Claire Starza-Allen is passionate about making sure people affected by wellbeing issues have a voice on the matters that are important to them.
What experience do you bring to The Advocacy Project?
“I started my career in finance before moving onto commercial and legal roles, including arbitration and mediation.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked in different sectors including not-for-profit, central government and private sectors. This means I understand the constraints affecting government and the challenges it faces, both on a national and local level, and how this impacts on charities.
I’ve worked in organisations bringing commercial principles to funders and partners so we can improve services for vulnerable people. My mediation and dispute resolution skills mean I’m able to help people understand how to work together to greater effect.
“I’m currently Head of Commercial at The Children’s Society. I’ve worked on projects covering mental health and wellbeing, poverty and neglect, and child sexual exploitation. Since starting this role two and a half years ago, it’s been important to see the changing landscape and social needs.”
What do you like about being on the Board of Trustees?
“I became a trustee of The Advocacy Project because I believe in giving a voice to vulnerable people in society and enabling everyone to make informed choices in life and shape the services they receive. I’m interested in providing oversight of The Advocacy Project with business development, research and policy, partnerships and fundraising, securing contracts, and raising our profile.
“It’s important to have an inclusive board, with everyone able to contribute, despite any barriers. We want to re-establish a panel of people who use our services, known as the ‘user council’, to help identify and co-design services for people with learning disabilities, mental health issues and dementia.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“In my spare time, I volunteer with the British Red Cross on their ethical fundraising and partnership committee. I am also involved in Little Bee Community as chief commercial officer, helping organisations to operate more sustainably; and Little Explorers Sensory Play, which provides support, classes and guidance on sensory play to parents and their babies. I enjoy participating in sports, fitness and yoga, and spending time with my two daughters.”