Alzheimer's Society Spokespeople List
Media interviews are available with Alzheimer's Society staff working across the charity.
Comment on health and social care, campaigns work, practical advice for people with dementia and their carers, fundraising and scientific research can be organised by contacting the press office.
There are also charity spokespeople based throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for regional media requests.
Alzheimer's Society works with many high profile and celebrity supporters who are part of our vice-presidents, patrons and ambassadors programme. To organise an interview with one of our spokespeople:
- Contact our media team by phone or email.
- Spokespeople are also available for interviews on an ISDN line: 020 7481 0765
Kate Lee, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society
Kate joined Alzheimer’s Society as their Chief Executive in March 2020. Prior to this role, she was CEO at children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent for four years, during which time she rebranded the organisation, setting new values and building a culture of total team working. She successfully lobbied Government to fund the funerals of all children under the age of 18 and founded the Children and Young People’s Cancer Coalition.
She was previously CEO of Myton Hospice, a large Adult Palliative Care Charity in Coventry and Warwickshire, where she worked with many individuals with dementia and their families. Before that Kate spent 16 years at British Red Cross leading UK service delivery, before becoming Director of UK and International Strategy and Deputy CEO in 2005.
Kate’s a proud Yorkshire woman and now lives in Coventry with her husband and two teenage children; she loves gardening and tea.
Kathryn Smith, Chief Operating Officer
As Chief Operating Officer for the Society, Kathryn has overall responsibility for delivering our New Deal on Dementia strategy and has direct responsibility for pulling a range of functions, including fundraising, digital transformation, marketing and operations, together effectively. Prior to this, as Director of Operations, Kathryn managed all of the Society’s services, implementing new approaches and hugely increasing reach.
Starting in care homes in the private sector and working up to a two-year stint as a social care inspector, Kathryn has thirty years’ experience working in health and social care. Prior to joining Alzheimer’s Society, she was the Director of Services at Scope and has held a number of voluntary positions, including acting as a trustee for a small disability charity, giving her time as Side by Side volunteer and vice-chairing a board of school governors. She also chaired the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care’s Guidance Development Group for Hospital to Home Transitions.
Kathryn is a big animal lover and, if she’s not hard at work, you’re likely to find her out riding one of her three horses, feeding her ducks and chickens, fostering working puppies in training or chasing after the cats. She enjoys spending time with her children and family and loves travelling. On top of everything else, she is currently studying for a BA Languages in Spanish and French.
Having worked with people affected by dementia throughout most of her career, Kathryn has seen the difference good quality care and support can make, and also the very negative impact of poor quality care, experiencing this first-hand when her grandad died with dementia after a long and unnecessary stay in hospital. She is determined to make a difference for people affected by dementia and is very proud of what we have achieved to date.
Helen Foster, Director of Operations
Helen Foster has been Director of Operations at Alzheimer’s Society since 2018.
Helen began her career in the voluntary sector around 30 years ago as a practitioner; she worked all over the country in roles at Citizen Advice Bureau, Age UK and Action for Blind People, before joining Alzheimer’s Society as an Area Manager in 2005. She brings a unique perspective as a former carer, practitioner and now a director.
Passionate about improving outcomes for people affected by dementia, she led on the development of the Society’s new strategic service, Dementia Connect, and is now overseeing the rollout of the service across the Society’s regions and nations.
Bernadine McCrory, Country Director (Northern Ireland)
Bernadine has worked in the private and voluntary health sector in the North and South of Ireland for more than 20 years and is a Registered Nurse with additional qualifications at Post Graduate level in Health Service Management.
Currently Bernadine is studying at the University of Ulster for a Post Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Investment in the Third Sector.
Bernadine’s initial involvement with Alzheimer’s Society was as a volunteer and in 2009 she joined us as Service Improvement and Business Development Manager. After a period as Interim Director, she secured the permanent post in May 2012.
Personal interests include cycling and amateur dramatics.
Sue Phelps, Country Director (Wales)
Sue Phelps has worked in the voluntary sector in England and Wales since completing her degree in Social Administration at Manchester University.
Sue began work with the Alzheimer’s Society twenty years ago as an administrator following the death of her grandfather who had Alzheimer’s disease, she has held a number of service development and management posts within the organisation before becoming Director in May 2012.
Sally Copley, Director of Policy Campaigns and Partnerships
Sal is our Director of Policy, Campaigns and Partnerships, with oversight for our policy, public affairs, campaigns, community engagement (including Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities) and work to engage people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In her last role, Sal worked at Oxfam GB as Head of Policy, Programmes and Campaigns. Here, she led influencing work on Yemen, Syria and refugees, tax dodging, inequality and climate change, as well as overseeing Oxfam's programme work on domestic poverty in the UK. She has previously worked for Save the Children UK, leading the charity’s policy and advocacy work on UK child poverty, Shelter, YWCA (England & Wales), and Stonewall (in the run up to the general election of 1997).
Although originally from Yorkshire, Sal ran for Parliament in 2015 in Oxford, and has been a Trustee and Chair of Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC) for nearly three years. Last year, she did the Couch to 5k programme and, since then, has been evangelical about the joys of running, nattering people in her team to do the same. She ran a 12k race last December and has entered a triathlon this summer. Sal has two secondary school aged children who she loves to annoy (‘at home I am merely an irritant’) and can drink her own bodyweight in tea.
Sal is passionate about achieving social justice and believes that the crisis in health and social care is the biggest and most urgent issue facing the UK today. Her department leads work to Fix Dementia Care and build a Dementia Friendly Society; when we achieve this, she says, all boats will rise.
Gavin Terry, Head of Policy
Gavin has been Policy Manager at Alzheimer’s Society since March 2014 and leads the Policy team in the analysis of emerging health, social care and public policy and how it relates to the needs and experiences of people affected by dementia. His team are also responsible for forging relationships and working to influence key stakeholders, as well as developing key policy evidence around dementia to support the Society’s lobbying and campaigning strategic objectives.
Gavin previously held the role of Policy Manager at Diabetes UK and, prior to working in the voluntary sector, worked in the NHS in both primary and acute care service development.
Dr James Pickett, Head of Research
Dr James Pickett has been working in the area of dementia research for 6 years, and is the current Head of Research. He has a knowledge of the dementia research landscape, both in the UK and overseas in particular covering biomedical research, trials and treatment and prevention approaches. James has a positive outlook for progress in dementia research and that new treatments may be found in the next five years.
James has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and has also worked in the area of diabetes. James lives with his wife and son in Hertfordshire and enjoys running.