Our Board sets the strategic direction of the business.
Meet our Board
Our board is made up of six independent members, two members nominated by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and three tenant Board members.
Independent Board Member vacancy
We have a vacancy for an independent Board member – see our recruitment pack here: Independent Board Member Recruitment Pack and download a copy of the role profile here: Board Member Role Description-IT Skills
For further information please contact Emma Assender, Governance Manager via email: email@example.com
Our Board Members are governed by the Rules of the organisation.
Board meeting dates for 2021/22
(All meetings are on a Monday and start at 5pm).
- 8 February 2021
- 29 March 2021
- 10 May 2021
- 21 June 2021
- 26 July 2021
- 20 September 2021
- 1 November 2021
- 13 December 2021
- 7 February 2022
- 28 March 2022
If you would like to attend a meeting please contact Emma Assender, Governance Manager on 01495 294816.
Professor Sir Adrian Webb Chair
Born in Newport, Adrian has had an academic career spanning 25 years publishing many books and research articles. Throughout his career, he has held numerous advisory positions in local and central government. His senior positions have included Deputy Chancellor of Loughborough University and Vice-Chancellor of Glamorgan University.
Adrian has held many roles in Welsh public life, including the chair’s roles in the local and national government and the third sector. He is currently a member of the UK Board of the Big Lottery Fund and the Chair in Wales and Chair of the Education and Pastoral Committee and a board-level trustee of Atlantic College.
Adrian has an affinity with the communities of Blaenau Gwent, having spent part of his early life in the area. This has fostered a solid commitment to enhancing the well-being of the tenants and communities we serve.
Katherine Howells Vice-Chair of Board
Katherine has worked in the social housing sector for 15 years. Her most recent role was at a housing association that provided housing for adults with a learning disability & other complex needs.
Her experience includes housing management, tenant participation, equality & diversity & tenant satisfaction. She has also worked in project management, dealing with allocations, homelessness and housing advice for a large Welsh local authority.
She has a BA (Hons) degree in English Literature, an MSc in Housing and is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Mike Santon Chair of Homes & Communities Committee
Mike has recently retired as Director of Development at Sanctuary Housing, where he was responsible for delivering new homes across England. Prior to this, he was the Director of Development and Assets at United Welsh Housing Association.
He has 24 years of experience in residential development and asset management and maintenance. He is a former Board member of Charter Housing and was an Accredited Inspector with the Audit Commission (Wales).
Ian Hughes Chair of Remuneration Committee
Ian was previously a Housing Association Group Chief Executive for over 20 years.
He has extensive knowledge and experience in community services and social housing.
He qualified as a Chartered Surveyor before holding a number of senior executive positions in the public sector and housing associations.
Neil Harries Chair of Audit & Risk Committee
Neil is a chartered accountant and director at the South Wales firm Harries Watkins and Jones. Neil gives business, accounting and tax advice to SMEs and, in addition, undertakes company audits.
Neil is passionate about social housing and is the former Board Chair of Valleys to Coast in Bridgend. Valleys to Coast was the first housing association in Wales to be formed by the Large Scale Transfer of homes from a Local Authority. He joined the Board in July 2018.
Gemma joined the Board in September 2020. A resident of Tynewydd her entire life, she has been a tenant of both Blaenau Gwent CBC and Tai Calon.
Gemma is an active volunteer within her community as a school governor at her child’s school, Bryn Bach Primary school, and volunteering at Nantybwch and Waundeg community flats, a voluntary community organisation providing support to neighbours all year round. This summer, the group worked hard to deliver food parcels and other essentials to vulnerable people and families who needed help.
Gemma is keen and motivated to play an active part as a Tai Calon board member and strives for a better community and access to better facilities for all.
Chris has recently retired after 45 years with Arup, a global firm. He was a Director at Arup for twenty years, and for the past ten years, he was Arup’s international buildings retrofit leader.
He has been a Board Member of Charter Homes and the Gwent Young People’s Theatre. He is currently the Chair of the Welsh Government Advisory Group on the decarbonisation of existing housing.
Abhishek is a cyber security expert and currently working for a large Insurance company. He brings expert knowledge around delivering business value through robust, scalable, fit for purpose security, and is seen by many as a thought leader. He has extensive experience in using traditional on-prem, and cloud technologies across a range of regulated industries.
Abhishek wants to use his experience and expertise to help improve the lives of others in the community and is passionate about increasing digital literacy in particular – he is very happy to be on the Board to help make a difference.
Shannon is our newest tenant Board member, joining the Board in September 2021.
Shannon has been a Tai Calon tenant for over six years. She was born and raised in the local community and will use this knowledge to help engage with a broader audience. Shannon works for one of the national supermarkets and enjoys volunteering in local schools and helping with fundraisers for the local community and other charities.
Jenny is our newest tenant Board member, joining the Board in September 2021. Jenny has been a Tai Calon tenant for the last two years. She is currently the Operations Director for a Cleaning & Support Services company and has over 20 years of experience in recruitment, human resources, health & safety and operations.
Ellen Jones Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council representatives
Ellen is a Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council representative on the Board. Ellen has volunteered for many organisations during the past 30 years helping lots of people. Ellen is out in the community every day and helps run the award-winning Sirhowy Community Centre. The Centre delivered thousands of food parcels throughout their community and beyond during the pandemic and has continued to support the community by running food share and a community co-op. Ellen is a newly elected governor at one of her local schools and also a board member of Care & Repair. This enables Ellen to keep herself updated on what both young and older generations are experiencing during these difficult times.
Sonia Behr Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council representatives
Following the 2022 elections, Sonia joined the Board as a Blaenau Gwent County Borough representative. As Climate Champion for the Council, Sonia is keen that the Council works together with Tai Calon to invest in renewables so that all housing in Blaenau Gwent can benefit from cheaper energy and carbon emission reductions.
Before moving to Wales and starting a family law practice in Brynmawr, Sonia lived in Burkina Fasso and Zimbabwe for eight years.
Sonia is a trustee/treasurer of Phoenix Domestic Abuse Services and the Trevor Rowson Wildlife Park – the last remaining green space in Nantyglo.