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Our Team

Senior Leadership Team


Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive
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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
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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.

Mubeen Bhutta, Head of Policy and Influencing (job share)
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Mubeen has worked in charity policy, research and campaigning roles for over 15 years, and has been at Working Families since 2015. Together with Julia Waltham, Mubeen 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.

Mubeen has previously worked for the British Heart Foundation and NCVO, has undertaken a secondment as a House of Commons clerk, and been a charity trustee and school governor. Mubeen holds an MSc in Voluntary Sector Management from the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School.

Lisa Gallagher, Co-Director – Family Friendly Working Scotland
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Lisa co-leads Family Friendly Working Scotland. She has been the Director of two Scottish social enterprises, the International Network of Street Papers and Impact Arts and a Regional Director of activpayroll- an HR and payroll services company.

Lisa is a Fellow of the Saltire Foundation for Entrepreneurship and has a degree in Russian and History and a Masters in Economic Development. She has previously served as a board member of The Homeless World Cup and Vice-Chair of NIDOS- Network of International Development Organisations Scotland.

Lisa is passionate about flexible and family-friendly working which benefits people, business and the economy. She has three wee boys aged four and under.

Catherine Gregory, Head of Marketing and Communications
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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.

Sybille Raphael, Head of Legal Advice Services
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Sybille has managed our Legal Advice Service since early 2015 and coordinates the work of an award-winning team of Working Families employees and more than 100 solicitor volunteers. She regularly trains on employment rights and maternity discrimination and oversees the advice publications of the charity. She also takes an active part in the policy work of the charity, giving evidence to the Parliamentary Justice Select Committee, responding to consultations and more recently managing the charity’s intervention in the Court of Appeal.

An employment law specialist in both French and English law, Sybille worked as an employment solicitor at August Debouzy and Herbert Smith Freehills in Paris and at Slater and Gordon in London. She has rich experience across the charity sector, including school governance. She founded and chaired Consultations Gratuites (which has for the last 11 years given free legal advice in French to the French-speaking community in London) and is a trustee of The Ideas Partnership, a UK charity tackling education, cultural heritage and environmental challenges in Kosovo.

Nikki Slowey, Co-Director – Family Friendly Working Scotland
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Nikki is a marketing, communications and campaigns expert. She has been involved with FFWS since 2014 and is keen to promote the benefits of family-friendly and flexible working to employers across Scotland. Nikki is a regular media commentator, blogger and public speaker on the topics of flexible working, workplace culture and work-life balance and sits on a Scottish Government advisory around pregnancy and maternity discrimination. She is a mum to three boys, loves being outdoors, cooking nourishing food and spending quality time with friends, family and a good book.

Julia Waltham, Head of Policy and Influencing (job share)
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Julia Waltham is a research, policy, communications and public affairs specialist and has been with Working Families since the birth of her second child in 2015. Drawing on Working Families’ employer work across the UK and feedback from parents via its Legal Advice Service, Julia is a passionate campaigner for better family-friendly policies and practice. Julia is a regular media commentator, blogger and public speaker on the policies needed for more parents and carers to work and to fulfil their potential at work.