Our Team

  • Sir Richard Branson
    Sir Richard Branson
    Patron
Sir Richard Branson
Patron
The incredible success of the Virgin Group has been led by the only person on the planet to build eight billion dollar companies in eight different sectors. In 2004 Richard established the non-profit foundation Virgin Unite to tackle tough social and environmental problems and strives to make business a force for good. Most of his time is now spent working with Virgin Unite and the organisations it has incubated, such as The Elders, Carbon War Room, B Team and Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship. He also serves on the Global Commission on Drug Policy and supports ocean conservation with the OceanElders.
  • Glenn Lehrer
    Glenn Lehrer
    Trustee
Glenn Lehrer
Trustee

Every Life matters. We all matter. We all have something Unique to contribute given the right Opportunity.


Glenn has been a trustee of the Colourful Life Foundation since 2012. He is recognized internationally as one of the finest gemstone carvers of our time. With 40 years experience in the gemstone industry, he works closely with mining communities around the world.

Glenn was given a lifetime honorary membership with International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) for his work consulting with the Board and staff to re-write and update their Constitution and By-laws.

Glenn has been a TV host on several large Gemstone and Jewelry Sales programs in the United States and England for his gem cutting knowledge and artistry, and continues to successfully sell his gemstones and jewelry on TV both in the UK and the USA.

  • Steve Bennett
    Steve Bennett
    Trustee
Steve Bennett
Trustee

There is a lot seriously wrong with our planet and if things don't start changing soon will we reach a point of no return. Then there is a serious in-balance between those who have and those who have not. Three billion of us indulge and consume way too much of everything, whilst three billion do not even have enough food or water.


Steve is a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record in business, having established a number of different, highly successful companies in the worlds of publishing, eCommerce and retail.

He is currently CEO of The Genuine Gemstone Company, which in 2012 won the prestigious Times Fast Track 100.

Steve’s role sees him regularly travelling the world to source gemstones for his business, giving him an acute awareness of the issues we are trying to tackle.

 

  • Philip Newborough
    Philip Newborough
    Trustee
Philip Newborough
Trustee

After more than a decade working with entrepreneurs who are helping to tackle some of the UK's biggest social and environmental challenges, I've seen first-hand that sustainable business can be an incredibly powerful force for good within deprived communities. That's why I’m so excited about what Colourful Life can achieve.


Philip, who recently joined the Colourful Life Board, has been the Managing Partner of Bridges Ventures since 2002. He is actively involved in much of the portfolio and has negotiated the successful exits of The Gym Group, Simply Switch, The Office Group and The Hoxton, among others.

Prior to Bridges Ventures, Philip managed two venture capital-backed businesses and a substantial pan-European business. He previously worked at Aiwa as Director and General Manager, and as Managing Director of MWB Business Exchange Ltd, a serviced office provider.

Philip has a BA Honours in Economics from York University and is a qualified chartered accountant.

  • Andy McQuillan
    Andy McQuillan
    Trustee
Andy McQuillan
Trustee

Andy was one of the initial trustees appointed on the formation of the Colourful Life Foundation. He trained with a big-4 international accountancy practice as a Chartered Tax Adviser and Accountant who brings with him a wealth of knowledge on the accounting and tax matters relevant for the Foundation and the tax position for donors, both corporate and individuals.

Having acted for the Foundations main sponsor and founders, the Bennett family, for over 15 years he was asked to become trustee to bring his expertise to the internal governance of the organisation.

  • Sharmil Mathur
    Sharmil Mathur
    Ambassador
Sharmil Mathur
Ambassador

I don't believe the saying "one person can't change the world." I trust that a small effort can result into big changes.


Sharmil has previously worked with Save the Children and in her spare time provides much needed volunteering to SOS Orphanage, Teach India and the Jaipur Leprosy centre.

She graduated in Economics (Hons) and has a Masters in Management specialising in Marketing and HR from University of Rajasthan.

As our ambassador in India, Sharmil oversees our involvement in education projects in Jaipur and the surrounding area.

