Our Trustees

Headliners is governed by a committed Board of Trustees who come from different walks of life including former participants in the Headliners programme. 

Jon Hudson – Chair of Trustees

Jon is the Chair of Headliners (UK). Jon was a member of Children’s Express, the precursor of Headliners, between 1998 and 2005. As a member, he published a number of media features and was also involved with Children’s Express’ partnership with Sky News, interviewing a number of politicians and championing the voice of young people.

Now, Jon specialises in stakeholder engagement and communications and currently works for the UK Government. Previously, Jon has worked as a consultant, in a number of communications roles at the Prince of Wales’ responsible business charity Business in the Community, and as Political Advisor for the Labour Party.

Jon is a Spanish speaker and has spent time living and working in Latin America, Spain and Scandinavia. Jon has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics in Global History and a first-class degree in International Business and Globalisation from De Montfort University.

Throughout his college and university years, volunteered with a number of NGOs to advocate for youth participation, the organisations included UNICEF UK and Save the Children. With Save the Children, he worked with other young people to produce ‘On the Right Track’ which surveyed young people on what mattered to them to inform policy makers. In 2001, he also interviewed UK Chancellor at the time Gordon Brown, as part of their ‘take children seriously’ challenge.

With UNICEF UK, Jon was one of their first UK Youth Representatives and advocated for the involvement of young people to decision makers. One of the highlights involved facilitating the ‘C8’ summit, a youth summit to coincide with the UK’s hosting of the G8 summit in 2005 in Scotland.

Dr David Baines – Trustee

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Dr David Baines is currently a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Newcastle University. He researches and lectures in journalism and prior to that he spent 30 years working in local and regional daily newspapers. While he was working in journalism, he was also very much involved with journalism education and training. David chaired the North East Advisory Committee of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, the industry training body; he was involved with community journalism courses from the Open College Network; delivered career development courses to working journalists and for 10 years was an associate lecturer on undergraduate and postgraduate journalism programmes at Sunderland University.  For the past four years David has chaired the National Union of Journalists’ Professional Training Committee.    

When he joined Newcastle University, David helped to launch the first postgraduate degrees in journalism – and shortly afterwards he was delighted to be invited to join the Steering Committee for Headliners in Newcastle. That was the start of a long and enduring relationship with this charity which does such wonderful work with young people by helping them to use the skill sets and tool kits of journalists to benefit their lives and their communities.  

Newcastle University’s journalism programmes – now at undergraduate as well as postgraduate level – are now very highly regarded and draw many hundreds of students from around Britain, and around the world. David’s research is in local and community journalism. In particular, he explores the ways in which journalism is developing different roles in – and ways of serving and strengthening – our communities. Especially those communities which are often disadvantaged, marginalised and ignored.  

Maggie Taggart – Trustee

Maggie Taggart is a well-known broadcast journalist, mostly based in BBC Northern Ireland.  She has been a journalist for over forty years, having started in the first commercial radio station, Downtown. 

She has covered a wide range of stories and presented many radio and television news and current affairs programmes.   She has also worked on Sky News and BBC network programmes such as Woman’s Hour and Business Breakfast.  Maggie has been associated with Children’s Express which later became Headliners (UK) for about twenty years.  She is currently a Trustee and represents the Belfast and Derry/Londonderry bureaux. She regularly attends Trustee meetings in London, either in person or online.  She is a keen supporter of the beneficial effects of the training and experience offered to young people with Headliners.

She has been a media trainer for businesses and has taught broadcast journalism in the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.  Maggie currently shares her journalist experience with colleagues in BBC NI. She was the Arts and Education correspondent for almost twenty years. 

Past Board experience includes with a juvenile justice detention centre and the Nexus Centre for Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

Maggie recently stepped down from BBC Northern Ireland after a well-respected career providing news journalism to the people of Northern Ireland.

Gana Alampalle – Trustee

Gana Alampalle is a Management Consultant at IBM. He leads and manages strategic projects at the C-level across start-ups through to large multi-national firms, specialising in digital transformation, process modelling and operational improvement. His career has seen him work internationally across three continents advising cross-industry clients in central Government through to oil & gas, and financial services.

Prior to joining the Headliners board, Gana spent nearly a decade volunteering as a Training Officer in the RAF Air Training Corps. Here, he took an active role in a youth development capacity teaching extra-curricular activity such as the BTEC and Duke of Edinburgh awards to young people aged between 13-18 years old. Gana also brings direct fundraising experience through public sector, having successfully raised funds for his Air Training Corps unit through central Government initiatives such as the ‘Big Society Grant’.

Gana has an MBA from the University of Exeter, specialising in Innovation Management and the Circular Economy, and an Economics degree from De Montfort University.

Alex Brookes – Trustee

Alex Brookes has over 20 years of partnership and programming experience working in the voluntary, charity and public sectors for a range of local, national and international organisations including the UN, the British Council and (what-was) the UK Government Department for Children, Schools and Families. Her current post is as Director of Development for World Jewish Relief – the British Jewish community’s international humanitarian agency.

Alex has a BA(Hons) in Politics and Modern History and a MA in Human Rights, with a specialisation on children’s rights and is thrilled to have joined Headliners (UK).

