I joined the Board in 2016 to support Para Dance UK with my substantial experience gained through 15 years working within the charity sector.
I started my career working with a grass roots charity in North East England to support learning disabled people to access and enjoy a range of leisure activities. Since moving back to South East England I’ve spent last 12 years working for a major UK charity, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), where I’ve honed my skills in strategic planning, monitoring and risk management. I’m also part of the management committee for the charity special interest group for the Institute of Risk Management.
Since joining the charity sector I wanted to dedicated my career to creating equal access to opportunities for disabled people (whether that be learning disabled or physically disabled) and brings a passion to grow disabled people’s access to and enjoyment of dancing.
I am a qualified Chartered Accountant who has lived in the Watford area most of my life. I am married with one daughter.
I qualified in 1974 and after 3 years post qualifying experience that was largely auditing based I joined one of my clients Fiat Motor Sales as Assistant to the Chief Accountant. I then had roles at British Aerospace Hatfield, Deinhard & Company (Wine Shippers), Jones Cable Group (in the early days of Cable Television), Food Brands Group (Wine and Beer Distributors), HOK International (Architects), Citipost (Mail and Distribution) and finished my career at HF Holidays Limited, a 100 year old Holiday company that is a mutual society with an elected voluntary board.
My career has always been in roles as a hands on Accountant and I enjoy preparing accounts. The only exception being at British Aerospace where I worked on the European Airbus project for most of my time before being appointed Financial Accountant at Hatfield.
My interests are river fishing, particularly the local River Colne where I also enjoy playing a conservation role. I enjoy listening to music, watching sport and dog walking.
I have been with Para Dance UK for many years now, starting as an Instructor, then National Rep for a Term and wanted to be more involved so I am now a Trustee and have been for 2 years. This role and working with Para Dance UK I find very rewarding for the people I work with both in the Governing Body and also those I teach.
I also work with Paediatric Physiotherapy where my Instructor skills have also become very useful in helping those children with programmes to enjoy their exercises within dance. I my self have competed in both Ice Dance and Ballroom & Latin competitions both nationally and internationally, gaining 3rd place in Ice Dance at our Nationals going on to win a International competition in Denmark, my skating career also took me to compete frequently abroad and also many shows, and I am also a National Champion in both Ballroom & Latin. I love to share my experience with my pupils and colleagues, in my younger years I have also done ballet & tap which allows me to share many skills.
I will continue to share my knowledge with both Para Dance UK and their members and here’s to being with Para Dance UK for many more years.
I’m Akachi, a business consultant with a focus on operational effectiveness and experience in IT assurance, Financial Statement Audit, and Commercial Partnerships.
I’ve danced recreationally since I was a child, and coached dance for a couple of years whilst at university. A cause I strongly support is the widening of dance participation amongst all ability levels.
I’m originally from Nigeria and have lived in the UK for more than 5 years. I hold a Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree from King’s College London and Loughborough University respectively.
As a communication consultant I have more than 35 years of experience, I lead a team of volunteers on marketing for Para Dance UK. Using my experience leading corporate communication teams in multi-national companies to develop the marketing strategies to engage communities. I deliver campaigns and materials for, both, marketing the charity and fundraising through electronic and traditional media.
I am a qualified nurse who has worked within the speciality of rehabilitation for over 25 years. My experience is varied having worked in the NHS, the charity sector and most recently the private sector. I bring operational management skills to the team and love helping to create order and easy to use governance procedures. Hope and purpose forms the basis of all successful rehabilitation. Para Dance gives people enormous hope and purpose and it is delightful to see a totally inclusive policy of inviting everyone to dance in action. I am honoured to be able to be part of the Para Dance team as a Trustee.
I am a professional marketer working within the sports sector for over a decade, with a background in data, CRM and digital. Other areas of specialism include data protection and compliance, operations and project management.
My academic credentials include a Master’s degree in Professional Communication from Clark University; a Bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from Tel-Aviv University; and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from New England College.
From a young age until my late teens I was an amateur athlete involved with different types of sports including fencing, volleyball and martial arts. Sport and physical activity participation can bring such passion and joy to an individual’s life, so I am thrilled to join Para Dance in 2019 to help support and promote opportunities for disabled people to dance both for leisure and professionally.
I love dance as an art form, an expression of personality and as a way to a healthy, sociable life.
Inclusivity and its positive implications are my passion. I am convinced that inclusive practice benefits mainstream society first and foremost: by ‘standardising’ experience we forfeit invaluable different perspectives. The constant search for what inhabiting a body means and feels like, the relation between negotiating space and expression, and the exploration of physical limits, are such important and interesting areas of research in dance, that we exclude people with different abilities at our peril, and to the detriment of the craft.
I am an experienced campaigner in ethical and environmental causes. I have campaigned and raised funds in all manner of situations: from letter writing to governments and celebrities, to helping to prepare complex bids to diverse stakeholders for a variety of causes.
Shelley Owide – Secretary
I am an expert with 35 years experience in retail working in an ever evolving highly competitive business environment, and as such I have always had to be looking ahead at how I could improve the business, otherwise it would fail. To do this I have had to be open to new ideas, and be very organised and analytical so I could potentialise all opportunities, working to an “On Time Every Time” philosophy. These skills are transferable to Para Dance UK and will help it achieve efficient and strategic change.
Dance has always been a passion of mine. I wanted to be a ballet dancer from the age of 3. I went to stage school at 11 specifically to learn and become a dancer, but at 15 the ligaments in my foot were damaged and I had to give up my dream. So, when I saw the opportunity to work with a charity that specialises in dance for everyone I knew I wanted to be involved.
Gary Lyness – National Representative
I’ve been involved in Wheelchair Dance since 2010 as a standing dancer with my dance partner – Paula Moulton. We started out as beginners and competed through the ranks including 3 years as undefeated Amateur combi Latin champions internationally to now represent Team GB in IPC competition.
We have been the “faces” of UK Para Dance Sport on the international circuit since 2011 and currently run a club in Manchester.
My day job is an HR and Office Manager – I’ve worked primarily in the Finance sector and more recently the Digital/Online Marketing sector. My role includes everything from recruitment, employment law, staff retention and engagement to Health & Safety and responsibility for the day to day finances of the company, so I know how to juggle many roles and stay organised.
I champion equality and have a strong interest in disability issues from simple access to travel and highlight problems to service providers and suppliers and highlight good practice.
My passion, however, is dance, and I want to work towards reuniting all the UK’s wheelchair dancers and clubs. We can only make the sport successful in this country and to be able to grow and get the recognition we strive to get by coming together. Feel free to get in touch with me to talk about any matters dance related.