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Our Team

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Liz Gardiner, Chief Executive

Liz was appointed as Protect’s Chief Executive in March 2020. Liz is an employment solicitor who joined Protect as Legal Officer in July 2018 and became Acting Chief Executive in December 2019.

Liz joined Protect after working for the charity Working Families on their legal helpline, advising parents and carers about discrimination and flexible working issues. She has a background in Parliament and policy work before retraining as a solicitor.

“Protect has a proud history of supporting individual whistleblowers, working with employers on best practice and campaigning for changes to the law. I’m delighted to lead this talented and committed team and the work we do in protecting the public interest and changing workplace cultures for good”.

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Victoria Benaityte, Head of Marketing

Victoria joined Protect in 2019. She has transitioned to the charity sector in 2017, following an academic sabbatical during which she gained an MA in International Studies from the University of Washington. Prior to this, she worked in the private sector in the UK and internationally, focusing on marketing, brand building and PR.

Victoria is enthusiastic about raising income and awareness for Protect and ensuring the public understands the positive impact of whistleblowing.

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Nneka Egbuji, Adviser

Nneka began volunteering with us as a Legal Researcher in November 2017 whilst completing her Law postgraduate course at Queen Mary University of London and joined as an adviser in July 2018.

“After volunteering for Protect for over seven months, I decided to apply for the Adviser role because I admired the significant difference Protect has made in whistleblowers’ lives. I find this role is very rewarding because I have the opportunity to make a difference not only for individual whistleblowers but also for society as a whole.”

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Kushi Gujral, Senior Business Support Executive

Kushi joined Protect in 2016. Kushi has a Masters in International Relations from the University of Warwick and enjoys being able to combine her business development experience with working in the third sector.

``I enjoy supporting new and existing clients and engaging with them on why effective whistleblowing arrangements are so vital for their business. Protect's new Whistleblowing Benchmark has been getting great feedback since it launched - the Business Support team are passionate about spreading the word on how good it is! Talk to us!``

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Bob Matheson, Head of Advice & Advocacy

Bob manages our Advice Line and leads on our legal intervention work helping whistleblowers with their cases.

Before joining Protect in 2015, Bob work at several other prominent legal advice centres. Bob obtained a first class degree from University College London before completing his Graduate Diploma in Law.

``Whistleblowing is all about power dynamics. To help an individual raise their concerns in the most effective - and safest - manner, requires a quick understanding of these dynamics and the organisational culture which contributes to them. This is why you can never give out-of-the-box advice to a whistleblower. Every situation needs bespoke advice. The pairing of environment and concern is always a unique combination.``

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Andrew Pepper-Parsons, Head of Policy

Andy oversees our lobbying and research, as well as being a senior adviser on the advice line, handling more complex cases. Andy qualified with an LLB in Law from Solent University, and has a MSc in Government, Policy and Politics from Birkbeck, University of London and has been with Protect since 2007.

“I look forward to the work we are planning around the whistleblowing law PIDA and changes we'd like to see in the law to better protect whistleblowers. There is a lot of work to be done engaging with the government and policy makers on what needs to be done to overhaul the law as it stands at the moment.``

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Hari Raithatha, Legal Officer

Hari qualified as a solicitor with Protect in 2020.

Hari is a Senior Adviser on our Advice Line and works closely with our Business Support team to help organisations meet whistleblowing best practice. Hari also acts as Protect's company secretary.

Hari obtained a First in Politics from Nottingham Trent University and completed his legal studies at the University of Sheffield and BPP Law School. Hari joined us in April 2017, having previously worked with the charity as a volunteer.

“Since joining Protect as a volunteer, I have been keen to get involved in the ground-breaking and forward-thinking work that the charity does with whistleblowers and organisations and am looking forward to building on this work as a solicitor.”

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Frances Steele, Office Manager

Frances deals with many different aspects of Protect's day-to-day administration from client invoices, overseeing the design and printing of our corporate materials to helping us with events and conferences and has many years experience of working in social enterprises and the publishing industry.

``We're a small but very busy team, and I enjoy helping the event side of our work run smoothly as well as supporting staff with varied tasks.``

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Francesca West, Senior Legal Consultant

Francesca has extensive experience of whistleblowing and Protect is delighted to welcome her back as a Senior Legal Consultant. Francesca has held Legal Officer, Director of Policy and Chief Executive roles with Protect and oversaw our successful rebrand and high profile 25th Anniversary celebrations. Francesca also led the development and launch of Protect's new key product to help make workplaces safe - our Whistleblowing Benchmark.