Darell Philip – Trustee

Darell was a member of Children’s Express (the precursor of Headliners), between 1998 and 2001. As a member, he was involved in a number of different stories and projects including The Black Experience – where young people shared their encounters with racism on the streets of London relating to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (published in The Guardian, 25th February 1999) as well as involvement in a collection of difficult interviews on teenage sexuality which were broadcast as part of a major series on Channel 4. Darell was also lead editor on a report which looked at Access to the Arts for Young People with Disabilities which was presented at Children, Participation and the Arts – a joint one day conference which took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre sponsored by the Scottish Arts Council and Children in Scotland on 17 June 1999.

Upon graduation from the University of East London, with a BA in English Literature and Media Studies, Darell returned to Children’s Express, where he worked as an Outreach Journalist between 2003 and 2005, involving children and young people at risk of social exclusion in various journalism projects which often had as their theme issues of importance to those involved. Some of the main highlights during that time included assisting young people in getting stories published in New Nation – an exclusive interview with highly popular children’s author Benjamin Zephaniah being one of them (13th December 2004) and the production of Loud N’ Clear magazine which included the work of children and young people from various youth centres across the London borough of Islington.

For the past 13 years Darell has worked as a Teaching Assistant in East London where he supports teachers in the preparation and delivery of the national curriculum to all children including those with special educational needs. Outside of work, his passion for journalism continues in a freelance capacity for various publications including regular contributions to The Voice – Britain’s only national Black African-Caribbean newspaper. His passion for young voices being heard through Journalism has often been a current theme which runs throughout his work.

Eva Keogan – Trustee

Eva Keogan is an entrepreneur with a lengthy media career spanning public relations, journalism, marketing, advertising and social media. She is particularly interested in areas that mix technology, community outreach and creativity. In 2008 she left a long PR career to pioneer social media marketing and did so through blogging, a series of remits shaping departments, teams and offerings with organisations such as Cisco, lastminute.com, hmv and Abel & Cole. She has developed Home of Social as a business which empowers individuals, communities and organisations to confidently use digital and social media to engage with niche communities, training hundreds of individuals in one to one and group settings. Over the last five years she has launched a community festival in London and pop up events for retailers. She has helped the Creative People and Places programme use social media as a new engagement platform for communities.  She is keen to use her skills to help Headliners UK with its social media and digital strategy and very enthusiastic about her role as trustee.

She is a passionate believer in lifelong learning, currently studying for an MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths and a creative writer and artist in her spare time.

Niall Parfitt – Trustee

Niall Parfitt is a marketing professional with over 20 years of experience of working with large organisations to SMEs. Niall runs his own inbound marketing agency, Atlanticus Digital and is experienced in all areas of digital marketing including marketing strategies, Social Media, Web and email marketing. Niall also facilitates workshops and webinars across all of Ireland training on all aspects of digital marketing.

Atlanticus Digital is one of the top HubSpot Agency partners in Ireland working with companies all over Europe. Recently added as a consultant on the Enterprise Ireland and Inter-Trade Ireland COVID support programmes.

Previous to running his own business Niall has previous experience in digital, marketing and communications with various companies such as Queen’s University, UTV, Acheson and Glover and Ulster Bank

In 2020 Niall was on the board of the South Eastern Regional College (SERC) as part of the Boardroom Apprentice programme.  He is also currently on the Communications Sub-Committee of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust a children’s charity based in Northern Ireland. Niall has also volunteered for the Northern Ireland Children’s Enterprise, a charity that helped build relationships between catholic and protestant children in Northern Ireland and Young Enterprise Northern Ireland – inspiring over 90000+ students each year to ensure they leave education prepared for life & work.

Niall has an MSc in Organisation and Management from Queen’s University, Belfast. He also holds a BA Business and Management and was awarded the Belfast Telegraph prize for Marketing.  He also holds a professional diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is very focused on continuous professional development and is always trying to obtain more certifications from HubSpot, Google, LinkedIn and Hootsuite!

On a personal level, Niall is deeply passionate about giving back and has fundraised for a number of charities such as Children’s Heartbeat Trust, Down’s Syndrome Association and Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland. In the last 3 years, he has completed 6 marathons including Dublin, Belfast and Derry.  

Niall is also a fanatic football fan, enjoys reading, loves electronic music and cooking. During the first lockdown (May 2020) he starred in a BBC cookery programme with his family! 

David Izamoje – Trustee

David is a social and business researcher, examining areas including social attitudes, elections, and consumer behaviour, in the UK and internationally. He is the Methodology and Statistical Analyst at Survation, the market research and opinion polling company. David worked at the national race equality charity, Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG), researching ethnic disparities in employment and education. He was a research volunteer for youth education charity Futureversity. David studied Politics (BA Hons) at Queen Mary, University of London, and Sociology (MSc) at the University of Oxford.

A Headliners alumnus, David joined the (then, Children’s Express) London Bureau in 2001. He produced numerous stories, was a youth peer mentor, and returned as a research volunteer for various projects 2014–2017.

Eshe Nelson – Trustee

Eshe Nelson is a financial journalist, a possibly unexpected outcome for a career that began in fashion journalism. She is a business and economics reporter for The New York Times in London and has previously been a reporter for Quartz and Bloomberg News. Eshe is a graduate of City University London and completed the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University in New York.

Eshe used to be a member of Headliners and worked on projects out of the London bureau. Several stories were produced as part of her role as a youth ambassador for Unicef UK, where she helped develop strategies to teach and engage other young people in human rights issues. More recently, Eshe has volunteered as a tutor for The Access Project and volunteered at The Baytree Centre in Lambeth. She’s delighted to return to Headliners as a trustee.