Our Board of Non-executive Directors

The role of our non-executive directors

The Board has ultimate responsibility and control of the Group’s corporate governance and financial regulation arrangements and affairs. Its central role is to lead, direct, control, scrutinise and evaluate First Choice Homes Oldham. This includes determining strategic direction and policies, establishing and overseeing control and risk management frameworks, satisfying itself on the integrity of financial information and ensuring that First Choice Homes Oldham achieves its aims and objectives.

FCHO 221123 055

Amanda Harris, BA (Hons) Law, MBA - Board Chair and Member of People and Governance Committee

I was appointed as a Non-Executive Director in October 2018. I am a governance and legal specialist and a qualified solicitor with over 20 years' experience in the public and housing sectors. I now have my own consultancy and bring to the Board significant knowledge of governance, corporate management, strategic planning and regulatory compliance.

I have had a diverse and wide range of roles including Director of Business Assurance and Company Secretary at First Ark with responsibility for robust governance, company secretariat, performance management, business assurance and risk management services, Head of Investment and Infrastructure at Sefton MBC leading strategic housing, highways and transport, asset management and building services, and also as Assistant Director Safer and Stronger Communities tackling crime and disorder, ASB, domestic violence, and community cohesion. I am a strong advocate of partnership working and have developed and chaired partnerships such as the Sefton Safer and Stronger Communities Partnership, the Liverpool City Region Safer Healthier Communities Board, and New Deal for Heywood.

Throughout my career I have been involved with services and partnerships which have at their core the aim of enabling and supporting people and communities to be their best. I am excited to be part of an organisation that has a strong customer focus, believes in social responsibility and is enabling environments that allow communities to thrive.

FCHO 221123 071

Hilda Kaponda FCCA, BEng (Hons), MBA - Chair of People and Governance Committee

I was appointed as a Non-Executive Director in June 2016 and I Chair the People and Governance Committee.

I am a qualified accountant with over 20 years' experience in social housing finance and I have my own consultancy company. My previous roles include Executive Director of Finance at Equity Housing Group, working as a Lead Regulator at The Housing Corporation, Group Finance Manager at Harvest Housing Group and Director of Finance and ICT at Eastlands Partnership Homes.

Previously I was on the Board of Mosscare Housing, Stockport Homes and Parkway Green Housing Trust, and was the Chair of Audit and Risk at both Stockport Homes and Parkway Green. I am currently a Board Member and Chair of Audit at Arawak Walton Housing Association.

I am involved with various community groups in Manchester. I have extensive experience and expertise in strategic management, business systems, group structures, project and finance management, audit processes and governance. In addition to my accountancy qualification I also have an MBA in Finance from Manchester Business School.

I am a mentor with One Million Mentors, currently mentoring students at Manchester Metropolitan University as part of their Ment2Be programme. My diverse skills and experience enable me to provide added value, support and contributions towards the delivery of First Choice Homes Oldham strategic objectives.

FCHO 221123 038

Jean Mira - Member of Audit and Risk Committee and People and Governance Committee

My appointment as a Non-Executive Director commenced on 1 October 2018. I have lived in Oldham most my life in Social Housing, and I understand the need for good housing and the positive change it can make to people’s lives.

I have recently retired from Bury Council after working in the Corporate Core Directorate - Human Resources for several years. My previous position was with the Street Lighting Department of Bury Council where I was part of a £4m LED street lighting replacement programme as well as supervising contractors, ordering materials and invoicing. I have also worked in the Housing, Governance and Strategy Section dealing with all aspects of Housing Governance, policy, and housing allocations.

Before working for Bury Council, I worked as General Manager/Technical Director in the private sector. My responsibilities were for the general day to day running of companies including HR, governance, recruitment, accounts, and buildings.

I have a BTEC Level 3 in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Certificate Legal Studies (Open), Certificate Humanities (Open) and a NCFE in Business Administration and many more gained over 40 years of employment and a huge amount of experience in management and HR.