``As Senior Legal Consultant, l am looking forward to do more to assist workers and organisations in getting whistleblowing right. The charity has an ambitious strategy to raise their profile to achieve this but we are getting some great feedback on the Whistleblowing Benchmark - its beginning to make its impact.``

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Jon Cunningham, Business Development Director

Jon has responsibility for our work supporting organisations in getting their arrangements right, making staff feel confident in speaking up. This includes our support packages, training courses and consultancy. Jon has worked in the charity sector since 2002 in a variety of management, operational and business development roles, has a BA Hons in Development Studies and MBA, and joined Protect in 2012.

``I love working with this team of experts, and using our knowledge and experience to benefit individuals, organisations and wider society.``

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Burcak Dikmen, Adviser

Burcak joined Protect in July 2019 as an Adviser after graduating from Queen Mary University, London, with a first class honours in law. She has had previous experience of advising through her three years as part of the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre.

``Since joining Protect, I have been able to see how invaluable its services are in promoting a speak-up culture in the workplace and encouraging whistleblowers to come forward by offering direct advice. This enables wrongdoing that affects the public-interest on any scale to be addressed, contributing to an overall healthy work place, which is why this work is so rewarding.``

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Laura Fatah, Policy Officer

Laura joined Protect in November 2017 and has previously volunteered at Liberty and other human rights charities. Laura also supports our policy work, identifying opportunities and engaging with MPs and Ministers.

`` I love the variety of calls we receive. Everyday I am impressed by the tenacity and bravery of those who raise concerns on behalf of the public. Being able to support these individuals is a privilege, although it can be challenging at times when employers behave unscrupulously. The research I carry out is focused on affirming the importance of speaking up and expanding the existing legal and regulatory framework, so that more whistleblowers can speak up in confidence``.

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Kyran Kanda, Adviser

Kyran joined Protect in September 2019 after completing his LLM in Public Law and Human Rights from UCL, and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Nottingham. He has previous advice experience volunteering for legal organisations, including Liberty and the Centre for Criminal Appeals.

“Everyone should have the right to work in a safe and secure environment. I joined Protect because of its unique role in assisting the courageous people who speak out against the workplace dangers that they observe. The variety of calls we receive means that Protect can help to encourage a culture of confident and supported whistleblowing in different industries and sectors”.

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Lou O'Neill, Head of Communications

Lou joined Protect in November 2016 as our Head of Communications. After starting out as a journalist working for local and national newspapers, TV news and magazines, Lou moved into PR and comms and has worked as a press officer for NHS England, the London Ambulance Service, Kent County Council and various charities including UNICEF, WWF, and the RHS.

``Whistleblowers play a key role in keeping society safe. Telling their stories is fascinating. It would be great to see more happy endings and outcomes for whistleblowers.``

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Rhiannon Plimmer-Craig, Adviser

Rhiannon joined Protect in July 2019 after graduating with a First in Law from University College London. She spent a year of her degree studying Australian law at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. She has previous volunteering experience in mentoring roles.

“I joined Protect because of the importance of whistleblowing in ensuring a healthy and safe working environment. Whistleblowing can affect anyone of us, in any workplace, and has a vital impact on the wellbeing of society as a whole. That is why it is so rewarding to advise the brave callers who are speaking up about wrongdoing in their workplace. I love the variety that every call brings; we work with a vast range of industries and advise on a number of concerns, so no two days are the same.”

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Sukhbir Singh, Business Support Executive

Sukhbir joined Protect in 2019. He has a BA in Humanities from the Open University.

Prior to joining Protect, Sukhbir worked in the Membership team at CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) helping clients with their qualification, membership and conference queries.

``I love working for Protect, the role allows me to use my Account Management/Business Development skills to benefit people at work and contribute in some small way to make a difference. It's great to work with such passionate and ethical people.``

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Stella Sutcliffe, Business Support Manager

Stella has joined Protect in 2019. She is a Sheffield Halam University graduate and has worked in senior roles supporting employers with their people policies and practices for seven years.

Her work includes membership and consultancy solutions for the flexible working charity Working Families, the gender identity equality charity Go Title Free, and for Mumsnet.

``I'm looking forward to working with organisations to establish and maintain a strong, positive whistleblowing culture. Transparency for businesses and organisations has become so important, and therefore there are pressures to demonstrate commitment to improvement. I'm glad to be part of this lovely team who support employers to assess, progress and showcase their achievements in this field.``