Speakers

CATHERINE CROSS

Catherine’s significant experience in senior operational roles, up to Executive Director level, means that she understands the challenges of balancing the duties of the day job with the management of change. 

Catherine has over twenty-five years’ experience of leading and delivering transformational large-scale change for the NHS, Local and Central Government, Education, Housing and the private sector. This has been achieved by developing and delivering complex change programmes which have driven increased economic and social value.

JONATHAN HULLEY

Jonathan joined Birketts in April 2020 as a Partner in its highly-regarded Social Housing Team. Jonathan will concentrate on growing this practice in other regions of the United Kingdom, including in London, the Midlands and the South East. 

Jonathan has a depth of understanding across many industries, but with considerable experience in landlord and tenant and housing management dispute resolution, dealing with disrepair claims, advising on Building and Fire Safety rules and regulations, handling service charge disputes in the First Tier Tribunal for public sector clients, including Housing Associations and Local Authorities, and works alongside fellow Partners Pete Goddard and John Scannell and the Social Housing Team to deliver a first rate service to Birketts’ social housing clients.

Jonathan is an acknowledged expert in the field of housing and leasehold management law and is also known for advising social housing providers on best practice, policy and procedure, including the consumer standards set by the social housing regulator which Housing Associations have to meet.

Together with Pete Goddard, Jonathan is recognised and ranked for his expertise by the Legal Directories where clients have commended Jonathan for the “excellent service” he provides.

Jonathan has represented social housing clients in the Supreme Court and notable cases include: Southend on Sea Borough Council v Armour (2014) EWCA CIV 231 and Aster v Akerman Livingston (2015) UKSC 15, the latter being a leading authority on the applicability of the Equality Act 2010 to possession proceedings. 

Jonathan also regularly lectures to clients on housing and leasehold management best practice and procedure and particularly enjoys hosting bespoke client training events that have covered such topics as the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and the Building and Fire Safety Bills.

Ben Laryea

BEN LARYEA

Ben has worked in the sector for over 30 years. He is Chief Executive of Ekaya Housing Association, which provides housing and support services primarily to black and ethnic minority women, their families and groups with similar needs.

He has acted as an independent housing professional, supporting organisations through change and service transformation, and worked as a mentor to address the lack of diversity at senior management level within the sector.

Ben is a Board Member of Dolphin Living and The Guinness Housing Partnership, and Chair of BME London Landlords.

SIMON FANSHAWE OBE

Simon has lived in Brighton since 1975 when he went to study law at Sussex University. Over the years his career has covered being a Perrier Award winning comic, broadcasting with his own shows on BBC Radios 4 and 5 and GLR, making documentaries on TV and radio and writing features and interviews for The Sunday Times Culture, Guardian and Observer, Daily Telegraph and (even) The Daily Mail. 

He co-founded and currently runs a consultancy business, Diversity by Design which supports organisations to truly diversify their senior staff. He is the Chair of Hexagon Housing Association and also serves on the Board of Powerful Women. 

He was a co-founder of one of the most successful lobby and campaign groups in recent times, the lesbian and gay equality organisation Stonewall. And he was also a co-founder of the Kaleidoscope Trust, which supports lgb&t activists abroad.

He started and chaired the Economic Partnership in Brighton and Hove, lead the successful city bid in 1999/2000, and has served on the Board of Brighton Dome and Festival, the Museum of London, Housing and Care 21. For six years he was Chair of Sussex University’s governing Council. 

In 2013 he was awarded the OBE in the New Years Honours list for services to Higher Education and was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Sussex for services to diversity and human rights. 

He is married to Adam and they have no children or dogs. 

OLU OLANREWAJU

Expertise

Governance, strategy and change, development appraisal, organisation design, culture change, change management and transformation, global consultancy, market demand analysis, home loan assistance product design, housing supply and demand industry diagnostics, asset management, estate and housing management, risk management.

About Olu

A member of the Royal Institution of chartered surveyors with MBA from Kingston University and alumni of the Directors Programme at Cranfield Business School

He is currently Director of Altair International. Altair International provides advice and support on a wide range of issues related to the development, funding, governance, and management of affordable housing across the globe. Recent assignments include preparation of feasibility studies for Africa’s first Green city in Kigali Rwanda, setting up a new housing fund in Nigeria, negotiating World bank loans for affordable housing in Nigeria, Rural housing modelling in Krygstan and setting up of a new urban park company in Beira Mozambique. Clients range from National governments, Development finance institutions, Private equity firms such as the World Bank, the International finance corporation IFC,  German Development Bank KFW, Federal government of Nigeria, Infraco Africa.

