At Be Caring we believe the quality of care we provide to our customers starts and ends with our senior leaders.

From our Board to the frontline Carers and back again, every one of our colleague owners holds one another to account for living our values. We are exceptionally proud of how our unique governance structure has helped us through this most challenging of years, in the midst of a global pandemic. 

Our Be Caring Executive Board is comprised of some of the most accomplished, well-regarded, and experienced members of the social care sector. In 2020/21, our Board have stepped forward to support the Executive Team and frontline colleagues through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Board met Senior Managers regularly – virtually – to offer a pragmatic view on operational challenges, focussing on problem-solving, supporting and encouraging colleagues rather than their typical concentration on stewardship, policies, and procedures. In turn, our Senior Management Team met with Service Managers and continue to do so on a fortnightly basis, proactively working together to support frontline provision and ensure contingency plans remain up-to-date, relevant, and fit-for-purpose. 

Be Caring is ultimately governed by ‘Voice’, a committee of nominated representatives from each of Be Caring’s service areas. As an employee-owned social enterprise, Voice represents colleagues as owners of the business and holds the Executive Board to account for maintaining its focus on people – colleagues and service users – and are guardians of the organisations’ core values. The pandemic has slowed the anticipated development of Voice as resources had to be focussed on maximising capacity to meet customers’ needs, however, Be Caring remains committed to developing engagement of colleagues as owners, with plans to launch our ‘Your Voice Matters’ campaign by the end of 2021.

You can read short bio’s of our Exec Board and Trustees below:

Lance Gardner MBE, Chair of the Executive Board

Lance joined the organisation in 2016 as a Non-Executive Director and has held the position of Chair since 2018.

Lance is also the Chief Executive of Salford Primary Care Together; a social enterprise that offers support and facilitation to primary care services and GP practices across Salford.

Lance is a nurse by background and has worked in and around the NHS for more than 20 years and with Social Enterprises for 15 years.

He has previously held positions with Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Trust and has worked for the Department of Health as an adviser on the Governance Arrangements for NHS Foundation Trusts and advises on Public Mutuals and Social Enterprises.  

Lance has been the Chief Executive of Care Plus Group in Grimsby, a Social Enterprise Mutual, and Executive Lead for Older People at Locala in Kirklees.

Lance received an MSC in Ethics in Health Care from Liverpool University in 1992 and was awarded an MBE in 2000 for services to Primary Care Nursing. He is a Fellow of the Queens Nursing Institute. 

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Sharon Lowrie, Chief Executive

Sharon has been the Chief Executive for over three years and oversaw the company’s transformation from CASA, a struggling organisation to Be Caring, a financially prudent employee-owned social enterprise.

Under her leadership Be Caring has delivered a surplus for the second year running, despite the COVID pandemic, and has been able to reward and incentivise colleagues in recognition of the hard work.

Sharon was appointed in 2018 from Locala, where she had worked as their Director of Finance and Business Development since 2015.

Prior to Be Caring, Sharon had previously worked for Sova, a national charity supporting ex-offenders through mentoring, training and employment opportunities and Save the Children as one of five Global Finance Managers, supporting over 100 country programme teams.

Sharon qualified as a Management Accountant while working for the University of Sheffield after graduation from there with a BA (Hons) in Accounting & Financial Management & Mathematics.

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Laura Mwamba, Exec Director for Business Development, Communications and Marketing

Laura joined the Business Development team in 2018; with almost twenty years’ experience of working in VCSE (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise) organisations, with local communities and securing new business, she was promoted to Director the following year.

Laura’s background working with not-for-profits, includes a large social enterprise delivering NHS Community Health and Local Authority Public Health contracts.  Her previous roles in Business Development for these organisations gained her experience of operating in the fields of Youth Work, Substance Misuse, Housing and Community Health and Well-being.

In 2017 whilst working for Locala as Business Development Manager, Laura was the Corporate Enabler Award Winner for her outstanding contribution the organisation.

