Meet our leadership team

ACH Leadership team

Meet our leadership team

Senior staff

Fuad Mahamed

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director to the Board

I founded ACH and Himilo to empower refugees and migrants in the UK to lead self-sufficient, ambitious lives while contributing to society and the economy. I am also dedicated to changing people's perceptions of refugees and migrants to ensure that human dignity is always put first.

Besides coffee, what gets me up in the morning is working with world-class colleagues, who together are making a real difference in people’s lives.

In my spare time, I enjoy watching and supporting Arsenal (when they’re winning anyway…) and spending time with my family and friends.

Working the last 15-years in this sector, I have the ability to build relationships and bridges between the community on the ground and policymakers. I have an MSc in Management from Lancaster Business School and went on to become a Clore Social Fellow for Refugee and Migrant communities and a Churchill Fellow.

Fuad regularly contributes to international and local events, speaking on the topic of refugee resettlement and integration, including previously featuring on BBC, ITV and Channel 4. To book Fuad, please submit an enquiry via our contact form.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Paul Hassan

Regional Partnerships Manager | South West

I joined ACH and Himilo because I am passionate about ensuring that the lives of refugees and migrants are positive, productive, peaceful, and I want to do my best to ensure their potential is fulfilled.

Apart from a jug of freshly brewed coffee, what gets me up in the morning is the belief that I am playing my very small part in making the world a better place for everyone.

In my spare time, I love cycling and going on country walks. I am looking forward to savouring these and doing more of both as we move out of the pandemic restrictions.

I’m a seasoned communicator and bring my skill in building bridges between groups and policymakers to effect positive change.

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Nimo Jirde

Financial Controller

I joined ACH to make a difference and help the organisation be sustainable for the long term by finding ways to diversify its revenue streams and improve efficiencies.

What gets me up in the morning is knowing that the work I do makes a difference in people’s lives.
 
In my spare time, I love reading and travelling.
 
I am a qualified financial professional and bring 10-years of experience working in Corporate Finance. I wanted to use all the skills and experience that I developed working in Corporate to transform ACH's finance team and help the company grow year on year.

Nevinder Ram

Operations Manager | Himilo

Having spent the majority of my adult life working in the Welfare to Work sector and witnessing the true cost of unemployment on people's lives, I joined Himilo to ensure refugees and other marginalised communities can achieve their full potential through innovative approaches to education and learning.

What gets me up in the morning, is knowing that I am blessed to be part of an organisation that is forward-thinking, and takes every opportunity to change the lives of so many individuals who have experienced significant hardships to come to the UK.

As many of my coworkers are probably aware, I am a dog owner! I enjoy taking him on country walks as well as travelling abroad.

I bring to Himilo over 30-years of experience in operational management in the Welfare to Work sector as well as working with policy.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Tom Dixon

Senior Business Development and Projects Manager

I joined ACH in 2013 as a Support and Integration Officer, and spent several years in client facing, frontline support roles. By building my first-hand experience supporting refugees through their integration journey, I gained an insight into how to create effective positive change.

I’ve used this first-hand knowledge to create innovative and sustainable business development strategies and programme design at ACH. My recent areas of work include developing a person-centred Integration Toolkit and a Life Before Language learning methodology aimed at challenging the English-first assumption within integration service design.

What gets me up in the morning is being part of an organisation that is doing incredible work to support refugees and vulnerable migrants, and, crucially, is doing so in an innovative and sustainable way.

Werner Lourens

People & Culture Manager

Having spent most of my career in the non-profit sector, I have seen how the lives of marginalised people can be positively impacted through the effective support and training of teams. I joined ACH because of their dedication and the innovative solutions they design to help refugees build a better, brighter future.

I am particularly passionate about developing and promoting the organisation’s culture, so that staff can have a sense of belonging. My desire is to create staff development programmes to support individuals and teams to fulfill the organisation’s mission and purpose.

In my spare time I enjoy cycling, cooking and exploring the UK and different parts of the world with my wife and 3 daughters.

ACH Board

John William Wells

Chair

I joined ACH to do something I’m passionate about - to help develop and grow the organisation and integrate refugees and migrants into UK society.

To live life to the full, doing things I enjoy and am passionate about is what gets me up in the morning.