 Olu has had significant experience of leading major housing companies in the UK. He was Chief Executive of United HA, Managing Director Midland Area, Divisional Director Midland Heart, Managing Director PCHA, Executive Director East Thames, and Executive Director London& Quadrant.  These businesses owned and managed homes with market value from £100m to £20bn.  He was until recently Chairman of Inquilab, he is   co – founder and Chair of Leadership 2025 a charity set up to improve BME representation in the housing sector. He is Chairman Altwood Housing Group, a family owned private property development and management company  based in London. He is also co-founder of The African housing company a residential housing development company recently set up to deliver green and affordable housing in Africa.

ARGIRI PAPATHOS

Argiri joined Catalyst in July 2021 as Director of Governance and Compliance. She is supporting the organisation to deliver its core business activities in a way that is compliant with relevant regulation and legislation. Her career has been focused in social housing and local government where she has led on building teams and inspiring high levels of engagement.  

Prior to joining Catalyst, Argiri led multi-disciplinary corporate services teams, including Company Secretariat, People, Information Technology, Data Governance, and Business Transformation for the Salvation Army Housing Association, Estuary Housing Association and Southend Borough Council. Argiri’s accomplishments include revitalising the approach to internal customer care, resulting in efficient services and improved satisfaction.

Argiri’s experience includes appointments as non-executive director and member of the Audit and Risk Committee for Origin Housing, Advisor to the Audit Committee for the Royal College of Nursing and mentor with the Leadership 2025 charity. Argiri is a Fellow of the RSA.

Argiri-Papathos

CAROLINE PILLAY

Caroline Pillay is a senior partner at Airey Miller and Chair of the Councils Building Homes Forum. Caroline specialises on estate and area regeneration, client side advisory and programme support to Local Authorities RP’s and Local Housing Companies. She has delivered and led the delivery of strategic commercial and technical advice to Local Authorities on a number of Housing PFI and estate regeneration projects. Caroline is extremely passionate about improving social housing and place regeneration and the possibilities this brings for improving lives, transforming spaces, enhancing existing communities and creating new ones. In addition to being a member of the Women in Social Housing London board, Caroline has recently been appointed as a Group Chair for the Homes for Lambeth Group, and is a new member of the board of Social and Sustainable Capital.

SANDIE SMALL

Sandie Small joined the Bank of England in 2018 and is Head of the Operations Command Centre, she is accountable for Digital Service Operations and supporting the Bank’s Technology transformation programs.

Sandie has worked for over 20 years in Financial Services technology, she has held IT Services Management roles at Readers Digest, Thomson Reuters, MF Global, Aviva Investors and HSBC. 

Sandie offers a unique and different perspective as she started at entry level and has a broad understanding of technology, people and managing cultural change.  People and technology are her passion in equal measures and she is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience with others.

Sandie has won numerous awards and was recently named as one of the TechWomen100 in 2020.

JONATHAN WALTERS

Deputy Chief Executive

Having previously been at Ernst and Young and in working in social housing consultancy, Jonathan has been at the Regulator since 2004. He has worked across the organisation and has extensive experience in dealing with funders, government and Registered Providers. 

Helen Webb

Chief People and Services Officer – Co-op

Helen was appointed as Co-op’s Chief People and Services Officer in April 2017. She’s a member of the seven-strong Executive Committee responsible for Building a Stronger Co-op and Stronger Communities and championing a better way of doing business for 4 million members, 18 million customers and 62,000 colleagues.

Reporting directly to the CEO, Helen leads an inclusive and strategically-aligned people agenda for a fast-paced, matrix organisation across a diverse range of businesses including Food, Funeralcare, Legal, Life Planning and Insurance. She’s also responsible for the development and ongoing delivery of a new Co-op Service Centre – a contact centre for colleagues, customers, members and suppliers.

Before joining Co-op as HR Director for the Food business in January 2014, where she developed and led the people strategy across stores, logistics and support centres, Helen held a number of senior roles in retail and financial organisations including Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Aviva, Morrisons and ASDA.

Helen has been involved in a number of transformational change programmes, including the integration of ASDA within Wal-Mart, and led strategic projects including the creation of a Global Diversity strategy for Aviva. After six years as Retail HR Director at Sainsbury’s, she was appointed as Central Retail Director, where her broad accountabilities included improving ways of working and store profitability.

Helen’s a non-executive director on the board of Housing for Women; a housing association and charity that provides homes and services to empower women to make the most of the opportunities they have. She’s also Chair of the British Retail Consortium HR Directors Group and an advisor on External Engagement for Leeds Beckett Business School. This year she has also taken on a Commissioner role for the London Good Work Commission.

Previously held non-executive roles includes a Pensions Trustee for Sainsbury’s, Non – Exec Director for Arcus FM and Chair of Remuneration Committee and visiting fellow of University Birmingham Business School.