Meet the Strategic Board
Welcome to the Strategic Board - Donald McKenzie
The Strategic Board was formed to reflect the greater Board scrutiny required of the business – the existing structure did not allow sufficient time to scrutinise both the operational delivery of services (to tenants and wider stakeholders) and the increasingly important strategic vision as the operating environment becomes more challenging. The reduction in grant rates and the rent reductions have significantly increased the risks and complexity of running a business such as ours and without the separation of scrutiny we could easily find ourselves facing governance or financial problems.
The Strategic Board comprises of 7 members with me as the Chair – each member has a particular set of experiences and skills that when combined provides an understanding of every aspect of our current and future business risks and operational areas. Members are also Chairs of the key sub-committees of the Board (most notably Operations and Audit & Risk) ensuring a holistic view and understanding of the business as well as clear lines of information flow both up and down the governance structure. Members are appointed for 3 terms of 3 years (subject to periodic performance review) and are remunerated for their services.
Donald McKenzie (Chairman)
I became Chairman of the Board of Directors in September 2012 having joined the Board in 2010. I am currently Head of Corporate Finance & Deputy Company Secretary at Metropolitan Housing Trust (MHT) based in London. MHT is a large national Registered Provider, and a member of the G15 largest London providers. MHT owns and manages over 38,500 units based primarily in London and the south East, and the Midlands around Nottingham/Derby with smaller numbers of units in East Anglia centred on Cambridge. I led on the 2015 £250m MHT Bond Issue which re-opened the UK Sterling bond markets post the 2015 Conservative election victory.
As a Housing and Treasury Professional having worked for some of the UK’s largest RPs and international investment banks, I feel that I have a lot of skills and experience that can be of benefit to other organisations. My current senior operational role dovetails well with the strategic requirements of a Board Director and Chair of the HHP Board, providing learning opportunities for both.
My home is in Norwich with my family immersed in local schools and organisations although I spend 4 days a week working in north London. I am interested in a wide range of sports, the arts and have a love of fine wines.
Ian Mashiter (Vice Chair)
I joined the Board in 2013, and became Vice-Chair in 2016 (when I also joined the Operations Committee). I served on the Audit and Risk Committee for 2 years (and through that I am the Board’s Health & Safety champion). Since May 2016 I have also chaired Havebury Homes Ltd.
I am a Chartered Surveyor, semi-retired after 40 years in the commercial property industry. My career included roles as Property Investment Director of Norwich Union (now Aviva), and Development and Investment Director of Chartwell Land plc (the property company arm of Kingfisher plc – now best known as the company behind B&Q and Screwfix)
When I retired I wanted to maintain some interests in the property industry. I enjoy working with the team at Havebury and I believe that my experience in development, financing, and property management helps me contribute to Havebury’s Board. I would add that I was born into a council house in mid Wales, and I think it is important to maintain a strong and healthy social and affordable housing sector.
I am married with 3 grown up children who are all great! My interests include golf, travel, and DIY – particularly carpentry.
I have been a Havebury Board member since 2010. I’m also currently a St Edmundsbury Borough Councillor for Minden Ward in Bury St Edmunds, I hold the post of Portfolio Holder for Families and Communities, I was elected in 2003.
The reason I became a board member back in 2010 was because my Borough Ward (Minden) has two Havebury estates within, Priors Estate and Westley Estate. It was the obvious step to take, as I would get closer to the residents and understand better what the issues were.
Being given the opportunity to represent the residents of both Priors and Westley Estates, I found myself in a position to help the Priors residents set up a residents association after the closure of their local pub. This association has been a great success, going from strength to strength.
I have lived in Suffolk for the past 39 years, 23 in the lovely village of Wickhambrook and the last 16 years in the town of Bury St Edmunds, I’m a keen cyclist, and squash player.
I’m very much a people person, which is why my career was in sales. I have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. I learnt very early in life, you only get out of it what you put into it, and so I have always enjoyed involving myself in the communities in which I have lived, Community Associations, Round Table, and Councils, Parish, Town and Borough. Being involved in civic life gives you the opportunity to protect and develop the area in which you live, that’s also one of the reasons I got involved at Havebury.
I joined the Havebury Board in September 2013, and was re-appointed for a further three years a the AGM in October 2016. As well as my position in the Strategic Board, I am also Vice-Chair of the Operations Committee at Havebury.
I am now a non-practicing solicitor having retired from full-time work in 2011, but now occupying the detailed non-executive positions. My previous roles have included being a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee at Julian Support Limited, and being a Governing Body Member, Chair of the Patient Experience Safety and Quality Committee Engagement Panel and a Member of the Audit and Risk Committee and the Remuneration Committee at the Governing Body North Norfolk (and Broadland) Clinical Commissioning Group.
Having been involved in the sector as a lawyer for a number of years and as a former board member and chair of a Leeds inner city HA it seemed sensible to use my skills at Havebury. I have a strong sense of social purpose and believe that I should contribute if I can.
I have two children who are both grown up; one is a lawyer and the other is a psychologist. I'm a Sailing Instructor (RYA qualified) and volunteer at Nancy Oldfied Trust teaching disadvantaged/disabled children adults to sail. I'm an enthusiastic racer of boats on the Norfolk Broads and an interest in all things that float and have a sail.
I have been a member of Havebury's Board for six years. I currently work for a for a regional charity called Ormiston Families. Ormiston is the biggest children’s charity in the East of England with services in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Beds and Herts. I currently manage three’ Unite’ services, two of which are in prisons supporting offenders to maintain family ties and the third in the community supporting children who have a parent in prison. The Unite Programme works with prisoners and their families to minimise the impact of imprisonment on their children. Our services support family relationships to continue developing throughout the sentence, which plays a critical role in helping to reduce reoffending rates.
I’m very compassionate about supporting others and saw this as a great way to get involved and help my fellow tenants. Havebury supports tenants in lots of ways and is an organisation which is very active in all our communities.
I have two children, one of which lives with me. I currently live in Bury St Edmunds and spend most of my spare time with my dogs.
I am currently a Senior Advisor within the Bank of England. Prior to the BoE, I spent almost thirty years in the financial service industry based in London and New York. I have extensive experience in senior leadership positions across a wide variety of capital markets. Sectors of meaningful experience include leveraged buyouts, commercial property, distressed debt and emerging markets.
In addition to my role with Havebury Housing Partnership, I'm a member of the Advisory Board of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership's Investment Leadership Group and Impossible Objects, a 3D printing start-up company. I hold masters degrees from Harvard University, The London School of Economics and New York University as well as an undergraduate degree from the George Washington University.
I am passionate about the need for good affordable housing, education and health care for all in the United Kingdom. When I became aware of the opening on the Board at Havebury Partnership, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to apply my professional background in real estate with my personal desire to strengthen affordable housing in the communities in and around Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill.
Helen Thomas joined the Strategic Board in March 2015 and was also appointed to the Audit & Risk Committee. Chartered Accountant qualified since 1991 with a decade of boardroom experience in a rapidly expanding property and financial services SME. Awarded Institute of Directors Chartered Director accreditation in 2004 regarded as the gold standard qualification of corporate governance and strategic direction. Fifteen years’ experience of risk management in banking, financial services and property. Helen is also a Trustee at Age UK Suffolk.
I joined the Strategic Board as a co-opted member in May 2018, having worked with the housing association sector since 1990. For 10 years I was a board member of a South Midlands Housing Group, serving as Group Chair for the last five years. My professional career was with a major financial institution where for much of the time I specialised in financing housing associations. I have a keen interest in affordable rural housing issues, sport and the natural environment.