In my spare time, I enjoy socialising with family, friends and colleagues; reading, walking and playing golf.

I bring many years of experience in helping high growth businesses to grow using my strategic, financial, quality and general management skill and expertise.

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Museji A Takolia CBE

NED and Chair Designate

I joined ACH at the start of January 2024 as NED and Chair Designate. 

I have held a wide portfolio of senior roles including with charities, local and central government, including Ministerial appointments on public bodies spanning education/skills, NHS and care services, housing/regeneration and pensions/consumer finance.

My executive career included a period as a Senior Civil Servant at the Cabinet Office and in management consulting. Until recently I was Chair of Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees's Commission on Race Equality.

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Elisabeth Buggins

I joined ACH to help refugees feel safe and welcomed and thrive.

The chance to connect with people to make the world a kinder, fairer place is what gets me up in the morning.

In my spare time, I enjoy gardening - trying to create order and beauty out of chaos!

I bring to ACH many years' experience of governance and board work, and of helping refugees and asylum seekers.

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Rokneddin Shariat BSc, MBA

I joined ACH because their purpose is very relevant to my own life story and supporting people at a critical point in their lives can make all the difference. This is both to their quality of life as well as the society in which they are integrating.

What gets me up in the morning is making a positive difference to the lives of people who face challenges. Although I like being close to the people we serve, my experience is more suited to organisational development, so I serve on the board.

In my spare time, I love travelling and experiencing how different people live their lives. Seeing life from different perspectives is the most enriching experience.

I hope that my lived experience can bring some value to the organisation. I also bring finance, social value, IT and organisational development experience to ACH.

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Abdi Mohamed

Company Secretary

I joined ACH to contribute and help the integration of refugees and new migrants via the promotion of the social and cultural capital they bring with them, coupled with my lived experience.

Improving, innovating the governance system that provides tools for the leadership and management of the organisation is what gets me up in the morning.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading and writing, and community activism particularly giving a voice to the youth and the elders.

I have skills and experience in community development, teaching and training, governance and policy, community journalism, and curiosity for positive habit development and leadership studies.

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Noelle Rumball

Chair of People Enabling Committee

My experience of the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ was stark enough as a white, middle-class, English-speaker that I’ve been committed to supporting refugees in my country of adoption for many years. ACH does great things in the refugee space, not just locally, but nationally, and I love being a part of it.

What gets me up in the morning is my curiosity. I love any opportunity to learn, but I am most fascinated by people.

There is only one hobby I consistently find time and energy to do on cold, wet Thursday evenings when sensible people are tucked up under a duvet: non-executive board work! And I’ve had the great privilege to work with some absolutely phenomenal organisations, including this one.

I am a senior leader with 15-years’ board experience and particular expertise in the higher education and charity sectors.

Mashkura Begum

Safeguarding Lead for the Board

I joined ACH as I love the work they are leading on and wanted to play a role in advancing the ‘cause’ and be part of an organisation that is providing cutting edge services to migrant and refugees.

I am motivated by making a difference whether that incremental or big. When I can see I am part of something that is making a positive difference in an individual or within communities that gets me up in the morning!

In my spare time, I love reading and travelling with my husband and three children, South Asia is a personal favourite. I enjoy collecting stories from different communities using oral history methodology. This interest stems from the fact that I want to preserve the stories of those often not heard yet have been the backbone of British society.

I am a strategic thinker and get the ‘bigger picture’ having worked in various regeneration and community development programmes. I have a great deal of experience in governance in the not-for-profit sector and understand compliance and regulatory bodies’ requirements.

Antoinette Lynch

I joined ACH because in short, I liked what I saw and wanted to be a part of that growth. I witnessed the drive and ambition of the organisation to make a change and a difference within the Housing Sector.

What gets me up in the morning? A can-do, must do, don’t give up mentality. Unfortunately, nothing comes easy in life and every day brings a different challenge. I get up in the morning for my family, to make a difference for them and to create a future.

My favourite thing to do is to spend quality time with my family. I take pleasure in the simple things like going for a walk, trying to be healthier (although I may go off track sometimes) and making sure I keep in contact with family and friends.

