Staff Profiles


Chief Executive, Dr Jan Sheldon

Jan has worked within the area of social care at a local, regional and national level for over 25 years, both as a practitioner and within the field of workforce development.

Jan holds a BSC (Hons) degree in Community Care and Education, a Masters degree in Learning and Development and a Doctorate in Post 16 Education entitled ‘Defining, Redefining and Developing Care Services’. She is also a Chartered Director with the Institute of Directors.

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In previous roles Jan has worked closely with the Department of Health contributing significantly to the development of several national strategies.

Jan joined RAD in 2011 and is passionate about supporting the development of a wide range of services that Deaf people want and need. In 2014 Norman Lamb the Minister for Care and Support launched the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark; an initiative developed in partnership with [sonus] to help mainstream providers understand the needs of older Deaf people.

Jan is currently undertaking British Sign Language Level 3.


Director of Communication Services and Community Development, Amanda Casson-Webb

A Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), Amanda grew up in a profoundly Deaf household and is a native user of British Sign Language who spent a great deal of her formative years in and around Romford Deaf Club.

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Amanda qualified as a British Sign Language/ English Interpreter in 2001 via the SLI/UCL a Postgraduate Diploma. 2001 proved to be a seminal year for Amanda as it also saw her join RAD as a staff interpreter. After five years within the team Amanda left RAD in 2006 to pursue a freelance career before returning to lead the Interpreting team in 2006. Amanda became the Director of Communication and Community Development in 2013.

Passionate about the rights of Deaf people and standards in interpreting, Amanda’s role as Director of Communication Services and Community Development combines both elements perfectly.

An ASLI Trained Mentor, Amanda continues to practise as an interpreter and can often be seen out and about in the community.


Director of Finance and Adminstration, Lesley Frearson

Lesley has spent more than 30 years of her professional life working in a variety of Finance roles. Lesley qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 1990 and she is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Lesley is experienced in commercial and charity finance.

Lesley’s previous roles include working as a Finance Manager for Coca-Cola and the multi-national company, Schlumberger.

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In 1999 Lesley started her own accountancy practice and over the next 14 years worked with a variety of clients while developing a specialism within the charity sector. During this time, RAD became one of her clients and she worked for the organisation developing and growing the finance service.

In 2013, Lesley started working full time for RAD as Director of Finance and Administration, with responsibility for all the support functions of the organisation. Lesley and her team also manage the finance functions for a number of charities across England.


Director of Services, Sue Mountford

Sue has worked in business management/client services for over 20 years.

Formerly for Asda Stores Ltd head office in Leeds, and then with a Swiss company based in Zurich developing and managing complex national projects/services.

Sue secured key accounts with clients such as Somerfield, Asda and other major UK retailers and she pioneered the design and development of a photo booth that allowed wheelchair access for disabled people.

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Sue returned to Kingston University in the 1990’s where she achieved a post-graduate Certificate and Business Management and has more recently been studying for her Institute of Directors’ qualification.

She joined RAD in 2005 and now works as Director of Services; leading the delivery and development of a wide variety of RAD services. Sue is passionate about delivering services for Deaf people in their first language and is committed to the continuous development of services that meet the needs of the people we support.


Operations Manager – Community Support Service, Matt Wallis

Matt spent the first 12 years of his career as a civil servant in London, after which he worked in customer service. In 2004, Matt began working within the third sector,  leading on a supported employment scheme for disabled people and a social enterprise encouraging people to return to the work place.

He has also managed services within the community ranging from homeless prevention and support, to residential services and supported living for people with learning disabilities across Essex and Norfolk.

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Matt also managed a disabled facilities grants service in Essex before moving on to lead a community support service for DeafBlind clients across the South East of England.

Matt has an NVQ in Management and has achieved level 1 BSL – he is currently studying towards his level 2. Matt joined RAD in 2016 and is leading the Community Support Service; developing new ways of supporting people within the community to maintain their independence and learn new skills.


Development and Engagement Manager, Laura Brown

The charity sector has always been deeply rooted in Laura’s life. As a teenager she volunteered at an activity centre where she supported a young girl abseil in her wheelchair alongside her non-disabled peers.

This was a defining moment for Laura. She realised she wanted to mould her career to support others to fulfil their true potential, break through perceived barriers and challenge negative stereotypes and discrimination.

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When studying Theatre, Arts, Education and Deaf Studies at Reading University, she was introduced to British Sign Language. Graduating in 2009 Laura moved back to London where she began her career; as a community support worker supporting Deaf adults living with mental health diagnosis.

