YouthNet’s Senior Management Team (SMT) are the leaders of YouthNet. Through constant growth and achievement, they are responsible for delivering the strategic plan of the organisation.
Although they are a relatively small team, they have a big job to do ensuring that the mission and aims of YouthNet are in full focus. Below is a background of their journey and what their individual roles are now.
Emma Thomas, Chief Executive
Emma joined us in February 2010, as Communications and Marketing Director, responsible for building YouthNet’s reputation and ensuring young people know about our great services. She was appointed as Chief Executive on 1 April 2011.
Her career began in the jungle of Nepal, tracking tigers on elephant-back and convincing wealthy guests that the jungle was ‘perfectly safe’; despite prowling tigers at night, cobras inside their tents and the odd charging rhinoceros! Moving to a more conventional career in corporate and marketing strategy, she worked for the WH Smith Group, helping amongst other things, to overcome Board sceptics who didn’t believe online shopping would ever take off! Then at a consultancy, developing brands and new products for the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, Nestle, Barclays and Bulmers.
She has since led the marketing and communications for major brands, including freelance stints with Shelter and Tate Britain, as well as the last 8 years at the BBC. Highlights there include: being paid to go to Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury, working with various comedians to promote Radio 4 comedy, launching new digital radio stations and leading award winning on and off air campaigns. Most recently, she was Head of Marketing in the Future Media & Technology team, responsible for an eclectic mix of bbc.co.uk, BBC mobile, BBC Learning and adoption of digital marketing across the organisation.
Her passion for far-away places remains, with several career breaks to travel and volunteer in Latin America, Asia and most recently East Africa. She also loves London, making the most of the diversity it offers, from cultural to comedy and keeping up her Spanish and salsa.
Jade Stapleton, Director of Central Services
Jade started at YouthNet in 2003 as one of two staff in the Central Services Team. During her time here Jade’s role has grown and changed with the organisation. Six years later she leads a department of four as the Director of Central Services, ensuring the smooth running, effectiveness and excellent administration of the organisation.
Before starting at YouthNet, Jade spent a year temping in the charity and not for profit sector after her arrival in London from Melbourne, where she worked in book and music retail after spending 5 years deciding what she wanted to be when she grew up (otherwise known as an Arts degree). Jade is qualified as an NLP Practitioner and uses this technique to inform her approach to her work.
Jade is involved in her out of work hours in a charity that teaches young people about sustainability and energy use and runs a pedal powered sound system. A perpetual part time student, she is also a qualified Holistic Massage Therapist. She lives with her partner and two cats called Obi and Leia in East London.
Heather Thomas, Development and Marketing Director
Heather joined following several years working with arts organisations and most recently as a consultant at Wonderbird where she worked primarily with Matthew Bourne and The London Film School.
Chris Martin, Operations Director
Chris started as Youthnet’s Operations Director in May 2012. Chris’s team deliver information, support and community tools for young people. They do this by making the most of new technology, maximising partnership opportunities and engaging with young people to find out what they need and what format they want it in.
Chris started life a journalist before falling in love with digital. He went on to work in content production and project management roles for MSN, the BBC, The Book Pl@ce and various digital agencies.
Recently Chris has focused on the Third Sector including stints at Help the Aged (now Age UK) and Christian Aid. He joined Youthnet from Turn2us, a charity that helps people in financial need to access welfare benefits and charitable grants.