Dr Rakesh Chopra OBEChair of Trustees
Rakesh is a retired GP from Ashington, Northumberland and is married with two children. His son is autistic and became a day pupil at Thornhill Park School at the age of five and has now progressed through to a placement with adult services at New Warlands Farm.
Rakesh has taken on the role of Chair of Trustees in order to help the Society take forward its excellent work with supporting autistic children, young people and adults as well as supporting their families.
Jillian lives in Durham and studied at New College Durham acquiring a HND in Business and a Hon's Degree in Social Work. At present Jillian is a full time carer for her autistic son. Jillian has three children and her middle son has attended Thornhill Park School, Thornbeck College and has been at New Warlands Farm since 2003 as a day pupil. Jillian joined the Society in 2005 as a Trustee.Jillian believes it is important that the views of parents should be heard. Still to this day she feels privileged to see at first hand how the Society supports children, young people and adults to have a wonderful future and how the Society continues to expand.
Lisa has over 30 years’ experience working in management positions in a wide range of sectors including Travel & Tourism, Recruitment, Welfare to Work and most recently as Director of Business Development at New College Durham.
New College Durham is one of the largest apprenticeship training providers in the country and as Head of Business Development Lisa is responsible for the strategic direction of the apprenticeship and adult education teams, working with some of the regions largest employers in both the public and private sectors on their learning and development strategies.
Away from the busy office Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, visiting the countryside and going to the theatre. With a love for musical theatre Lisa has been an active member of Fatfield Musical Stage Society for 40 years both on and off stage!
Nicola works as a Lean Coach with a national bank but has years of experience in customer service, business change, communications, training and leadership.
Using her skills outside of the workplace, Nicola founded an online community for mothers during covid which now supports over 1000 mothers in sharing stories and connecting. She also enjoys walks along the Sunderland coast.
As a mother to two young children, Nicola is particularly enthusiastic about supporting neurodiverse children, adults and families. Nicola has first hand experience of some of the support gaps experienced by families and is passionate about helping us to bridge those gaps.
Mehrban has worked with the Tyne and Wear Fire Rescue Service for the last 17 years. As a fire safety professional and the chair of the IETUK Northeast, Mehrban has worked to ensure that aid is delivered in every format to the communities around me and in South Asia. This also involved working with businesses to create awareness around the need for fire safety training.
Between 2016 and 2020, Mehrban served as a trustee for the Northeast Dyxlexia Charity. And, in addition to his role as trustee for NEAS, he is currently a trustee for Fire Aid UK.
"My commitment to working with various community stakeholders has been my specialty and achievement," he said.
More recently, Mehrban has also been elected as a Councillor within Newcastle City Council.
David graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in mathematics before training as a Chartered Accountant in the audit department of a national accountancy firm in Bristol.
After qualifying he moved back to his native north east where he worked for a local independent accountancy firm before moving to be the Financial Controller of IAM Sold, a Fast Track 100 property auction house.
Following this he worked at Newcastle United Foundation heading up their finance team as Finance Manager, before moving to Home Group's accounts team. He has extensive experience of working both for and with a wide range of charities and is proud to have the opportunity to use these skills developed to serve as a trustee of NEAS.