I joined Oxfordshire Youth as a Trustee in 2012 having come into contact with an inspiring group of young people through the National Citizenship Service that Oxfordshire Youth was coordinating. I became Vice-Chair in 2016 and Chair in 2018, continuing to help shape Oxfordshire Youth into a model 21st century youth charity. I hold an MA Jurisprudence from Oxford University and I am the Director of Oxford Fashion Studio, supporting independent designers around the world.
My career has spanned senior management roles in educational and children’s publishing, education/business links across Oxfordshire, and business development for charities and skills organisations, with a focus on young people and enterprise. I became a trustee of OY to help develop a sustainable strategy for the organisation, so that it can continue to serve more young people in the future.
Michael Watkinson MBE
I am a trustee because after spending most of my life working in youth work, it seemed natural to try and share my expertise at board level. I was the CEO of Oxfordshire Youth for 34 years and my first role as trustee was as Treasurer.
I started my career in primary and secondary education. Leading a transformation programme around changing perceptions, behaviours and self-esteem in young people was a defining experience for me. For the last twenty years, I have studied and worked in the field of Leadership and Organisational Development. I became a trustee at Oxfordshire Youth to support organisational growth and renewal. I am keen to support young people to become authentic leaders.
Richard VenablesRichard is a Chartered Surveyor and jointly formed VSL and Partners in 2002. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire in 2017 and High Sherrif of Oxfordshire for 2018/19. His focus was ‘Youth of Oxfordshire’, in particular sport development in deprived communities and mental health awareness in schools. Richard is an ambassador for Access Sport and Sane. Outside work he is a hockey fanatic and an enthusiastic parkrunner.
Susan JacksonI live in Oxford, where I have brought up my family; I have a legal background, having practised as a solicitor for over 25 years, and was a governor of a local school. I really enjoy being a Trustee of Oxfordshire Youth, a forward-looking organisation providing excellent support to local youth clubs, which helps their members learn skills and grow in confidence and achieve their true potential; working with the Oxfordshire Youth management team, who are so committed to achieving this outcome, is a great pleasure.
Darius SmithDarius Smith is a fashion and lifestyle blogger, YouTuber and social media manager who also loves to write, dance and inspire. He first got involved in local politics in secondary school which helped him to find his love for event planning and fundraising. He was even nominated for a fundraising award affiliated with Oxfordshire Youth before he even knew the charity. Now, Darius uses his creativity, knowledge of social media and passion for young people to help Oxfordshire Youth as a trustee.
Mark DessainMark Dessain is a chartered accountant who trained and worked for Ernst & Young before joining Unipart Group in Oxford. He undertook several different financial roles in the Group over the years and was Director-Corporate Finance on retirement in June 2016. He continues to be a pension trustee on various Unipart Group pension schemes. He is married and lives in north Oxfordshire where he has resided for many years.
Lavinia studied Classics at the University of Cambridge before starting work in the education sector. She is interested in organisational transformation and growth, and is passionate about the work that Oxfordshire Youth does in supporting young people to achieve their potential.