Member & Trustee ProfilesPosition
Member Chris Curling Chris is a retired corporate finance lawyer and business leader who was for fifteen years either Chief Executive or Executive Chairman of Osborne Clarke. In addition he has been Chairman or a Non-executive Director of several listed and private companies. He is a Vice President of Quartet Community Foundation and has held a wide range of other voluntary positions including Chair of the cycling and walking charity Sustrans, and Chair of the Governors of Merchants' Academy in Withywood. Chris is a past Master of The Society of Merchant Venturers and currently Chair of its Education committee.
Member Prof. Judith Squires Professor Judith Squires is Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students at the University of Bristol, a post she has held since 2013. Prior to this she was Dean of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Bristol. Judith is a member of the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council and was the Director of the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Centre 2010-13. She is Chair of the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership Board and a member of Bristol's Festival of Ideas Advisory Board. Judith is a founding member of the Bristol Learning City Partnership Board. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Royal Society for the Arts.
Member Katharine Finn Katharine is an audit partner in PwCâs audit practice and until recently was the Regional Leader of their West and Wales practice. She has a wide range of experience working with clients from many different sectors, but has particular experience in working with listed companies and with regulated companies across the financial services and utilities sector. Katharine has a portfolio of interests in both Bristol and Cardiff. She is a member of the Society of Merchant Venturers and sits on their education committee. She is the deputy chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and the Cardiff City Chair for TheCityUK. She is a Trustee of Avon Wildlife Trust and has previously been the Prince of Walesâ Ambassador for Responsible business in the South West.
Member Mike Bothamley Michael Bothamley is a retired development lawyer and former partner of international law firm DAC Beachcroft LLP, where he was Head of Real Estate and a member of the firmâs Executive Board, leading on strategy. He has been a governor of Queen Elizabethâs Hospital and Montpelier High School and a trustee of Bristol Zoo, the Tobacco Factory Arts Trust and Clifton RFC. He is a former President of Bristol Chamber of Commerce, chairing the West of England Initiative during the period when, working with the four local authorities, it led the creation of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. He was High Sheriff of Bristol in 2014/15. Michael is now Vice-President of St Monica Trust, chairing the Property, Audit and Nominations Committees; a trustee of the Anchor Society and Bristol and Anchor Almshouse Charity; and a trustee of the Nisbet Trust, a major charity funder focused on supporting disadvantaged children and young people, promoting community and social inclusion, tackling homelessness and supporting arts and performance venues and groups across Bristol. He is also a member of the Society of Merchant Venturers, leads the fundraising effort for the proposed St Mary Redcliffe heritage visitation centre and is churchwarden of his local church.
Trustee Gail Bragg Gail was appointed Chair of Venturers Trust in February 2019. Gail has lived in and around Bristol since 1994. She was brought up in Oxfordshire and read Engineering at Cambridge. Following a couple of years working as a production engineer, Gail switched to Financial Services, initially working in Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). Following that, she worked for a series of large Financial Services organisations, in change and operational management. Gail specialises in corporate re-structuring to achieve financial returns whilst continuing to deliver operational results. Gail now works as a non-executive director and committee chair, and is a long term supporter of Quartet Community Foundation. Gail was Chair of Governors at Barton Hill Academy from 2016. She stepped down from this local governing body at the end of 2018. Gail was Vice Chair of Venturers Trust for six months in 2018.
Trustee Caroline Duckworth DL Caroline became Treasurer (de facto Chief Executive) of The Society of Merchant Venturers in November 2015.Caroline spent the previous 18 years working in the Charitable Sector, most recently as CEO of Quartet Community Foundation and prior to that as Managing Director of Common Purpose UK. Caroline started her career, following a degree at Aberdeen University, by joining Habitat as a graduate management trainee. Caroline also held retail operational management roles with Lewisâs Ltd and Maples Stores Plc. Caroline is a Governor of Wycliffe College.
Trustee John Watson John was educated at Broxbourne Comprehensive School in Hertfordshire and at Bristol University. After University he qualified as a Chartered Accountant with one of the large accountancy firms. For many years John has worked in Bristol as a Finance Director in the retail sector. John is interested in, and plays an active part in a range of sports. He considers sport and other co-curricular activities to be a very important part of school life. John is Chair of Venturers Trust Finance Committee.
