Cllr Peter Gruen | Chair
Peter is a local councillor for the Crossgates and Whinmoor ward in Leeds. He was appointed as Chair of Advonet’s Board of Trustees in August 2018.
More information on Cllr Gruen will follow shortly.
Ralph Porter | Vice Chair
I left Blackburn for University in Swansea in 1969 and liked Wales so much that I stayed until 1978, getting married to a Welsh girl along the way. I moved to Leeds in 1978 to take up a post with Leeds City Council and the City is now very much home. I worked for the City Council until taking early retirement in 2009, working in Arts Venue Management latterly at the Carriageworks Theatre and Leeds Town Hall.
Since retiring, we visit Australia fairly frequently as both my sons live there and so I am still working on a casual/part-time basis to help fund the trips. I became involved in Leeds Advocacy (one of the organisations which previously co-managed Advonet) over 20 years ago and have had a number of long-term advocacy partners.
I was a director and chair of Leeds Advocacy for many years and am enjoying working with the Advonet board to build on our past achievements to create a successful and expanding organisation.
Emma Williams | Treasurer
More information on Emma will follow shortly.
Reinhard Beck | Trustee
I have lived in Leeds for most of my adult life, having studied History and Politics at Lancaster University. In 1990 I became a citizens’ advocate for a new charity called Leeds Advocacy (one of the organisations which previously co-managed Advonet) which had been created to help people in Leeds with learning difficulties have more say about their lives and what happened to them.
I have always felt that my contribution as an advocate and as a member of the board of ‘Advonet’ was the desire to build something that would last for people who needed it the most.
Kirti Tandel | Trustee
An MBA with an Electronics & Telecommunication engineering degree under my belt, I have previously worked in various roles in multi-national corporations, managing complex IT projects, across several industry verticals. My current role involves working for a healthcare consulting firm in Leeds, with global leaders in the life sciences and healthcare industry, developing implementing and commercialising innovative healthcare solutions.
I have been associated with Advonet for more than two years now and have really enjoyed working with the team. Besides work, I am very passionate about sports and have been playing for East Leeds Cricket Club in first division leagues for almost four years.
Dr. Ivan Nip | Trustee
I’ve worked in the Local Authority and Higher Education sector for over 20 years, and I am currently working for Kirklees Council as a Structural Engineer. I joined Advocacy Support (one of the organisations which previously co-managed Advonet) as a board member in 2003 and took up the Vice Chairperson role from 2006.
I believe in social cohesion, inclusion, equality and harmony. I fully embrace the values of Advonet in removing language, cultural, economic and social barriers to ethnic minority groups in the UK; in empowering minority groups in scrutiny of institutional inequality, disproportional social exclusion and in promotion of equal access to public services. I am also a governor of a primary school and a further education college.
Arash Manouchehri | Trustee
I left university in Iran with a Masters in English and from there joined my family’s marketing business which is within the wholesale food industry. We also have an IT & Telecommunication services arm. I was a part of the management team and partially because of my skill with language (I am multi-lingual), I represented the company at trade fairs and markets all over the world for over 20 years.
A change of circumstances found me staying in the UK in 2013 and I have been in Leeds since 2014. From this time I have tried to give what I can to support anyone in need. I am part of several organisations where I am happy to give of my time as an Interpreter and/or Caseworker. As well as Advonet, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the British Red Cross where I work with the Refugee Service.
I am also a member of Amnesty International Leeds. In Iran I grew to feel very strongly in equality of all, regardless of culture, nationality, faith, gender or ability. It was a code I took with me into my professional work and well as socially. This ethic remains as strong today. I always try to live and work with compassion, understanding and empathy.
Mao Yip | Trustee
I am an open-minded, friendly and loyal person who has developed a mature and responsible approach to any task that I undertake. I am working for Leeds City Council currently with the role of enforcement on housing standard issues. I am a graduate with over 20 years’ of experience in Environmental Health and the expertise in areas such as food hygiene, disabled facilities and acoustics.
Hazel Woodcock | Trustee
Information on Hazel will follow shortly.
Dr. Sharon Elley | Trustee
I am currently a lecturer in sociology and social policy at the University of Leeds which entails teaching, management and research. In the past, I have worked in further education and North Lincolnshire’s Youth Service as a youth worker, project manager and outreach worker for eight years.
I joined Advonet’s Board in 2018 to use my experience, skills and values to support the Board to deliver effective and appropriate services to people in the community which meet their needs.
My university research focuses on challenging socio-economic and gender inequalities, championing diversity, inclusion and equity, and empowering people to gain equal access to public spaces and services. These are core values of Advonet.
Phil Gleeson | Trustee
Information on Phil will follow shortly.
Mushtaq Ahmed | Trustee
Information on Mushtaq will follow shortly.