During this time she completed an Advanced Certificate at the University of Birmingham in Mental Health and Deafness and the Institute of Leadership and Management level 2 certificate, alongside her NVQ BSL level 6; her experience working in front line services saw her progress to Team Leader of both the Deaf Community Outreach Service and Deaf Supported Housing Service.

She joined RAD in 2015 as Development and Engagement Manager. Laura is passionate about accessible, person-centred services and equality.


Video Relay Service (VRS) and Community Development Manager, Russell Cooke

Russell is a native Deaf Londoner, he comes from a family of 6, all of who are Deaf along with various aunties and uncles so has been immersed/exposed to BSL since birth.

Russell went to Mary Hare Grammar school, from there worked at John Lewis in Oxford Street where he was the only Deaf person out of 2,500 employees at that particular store. Russell has also worked as a Project Manager at Action on Hearing Loss and as the Head of Training at Remark!

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Russell has also worked as a freelance BSL consultant/in-vision translator for a couple of years.

Russell now works at RAD as the Video Relay Service (VRS) and Community Development manager with a fantastic team, engaging with the Deaf community and strengthening relationships wherever possible.


Business Development Manager, Laura Herbert

Laura began her career working for Essex Police within the Criminal Justice department liaising with victims and witnesses of crimes. After leaving the Police she moved into the world of freight forwarding where she co-ordinated shipments around the world and worked on Letters of Credit.

Laura joined RAD in 2004 and moved in to the interpreting team in 2007. She now works as the Business Development Manager for the team and is responsible for managing the contracts. Laura passed her BSL Level 4 language in 2008.


Advocacy Services Manager, Susan Marsh

Susie started her career at RAD as a Lunch Club Manager working at RAD’s centres in Essex and London. She later took on a role as Employment Advisor before becoming an Advocate in 2009.

Susie has undergone significant training and is now a qualified Advocate, managing a team across a variety of funding streams. Susie is passionate about her work which is all about providing accessible services to Deaf people; resolving challenging and complex cases whilst also leading a dedicated team.


Strategic Development Manager, Linda Parkin

Linda Parkin is RAD’s Strategic Development Manager where her role includes developing projects, services and partnerships with internal and external stakeholders, and securing funding. During the past 6 years she has helped RAD transform many of its funding and delivery models to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. She also led on creating RAD’s bilingual English/BSL website and is currently overseeing implementation of a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database to streamline data capture and monitoring/reporting.

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A strong advocate for equality, Linda has previously worked for charities in the family, education and Special Educational Needs sectors. Her background is in consumer and business-to-business marketing in finance, shipping and publishing.


Operations Manager – Services Directorate, Julie Ratcliffe

Julie is originally from London, as a proud daughter of Deaf parents Julie identifies as a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) and is a respected member of the wider Deaf community. Julie’s formal qualifications are in Health and Social Care.
Julie has a passion for equality and improved access. Her career at RAD commenced when she joined RAD’s Children and Families Service in 2008. She worked closely with colleagues to develop new project concepts for deaf children and young people successfully achieving funding to deliver a variety of projects and services.

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Julie is responsible for the Children, Family, Transition and Employment Services, overseeing contracts with organisations including Children in Need, The Big Lottery, London Youth, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Local Authorities and Welfare to Work prime contractors.

Julie supports her team to deliver contracts across London, the East of England and the South/ South East region.


Cath White, Quality Manager

Cath started her working life as a Chartered Accountant, however after 10 years of qualified practise she decided to make a career change. During her brief spell within a health setting she learnt about RAD and went on to join the organisation as a Life Skills Assistant in 1999.

Having personal family experience of both deafness and mental health it seemed a natural area of work for Cath who achieved her BSc Health and Social Care in 2012.

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Cath is passionate about providing a high quality person centred service to the people RAD works with.

She believes that good communication and team work creates a strong foundation to achieving that aim and ensuring RAD retains the excellent reputation it already has within the world of Social Care.


Finance Manager, Claire Woods FCCA

Claire joined RAD in 2009 as the Finance Manager where she now manages a team of 6 staff and overseas the finance function of both RAD and the other charities who outsource their finance function to RAD.

She first started work as an accounts junior for a small accountancy practice in Colchester and qualified as a Certified Accountant in 1997, she later went on to work for Larking Gowen who are a larger regional accountancy practice.

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Claire has gained vast experience over the years working with a wide variety of clients ranging from small one person businesses to larger shipping companies, she also undertook some charity audits so has seen the finance function from the “other side”!