Old name, new purpose: why we’ve gone back to RNID

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Our Senior Leadership team

Meet RNID’s senior leaders.

Harriet Oppenheimer, Chief Executive (CEO)

Harriet photographed outdoors

Harriet was appointed Chief Executive of RNID in February 2024, after three years as Deputy Chief Executive. Her focus in those three years was to lead the delivery of RNID’s strategy to make significant impact for RNID’s communities through inclusion, health, employment and research.

She brings to the role a breadth of experience from her years as a management consultant and Partner at PA Consulting, where she worked across government, health and life sciences sectors, helping organisations shape and deliver strategic change. Her early career was in charities and the NHS.

Harriet is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Refugee Council. She lives with her husband and three children.

Read our Q&A with Harriet

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James Abbott, Chief Operating Officer (COO)

James photographed outdoors

James has been part of RNID’s leadership team since 2019, moving to his role as Chief Operating Officer in February 2024. Since joining the charity, he has played an important role in our transformation into a modern digital-first social change organisation, leading our corporate services (including finance, people, IT and governance functions). As Chief Operating Officer, James’ role now brings together all our services, including those that we provide to our communities as well as our corporate services.

James has previously worked for other charities in the health and disability space, including Guide Dogs, Diabetes UK and Scope. He is also a trustee of the Royal Osteoporosis Society. He lives on the west coast of Scotland with his wife and three children.

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Meet the rest of the Senior Leadership Team

Victoria Boelman, Director of Insight and Policy

Victoria photographed outdoors

Victoria joined RNID in 2023 with a track record in developing social policy research teams at Macmillan Cancer Support, Ofgem and at The Young Foundation. Her career has focused on issues of inclusion and social justice, with an emphasis on how placing the voices and experiences of those with lived experience at the heart of research and policy can create meaningful social change. She also draws on her time in consultancy and innovation organisations to identify new approaches to tackling the issues that face our communities.

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Punitha Catarinicchia, Director of Finance and Performance

Punitha photographed outdoors

Punitha is a CIMA qualified accountant with nearly 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, having worked at Cancer Research UK, St John Ambulance and The British Library.

Punitha brings personal experience to RNID: she has had single sided hearing loss since childhood, and reflects that she has learnt so much about her own hearing loss since joining RNID, the support available in the work environment and the benefits of working somewhere where everyone is deaf aware.

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Lucy Devine, Director of Marketing and Communications

Lucy photographed outdoors

Lucy joined RNID in 2022, after leading the communications functions at other national charities such as Stonewall and Mencap. At RNID, Lucy oversees our PR, social media, marketing and campaign communications, as well as internal communications. She is passionate about the power of charity communications to transform lives, and in the social change we can bring about together.

Outside work, Lucy has recently finished a 6 year stint as a trustee of CharityComms, and loves living getting out and about around the Pennine valleys she lives in with her husband and young son.

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Sinéad Donoghue, Director of Fundraising

Sinead photographed outdoors

Sinead has spent her career in the charity sector, working for a range of charities including Alzheimer’s Society, English Heritage and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. She has led teams focussed on High Value Fundraising and Corporate Partnerships and believes passionately in the impact donors can have to transform lives.

Joining RNID in 2023, Sinead gets inspiration from the work RNID does to help people everyday in the community, and working tirelessly to find new cures and treatments to change lives in the future.

When not working, Sinead is running around after her children and making the most of living in London by visiting museums and exploring the city.

Dr Ralph Holme, Director of Research

Ralph photographed outdoors

Ralph has over 20 years of experience in hearing research. He leads our work to accelerate the discovery and development of treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus. Working globally, RNID fund ground-breaking research, build future research capacity, and connect innovators to the knowledge and resources they need to succeed.

Before joining RNID, Ralph was a research scientist investigating the genetic basis of deafness.

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Terry Makewell, Director of Digital and Innovation

Terry photographed outdoors

Terry is an accomplished digital and technology leader having been a Government Chief Digital Officer as well as a Chief Technology Officer. He has also had digital roles in the publishing and education sectors.

Terry’s move to the RNID is driven from his desire to make society more inclusive. He has deafness caused by Ménière’s disease.

He has previously been a member of the British Council’s Digital Advisory Group, NHS Non-Executive Director and Trustee of numerous charities. He has an MBA in Entrepreneurship and lives in the South West with his wife, daughter, dog and cat.

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Crystal Rolfe, Director of Strategy

Crystal photographed outdoors

Crystal Rolfe is Director for Strategy at RNID. Crystal has over 20 years’ experience in the field of audiology, working clinically in the NHS, on quality standards and training in the private sector abroad and as a guest lecturer at UCL. Crystal has a special interest in health behaviour change and an MSc in health psychology. She has published a chapter on hearing, in a book for healthcare professionals and published research in scientific journals.

Crystal is also chair of trustees at a London based health charity and a school governor. She loves spending time with her husband and 2 daughters, especially for a good walk on the beach.

Jackie White, Director of Community Services

Jackie photographed outdoors

Jackie has been part of the team at RNID since 2011, in a range of roles including Director of Northern Ireland, Director of Strategy and Change, Associate Director of Localities and most recently Director of Community Services.

She began her career in the charity sector in 1997 with a role at Mencap, and since then has held various leadership roles including Director of the Stroke Association in Northern Ireland and heading up leadership development in CO3 (Chief Officers 3rd Sector).

In her spare time, Jackie is involved in a local Irish Dancing group in Belfast and is an office bearer of the Festival Dance Teachers Association. Jackie lives with her partner and her son in Belfast.

Page last updated: 1 February 2024

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