Meet our staff team members!
- Menai Owen-Jones, Chief Executive Officer
Menai has been CEO of the charity since 2009. She is a qualified director, with fifteen years' experience in the charity sector. Menai is passionate about making a difference to help pituitary patients and their families. She greatly enjoys working for The Foundation and leading a dedicated team of staff and volunteers.
Patient & Family Services:
- Pat McBride, Head of Patient & Family Services
Pat began her link with The Foundation back in 1995, as a Volunteer Area Co-ordinator, launching Liverpool Support Group in 1996. Pat's pituitary condition of pituitary abscess, DI and high prolactin was diagnosed in 1986 resulting in craniotomy surgery and Pat takes all replacement hormones to this day. Pat started as a Regional Co-ordinator working with Local Support Groups and on the Early Awareness Project (EAP). In August 2006, Pat became the Patient Support Manager (and likely, those of you who have been around for a while will have noticed her making her mark) with responsibilities including the National Helpline, Pituitary Life editor and our Telephone Buddy service.
- Rosa Watkin, Campaigns, Volunteers & Events Manager
Rosa joined the Foundation in March 2012. In the past, she used to volunteer for The Foundation. Rosa has always lived around Bristol, and has a BA joint honours degree in English Literature and History which she studied for in Bath. She has quite a few years experience working in the voluntary sector in various volunteering roles and was previously employed as Project Officer for a charity that supports the community sector with grants, research & training. Rosa's role includes projects and campaigns work, and helps to deliver The Pituitary Foundation’s patient support services such as events. She also manages the volunteering programme, alongside working with the Local Support Groups.
- Sammy Harbut, Patient & Family Services Coordinator
Sammy became involved with The Pituitary Foundation in 2010 after being diagnosed with Cushing's Disease. Following transphenoidal surgery, she now takes hormone replacement medication daily. She volunteered as a helpline volunteer for over four years before being appointed to her current role in 2015, but has held several other voluntary positions with the Prince’s Trust, at an adult education centre, local primary school and as a Samaritan.
Originally from North Wales, Sammy studied at Manchester, Birmingham and Bournemouth Universities, gaining BA (Hons), B Sci (1st Class Hons) Dip SW and M Soc Sci qualifications. She trained as a Social Worker specialising in Probation, working as a Probation Officer for 17 years. Recently she qualified as an Occupational Therapist, and in this role she is passionate about helping to improve the lives of pituitary patients and their families. She can often be heard saying "Doctors can save your life, Occupational Therapists will help you live it!" Sammy will be assisting Pat McBride in all Patient and Family Support activities.
- Holly Irwin, Endocrine Specialist Nurse
Holly is new to The Pituitary Foundation team, joining in December 2017 as our Endocrine Specialist Nurse. Holly grew up on the Isle of Wight but has spent the last 12 years in Southampton where she completed her nurse training, graduating in 2008.
Her nursing career has included being a staff nurse on Intensive Care and Respiratory High Dependency units, moving onto her first Sisters post on an Infectious Diseases Unit in 2011. From here, after having her two children, she decided to move into Endocrinology and worked in Southampton as their Endocrine Specialist Nurse for over two and a half years. Here she had a passion and interest for pituitary patients in particular and worked alongside both the Endocrinologists and Neurological Surgeons, caring for pituitary patients. Holly’s experience has included watching transphenoidal surgery in theatres on number of patients.
She is a nurse committee member for the Society of Endocrinology and strives to be at the forefront of resources and developments within the Endocrine network, sharing this knowledge with The Pituitary Foundation. Holly recently returned to the Isle of Wight with her two girls, aged 3 and 4 and is very much looking forward to giving her time and commitment to The Foundation, alongside being a busy mum!
- Sian Pitman, Events, Patient Services & Fundraising Administrator
Sian is originally from a small village in Dorset, and joined the Foundation in April 2016 after graduating from Bournemouth University where she studied MSc Events Management. Previous to this she has studied BSc Psychology & Sociology at the University of the West of England and is delighted to be back in Bristol again permanently. Sian’s previous employment and experience has mostly been in various hospitality roles; the most recent being Assistant Manager at a local pub. Alongside this she has volunteered at various charity events and festivals. At The Foundation, Sian works with Rosa to deliver patient services events, assists with the volunteer programme, and provides admin support to the whole Patient & Family Services team, as well as the Fundraising team.
- Jay Sheppard, Senior Fundraising & Marketing Manager
Jay joined The Foundation in January 2013. Jay himself had a rare brain condition when he was just 15, having just a 10% chance of survival. It is this experience of living with a rare condition that makes him so passionate about his work. Jay has a burning desire to increase public awareness of The Foundation so that no patient need suffer in isolation. After his illness Jay dedicated his life towards fundraising through volunteering and fundraising on a personal level before finally realising his dream of working within the sector. He brings with him a wealth of experience and is always willing to take on any challenge, endurance challenges have always been favourites and highlights include 5 marathons and a triathlon. Jay is always receptive to new ideas or suggestions and would welcome your call!
Finance & Resources:
- Sarah Leighton, Head of Finance & Resources
Sarah originally qualified in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management and subsequently worked for hotels and catering establishments before finally returning to Bristol where she ran a small hotel with her business partner. After 10 years she decided it was time for a career change. She retrained and began a small accountancy services business originally based from home.
Sarah became associated with The Pituitary Foundation in January 2015 when her company was invited to look after the accountancy needs of the Foundation. Deciding to move on to pastures new, Sarah took up the opportunity of working with the Foundation on a full-time basis in December 2015. Sarah looks after the financial and resourcing aspects of the organisation and hopes that her broad work experience and experience of working with other charities will be invaluable in her role.
- Martin Cookson, Resources Officer
Martin was born and raised in Lancashire before studying Applied Biology at Bradford University. After gaining a Masters degree in Computing, he spent twenty five years working in the IT industry, most recently as a freelance database developer working in the insurance and defence sectors. Martin joined The Foundation in October 2012 and works four days a week at our National Support Office in Bristol. He is mainly responsible for keeping our membership database up-to-date and processing the orders we get for our merchandise, alongside IT support and other admin duties.