Meet our management team

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    Anna Klimczak

    Chief executive officer

    Anna Klimczak

    Chief executive officer

      Anna became the United Communities finance director in July 2015 and interim chief executive in 2019. She successfully led United Communities and Solon South West through a strategic alliance in 2020 as joint chief executive and is now chief executive officer for Brighter Places.

      Anna graduated from Birmingham University with a degree in history before becoming ACA qualified.

      She worked at Deloitte for four years to 2010, becoming an assistant audit manager. She then spent five years at the Cabot Learning Federation, a multi-academy trust in Bristol, where she progressed through the ranks to become finance director.

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      Sally Gilbert

      Homes director

      Sally Gilbert

      Homes director

        Sally is a building surveyor by profession and has spent most of her working life in construction project management, first in the private sector in London and for the past 20 years in the public sector in Bristol.

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        Grant Giles

        Finance director

        Grant Giles

        Finance director

          Grant became joint finance director of United Communities and Solon South just before Brighter Places was set up in April 2021. He has many years’ experience in the housing sector, including as head of finance business partnering and head of finance investment at Bromford Housing Association and head of treasury and financial planning at Merlin Housing Association. Previously Grant worked in the financial services sector and within finance practice, delivering audit, accounts and taxation services to clients.

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          Dan Seabrook

          People director

          Dan Seabrook

          People director

            Dan has 15 years’ experience working in the private and housing sector in senior positions in both human resources and health and safety. Dan is degree and CIPD qualified, and holds qualifications in safety and education.

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          • Jennifer Griffiths

            customer service director

            Meet our board

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              Mike Grist

              Board member, member of ARC and HTC

              Mike Grist

              Board member, member of ARC and HTC

                Mike is a director of Cleeve Consulting, a consultancy specialising in housing regeneration, development and asset management.  Prior to this Mike was Director of Property Safety and Regeneration at Curo Group and in total has nearly 40 years’ experience in housing and construction.  He is an incorporated member of the Chartered Institute of Building.  Mike is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) as well as a member of the Homes and Treasury Committee (HTC).

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                Fiona Lester

                Board member, Chair of CEC and member of PGC

                Fiona Lester

                Board member, Chair of CEC and member of PGC

                  Fiona joined the board in November 2020. She has worked in the housing sector for over 30 years, having started her career as a housing trainee at Bristol City Council. Fiona worked for Sovereign for 11 years, during which time she managed both generic and portfolio-holding housing teams. While at Sovereign Fiona led a range of transformation projects across the West of England and Devon. In January 2021 she became head of housing management and estates at Bristol City Council.

                  Fiona is currently a member of the People and Governance Committee (PGC) and more recently became chair of the Customer Experience Committee (CEC) and is looking forward to working with members of the CEC as they strive to positively influence experiences and outcomes for Brighter places residents.

                   

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                  Michael Halloran

                  Board member, member of ARC, CEC and Complaints Champion

                  Michael Halloran

                  Board member, member of ARC, CEC and Complaints Champion

                    Michael joined the United Communities board in 2019. He has worked in the Housing sector for 16 years and is currently Housing Manager for Wales & West Housing Association.  He leads a team of staff responsible for over 2,000 properties across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, with an ethos of redesigning systems to improve service delivery to residents. He is also a director of Cardiff and the Vale Credit Union.

                    Michael is the Complaints Champion for the Board as set out in the Housing Ombudsman Code.  He is also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) and the Customer Experience Committee (CEC).

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                    LaToyah McAllister-Jones

                    Board member, member of PGC and CEC

                    LaToyah McAllister-Jones

                    Board member, member of PGC and CEC

                      LaToyah the Executive Director of St Pauls Carnival and previously worked as the Head of Operations at Ujima Radio. LaToyah has significant experience working across a range of communities and cultural institutions in the city of Bristol particularly with African Caribbean-led community organisations.

                      She has over 20 years’ experience working in the homelessness sector with complex needs individuals and is experienced working in multi-disciplinary environments, providing support and care to vulnerable individuals.

                      LaToyah holds a number of non-executive director positions including Bristol Festivals, a membership organisation which represents festivals and events in the city and Bristol’s One City Culture Board. She also served 18 months as an associate Non-Executive Director with North Bristol NHS Trust.

                      LaToyah is a Clore Social Fellow and a trained facilitator in action learning and delivering citizen’s assembly.

                      LayToyah is a member of the People and Governance Committee (PGC) and the Customer Experience Committee (CEC).

