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Our leadership team


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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