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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    Claudia Cobban

    Customer service director

    Claudia Cobban

    Customer service director

    With over 20 years’ success within the social housing sector, Claudia has wide skills across corporate services and frontline operations. As the transformation director for Solon and United Communities, Claudia oversaw the strategic alliance and merger between United Communities and Solon. She was appointed customer service director in May 2021.

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    Richard James

    Asset director

    Richard James

    Asset director

    Richard is a chartered building surveyor with over 16 years’ experience in development and asset management services for social housing. He joined Solon in September 2015 as director of development and asset management. Previously he spent five years as assistant director of asset management and head of asset management at Somer Community Housing Trust and then Curo.

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    Sally Gilbert

    Development director

    Sally Gilbert

    Development 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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    Sheila Wilcox

    Head of HR and organisational development

    Sheila Wilcox

    Head of HR and organisational development

    Sheila gained broad HR experience working in the NHS, financial services, IT and retail. Fulfilling her career aim to work in the not-for-profit sector, Sheila previously worked as the head of people at a large conservation charity before moving into social housing. Sheila is responsible for communications and marketing, colleague health and safety, and human resources.

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    Meet our board

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      James Taylor

      Chair

      James Taylor

      Chair

      James was appointed chair of the Solon board and the United Communities board in September 2020 at the formation of a strategic alliance. He is a chartered surveyor and managing director of ADAPT Real Estate. James has worked professionally in Bristol for 20 years and has an in-depth knowledge of the property market. His experience in site acquisition, financing, joint venture structuring, development and asset management risks has provided board-level support since 2015. James has also been a Visiting Fellow in real estate to University of West of England since 2012.

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      Faye Greenway

      Board member, chair of Audit and Risk Committee

      Faye Greenway

      Board member, chair of Audit and Risk Committee

      Faye joined the board in January 2020. Faye is a chartered accountant who trained in public sector audit and is currently a senior finance manager at BT. She has worked in financial services for many years, in finance and commercial roles, and has served on the board of a large corporate pension scheme. 

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      Mike Grist

      Board member, member of Audit and Risk Committee

      Mike Grist

      Board member, member of Audit and Risk Committee

      Mike is director of property safety and regeneration at Curo Group, with over 25 years’ experience in housing association regeneration, development and asset management. Prior to this he worked for in construction and consultancy. He is an incorporated member of the Chartered Institute of Building. Mike joined the previous Solon board in 2018.

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      Michael Halloran

      Board member, member of Audit and Risk Committee

      Michael Halloran

      Board member, member of Audit and Risk Committee

      Michael joined the United Communities board in 2019. He is housing manager for Wales & West Housing Association and leads a team of 12 staff, with responsibility for 2,200 properties across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. He has designed and led his housing association’s welfare reform response and redesigned systems to improve delivery to residents. He is also a director of Cardiff and the Vale Credit Union.

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      Paul Hassan

      Board member, member of Audit and Risk Committee

      Paul Hassan

      Board member, member of Audit and Risk Committee

      Paul joined the board in September 2015.He has over two decades of experience in economic and community development across a range of media platforms. Paul is development manager (South West) for Locality, supporting ambitious and enterprising community-led organisations to work together to ensure their neighbourhoods thrive. In his spare time Paul has co-produced a number of award-winning short films.

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      Fiona Lester

      Board member, member of Audit and Risk Committee

      Fiona Lester

      Board member, member of Audit and Risk Committee

      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.

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      Richard Marshall

      Board member, chair of Governance and Remuneration Committee

      Richard Marshall

      Board member, chair of Governance and Remuneration Committee

      Richard is a solicitor with over 25 years’ property litigation experience. For 13 years he was a senior associate at DAC Beachcroft in Bristol, specialising in real estate disputes resolution. Richard founded his own mediation business, Striving to Settle, to help people resolve legal disputes and tricky negotiations and avoiding large legal bills. Richard joined the previous Solon board in 2014.

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      LaToyah McAllister-Jones

      Board member, member of Governance and Remuneration Committee

      LaToyah McAllister-Jones

      Board member, member of Governance and Remuneration Committee

      LaToyah joined the United Communities board in 2019. She is an executive director of St Pauls Carnival and a non executive director of Ujima Radio. LaToyah has worked for over 15 years on homelessness support and management for St Mungo’s and other organisations. She is a Clore Fellow and has run her own consultancy for organisation and staff development, capacity and resilience for charities and local authorities.

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      Gill Risdale

      Board member

      Gill Risdale

      Board member

      Gill joined the previous Solon board in November 2015. She has worked in private and public services for over 25 years, holding a variety of roles within housing, highways and transportation. Gill is currently a business growth director at WSP, an engineering consultancy, and is based in Bristol. Her experience includes housing management, preventing homelessness, delivery of services to local communities, developing training and improving employees’ health, safety and wellbeing.

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      Sarah Talbot Williams

      Board member, member of Governance and Remuneration Committee

      Sarah Talbot Williams

      Board member, member of Governance and Remuneration Committee

      Sarah joined the board in 2019. She has a broad range of NED experience including the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, local charity One25 and ACVCO. Up to 2017 Sarah was chief executive of Above & Beyond, the NHS charity for University Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust. She runs her own strategic and governance consultancy, providing advice, solutions and mentoring for executive teams and boards of charities and charitable foundations.

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      Keena Anderson

      Board member

      Keena Anderson

      Board member

      Keena is a Brighter Places resident and joined the board in November 2020. She has been involved in a number of resident engagement projects. Keena was actively involved with our merger proposals and the creation of our customer service offer. She has a background in finance and currently works in education.

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