Pilotlight People

London-based staff

Gillian Murray, Chief Executive

Gillian joined Pilotlight as a project manager in October 2005 and she became Deputy Chief Executive in 2007 and Chief Executive in 2013. Her long-term interest in the third sector was sparked by a three-year stint with Voluntary Service Overseas in Laos, during which she became VSO acting country director and advised the Laotian Ministry of Education. She holds a masters degree in Development Management from The Open University. Before entering the third sector she had a successful career teaching and managing a chain of language schools in Italy.

David King, Head of Programme Development

While an Executive Director at UBS, David became involved in business-to-school mentoring through a community programme. Since 1992 he has mentored a number of young people from some of the most deprived areas of south London, some of whom have now gone on to attend university. This work was recognised by HRH The Prince of Wales when David was invited to represent UBS at an event at Highgrove. David has an MSc in Business Process Management. He left UBS to further his philanthropic journey and feels working at Pilotlight brings his business and mentoring experience to bear on managing the relationships between teams of Pilotlighters and charity managers.

Crystal Pleeth, Head of Charity Recruitment

Prior to joining Pilotlight, Crystal spent three years working as a programme officer for an international NGO based in Brussels. She has experience as a project manager working in criminal justice and democracy and has worked in a number of countries, including Sierra Leone, Yemen, Italy and the United States. Crystal joined Pilotlight in August 2008.

Charlie Medcalf, Head of Project Management

Before joining Pilotlight, Charlie worked for a London-based education charity, which aims to raise the aspirations of young people living in disadvantaged areas. Her work included setting up a new centre in Harringey and delivering the multi-stranded programme to young people aged seven to 19. She has a degree in Social Anthropology and has spent time volunteering in India with a community development charity promoting HIV awareness to young people in the city of Pune.

Marlijn Wijkhuizen, Membership and Business Development Manager

Dutch-born Marlijn moved to London in 2002. She started working for charities, firstly as a volunteer and later as an employee at the Howard League for Penal Reform and as partnerships manager at The Tree Council. She began working at Pilotlight in 2009. 

Bruce McCombie, Senior Project Manager

Bruce previously worked for a management consultancy, delivering organisational development and support services to a range of clients in the private, not-for-profit and charitable sectors. Bruce is an experienced project manager having overseen the performance of two large-scale European Social Fund projects in London and the south east, which aimed to support 14- to 19-year-olds into further education and employment.

Robbie Cowbury, Project Manager

Robbie has been with Pilotlight since June 2012, following a Graduate Trainee program at the Stroke Association. Prior to this he worked for a small education charity and a local Volunteer Centre. Robbie has also volunteered with a variety of small charities working with refugees and people facing homelessness.

Shenley Connolly, Membership and Business Development Manager

Shenley joined Pilotlight in June 2013 and is responsible for the recruitment and retention of business members, as well as managing the relationship between Pilotlight, business members and partner organisations. Shenley has over 15 years experience in business development, recruitment and customer service, having most recently managed all aspects of the Chartered Director Qualification at the Institute of Directors. An interest and experience in charity sector clients comes from working at JustGiving, managing  a number of strategic partnerships with large charity clients.

Anna Grey, Evaluation Manager

Anna joined Pilotlight in September 2013 both to manage the evaluation of Pilotlight’s impact on its partner charities and to develop Pilotlight’s work in supporting partner charities to measure the impact their work has on their beneficiaries.  She has over 20 years’ experience of research working for organisations in the public and private sectors.  For the last ten years, she has worked as an independent consultant, specialising in research to inform the development and evaluation of social marketing campaigns and research to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the voluntary and community sector.  She is vice chair of governors at a secondary school in south London.

Carolina Jean-Mairet, Communications Manager

Prior to joining Pilotlight, Carolina studied a Master’s degree in Marketing in Melbourne, Australia and worked in a range of marketing and communications roles within the corporate and not for profit sectors in Lima, Melbourne and Zurich. Born and raised in Peru, Carolina moved to London in 2013 and joined Pilotlight in December that year to take responsibility for the internal and external communications of the organisation.

Hannah Page, Project Manager

Hannah joined Pilotlight as a project manager in May 2014, after working in corporate events. Her previous experience includes setting up a consultancy in Leeds to support struggling businesses with their strategies and a social enterprise in Ghana, which supports farming communities. Hannah also worked as a programme coordinator in New York with people with learning difficulties and currently coaches and mentors university students running local and international projects. 

James Appleton, Project Manager

James joined Pilotlight as a Project Manager in August 2014. This is his first job in the charity sector after having completed a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and held a number of roles in the field of education in the UK and Spain, encompassing fundraising, teaching and administration. James has actively supported several organisations with a variety of focuses – including animal welfare, care for elderly people and widening participation in Higher Education – through volunteering and fundraising initiatives.  

Pete Belk, Membership and Business Development Manager

Pete came to Pilotlight having spent nine months in Sierra Leone running a capacity building programme for six local NGOs in Freetown. Prior to this he spent six years as a Key Account Manager for a leading energy efficiency solutions provider, working with a number of FTSE100 organisations.

Kate Priest, Grants Writer

Kate joined Pilotlight in 2009 and is responsible for raising funds from a variety of sources. Prior to joining Pilotlight Kate worked as a charity sector fundraiser for 10 years for a diverse range of causes, including homeless young people, disability and health.

Gemma Davidson, Head of PR

Gemma is an expert in media relations and PR and leads on all Pilotlight's media activities. Having started as a reporter in local radio and television at BBC South Gemma went on to produce programmes for BBC News and Current Affairs including Newsnight, Panorama and Woman's Hour. For the last six years Gemma has worked with charities and think tanks such as Pilotlight, New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), BeatBullying and the Arts Alliance. She is experienced at developing media strategy around key reports and campaigns, with particular expertise in small charities. Gemma is also an experienced media trainer and has worked with commercial companies, charities and social enterprises, helping them prepare for key interview and presentations.

Edinburgh-based staff

Ken Campbell, Senior Project Manager

Ken joined Pilotlight in October 2009 and is responsible for managing the relationship between Pilotlighters and a range of charities. Ken has over 20 years' experience in the public sector and worked for two years as a volunteer in Tanzania. In 2010 he founded an international sports and youth development charity which operates in Tanzania.

Kate Dixon, Membership and Business Development Manager

Kate joined Pilotlight in 2011. She is responsible for the recruitment and retention of business members, as well as the relationship between them and Pilotlight in Scotland. Kate worked for more than ten years in business development and relationship management, coming to us from Royal London’s  protection brands, Bright Grey and Scottish Provident.

Richard Moore, Project Manager

Prior to joining Pilotlight, Richard worked for 15 years with Waterstones Booksellers managing branches, events and other projects.  He is currently a committee member of the Dunbar Science Festival and has previously worked as a volunteer E.S.O.L. teacher for East Lothian Council and Business Researcher for Barnardos, Scotland.

Miriam Cunningham, Project Manager

Miriam joined Pilotlight as a project manager in July 2014.  She previously worked for a contract research company, where she project managed a number of clinical research studies.  Miriam has a degree in psychology and a keen interest in mental health.  She has volunteered with a wide variety of charities supporting disadvantaged children, adults with mental health problems, and acquired brain injuries. 

Graeme Powrie, Membership and Business Development Manager

Graeme is responsible for the recruitment and retention of business members, as well as developing and implementing communication and event strategy. He brings a wealth of customer service, sales and business development experience to Pilotlight. Most recently, Graeme was area director of sales and origination at Bank of Scotland Commercial, based in Edinburgh. Graeme is currently on sabbatical.