Meet the team

Ian Tegerdine, Director of the Workforce Innovation Unit

Ian is a podiatrist by professional background but has spent most of his career in training, education, human resources and organisational and workforce development.

Ian’s first degree is in podiatry but he also holds a Master’s degree in management and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

He spends way too much time and money indulging his favourite pastime of theatre in all its forms.

Rob Hardy, Associate Director of Workforce Innovation (Policy and Programmes)

Rob supports the Director with running the Unit, engaging with stakeholders across the country and has leadership across the programme.

Rob has spent most of his career working on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme at both a regional (London) and a national level – latterly being the Health Education England (HEE) IAPT national workforce programme lead and deputy national mental health lead. Rob also spent some time working at University College London (UCL) running the Psychological Interventions Research Centre, managing a number of evaluation projects of mental health and addiction services. 

All of his spare time is taken up with music. He plays the guitar for his band and regularly tours Europe writing and releasing new records.

Amber O’Brien, Clinical Advisor

Amber is a registered mental health nurse with over 15 years’ experience in the mental health sector. She has worked in inpatient settings for a large proportion of her career and at a senior level across a range of settings in both the NHS and private sector. Her experience spans psychiatric intensive care, forensic settings, practice education, policy and strategy design and one-to-one patient consultation. In addition to her nursing qualification, she has a PGCert in Clinical Neuroscience and an MSc in Psychiatric Research. She also holds a specialist training and assessment qualification. 

In her spare time, Amber enjoys music, comedy and quizzing.

Becky Richens, Clinical Advisor

Becky is a registered mental health nurse with nearly 20 years of experience working in the NHS mental health sector. She has worked in a wide variety of NHS settings during her career, most recently including at a senior level leading a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS), and as a specialist nurse within perinatal, memory and Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services.

In her spare time, Becky enjoys spending time with her children, attending music festivals and camping with friends.

Joanna Daci, Senior Project Manager

As a Senior Project Manager, Joanna has responsibility for operational effectiveness of the Unit. 

Joanna has over 16 years’ experience within the education and training sector in the NHS. She started her career in general management, working to increase responsibility in project management before she moved into programme operations management. 

Joanna has a BA(Hons) in Business Management and an MSc in Strategic Quality Management. She has also gained the Chartered Manager status of the Chartered Management Institute. 

She enjoys spending time with her two young children and her favourite past-times include painting, travelling, exploring nature and playing basketball.

Raleen Fernandes, Senior Project Manager

Raleen is a life scientist with a master’s degree in medical biotechnology from the University of Westminster. She is passionate about working for the NHS and has dedicated over ten years of her career to improve the lives of patients with challenging conditions.

She has worked for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NHS England. Along with experience of conducting clinical trials, Raleen has managed national and international projects committed to enhance care, treatment and diagnosis for people living with dementia, neurodegenerative disorders, mental health conditions and sickle cell disease. 

Her previous role was particularly focused on programme managing ARISE; an EU funded initiative aimed at workforce training and development to implement newborn screening and improve the treatment of sickle cell disease in Africa.  

Raleen enjoys teaching and as a NIHR GCP facilitator for South London she has trained research staff for over 8 years. 

Raleen’s family is from India’s smallest yet one of the most sunny and beautiful states, Goa. She absolutely adores her three boys (one of which is her poodle puppy) and when she isn’t working her world revolves around them. 

Jenny Durling, Team Administrator/PA to Senior Team

Jenny is an experienced executive assistant who comes to the Unit after 12 years at the disability charity Scope, where she was Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive and Chair of Trustees. Prior to this she worked in a variety of different temporary administrative roles and spent two years as a Verifier and Services Research Assistant at Which? magazine.

Born in London, Jenny spent her childhood in Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand and completed an Honours degree in English Literature at Otago University.

She is predominantly motivated by supporting leaders to be the very best they can be, bringing order to chaos and improving backroom processes.

Jenny loves dogs, red wine, the seaside and true crime. 

Kate Hurst, Trainee Health Psychologist

Kate is a Trainee Health Psychologist currently completing her 2 year Doctoral-level Health Psychology Qualification. Since graduating with her psychology undergraduate degree, she has worked for Macmillan Cancer Support in two different London hospitals – University College London Hospital and Kings College Hospital – providing psychological and emotional support to individuals with cancer. Part of this work involved Kate leading an innovative pilot ‘prehabiliation’ programme for men with prostate cancer with the aim of optimising patients’ physical and psychological health before entering prostate cancer treatment to improve their outcomes post-treatment. She also provided 1-1 telephone support to cancer patients through low-level psychological interventions.