FCHO 221123 006

Ronnie Clawson BSc (Hons), CIPD - Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

I was appointed as a Non-Executive Director on 1 October 2018 and took on the role of Audit and Risk Committee Chair in 2021.

I bring over 25 years’ experience as an Executive and Non-Executive Director in the social housing and charitable sectors, having served as a Director and Board Member of various housing organisations over that period. I was also for many years a trustee of a pension scheme with a fund of over £100m and was Vice Chair of a charity supporting young, vulnerable people at risk of homelessness in London.

I am currently Group Director of IT and Transformation at Torus and was previously Group Director of Business Assurance. Prior to Torus I had my own company providing interim executive and consultancy support to housing organisations and most recently worked with the Boards and Chief Executives of the Anchor Trust and Hanover Housing in delivering the merger of those organisations.

Before this I was the Executive Director of Corporate Services for the Riverside Group, for 10 years, and for the Peabody Trust, two of the largest social housing providers in the country. I led the IT, HR, Governance, Procurement, Communications and Marketing and Customer Service functions of those organisations.

Before working in housing I was Head of Employee Relations and Equality and Diversity in the Crown Prosecution Service. I have a degree in Economics and Psychology and a post-graduate professional qualification in Personnel and Development.

I bring a range of skills, leadership and strategic management experience to the role of Board member at FCHO with particular expertise in transformation and change management, mergers and acquisitions, human resources, service improvement, procurement, governance and compliance.

Ron Smith

Ron Smith - Member of Investment and Development Committee

I have been a First Choice Homes Oldham customer for more than 25 years and I’m one of two board members who represent the views of FCHO customers.

Over the years I’ve been involved in various tenants groups and I wanted to be on the Board to make sure customers have a voice and to help continually improve services for people who live in FCHO homes.

I have lived in Oldham all my life and worked as a nurse in the borough for more than 40 years, so I have a good understanding of local issues and I’m passionate about making a difference to others.

I joined the FCHO Board in October 2018 and I also sit on the Investment and Development Committee. There I am involved in looking at our new build projects and investment programmes with committee members, making sure that work in our communities is on time and budget, in the right locations, and delivering value for money and high quality homes for local people.

FCHO 221123 032

Emma Richman BSc (Hons) Architecture, Planning & the Built Environment, BSc (Hons) Building Surveying) - Chair of Investment and Development Committee, and Chair of New Living Homes Limited

I am currently the Executive Director of Operations at Peaks and Plains Housing Trust and have worked in social housing for the last 27 years. I am a qualified Architect and Building Surveyor and was a former independent board member and Chair of Southway Housing Trust for nine years.

I am a former Chair of the North West Branch of Women in Property and have been on their committee for the last nine years and I am currently a trustee on the committee to help with the redevelopment of the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester and regularly volunteer in the museum. I am also a board member of the Pankhurst incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid.

I have been named in the top 10 Property Disruptors in Insider magazine and also won Woman of the Year at the 2018 Woman in Housing Awards. My area of interest is Development, Asset Management and Compliance. I am a member of the National Housing Federation's Quality of existing homes group and Vice Chair of the Building Safety group.

FCHO 221123 078

Charles Dunn (MRICS and RICS) - Member of Investment and Development Committee and Board Member of New Living Homes Limited

I have been a Senior Executive in a number of major construction and property development companies, operating across The North of England, Midlands and Scotland for over 35 years.

I have extensive experience of successfully delivering major Asset Renewal and New Build Housing programmes in the Social and Private Housing sectors, and have also held several Non-Executive Board roles within these sectors.

I am a QS by profession and have been an active member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), serving in a number of senior support roles, including General Council, Professional Conduct the RICS Benevolent Fund.

I am currently Board Champion for our Great Homes initiative at FCHO and Board lead on our sustainability and de-carbonisation working group. I am also a director of our New Living Homes Company and serve on the Investment and Development Committee.

