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Who we are


Chief Executive: Bob Reitemeier CBE


Bob has over 30 years’ experience in the voluntary sector in England and internationally. Prior to his appointment at I CAN, he was Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation and Chief Executive of The Children’s Society. Internationally, Bob started his career as a secondary school teacher in Zaïre, followed by posts as Country Director for Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) in Chad and Country Director for ActionAid in Bangladesh. He settled with his family in England in 1994.

Bob has served on several national Boards supporting children and young people, including The Youth Justice Board, the Social Work Task Force, the Children’s Workforce Development Council and as Chairman of Children England. He received a CBE for services to children in 2012.


Director of Philanthropy: Ann Paul


Ann joined I CAN after five years as Director of Development at The Royal College of Psychiatrists where she began the fundraising function from scratch.  Ann has been in senior fundraising (variously called development, fundraising and even campaign) for 17 years working in healthcare, disability and education as well as having spent time as Director of a large day centre for the elderly.

Before migrating into the third sector and philanthropy, Ann worked in the corporate sector for nearly 20 years including six years in Singapore and the Philippines.

In addition to her full time roles, Ann has served on a number of trustee boards, most recently that of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity where she has retained a link and become a charity ambassador.


Director of The Communication Trust: Octavia Holland


Octavia Holland is the Director of The Communication Trust, which is hosted by I CAN. The Trust is a consortium of over 50 not for profit organisations working to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication in England, especially those who struggle as they have speech, language and communication needs. The Trust provides a range of resources, information, models and solutions for use in transforming and improving children’s communication, influences policy and legislation and supports the development of an informed and confident children’s workforce.

Before joining The Communication Trust, Octavia worked across central government and the charitable sector in delivery, policy and campaigning roles. Octavia led policy, advice and communications for Gingerbread, the national single parent charity and prior to that spent four years as Chief Executive of Coram’s Fields, a children and young people's charity. Octavia spent the first ten years of her career in central government, in a range of policy and leadership roles for the Department of Children, Schools and Families.


Director of Business Development: Clare Geldard 


Clare qualified as a speech and language therapist in 1987. She is responsible for the charity’s social enterprise operation, delivering I CAN’s effective, practical evidence-based solutions for children aged 0-19 years on a UK-wide basis and the development of new Early Years and Primary programmes and resources. She is also responsible for delivering the Early Language Development Programme, which has reached 12,000 practitioners to date.

Before this she worked for North Staffordshire Health Authority and Chorley and South Ribble NHS Trust until 1999, ending up as Paediatric Manager and Acting Speech and Language Therapy Manager. She specialised in preschool and school aged children.

She has extensive experience as both a practitioner and a manager at delivering services.


Director of Corporate Services: Steve Williams


Steve is an HR and Organisational Development specialist, with significant experience in change programmes and staff development. His most recent positions include Executive Director, Corporate Services at Wandle (Housing Association) from 2014 to 2016;

Executive Director, People, Performance and Organisational Development at The Children’s Society from 2011 to 2014, and Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Action Aid from 2008 to 2011.  He started his career with BT where he spent 18 years, with his last post being Head of Human Resources. 


Director of Education: Deidre Fitzpatrick


Deidre has worked in the education field for over three decades, most recently as the Head Teacher at the Uplands Special School in Swindon.  She is an Ofsted Inspector, a National Lead for Education, and an Advisor at the Department for Education (DfE) for schools in challenging circumstances.  

She sits on the executive committee of the Association for Leaders in Special School Education and previously acted as a DfE Advisor for Free Schools and Multi-Academy Trusts, and National Strategies English Consultant and Senior Mainstream and Special Education Needs Advisor for the Swindon Borough Council.  


Director of Regional Development: Kate Freeman


Kate is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist who has worked at I CAN as well as for the NHS and in her own independent practice.  She led I CAN’s implementation of the DfE funded Early Language Development Programme and the Coventry and Warwickshire Out of School Childcare Initiative and has authored I CAN Talk Series papers.  

Kate will lead I CAN’s Place Strategy, which will include work in Knowsley, Oldham, Derby City, Barking and Dagenham, and West Somerset, and was launched in April 2017 as part of I CAN’s new Three Year Plan.