These experiences confirmed her desire to pursue a career in Health Psychology, and completing her Master’s degree. Kate’s large scale MSc research project involved exploring the psychological impact of experiencing a stroke as a young stroke survivor (under 65 years old) which is being written up for publication. Before being accepted onto her role in the Unit, Kate worked in a Staff Support Hub supporting health and social care staff by providing group webinars on health and wellbeing topics. She feels really motivated and passionate about empowering individuals with evidence-based tools and psychoeducation to optimise their own health and wellbeing. 

Kate is also a qualified Psychological Coach and provides private 1-1 and group workshops to support individuals to optimise their mindset and enhance their day-to-day wellbeing. 

Outside of work, Kate enjoys getting outdoors in nature with her family and friends by going on weekends away in the Peak District and Lake District. Any form of movement is so important in her daily routine, whether it is group gym classes or walks listening to her favourite podcasts. Kate also enjoys summer music festivals and has been lucky enough to secure a Glastonbury ticket 4 years in a row!

Joana Escaria, Project Manager

Joana has worked in the NHS for three years and has experience in project management, recruitment and resourcing. She is passionate about improving both patient care and outcomes, as well as staff wellbeing and long term prospects to support every part of our NHS. This is something which has become particularly important to her in light of the recent pandemic and its impacts on both the NHS services, its patients, and its workforce.

Joana is certified in Prince 2 Practitioner and Quality, Service Improvement and Redesign. She has also qualified with a Diploma in Human Resource from Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD).

Outside work, Joana is a keen sportswoman and enjoys keeping fit. Spending time with her family and friends is the most important part of her personal life and most weekends you can find her hiking with her wife and their dog. When it comes to relaxation, Joana is an avid reader and loves to spend time reading books both in English and her native language, Portuguese.

Atiya Fazalbhai, Project Manager

Atiya has worked in the NHS for over 7 years and has experience leading projects in resourcing, with a focus on improving equality and diversity in the workplace.

She has also qualified with an Intermediate Diploma in Human Resource Management from Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

Atiya has always been passionate about making a difference in people’s lives, whether colleagues or service users. She strongly believes that representation matters and is motivated in supporting initiatives that will create a more inclusive workplace for everyone.

Outside work, Atiya spends most of her time in the kitchen as she is a keen cook and a baker. She also enjoys reading, travelling, and exploring the great outdoors.

Adedolapo Olaifa, Project Manager

Ade is passionate about working for the NHS and has done so for over five years.

She has an MSC in Occupational Psychology from Goldsmiths University of London.

Her previous role was in management in the NHS where she led a team of over 15 staff across two sites. She believes everyone should feel valued in the workplace and is interested in using research to improve the workforce and provide high quality care.

Outside work, Ade enjoys listening to true crime podcasts, watching TV shows and spending time with family and friends. She also likes travelling as she enjoys gaining knowledge of different cultures.

Hannah Poupart, Project Manager

Hannah has 13 years experience working in NHS arm’s length bodies. The golden thread has been project management but she has worked in executive education, staff learning and development, events management and membership and stakeholder engagement. 

Hannah is motivated by bringing order to complex and fast paced situations, alongside developing efficient processes with continuous learning. She is an advocate for supporting people but is ultimately passionate about getting to the heart of an issue to empower people and the systems themselves.

Hannah is a certified Agile Practitioner and has an post-graduate Advanced Award in Designing, Delivering and Evaluating Learning and Development Provision from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 

Outside of work Hannah’s interests are current affairs, human rights, horror films and exploring places, peoples and cultures. 

Anna Savva, Project Manager

Anna has worked for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust for over eight years in various roles, gaining experience in clinical administration and as a personal assistant. She has a keen interest in the improvement of mental health services, from the wellbeing of staff, down to service user experience.

Anna is currently working towards her PRINCE2 certification and is keen to develop within the next stage of her career as a project manager. She enjoys working in the Unit amongst a team of individuals with a wide range of skills and knowledge from whom she can learn from.

In her spare time, Anna is an artist. She enjoys many forms of art but is primarily a printmaker. She likes listening to jazz and reading, and runs a monthly book group for 20-40 year olds.