering with Pembroke House as part of the charity’s response to the pandemic and food poverty in Southwark. Simon studied History at UEA and holds a Diploma in Management Studies from LSBU.
Emily Pritty, Head of Legal Advice Service (job share)
Emily believes it is essential for employment law advice to be readily available and accessible to those who need it the most, yet have the least access to support. She is passionate about reducing inequality and supporting employers to improve flexibility and diversity in the workplace. Together with Katy Salt, Emily is responsible for the charity’s Legal Advice Service, advising working parents on the rights via our advice support channels.
Emily has specialised in employment law since qualification as a solicitor in 2005 advising employers and employees from a wide range of industry sectors on the full range of contentious and non contentious employment law and day to day HR matters. Emily has previously worked at Norton Rose Fulbright and Harbottle and Lewis LLP before doing employment law consultancy alongside raising her children. Emily did her degree in Law and Politics at Nottingham University and Legal Practice Course at Nottingham Law school.
Katy Salt, Head of Legal Advice Service (job share)
Katy joined Working Families in November 2020 and together with Emily Pritty run the charity’s Legal Advice Service. Katy is committed to delivering clear, accessible and practical legal advice to working parents, especially those who are most vulnerable and who may not ordinarily be able to access legal advice.
Katy has specialised in Employment law since she qualified as a solicitor in 2002 and since then has worked in both the private sector (advising both employers and employees) and the public sector as a government lawyer. She has extensive experience of both litigation and advisory work covering a broad range of employment law issues. She studied History and Politics at University before completing her legal studies at BPP Law School.