After qualifying as a Barrister, I continued to practice immigration law and then laterally focused on Housing Law. In 2015 I trained to become a self-employed Special Educational Needs Mediator. Being from an ethnic minority, I’ve experienced and understand the impact inequality and social deprivation can have on a person’s development and self-worth.

Peter Dean

I truly believe that everyone should have access to good quality yet affordable housing, for me its a basic human right. ACH are at the forefront of this provision and since their creation have continually focused on and delivered against this goal for one of our most vulnerable communities, refugees and asylum seekers. Their work and reputation have grown in stature and importance as has their stellar reputation in both the Bristol and West Midland regions. I am therefore very honoured and proud to have been asked to join the ACH Board and look forward to working with the Team as they continue to grow and offer innovative solutions in respect to the increasing demand for their services. 

Other than my dogs wanting to go out at the crack of dawn – I really enjoy meeting new people from every walk of life, listening to and learning from their experiences as for me this is how I continue to develop. Everyday has the potential to offer and embrace such opportunities. I will always try and translate these new interactions into to real outcomes and then share with others as a means of adding value.  

I have considerable Senior Management and Board experience gained across the Public, Private and Charitable sectors. I have been a NED previously with 2 Housing Associations so bring first hand knowledge of the Governance requirements of a Registered Housing Provider along with a good understanding of the role and responsibilities of a NED. Listen, counsel but never do! I have sat on Audit and Risk Committees (ARC) so will bring a strong background in this space to ACH as they increase their focus and commitment to best in class Governance and Compliance practises – all crucial elements on their rapid growth journey. 

My absolute favourite thing to do is dine alfresco, particularly host a lunchtime barbeque with family and friends which continues into the afternoon with conversation and games. For me eating outside is a true pleasure and the perfect way to relax. 

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Himilo Board

David Jepson

I find it absurd that the talents and abilities of all people are not fully respected and utilised in the interests of us all. I believe that it is important not just to describe a problem but to try to solve it. ACH and Himilo’s work with refugees and migrants is doing just that.

What gets me up in the morning is either the alarm clock or better, the sun coming through the window!

In my spare time, I enjoy travelling, walking, eating, and cooking, but more importantly, learning new things and meeting new people.

I have 30-years of experience in economic development and labour market consultancy, as well as previously being an elected member of a major local authority; I believe these are useful experiences to bring to the governance of Himilo.

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Laila Kasem

I strongly believe in ACH's mission to empower refugees and migrants who reside in the UK to lead self-sufficient and ambitious lives. Being from Syria, and an immigrant myself, I have first-hand experience of the importance of providing high-quality support to enable refugees and migrants to successfully lead their social and economic integration into their new environments. ACH is a leading provider of such support and I am proud to be a member of the Board.

My two kids, who are the joy of my life, and the desire to do something good that will hopefully make a positive impact on someone's life is what gets me up in the morning.

Besides my own experience being an immigrant and my close observation of the experience of refugees, I bring research expertise in the area of refugee entrepreneurship and integration and a deep knowledge of strategic marketing and business strategy.

In my spare time, I enjoy walking up a hill or being by a beach!

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Mark Harris

I joined Himilo because, having worked with the company for many years, I have a great affinity with its people and its mission.  I believe that the lived experience within and available to Himilo gives it enormous potential to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of our society, and I want to do everything that I can to help the company to achieve that. 

What really gets me up the morning are problems that require creative solutions.  I am definitely happiest when bouncing around ideas and problem-solving with like-minded people. 

I bring business development, delivery model design, operational management and strategic planning experience gained in the welfare-to-work, skills and third sectors to the board. 

My wife and my children are my world and I spend as much of my spare time as possible with them – which more often than not translates into standing freezing cold in a field watching my youngest play football… 

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Roger Lawrence

I want to support the work with refugees to enable people to fulfill their potential whether in employment or entrepreneurship Skills and Experience Many years in local government including chairing national and regional strategic migration partnerships and making Wolverhampton a City of Sanctuary I am also an experienced researcher and have a doctorate from Bristol on regional collaboration in the Western Balkans.

Usually a cat demanding to be fed. 

I’m a fan of sport so an afternoon at Molineux watching the Wolves or a day at Edgbaston watching test match cricket In both cases followed by a curry. 

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