Trustee Lucy Collins Lucy is the Director of Home Recruitment and Conversion at the University of Bristol. Lucy has always worked in education; on graduating from the University of Bristol she worked for a young peopleâs educational charity promoting active citizenship, before moving into higher education. Lucy has been a school governor for over 15 years at schools in North and South Bristol, most recently Merchantsâ Academy. She led the team responsible for the development of bespoke outreach programmes for post-16 students at the Academy as well as city-wide interventions such as Access to Bristol and Bristol Scholars.
Trustee David Powell A qualified solicitor, David has been a partner with local law firm Osborne Clarke LLP since 2007, where he specialises in residential development. David is the current chair of the Property and Estates Committee for Venturers Trust and he has been a trustee of The Park Community Centre since 2009. Previously he was president of the Grateful Society in 2018 and a director of Bristol Rugby Club between 2003 and 2009.
Trustee Ruth Bailey Ruth Bailey is Teacher Education Portfolio Director at the University of Bristolâs School of Education. She co-directs the PGCE teacher training programme and is a tutor to student teachers in Modern Foreign Languages. She worked for many years as a teacher of Spanish and French and as Head of Department in schools in London, before becoming a languages teaching adviser and teacher trainer at Goldsmiths, University of London. She took up the post at the University of Bristol six years ago and has developed research interests in the Science of Learning and itâs place in initial teacher education.
Trustee Heather Frankham Heatherâs professional background is in education. A teacher by training, she taught in primary and secondary schools in the Bristol area before focussing on Further Education where she founded and built the Lifetime Training Group into the largest provider of apprenticeships in the UK. Heatherâs passion remains in supporting children and young people to achieve their potential. After selling Lifetime in 2016, she has remained committed to the delivery of high quality training supporting other educational businesses to develop and grow. Heather is the Chair of Paragon Skills â an apprenticeship provider in care and education - and the Founder of Bud Systems â a software platform to support training providers to deliver their training more effectively. Heather's other business interests in Bristol include Origin Workspace â a flexible, professional office environment with collaboration at its core. All of Origin's profits are used to support start-up and scale-up businesses and charities that seek to support young people in the Bristol area . Heather has also invested in a number of local businesses through Bristol Private Equity Club, which focusses on early stage funding for innovative businesses with the potential for high growth. Her personal focus is on Impact Investing where businesses are able to demonstrate social or environmental impact in addition to their growth story. Heather's charitable work includes Coach Core, an organisation that supports sports coaching in areas of deprivation, and OnSide, a charity that creates Youth Zones to support and amplify the delivery of aspirational youth provision in cities across the UK. Heather is currently supporting Youth Moves to bring the first Onside Youth Zone to Bristol, planned to open in 2025.
Member Fiona Francombe Dr Fiona Francombe is the Principal and CEO of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Prior to that she was the Site Director of The Bottle Yard Studios, an established base for film and TV production in South Bristol. She managed the seven-acre film and television facility (owned by Bristol City Council) since it opened in 2010. Fiona started her career working in theatre, including the Manchester Royal Exchange and the Royal Shakespeare Company, before moving into television in 1990 when she joined the BBCâs Drama department in London. Three years later she relocated to Bristol and worked for more than 14 years as a Location Manager and Line Producer for TV drama, before going on to manage Production Liaison for South West Screen and Creative England. Fiona was one of the Mayor of Bristolâs Channel 4 working group that was instrumental in Bristol winning the bid to become a Channel 4 creative hub. She also contributed extensively to Bristol achieving UNESCO City of Film status and, until January 2021, was a member of the Royal Television Society West Committee. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of the West of England in July 2019 for her services to film and television.
Trustee Alison Golden-Wright Alison Golden - Director of Student Health and Inclusion at the University of Bristol, has over 20 years experience of working in HE in a variety of student support roles. Alison currently manages three key students support services, Student Health, Counselling and Inclusion Services. The Inclusion Service is responsible for supporting students from marginalised groups and those who may need more support to thrive and to feel part of the University community. The Service also delivers support for disabled students, including those with specific learning difficulties, mental health diagnoses and neurodiverse conditions. She has been involved in safeguarding, both in her previous role at the Southampton Solent University, where there were a significant number of under 18s, and since 2018 at the University of Bristol. In her current role she is one of the safeguarding leads, supporting colleagues with safeguarding concerns including under 18s and in relation to the Prevent Duty. Alison represents the University at the Bristol Cityâs Prevent Board, leads a safeguarding working group that reports into the Safeguarding Oversight group, oversees the submission of the Prevent return to the Office for Students, runs safeguarding training and sits on various risk assessment panels.