Our board

Our board, consisting of both Executive and Non-Executive Directors, constitutes the governing body of Accelerate. Currently Made up of  five members, the Board is responsible for overseeing Accelerate’s assets and resources and for making sure good management practices are embedded across the organisation.

Dr Helen Glenister – Chair

Helen has a nursing background and has spent 30 years working within and with the NHS in acute hospital, primary care, mental health, community and commissioning settings. Throughout her career she has held positions which have combined clinical, leadership, research and business development experiences. Educated to PhD and MBA levels, Helen had a key role in establishing the National Patient Safety Agency, where she was Director of Safer Practice and Deputy Chief Executive. She has undertaken work with WHO on quality of care and safer practice solutions.

Helen has worked with the private sector to deliver health care improvement and health and wellness programmes to commissioners and providers. An important element of this work has been technology and working with providers to get the most out of technology. Helen has held executive Board positions for 20 years in the NHS, Department of Health, and private sector, and is a Trustee of Isobel Hospice, Welwyn.

Alison Hopkins – Executive Director & CEO

Alison Hopkins

Alison is Accelerate CIC’s first CEO. She led the team’s Right to Request in 2011 resulting in the set-up of Accelerate CIC as an independent organisation, the best route to developing this specialist wound and lymphoedema care service for NHS patients. She has specialised in wound care since 1989 and has an MSc in Psychology and Health. She first joined Tower Hamlet’s District Nursing Service in 1986 setting up the leg ulcer service in 1989.

As a Tissue Viability Nurse she was mentored by the late Professor Gerry Bennett, founder of the East London Wound Healing Centre. The British Journal of Nursing awarded Alison ‘Tissue Viability Nurse of the Year, 2013’. Alison oversees the smooth running of the organisation and its development as well as continuing to provide clinical care to patients. She also contributes to the development of the field, writing in academic journals and speaking at conferences.

Christine O’Connor – Commercial, Business & Operations Director

Christine joined Accelerate CIC in 2015 to head up operations and corporate services development. Christine has provided support to Accelerate as an external adviser since the decision to spin out in 2011. She brings with her a wealth of experience from her role as a Managing Partner in a GP Practice to Director of Clinical Commissioning in Redbridge. Christine has worked extensively in change management with the NHS and created one of the first clinical leadership programmes developed specifically for GPs.

Jacqui Himbury – Director of Quality and Governance (Interim)

Jacqui brings over 38 years of experience of healthcare and is a Registered General Nurse, Midwife and Specialist Community Practitioner (Health Visiting).

Since qualifying as a nurse in 1986 Jacqui has obtained a BSC in Health and Social Care and a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Management. She has over 25 year’s experience as a front line clinician working in a variety of healthcare environments both in the UK and abroad.

Jacqui brings a wealth of leadership experience, having worked as an executive nursing director in the NHS since 2012.  Prior to that Jacqui was the Borough Director for Havering Clinical Commissioning Group and during this tenure led significant change management programmes.

Jacqui is passionate about the quality of services provided to NHS patients and has extensive knowledge and experience of NHS clinical governance, safeguarding adults and children and quality.  She is passionate about delivering excellent care to patients and ensuring the voice of the patient is always listened to.

Will Evans – Non-Executive Director

Will designs and runs sustainable social businesses and helps others to do likewise. He is an expert in strategy design and balancing growth, financial sustainability, and impact. He is a firm believer that all organisations should contribute positively to the communities that support them and works with a wide range of them to define and deliver on purpose.

He is a founding director of Ignition Brewery, a not-for-profit brewery that employs people with learning disabilities and showcases their talents in making great beer. Ignition is a sustainable business that pays the London Living Wage and is expanding nationally to further its core purpose of creating meaningful jobs for people with learning disabilities. More beer, more jobs.

Peter Lock – Non-Executive Director

Peter has worked in healthcare for over 14 years, as well as working in financial services, utilities sector and consultancy. He is currently the Global Procurement & Commercial Director at Bupa, the leading global healthcare provider, having also held a number of other executive roles at the company in operations and business development.

In addition, Peter is a Non-Executive Director for CSH Surrey, a private co-owned social enterprise, delivering high quality, innovative community healthcare services in partnership with the NHS. At CSH Surrey Peter is the Senior Independent Director and the Chair of the Finance, Digital and Innovation Committee.

He is passionate about people, customer centricity, innovation and helping organisations grow. Peter is also a mentor with Moving Ahead, as part of their Mission Include programme.

Rizk Saade – Non-Executive Director

Rizk brings years of experience in private investments, investment banking and management consulting across the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Rizk was most recently a Vice President within the Mergers & Acquisitions team at HSBC in London where he advised companies on acquiring and selling assets, raising debt and equity, and pursuing growth opportunities. Prior to that, he was a strategy and management consultant.

Mr. Saade has experience starting and running a number of successful profitable businesses in the UK and is a Trustee at The Philological Foundation, a London based educational charity. He also sits as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of iCo, a diversified private company. Rizk received his education in the US (Caltech, Stanford), France (INSEAD), and Lebanon (AUB).

Dr Devaki Bhatta – Associate Non-Executive Director

Devaki is an experienced healthcare innovation professional with entrepreneurial leadership experience in Board-level positions within multidisciplinary SME environments, bridging the interface of industry, academia and government.

She is currently cofounder of a digital health start-up developing remote mobility monitoring solutions for healthy ageing and is passionate about digital transformation of health and social care to reduced entrenched health inequalities.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a member of the Institute of Engineering Technology’s Innovation and Emerging Technologies Policy panel and was formerly Senior Business Mentor on InnovateUK’s Women in Innovation programme. She has a 1st class honours BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London and a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge.

Diane Hayes – Membership Representative

Diane attends our board meetings on behalf of our membership.