Laura graduated from Sheffield Hallam with a first-class honours degree in 2001.

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Ann Tyler, Non-Executive Director (NED) and ‘Voice’ Independent Trustee

Ann Tyler is a lawyer and consultant with over 35 years experience of wide ranging legal and policy advice and consulting work in the field of employee ownership. She believes passionately that employee ownership can deliver a better model of capitalism for all.

As interim Executive Director, she led the Employee Ownership Association during its transition in 2003 from a small lobbying and policy company limited by guarantee to a membership organisation, and continued to support the EOA board until 2013. As a Baxi Trustee from 2001-10 she oversaw the governance not only of the Baxi Trust itself but also of the many employee-owned companies in which it invested.

She has been a Trustee of Ownership at Work since  2006, and as its Chair since 2018 has been leading a project to establish it as a new independent think tank focussing on the role of employee ownership as an economic and social enabler. She has been the independent Trustee of VOICE since 2015.

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Georg Stratenwerth, Non-Executive Director

Georg joined Be Caring in 2016 as a Non-Executive Director with a background in finance and corporate governance.

Georg serves as a member of the Investment Committee of Big Issue Invest, a group of funds which provide finance to and support the growth of sustainable social as well as for profit-with-purpose enterprises in the UK.

He is also a member of the Ashoka Support Network and serves on the Board of Trustees of Client Earth, an international environmental charity that uses the power of law to protect people and the planet.  

Georg’s previous expertise is in Private Equity and Management Consultancy. He acted as a Partner of Pillarstone, a KKR backed investment vehicle to restructure non-performing bank loans. His career in Private Equity was as Partner with Advent International (2003-2016) and JP Morgan Partners (1993-2003). At Advent International he acted as General Manager in the Frankfurt office. He then opened and was responsible for the Mumbai office before returning to the London office. At J.P. Morgan Partners he worked in New York, London and Munich.

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Craig Slater, Non-Executive Director

Craig returned to the Board of Be Caring in 2020 after a break of three years to restructure the UK and US territories of a SaaS software group. He initially became a Non-Executive Director in 2014.

Craig currently works as Chief Operating Officer of an AIM-listed Life Science company.

Alongside these roles, Craig is also NED of an ecommerce software business and a liquid plastics roofing company, both private equity backed.

Craig has specialised in Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) businesses needing or wanting to bring about significant change to enable sustainable growth. That work has always centred on the creation and development of effective and motivated leadership teams interested in long-term growth.

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Bronwyn Burgess, Chair of Voice and Director Be Caring Trustees

Bronwyn is Be Caring’s Regional Quality Manager alongside her roles as the Chair of Voice and a Be Caring Trustee.

Voice is Be Caring’s elected forum of representatives from within the organisation and is the means for our employee-owners to get involved and hold the Board to account.

Bronwyn has worked in health and social care for nearly twenty years and started her career in care as a home care assistant.

Bronwyn has a proven track record of working with services that required improvement and successfully managed several Care Quality Commission regulated services with ‘Good’ ratings. Bronwyn was previously nominated for her dedication and passion for care and was a Regional Finalist for the Great British Care Awards.   

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Darren Scholes, Director Be Caring Trustees

As well as representing his fellow colleague-owners as one of our Trustees, Darren is Head of Quality, Training, Heath & Safety at Be Caring. He leads the Quality Team and supports services across the organisation in their pursuit for continual improvement and quality excellence.

Darren has worked in various roles within the Care sector for over 20 years, including as a Care Giver,  leading frontline teams, and as a Health and Social Care Trainer. He is well-qualified to support his extensive hands-on experience, holding a Level 5 Diploma in Management of Health and Social Care as well as other qualifications including a National Educational Board in Occupational Health and Safety (NEBOSH) Certificate, Prince 2 (Project Management qualification), and a Certificate in Education.  

He is also an author for NHS Health Education England’s online delivery for the Care Certificate.

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