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Tamar Ghosh – Chair

IMG_9042Tamar is the Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and previously ran the Longitude Prize for Nesta, a £10 million science prize working to combat antibiotic resistance. She is also a trustee of the charity Article 19, which focuses on the worldwide promotion of free expression and freedom of information.

Tamar has a strong track record in the voluntary sector. She was Director of the social action campaign ‘Give More’ on behalf of one of the Pears Foundation, promoting increased giving of money and time amongst the UK public. Prior to that, she spent 15 years developing and delivering funding strategies for international NGOs, including ActionAid and VSO. Separately, she founded and continues to run two social enterprises working in global and national healthcare.

Tamar has an MBA from Imperial College, London and Masters in Development Studies, following an undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Bristol University. She is also a trustee of Heart UK and BAAG, a consultant on fundraising and strategy development, and a guest speaker at Imperial College Business School on innovation and entrepreneurship as part of its MBA and Masters in Health programmes.

Ann O’Connell – Vice Chair

Ann is a committed humanist, sharing the Humanists UK vision of personal fulfilment found in our connections with others, and finding meaning in science, reason, compassion, and creativity.

Ann is a qualified treasurer and accountant with a particular interest in good governance. She has many years experience in banking, working in audit, finance, treasury, and risk. She has also worked as a non-executive Director of a Credit Union and a Building Society. She is currently working as a Director of Rhino Software Ltd., a company which develops innovative mobile apps for the SME market.

Ann is a trustee and treasurer of the Leicestershire and Rutland branch of Emmaus UK, a national charity which works to end homelessness. She is also a Director of Leicester Health Insight (LHI) a not for profit company which aims to facilitate improvements in health and social care for the population of Leicester city.

John Adams – Treasurer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA professional economist for over forty years, John was professor (now Emeritus) at the University of Hertfordshire. He has taught and researched both in the UK and overseas specialising in Labour Market Economics, Economic Philosophy and the Economic Analysis of Tourism.

John was the first Chair and is now the Vice President of the National Governors’ Association, was a founder member of the National Teaching Awards, spent four years on the board of the General Teaching Council, and has been a member of various advisory boards at the Department of Education.

John is married with two adult children and lives in North Yorkshire. He is a member of five cricket clubs, including the MCC. John received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2012 for services to education.

Tom Copley

TomCopleyTom is an elected member of the London Assembly, serving as a city-wide member since May 2012. He is currently the deputy chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee. He has a keen interest in theatre and the arts and is about to publish a report in the challenges faced by small theatres in London.

Prior to his election to the Assembly, Tom worked for the Searchlight Educational Trust – an anti-fascist, anti-racist charity that works with communities to fight racism and hatred. He has also worked for the Labour Party and the Health Protection Agency. Following his election to the Assembly, he was made a patron of LGBT Labour.

Originally from Derbyshire, Tom grew up in Wiltshire and has lived in London for most of the last eight years.

Iain Deboys

IainDeboysIain studied geography and town planning at Queen’s University, Belfast and has worked in strategic planning and commissioning in housing and health authorities in Northern Ireland for 36 years. He has been the Commissioning Lead for Belfast in the NI health service for the past 10 years, working closely with local communities experiencing some of the deepest inequalities in the UK.

He has had various leadership roles in humanist organisations for 25 years and is currently Chair of Northern Ireland Humanists and is a School Speaking Volunteer and the NI Humanists lead for Community Development. Iain worked closely with Andrew Copson and Boyd Sleator to set up the NI Humanists section in 2016 and is proud of the NI team and the achievements it has had in a short time in the very challenging local environment of sectarian politics and religiosity.

Blaise Egan


Blaise Egan is a consulting statistician working for BT, where he has worked for over forty years, in a variety of roles involving the improvement of processes and decision-making. His work in the research department, developing telecare systems for the frail and elderly, was recognised by the British Computer Society and gained him a US patent.

He has a strong interest in the mathematical sciences and holds a BSc in maths and an MSc and an MPhil in statistics. He is a Chartered Statistician and a Council member of the Royal Statistical Society. He lives in Essex with his partner Glenys.


Ruth Kaufman

Ruth spent much of her working life doing Operational Research (OR) – using scientific approaches to help organisations become more effective – in the public sector. This led to other senior management roles including pricing, strategy and change management.

She has been President of the OR Society and chair of its ‘Pro Bono OR’ support service; and in 2016 received an OBE for Services to OR. From 2009 to 2014 she chaired Woman’s Trust, a charity helping women affected by domestic violence reclaim their lives. She has been an atheist all her life, a SACRE member since 2010 and is an accredited Humanists UK school speaker.

Ewan Main

Ewan 218

Ewan qualified first in Linguistics (York) then in Community and Youth Work (Durham). He has worked in various youth, advice, and welfare services and was a founder trustee of two local charities. For twelve years he developed and ran the national online support services – internet communities and email helplines – for unpaid carers for a UK charity, at the same time as freelance design and consultancy work in web, film, print and words.

He has been a humanist celebrant since 2012 and served a term on Humanists UK’s Ceremonies Board. As such, much of his year is spent focusing on non-religious ritual and the important role it can play in people’s lives.

Ewan lives with his wife in York, his home since 1997.

