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.


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.


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. 


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.


Mary Hartshorne is I CAN’s Director of impact. She leads on our impact measurement and management, and has responsibility for ensuring I CAN runs high quality programmes of work. She is a specialist speech and language therapist with many years experience of working in education - both as a practitioner and manager. She has authored many of I CAN’s discussion papers, notably The Cost to the nation of Children’s Poor Communication.

Mary’s focus has been developing the classroom as an environment for language development, and looking at the ways that teachers, therapists and other professionals can work together in schools and settings. Specific areas of interest are working with secondary aged students with SLCN, and developing effective ways of measuring functional outcomes and impacts in language and communication.