A very warm welcome to Visionary’s new trustees 

We are delighted to welcome five new trustees to the Visionary board.  The newly appointed trustees build on our existing skills and experiences whilst developing our specialist knowledge in media, financial management, law, health and charity leadership and bring their lived experience to the charity.  Our new trustees are joining Visionary at such a pivotal time as we strive to further develop the transformation the organisation has been through during the pandemic.

We welcome Arash, Mark, Philip, Susan and Tom to the Visionary Team and you can read more about them below.

"We were absolutely delighted at the response to our recent recruitment for Visionary trustees, it was wonderful to receive the recognition that so many people from our network wanted to join the board of trustees. 

We are delighted that Arash, Mark, Philip, Susan and Tom have become part of Team Visionary, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge from the sight loss sector and beyond.  Welcome!"

Fiona Sandford, Visionary Chief Executive
Image is a profile picture of Arash, smiling with his arms folded.  Arash is wearing a dark jacket and tie with a wooden framed backdrop. 

Arash Andalibi-Abadan

“I am a practising solicitor based in London and am also registered blind. I joined Visionary to utilise my professional skills and education to help other sight impaired individuals as I have vast lived experience. I am hoping to assist in improving the lives of others so that they can hopefully be better prepared and supported to overcome the obstacles that lie ahead.”


Image is a photo of Mark, smiling at the camera with his arms cross in front.  the image is taken outside with a brick wall background, Mark is wearing a jumper and shirt. 

Mark Upton 

“I am Chief Executive at Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB).  I was born with a congenital visual impairment and I am registered Severely Sight Impaired (Blind).  In 2009, I joined the sector and worked for 4sight Vision Support in West Sussex before Moving to Oxfordshire in 2014.  I  believe in the power of lived experience to help shape, deliver and lead on services for blind and partially sighted people, I am passionate about ensuring people with sight loss can work and volunteer within the sector.  I live in Witney with my young family and enjoy music, food and sleep (when permitted!).”

Image is a photo of Philip smiling at the camera, Philips is wearing a jacket, shirt and tie against a cream background. 

Philip Mills 

“I have been Corporate Services Director of Beacon Centre for the Blind since 2018, having previously worked for big corporates. I have RP and am registered severely sight impaired. My guide dog, Rye, gets me to the concerts, opera, theatre, and cricket that I love. I am delighted to join the Visionary board, to support its fabulous network of sight loss charities, as they support people with sight loss to live full and independent lives.”

Image a is photo of Susan, taken outdoors with the sun setting behind.  Susan is smiling at the camera wrapped up warm in a hat and scarf. 
Image a is photo of Susan, taken outdoors with the sun setting behind.  Susan is smiling at the camera wrapped up warm in a hat and scarf. 

Susan Hoath 

“I have worked in the sight loss sector since 2012 when I joined Sight Concern Bedfordshire to do three months working sorting out contracts!  I then moved to Focus Birmingham and am now Chief Executive of Vista, covering Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.   My ‘first’ career was in health and social care, commissioning services and facilities for health and social care but following a brief stint at the Department of Health.  I firmly believe that the charity sector is where the real magic happens!”

Image is a head and shoulders photo of Tom, against a white background.  Tom is smiling at the camera wearing a white shirt. 

Tom Harte 

“I have spent 25 years working in the media sector with a focus on building commercial media operations at various levels.   This included being part of the senior leadership team at the largest publishing Plc in the UK.   I have also spent time working on mergers and acquisitions as the sector strategy including moving legacy publishing operations to digital-first organisations.   I also worked with and lead award-winning teams and brands such as The Mirror, Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Mail, Bristol Post, Cumbrian News Group along with also introducing new digital platforms to market such as www.business-live.co.uk and www.inyourarea.co.uk.   I am also a trustee at Wargrave House (Autism Specialist School and College) and live in Greater Manchester with my wife, children and the dog.   I spend my summers in Abersoch in North Wales where I love taking part in water sports.”

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