Neil McKain

Neil is a Head of Religious Studies with over ten years teaching experience. He graduated in Theology and RS from the University of Leeds and holds an MA in Philosophy and Religion from the University of London.

His work nationally in RE has been extensive. Neil is part of an advisory group to the Rt Hon Charles Clarke and Professor Linda Woodhead
in their work on a new legal settlement for RE. Neil has served on the executive of the National Association for Teachers of RE (NATRE) for the last six years and is a member of the RE working group at OFSTED. He is a published author of student textbooks as well as articles on RE more generally. Neil also serves as a primary school governor with responsibility for curriculum and standards.

Neil is a committed humanist and a firm advocate for RE which is objective, fair and balanced.

Stephanie Niven

Stephanie is a portfolio manager of global equities, having spent her career in finance, starting at Goldman Sachs.  She is currently based in London and over the last year has become a trustee of COIF Charity Funds, facilitating access to top class investment products to those in the charitable sector.  Through her work she has become an Ambassador for the Diversity Project and a keen mentor to broaden access to financial careers.  She is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute.

Stephanie is a History graduate from Merton College, University of Oxford, and is the mother of three young children.  She has represented Great Britain in the World Championships for Age Group Long Distance Triathlon.

David Pollock

David PollockActively involved in the humanist movement since 1961, David Pollock was a trustee of Humanists UK from 1965-75, including a stint as Chair from 1970-72. He was re-elected to the board in 1997.

In addition David was a board member (and sometime Chair) of the Rationalist Association (1978–2018) and was President of the European Humanist Federation from 2006 to 2012. He takes a special interest in policy and campaigning on the place of religion and belief in society and other questions of public policy.

An Oxford classics graduate, after 25 years in management with the National Coal Board, he was Director of Action on Smoking and Health (1991-95) and then of the Continence Foundation (1996-2001) before retiring to (almost) full-time Humanism.

Jeremy Rodell

After a science degree, Jeremy had a number of business roles in a major international company. It was after his humanist wedding in 2001 that he realised ‘humanism’ was the term for the worldview he had held for many years.

Jeremy is the co-founder and Chair of South West London Humanists, a humanist school speaker, and Humanists UK’s (volunteer) Dialogue Officer. In 2011 he led a high-profile campaign for more inclusive admissions at a new faith school in Twickenham. He thinks humanists can make an important positive contribution to a fair, plural society.

Imtiaz Shams

IS photoImtiaz Shams has been using his experience founding ‘tech for good’ start-ups to help apostates who leave conservative religions.

In 2012, he began creating ‘underground railroad’ networks for ex-Muslims around the world. In 2015, he co-founded Faith to Faithless, an organisation working to reduce the stigma faced by ‘apostates’ of all religions. It has been featured on the BBC and in Vice, the Guardian, and the Times, and has helped thousands find a place for themselves in a world that often dehumanises the non-religious. Faith to Faithless later became a part of Humanists UK. Imtiaz currently serves as its Chair.

Imtiaz believes humanism is vital in the fight to bring happiness to apostates who face discrimination from their families, community, and state. He has a management degree from the London School of Economics and works as a consultant for high-tech solutions to problems including age-care, transport safety, and approaches to countering right-wing and Islamic extremism. He tweets at @imtishams.

Emma Shepherd

Emma has worked in marketing and communications within charities, the arts and education for two decades. Based in Cardiff, she currently leads on Communications and Events for an innovative programme working in communities across Wales.

Previously chair of Wales Humanists, Emma has been involved in humanist campaigns in Wales, particularly around education. Passionate about people and community, she regularly runs events to bring people together in her local area, and is a trustee of the local village hall.

In her spare time, Emma likes reading, baking, running and being in nature.

Amy Walden

AmyW-2 croppedAmy has a BA (Hons) Criminology from Solent University and a Diploma in Probation Studies from the University of Portsmouth. She has worked within the criminal justice system for 12 years, and returns to Solent University to give an annual lecture on working with offending behaviour.

In 2011 Amy initiated humanist pastoral support in prisons with a pilot project at HMP Winchester. This proved successful, with the initiative now being introduced in other prisons. Amy continues to be involved in Humanists UK’s pastoral support services. She is part of a team training Humanists UK members to deliver humanist pastoral support in prisons and hospitals across the country as well as within the armed forces.

Amy is passionate about equality and the value of diversity. She has been part of an Equalities Consultation Panel within her workplace and delivered training in this area to her colleagues. Amy has a strong interest in science and nature. She enjoys walking and going to live music events. She is also a regular attendee at her local Skeptics in the Pub group.

Hamza bin Walayat

Hamza bin Walayat was elected trustee in 2019. Born in Pakistan, where humanists are persecuted and even killed for their non-religious beliefs, he attracted global headlines when initially refused asylum as a humanist by the UK Government because he couldn’t name the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle – despite the fact that they are not humanists. Humanists UK’s campaign to save Hamza’s life attracted thousands of signatures and questions in the House of Commons, which eventually led to the Home Office introducing reforms to its asylum assessments on religion or belief and introducing mandatory training on humanism for all its asylum assessors, provided by Humanists UK. Having been granted asylum, Hamza now volunteers with Humanists UK as part of the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network.


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