  • Joe Waddington MBE
    Joe Waddington MBE
    Ambassador
Joe Waddington MBE
Ambassador

I believe it is vital to enable vulnerable, marginalised members of society to lead independent, sustainable and fulfilling lives outside the cycle of donor dependency.


Our Ambassador in Tanzania, Joe has lived and worked in rural areas of East Africa for over 15 years, establishing Ace Africa in Kenya, UK and Tanzania (www.ace-africa.org).

Currently Ace Africa’s Country Director in Tanzania, Joe also leads the organisation’s research team conducting baseline and operational research for Ace programmes as well as commissioned researches for NGOs and the Corporate sector in Sub Sahara Africa.

  • Jane Wheelock
    Jane Wheelock
    Trustee
Jane Wheelock
Trustee

Jane joined Martini & Rossi Limited in 1972 as Personal Assistant to the CEO, working in the wine trade for a number of years.  Later, after marriage, she went back to college and took various courses including antique silver and furniture.  Jane has been a long-time customer of Gemporia and has visited the jewellery making factories in Jaipur together with various mines and continues to have a keen interest in the history and manufacture of gems.

 

  • David Young
    David Young
David Young

Married to Lisa, two children Charlie (6) and Arthur (4) live in a small village outside of Warwick.

David is the COO for FirstPort UK’s largest Property Management Company, looking after over 4500 employees and over 300,000 homes.

Since joining in 2020, David has led an agenda of innovation, operational excellence and customer centricity programs.

Prior to joining FirstPort, David worked for Centrica PLC and sat on the Boards of BGFS, BGSL and BGNH

David holds AP (Approved Persons FSA regulated accountability) status

During his tenure as MD for Service’s, David restructured the field operating model to enable the delivery of consistently great customer outcomes, generated over £200m of new business, £400m of operational efficiency, established strategic partnerships through B2B and developed a growth strategy to diversify into new markets.

In addition to his time at British Gas, David has some fantastic experience working for Eaga as Commercial Director, Operations Director at TRM (USA), and Director Operations at RAC.

Proven record of delivering strong P&L performance and strategic change for competitive advantage in B2B, B2C, financial services, and retail environments. Specific achievements of developing ‘values driven’ leadership teams by personal example, rapid revenue growth, effective expense reduction, and cost controls, regulatory compliance, major change implementation, systems, and organisation leadership within the UK, North America.

    • 14 years in Director-level/ senior leadership positions including full P&L responsibility for high turnover rapid growth businesses, strong change and Commercial, Operational management achievements.
    • Operating in regulated Energy and Financial Services businesses
    • Commercial business development, developing organisational strategic direction
    • Clear and collaborative leadership of large multi-site teams. Natural engagement of field

engineering activities and grasp of what really happens ‘on the front line’.

    • Sophisticated contract negotiator and performance manager; smart ‘future proofed’ and

operationally practical contracts for productive long-term relationships.

  • Strong negotiation and collaboration with union bodies at senior levels
  • Jenny Bates
    Jenny Bates
    Trustee
Jenny Bates
Trustee

Jenny is a partner at Plexus Law Solicitors handling a full and varied caseload of Defendant Regulatory and Major Loss Personal Injury Claims, acting for many large organisations. Jenny qualified as a solicitor in 2001 and has over 20 years legal experience.  Jenny advises insurers and corporate clients on all types of Regulatory issues including HSE/Police/Inquests/Improvement/Prohibition Notices and Prosecutions. Jenny also handles Major Loss Casualty Personal Injury claims including catastrophic loss cases, work related stress claims and tragic fatal accident claims.

  • Mark Jackson
    Mark Jackson
Mark Jackson

Mark was appointed as a trustee in 2021. Mark’s background has predominantly been in managing call centres until moving into a Director role in 2014. Mark has worked for Gemporia in various Director roles since 2012 and The Colourful Life Foundation is very close to his heart: “Seeing first hand how CLF supports these underprivileged children warms one’s heart, the incredible work that our partners do in order to provide a stepping stone into a future that may have not been possible for them is just phenomenal.