I am currently a board member at Yorkshire Housing Residential Ltd - dealing with Yorkshire Housing’s Market Sale, Shared Ownership and Private Rent Portfolio. I also sit as a member of the Dewsbury Town Deal Board, focussed on a major programme of investment and regeneration in conjunction with Kirklees council and DLUHC

Fcho 200421 223LOWRES

Margaret Goddard - MSc, Cert CIH - Co-optee Member of Investment and Development Committee and Board Member of New Living Homes Limited

I have significant experience in the housing sector specialising in growth, development, asset management and transformation. I have held a number of executive and non-executive positions across the North West. I am passionate about the build environment, good design and place making. I’m an advocate for partnership working and empowering communities in order to deliver the best outcomes for customers.

I am delighted to be part of an organisation that combines my passion for regeneration and development, while putting customers at the heart of everything we do.

FCHO 221123 049

Sabihah Khalil - Trainee Non-Executive Director

I was appointed as a Trainee Non-Executive Director in January 2022. I also attend the People and Governance Committee and Audit and Risk Committee as part of my role’s development.

I am currently studying an LLB Law degree at The University of Manchester, and I regularly participate in legal pro bono work within areas such as housing and employment law. This gives me experience in customer service and supporting vulnerable individuals to enable them to feel empowered. I am therefore excited to make a positive difference as part of an organisation that places customers at the heart of all their work.

As an Oldham resident for many years, I also bring a local perspective to the Board to help ensure the best for FCHO's tenants. I am enthusiastic about the work FCHO is undertaking to further growth and regeneration in the local community.

Kal Akhtar

Kal Akhtar - Member of Audit and Risk Committee and Investment and Development Committee

I was appointed as a Non-Executive Director in January 2024.

I'm a chartered accountant with over 15 years of accounting and finance experience working across a number of global banking and financial services firms. Most recently I held senior finance roles working for Commerzbank and Barclays. Following my career in banking, I'm now working as a finance consultant specialising in financial management and strategic planning.

I'm also involved in supporting and developing the work of local charities, and spend time mentoring finance and business professionals.

My areas of expertise and experience include strategic planning, finance and risk management, change management and technology transformation.

Simon Morris

Simon Morris BSc. (Hons) ACA - Member of Investment and Development Committee and Board Member of New Living Homes Limited

I was appointed as a Non-Executive Director in January 2024.

I have been Executive Director of Finance of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group since January 2020. I'm a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountant in England and Wales, with 30 years’ experience as a Finance Director in property-related roles, over 20 years of which was spent in Executive positions in social housing. I have vast experience of long-term business planning, securing and negotiating new funding and managing loan portfolios of up to £300m.

I'm passionate about governance and providing assurance to Boards and the Regulator, having recently led on WCHG’s regulatory in depth assessment, retaining the highest rating (G1/V1) for governance and financial viability.

Major projects have included mergers, Group consolidations and the setup of a stock transfer organisation. I'm also Chair of GMJV Fundco LLP Board, the body which controls investment into Hive Homes LLP, a joint venture of ten Greater Manchester RPs and GMCA, designed to increase the supply of housing for sale across Greater Manchester.

Oliver Goldring

Oliver Goldring, BA (Hons) Marketing - Member of Audit and Risk Committee and People and Governance Committee

I was appointed as Non-Executive Director in March 2024.

I’m a communications, marketing, and digital specialist with over 20 years’ cross-sector experience in these areas. I’m currently on the Leadership Team for Magna Housing, a 10,000 unit registered provider based in the South West. I bring a range of skills, leadership and experience to the FCHO board with particular expertise in digital transformation, human-centred service design/customer experience, corporate communications and reputation strategy, and strategic planning.

Prior to Magna, I was Managing Partner for award-winning UK Digital agency Mediaworks who operate across multiple sectors including housing and were voted ‘Best Consultancy 2022’ at the Northern Housing Awards. Before this, I was Communications, Marketing and Digital Director for Trafford Housing Trust where I also sat on their Leadership Team. I led the communications, marketing, digital functions and introduced service design to the organisation.

Before working in housing, I had my own consultancy providing cross-sector support to C-Suite executives in sectors including recruitment, finance, and utilities/telco, in the areas of digital, brand and communications.