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                      Sarah Talbot Williams

                      Board member, Chair of PGC and member of CEC

                      Sarah Talbot Williams

                      Board member, Chair of PGC and member of CEC

                        Sarah joined the board in 2019 and was a member of the merger panel between United Communities and Solon South West.  She is the Board’s Senior Independent Director, and is also Chair of the People and Governance Committee (PGC) and a member of the Customer Experience Committee (CEC).

                        Sarah has been a senior leader in the voluntary sector for more than 20+ years.  She has been on many boards as Chair, Vice Chair and Non-Executive Director/Trustee in the NHS, Housing and voluntary sector organisations, including Together for Short Lives, One25, St Peter’s Hospice and BNSSG CCG.  She worked in the voluntary sector as Chief Executive and formerly Director of Communications and Campaigning, nationally and in Bristol.  She now runs her own charity consultancy specialising in strategic and governance review and advice and executive mentoring.  She is also committed to working as a volunteer and has supported a range of Bristol and south west charities.  All her work and voluntary work has focused on supporting all the communities in Bristol to access services and support they need.  In her spare time, she is a keen singer, weaver, silversmith and potter.

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                        Anna Klimczak

                        Executive director

                        Anna Klimczak

                        Executive director

                          Anna joined the board in 2022.  She joined United Communities as finance director in 2015 and became interim chief executive in 2019.  Anna successfully led United Communities and Solon South West through their merger in 2021 and is now chief executive of Brighter Places.  Anna graduated from Birmingham University with a degree in history before becoming ACA qualified.  She worked at Deloitte for four years to 2010.

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                          Harry Partington

                          Chair

                          Harry Partington

                          Chair

                            Harry joined the board as a non-executive director in September 2022 and was appointed Chair in November 2022.  He is an independent management consultant who, for over 35 years, has helped organisations to understand customer needs, get clear about long-term strategy and deliver change through people.

                            He is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees at  Southern Brooks, a charity which helps communities to connect, support each other and thrive.  For nine years, Harry was a non-executive director of Bristol Credit Union and chair of the board for seven of those years.

                             

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                            Ben Cook

                            Board member, member of PGC and HTC

                            Ben Cook

                            Board member, member of PGC and HTC

                              Ben has broad house building experience, including managing and, planning, technical and commercial teams for several leading housebuilders and property companies in the South West over the last two and a half decades.

                              He project managed the award-winning Zero Carbon project at Hanham Hall, Bristol for Barratt Homes, in partnership with Homes England (HE). Ben also led the development relationship with HE at Locking Parklands, Weston Super Mare for St. Modwen Developments. Ben was instrumental in driving the quality of development and sense of place delivered at Locking, as well as pioneering the Community Interest Company (CIC) with stakeholders.

                              Ben is now the Development Director (South) for The Guinness Partnerships an organisation that shares his passion for creating great places to live, work and play.

                              Ben is a member of the People and Governance Committee, and Homes and Treasury Committee.

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                              Gillian Durden

                              Board member, HTC Chair and member of ARC

                              Gillian Durden

                              Board member, HTC Chair and member of ARC

                                Gillian Durden joined the Board in September 2022, and has been Chair of the new Homes and Treasury Committee (HTC) since September 2023.  She is a qualified housing professional having worked in social housing for over 35 years, from London Borough of Barnet, to Bath City Council and Bristol City Council.  Gillian has held roles such as housing officer, housing and housing services manager; leading organisational change for better repairs services.  Her last role was head of planned maintenance leading on asset strategies for compliance, property and estate improvements and carbon retrofit projects.  In her retirement she remains committed to social housing, bringing experience and insight from other board roles, she is keen to ensure our residents have good quality services and homes.

                                Gillian is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC).

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                                Mark Simmonds

                                Board member, Chair of ARC and member of HTC

                                Mark Simmonds

                                Board member, Chair of ARC and member of HTC

                                  Mark joined the board in September 2022 as non-executive director and chair of the Audit & Risk Committee (ARC). Mark is a chartered accountant with over 30 years of experience working at board level in executive and non-executive roles in both the private and public sectors.  Between 2010 and 2021 he worked in a public sector leadership role in the Bristol area as chief financial officer and then as chief executive officer in the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset.

                                  Mark is a graduate of Bristol University and Cranfield Business School.  His experience includes strategic leadership, mentoring, strategic financial planning, treasury management, raising investment funding, risk management and governance.

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