Our trustees

Robin Geller, Chair

Originally from Canada, Robin and her family and lived in the UK since 2005 and made Bristol their home in 2012.  Robin worked in the higher education sector – both in Canada and in the UK – for over 20 years before retiring from the University of Bristol in 2018. As Chief Operating Officer, Robin led the University’s professional services, other than the finance function, embedding a culture of partnership working between academic and non-academic staff. She championed professional development, strategic planning and accountability as well as a progressive and inclusive approach to people management and leadership.

Robin  has broad experience of governance in both the for-profit and charitable sectors. She currently serves on the Boards of London Marathon Events and Bristol’s Hannah More Primary School, having recently stepped down from the Board of Young Bristol. She is a regular volunteer at her local Oxfam bookshop as well as an enthusiastic long distance walker and runner. 

Philip Parry, Vice Chair

After working in marketing in commercial organisations, Phil moved to the not-for-profit sector during the economic recession of the early 1990s.  Since then he has worked as an executive director, trustee, volunteer and freelance consultant in a range of charities and social enterprises including Oxfam, Bristol Energy Centre, Prince’s Trust, The Big Issue South West, Bristol Foyer and Bristol Citizens Advice. He currently manages Brandon Trust’s portfolio of social enterprises, which provide training and employment for people with learning disabilities.

His management experience includes business and strategic planning, organisational development and change management, fundraising, mergers, evaluations, research, and project and interim management.  Phil was a Trustee and Chair of Bristol Foyer during its development and opening phases and led negotiations around its transfer to a housing association.

Phil joined the trustee board of Bristol Citizens Advice in 2003 at a time when the organisation was facing financial challenges and became Chair in 2004, before standing down to become Vice-Chair in 2016 having seen the organisation grow and develop its range of services and become more financially sustainable through broadening its funding base. Phil  is also a Trustee of Caring in Bristol.

His Board interests are:
> Business planning to ensure the financial sustainability of the organisation
> Social Policy – the ability of Citizens Advice to change policy and practice at both national and local levels
> Addressing the increasing economic and social inequality in our society
> Maintaining and developing an advice service that meets the needs of all Bristol’s citizens, and in particular those individuals and communities who are the most marginalised
> Demonstrating the impact of the service
> Ensuring the service is resilient and demonstrates leadership in the advice sector, particularly in the face of funding cuts and regionalisation

Lois Thorn

Lois spent 20 years teaching and managing learning for adults whose life chances were limited by poverty, poor initial education, lack of English language and social problems. Later, she moved into managing Information, Advice and Guidance services in Colleges, and Careers services and worked at the Open University for several years on a major collaborative project across the South West region.

She has always worked in partnership with organisations across the public and voluntary sectors. Before joining the Board of Citizens Advice Bristol in 2015, Lois was Trustee of a small local charity and of an Academy Trust, having gained a wide range of governance experience over 15 years on the Boards of a primary school in South Bristol and of the City of Bristol College. She was chair of the Citizens Advice Bristol Trustee Board for 6 years.

Her Board interests include:
> Refreshing Board membership and drawing on Trustees skills and experience
> Keeping focus on the quality of advice for clients in a complex environment
> Volunteer recruitment, training and well-being
> Establishing and maintaining partnerships with other organisations that complement our service

John Mockridge, Treasurer

John is a Chartered Accountant who has lived in Bristol for over 10 years. He trained as an accountant with Ernst and Young LLP where he worked in both Audit and Corporate Finance. His current role is Head of Finance Strategy at DAC Beachcroft LLP, where he has worked since 2012.

He joined the Board of Bristol Citizens Advice in 2011 in order to be able to use his financial skillset to make a difference to the local community.  Since becoming Treasurer he has undertaken a thorough revision of the Finance procedures and reports, to ensure they are fit for all the various internal and external requirements.

His Board interests are:
> Finance
> Risk management

Ben Muton-Phillips

Ben has lived in Bristol for 5 years and has two young children. Originally training to be a biologist, Ben moved into volunteer management in 2011. Since then he has worked to improve the volunteer experience in a number of different settings including a homeless resource centre and a city farm. He now  works in Data and Evaluation for Changing Futures Bristol. Ben brings his experience with volunteers, fundraising, and data to the Board.
His board interests are:
>Data and Evaluation
>Volunteer support
>Financial sustainability

Caitlin Mills

Caitlin moved to Bristol in 2017 from Sydney, Australia to settle in the UK with her husband. She is an Australian-qualified solicitor who has practiced for 5 years in the commercial property sector, and currently works at Thrings LLP where she joined in early 2018.

Caitlin has undertaken a number of volunteering roles alongside her employment, including volunteering in Bristol with ‘Caring at Christmas’ and, whilst living in Sydney, mentoring law students during their transition from university to professional life, and tutoring newly-arrived adult migrants in English. She is enthusiastic about helping people achieve their goals, and became interested in getting involved with Citizens Advice Bristol as a means of giving back to her new community, as well as becoming more engaged with it. Caitlin hopes to bring a different perspective to the board as a new resident of Bristol.

Her Board interests are:
> Strategic planning to set a new direction
> Promoting equality, and working to address social and economic inequalities within
Bristol
> Risk management and good governance

 

Bex Tilling

Bex grew up in the countryside near Swindon before relocating to Bristol when she was 20 and has now called Bristol home for the last 8 years. Currently working as Project Manager within the NHS for a local GP federation, Bex has learnt more about the work of Citizens Advice Bristol through this role, listening to the positive experiences of colleagues who have worked closely with Citizens Advice Bristol during the last year. This inspired her to apply to become a trustee and help the organisation continue to thrive. Bex’s knowledge of the local healthcare system coupled with her enthusiasm will be a valuable addition to the trustee board. 

Julianne Oliveri

Julianne has worked in fundraising for more than 10 years and is currently based in Germany, where she manages new business development for ClientEarth, a global environmental NGO.  Formerly, Julianne was Head of Trusts and Foundations at Together for Short Lives; the leading UK charity for seriously ill children and their families and has previously held various fundraising roles within the non-profit sector, including The Grand Appeal, where she worked on Bristol’s popular Gromit Unleashed and Shaun in the City campaigns.

She also worked for the University of Southampton. Alongside her job, Julianne is studying for a Graduate Diploma in Law and has a particular interest in human rights. She is passionate about the Bristol community and is keen to bring her skills and experience to the board of Citizens Advice Bristol.

Rachel Sharp

Rachel has worked and volunteered in Bristol’s charity sector for over 15 years in many different roles, such as Youth Worker, Mentor and Tutor.  She spent several years working for a leading refugee resettlement organisation. leading a team supporting newly arrived refugees in Bristol and improving integration into the city.  Rachel now manages a counselling service for survivors of rape or sexual abuse. She is also a qualified Counsellor and has her own private counselling practise working with Bristol’s LGBTQIA+ community.

Rachel has a lot of experience working with Bristol’s diverse communities. She is passionate about advocacy and ensuring Bristol’s citizens have access to quality advice and guidance. Rachel is hoping to use her knowledge and experience of working in Bristol’s voluntary and charity sector in the role of Trustee for Citizens Advice Bristol.