Our Executive team
Working alongside our Executive team, Sense Chief Executive Richard Kramer is responsible for ensuring that we plan and carry out our activities in line with our strategy, vision and values. Richard and the team report to the Council of Trustees.
Richard Kramer, CEO
Richard was appointed Sense and Sense International Chief Executive in July 2018, having joined as Deputy Chief Executive in 2013.
Prior to joining Sense, Richard worked at Turning Point, the social enterprise organisation, for ten years. He held a number of director-level posts, including leading the business function, Connected Care, which involved service users in the design and delivery of services across England.
A qualified solicitor, Richard has worked for public affairs consultancy NCVO, and was Mencap's Head of Campaigns for four years. Richard was also a trustee of Respond for ten years. He is currently a director of Whitefield Academy, which supports children with specialist educational needs, and a board member of the Campaign to End Loneliness and vice-chair of the Disabled Children's Partnership.
Maria Horton, Group Director of Operations
Maria joined Sense in 2015 as Director of Operational Services. She has responsibility for leading Sense Specialist Services, Sense College, Sense Living and Sense in the Community. Maria is Sense’s Nominated Individual with the CQC.
Prior to joining Sense, Maria worked for Worcestershire County Council, where she was responsible for internally provided care and support services, designing and delivering a wide range of services in partnership with health. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience of commissioning and providing services across all client groups.
Maria has also worked as the director of a charity for people with acquired brain injury and as a social worker. Currently, she volunteers with a charity that supports people who are HIV positive.
Chris Jarrett, Group Director of Engagement
Chris joined Sense in 2017 and is responsible for the oversight of how we engage and develop our relationships with supporters. This includes responsibility for the fundraising across Sense and Sense International, whilst, also, developing the best experience for all our supporters, however they choose to get involved with our work.
Prior to joining Sense, Chris has worked in fundraising leadership roles at a number of charities over the past fifteen years, including British Heart Foundation, The Prince's Trust, Breast Cancer Now and Asthma UK. More recently, Chris led the fundraising department at Samaritans, followed by the corporate partnership department at NSPCC.
Chris brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of leading fundraising departments to deliver a growth in income and engagement.
Cathy Still, Group Director of Finance and Resources
Cathy joined Sense in 2017 and is responsible for providing financial systems and support across the whole business, as well as generating financial information for the management team.
Cathy is a CIMA qualified accountant and has a strong operational background having worked for many years as finance director for a not-for-profit social care provider supporting older people. Prior to this, Cathy trained as a management accountant with Unilever and spent much of her early career in food and drink manufacture, working for Birds Eye, Diageo and Northern Foods.
Adrian Darkin, Director of Trading
Adrian joined Sense in February 2014. He is responsible for the Trading Directorate, which generates income for the organisation through our hundred plus shops.
Adrian leads a team that manages our shops, which are geographically spread across England in five areas. As well as generating income through the shops and online, Adrian actively encourages the team to engage with their local communities and to undertake activities to increase the general public’s awareness of Sense.
Adrian has a wealth of retail experience having worked for Peacocks for over twenty years in a variety of management roles. He has also worked for Sainsbury’s and Iceland.
Alison Bennett, Director of HR
Alison has worked at Sense since 1990 in a variety of roles, working directly with the people who use our services and leading work on engagement, advocacy and research. She joined the HR department in 2009 and is passionate about Sense people and the part they can play in contributing to our goals. Alison specialises in Human Resource Development and in her MSc dissertation, focused on how groups of people who communicate and connect differently can learn together at work. Prior to joining Sense, Alison ran an inner London community centre which provided accessible community activities for all local children and adults.
Alison Marshall, Director of Sense International
Alison joined Sense International in March 2017 and is responsible for all of its operations and strategic growth and direction. Previously Alison worked as the Director of Advocacy, Accountability and Campaigns at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the leading global work on sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality. Prior to this she has also worked for UNICEF UK, Bond, CAFOD and other international development organisations. Alison has Masters degrees in NGO Management, Human Rights, Rural development and Geography.
Jonathan Monk, Director of Operations
Jonathan joined Sense in 2015 and is responsible for leading our holidays and short breaks programme; quality assurance and safeguarding; volunteering and business development. He also co-chairs our Sense User Reference Group (SURG) to ensure that the people Sense supports are consulted on our strategic plans and the way services are developed and delivered. He oversees the Sense Specialist Services for Children and Young People and is the strategic lead to ensure that children and families get the best possible start.
He is a registered social worker and has worked in social care services with people with disabilities for over 25 years. He has previously worked in local government, both as a commissioner and managing community social work services. He has also led on developing personalisation and improving the transition from children’s services to adulthood for young people with additional needs.
Tony Colson, Director of ICT
Tony joined Sense in 2019 and is responsible for ICT strategy and operational delivery of ICT services across the organisation both corporately and to the individuals we support. Tony has worked in a variety of ICT support and management roles in both the charitable and public sector, most recently at Acorns Childrens Hospice as the Head of Business Information Services.
In addition to his work at Sense, Tony is actively involved in the Society for Innovation, Technology and Modernisation (SOCITM) and currently is vice-chair of the West Midlands region.
Fiona Markey, Head of Governance
Fiona joined Sense in 2011 and is responsible for the secretariat, which provides support to the chief executive, group director of finance and resources and Sense International, and facilitates the governance of the organisation.
Fiona has enjoyed a varied career in the third and public sectors. Before joining Sense she was assistant director of business management and company secretary at One Housing Group. Prior to that, Fiona was director of planning and governance at Turning Point for seven years. She has previously worked in a variety of management roles in the third sector, regeneration and local government.