CIAO Board

Liz Cross

Chair of the Board

Our Chair, Liz Cross, is a leading social entrepreneur who has delivered high-impact and sustainable change for start-ups, scale-ups and multi million pound businesses in executive, non-executive and consultancy roles. Her governing, coaching and facilitation skills help organisations challenge inequality and enable people to fulfil their potential. She is founder and MD of The Connectives.

Ben Amponsah

Trustee and Vice Chair

Ben Amponsah has coached for CIAO since 2013 and is also a counsellor, ex-army officer and published leadership and diversity writer. Ben is a member of the British Psychological Society’s Black and Asian Counselling Psychologists Group. He has worked for several charities as practitioner and Trustee, including being Chair of the LGBT Foundation.

Chris Fox


Chris Fox is Professor of Evaluation and Policy Analysis at Manchester Metropolitan University and Director of the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit. He’s a member of the Probation and Youth Justice Expert Advisory Group of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation with a long-term interest in the role of evidence in criminal justice policy and practice.

Annette Hennessy


Annette Hennessy is a coach who was CEO of two Probation Trusts and a Community Rehabilitation Company. She is currently Chair of Cumbria Victims Charitable Trust, on the Board of Blackburne House (a women’s further education establishment in Liverpool) and is working with Amara Collaboration (a social enterprise based in Finland) on transformational leadership.

Helen McFarlane


Helen McFarlane was an Assistant Chief Probation Officer before establishing Trafford Council’s Youth Offending Team and retiring as Director, Safe Strong Communities. She has wide ranging governance, executive and consulting experience supporting public, voluntary, charity and social enterprises in fields including recovery from substance misuse, the Samaritans and health.

Jason Ridley


Jason Ridley is a Chartered Accountant with a diverse executive background within the Accounting profession, Pharmaceutical, Food Distribution and Social Housing sectors in Australasia, North America, and Europe. Jason also has extensive non-exec experience within the Social Housing sector and over recent years has been developing his coaching skills through board level mentoring for the Housing Diversity Network and executive level coaching.