Board of Directors

The Association of Volunteer Managers is a company limited by guarantee governed by a board of directors:

debbie_usiskin100Debbie Usiskin (Chair)

Debbie is one of the founding Directors of AVM and current Chair. Volunteering since the age of 14 as a swimming assistant with PHAB, Debbie is still volunteering, swimming and actively engaged in inclusivity.

Debbie is one of the founding Directors of AVM and current Chair. Volunteering since the age of 14 as a swimming assistant with PHAB, Debbie is still volunteering, swimming and actively engaged in inclusivity.

Starting working life as a social worker, Debbie merged her training skills and experience into managing volunteers in Health & Social Care settings. Whilst working as a Head of Volunteering in a care home for older people Debbie took an MA in Organisational Development, researching the impact of business management models on volunteer involving organisations.

Using strategic and operational practice, founded in theoretical bases, Debbie worked freelance for 4 years with a focus on stakeholder engagement and building capacity. Debbie’s last freelance role was in a local hospice, 3 years later this is now a permanent role bringing together the passion for quality practice in Health & Social Care settings and great volunteering experiences.

Always interested in how others do this thing we call volunteer management, will do almost anything for a decent cup of coffee and always happy to meet and exchange thoughts.

A.S. Maini (Vice Chair)

A.S.Maini is a specialist in digital and branding for the nonprofit sector, particularly in relation to volunteering, and has spent five years leading digital for a national volunteering charity. His voluntary work includes teaching digital skills to young people, acting as special advisor to a community education initiative and serving as Chair of Trustees for an opera charity.

patrick_danielsPatrick Daniels (Treasurer)

Patrick is currently Head of Professional Development for Resolution, a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports family law professionals.

After studying politics and international relations, Patrick got the volunteering bug working for six months in New Delhi, India, with an Indian disaster management NGO. After this experience, Patrick worked as a full time volunteer for ATD Fourth World, a French anti-poverty NGO, in a number of different projects in London, Paris, Brussels and Guatemala City. During seven years of involvement, Patrick worked on a range of educational initiatives with children and young people.

In the UK, Patrick has worked in a number of volunteer management roles, in particular with the Octopus Community Network, a partnership of nine community organisations in Islington, London. He worked for YouthNet, an online information and advice charity, as Head of Engagement and Support. For the last five years, Patrick has been co-chair of the Guatemala Solidarity Network which recruits volunteer international accompaniers, and remains an active member. He is also chair of trustees of the ATD Fourth World Trust that supports full-time volunteers both in the UK and abroad.

Rachael BayleyRachael Bayley

Rachael Bayley is the Head of Volunteering Development at Save the Children UK. She leads on developing the volunteering strategy, framework and culture to ensure volunteering is embedded across the whole organisation. She originally moved into the sector (from investment banking) to be Director of Service at Volunteer Reading Help.

Rachael was the Director of Volunteering at CSV (Community Service Volunteers), where she led a team of 15,000 volunteers who are supported by 28 staff. Rachael has also been Director of Volunteering Development at the Alzheimer’s Society; and Head of Volunteering at Samaritans with 18,000 volunteers and 202 branches each led by volunteers – a highly successful model of volunteers managing volunteers. Rachael is also a Trustee of Barnardo’s and is training to be a qualified Pilates tutor.

karenallsopKaren Janes

Karen Janes is the Head of Volunteering at Blue Cross ( Her role is to lead and influence the strategic development of volunteering across the charity maximising the impact of volunteering on the charity’s work. Under Karen’s lead, and with the support of some 100 people managing and coordinating volunteers, the charity’s volunteer force has grown from under 600 volunteers to over 3,400 now contributing over 400,000 hours a year and about 30% of all time worked at the charity.

Karen has previously worked in the policy and strategy team at RNIB, and launched a volunteer-run befriending service for disabled adults for Leonard Cheshire Disability. Karen’s volunteer roles have included being a youth worker for a disabled youth club, fundraising for Dogs for the Disabled, being on the committee of a local running club, and running marathons and half marathons to raise money for Blue Cross.

Karen is a member of AVM and NNVIA and previously set up an Animal Welfare Charities Volunteer Manager network. She has developed and run training and workshops on volunteer management and recently delivered a presentation at the Association of Cats and Dogs Homes (ACDH) annual conference.

RuthRuth Leonard

Ruth Leonard is the Head of Volunteering Development at Macmillan Cancer Support, where her role is to consider strategically where volunteers could be involved in providing solutions and to ensure that there is a supportive infrastructure to enable these interventions to be co-designed with and delivered by volunteers. Before working with Macmillan she was part of the Samaritans Volunteering Team, which fired her passion for truly volunteer led services and belief in a model of volunteers being managed by volunteers. Ruth feels that volunteer management is about empowering and enabling people to bring creativity and ingenuity to a solution to be able to make a difference in their community. With a background in journalism she is interested in encouraging the voice of volunteers to be heard and fully inform a volunteer programme.

She enjoys collaborative working; bringing together and being involved in networks from the wider volunteer involving and statutory sectors to creatively think about volunteering and community engagement issues and has been involved in several cross-sector pieces of work.

Her personal volunteering includes being a Samaritans volunteer, a community mediator and a previous trustee with Prisoners Family and Friends Service.

Bryan Precious


Bryan Precious is a Community Development Executive at the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM), a not for profit professional body that support facilities managers. At the BIFM, Bryan leads on developing a strategy and framework to support 26 volunteer committees across the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands.

He received his BA from University of Wales, Bangor. In 2008, he became a Neighbourhood Regeneration Officer at Groundwork Wakefield where he delivered million pound engagement and regeneration projects. In 2010, Bryan became a Youth Volunteer Advisor at The Conservation Volunteers delivering two volunteer brokerage programmes supporting over 1000 volunteers a year.  He went on to work as Green Impacts Projects Officer delivering a research project on the resilience of community groups and the impact conservation volunteering has on pro-environmental behaviour change.

chrisreedChris Reed

Chris has spent his career working and volunteering in the voluntary sector, initially as a front-line ambulance technician and first aid trainer before managing volunteers for a range of charities and holding the post of Chief Executive of Volunteer Centre Westminster for five years. Chris is currently Head of Volunteering at Barnardo’s, the UK’s leading children’s charity. Prior to that he spent 4 and-a-half years as Head of Volunteering at St John Ambulance where he led the team responsible for transforming and enhancing the experience of the charity’s 40,000 volunteers.

Chris’ volunteering roles have included being a Trustee of Volunteering England, prior to its merger with NCVO, and of Greater London Volunteering. Despite having a young family, Chris is still an extremely active volunteer, he is currently a member of the Main Award Committee for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for volunteer groups, Chair of NCVO’s Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditation Standardisation Panel, a Community First Responder Team Leader for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and Secretary of Horsmonden Social Club.

IMG_0130Fiona Wallace

Fiona is Head of Influencer Audiences Research at nfpSynergy, a research consultancy that aims to provide the ideas, insights and information to help non-profits thrive. She works charities to help them evaluate and strengthen their engagement with politicians, journalists and healthcare professionals.

In 2014, Fiona worked on nfpSynergy’s free report on volunteering; ‘The New Alchemy’. The report explored the way the world of volunteering, charities, and the wider environment are changing.

Fiona graduated from Durham University with a BA in Geography. Before starting her degree she volunteered as a teacher in Ghana, a trip that has motivated her to work in the not-for-profit sector. Outside of work, her interests include campaigning on fairtrade issues, playing folk music and swing dancing. She is passionate about volunteering and has most recently volunteered as a Team Mentor for Envision, a youth-based social action charity.