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Our leadership team

Lindsey Bennister, Chief Exec

Lindsey became MQ’s Chief Executive in May 2018.  She has enjoyed a 15-year career in senior leadership roles in the charity research sector and joins MQ after eight years as Chief Executive of Sarcoma UK. As the charity’s first CEO, she developed Sarcoma UK into a leading national charity investing in ground breaking cancer research and providing vital information and support for those living with the condition.  Through her leadership, Sarcoma UK has invested over £2 million into scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of sarcoma, and built high-profile partnerships to amplify sarcoma awareness, including becoming 10 Downing Street’s Charity of the Year in 2016/2017. 

Lindsey has been a steering group member of a James Lind Alliance/National Cancer Research Institute Priority Setting Partnership focused on living with and beyond cancer. She was also a co-investigator on a UCLH research project to develop the first sarcoma-specific Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM). She was the researcher and author of the largest survey and report of sarcoma patient experience in the UK – The National Sarcoma Survey 2015. Data from the survey has been used extensively by cancer researchers, clinicians and policy makers.  Lindsey is co-author of a number of published papers that cite the data.

Prior to this, Lindsey worked in a senior role at Prostate Cancer UK for seven years, where she was responsible for the charity’s research programme and investment, campaigns and marketing communications.

Lindsey’s professional experience has been supplemented by her attendance on an Executive Education programme at Harvard Business School, where she was awarded a scholarship to study entrepreneurial business practices to drive high-impact social change, alongside leaders of global non-profit organisations.

In her spare time, you will find Lindsey always close to water – at her swimming club or outside in the various lidos and open water spaces around London.

Timothy Drew, Finance Director

Timothy has been Finance Director at MQ since October 2015. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Grant Thornton in Cardiff. After various roles in the UK,  Singapore and Germany with companies such at British Airways and The Body Shop, Tim joined the International HIV/AIDS Alliance as head of Financial Reporting in 2003, leaving five years later to assist with the purchase and refurbishment of a dental practice.

Upon returning to the sector, Tim was appointed FD at the Royal Commonwealth Society, and more latterly St Johns Smith Square and Television for the Environment. Tim was also Chair of the Grace Eyre Foundation, a Sussex based charity working with people with learning disabilities, from 2013 to 2016.

At MQ, Tim is responsible for all aspects of finance, from strategic planning to ensuring that everyone gets paid on time. He is also company secretary.

A proud Brightonian, Tim spends time away from the office enjoying the sea air, the many restaurants that Brighton has to offer and sunny afternoons at Sussex County cricket club. As a Welshman, Tim is also able to help colleagues understand the finer points of rugby!

Neil Balmer, Director of Communications

Neil joined MQ in June 2014. He has over fifteen years experience in healthcare communications, largely in the area of mental health.

He began his career in Parliament, working for the Liberal Democrats in both the Commons and Lords, including as Political Secretary to the Rt Hon Lord McNally, the then leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords. 

Having advised Peers during the passage of the Mental Health Bill, he developed a passion for mental health and in 2007 he joined the Royal College of Psychiatrists, leading their public affairs. At the College, he led campaigns bringing about legislative and policy change. This included the landmark discrimination legislation, the Mental Health (Discrimination) Act.

In 2010, he joined communications agency, Munro and Forster, where he was responsible for developing and implementing communications strategies and campaigns for a range of clients including charities, professional medical bodies, and healthcare organisations.

When not working, Neil is is often spotted running around the parks and streets of deepest South-East London.

Sophie Dix, Director of Research

Sophie gained her PhD in translational cognitive research in at Cardiff university. After a post doctoral position investigating the neural substrates involved in fear and anxiety, Sophie transitioned to industry and spent the next 14 years at Eli Lilly based in Surrey. Her work included efforts to understand the neural circuitry underpinning behavioural endophenotypes associated with Psychiatric and Neurodegenerative disease.

Sophie has had a leadership role in a major EU-funded IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) project on biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease. She also sits on the government scientific advisory committee on the use of animals in scientific research. Sophie holds a BSc in Anatomical science from Bristol university, a MSc in Neuroscience from Oxford university and a PhD in Psychology awarded by Cardiff university.

Sophie lives in Surrey with her three young children, chickens, fish and geriatric cat. In her (limited) free time, Sophie enjoys getting outdoors and running the bridleways of Surrey. Sophie likes nothing more than a new challenge and in the last year has completed her first marathon, three half marathons, and a number of off-road challenge events including Tough Mudder.

Sophie is bringing her extensive leadership experience, energy and passion to make a difference to MQ. 

Paul Stein, Director of Fundraising 

Paul joined MQ in May 2014. He began his career at Macmillan Cancer Support in 2001, progressing to Greater London Area Fundraising Manager, a role in which he managed Community Fundraising across the capital.

In 2007, Paul moved to World Jewish Relief, an international development charity, where he became their first Director of Fundraising, Marketing & Communications. His remit included the supervision of a broad ranging fundraising portfolio, including several high profile special events, major donors, a newly developed community and challenge event programme, as well as the co-ordination of PR, marketing and digital communications. Following the implementation of a new fundraising strategy, WJR’s profile and voluntary income increased steadily and he was recently acknowledged in a list of the UK’s 50 most influential fundraisers.

He is a regular journal contributor and speaker on the fundraising and marketing conference circuit, where he outlines his commitment to best practice and innovation throughout the sector.

In his spare time, Paul enjoys an eclectic mix of hobbies, including military history, cats, exercise and Barnet Football Club. Though recent failures of the aforementioned team has meant he is more likely to be found taking refuge in the MQ office on match days.


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© MQ: Transforming mental health 2016 | Registered charity in England / Wales: 1139916 & Scotland: SC046075 | Company number: 7406055