Executive Team

Our Board of Trustees

Pete O’Brien

Pam Watts

Robert Rose

Jo Boraston

Graham Briscoe

Photograph of graeme dykes

Graeme Dykes

Photograph of Dominic hilleard

Dominic Hilleard

Photograph of Will Vernon

Will Vernon

Photograph of Sonette Schwartz

Sonette Schwartz

Photograph of Kelly freeman

Kelly Freeman

Photograph of Charlotte Walshe

Charlotte Walshe


Pete O’Brien -

After graduating in Electrical Engineering, Pete worked as a field service engineer in computing and phototypesetting before moving to managerial roles, running large service teams and taking on director responsibility for service operations and UK technical support at Wang UK ltd.

Pete then went on to spent 20 years at Capita UK as MD for a number of software businesses, initially running the Cash Receipting and Income Management applications, extensively used by UK councils. Pete oversaw the amalgamation of four separate applications into one streamlined package adding the ability to take debit and credit card payments, the first of its kind in the UK. The payment management business built up into a multimillion-pound operation over a 15-year period.

Pete then moved to run blue collar businesses for Capita, with staff numbers in excess of five hundred, which required secondary reporting channels into the DVLA and the Home Office.

After leading the sale of a legal software business, Pete retired in 2021 and has since taken up voluntary positions and is an active Samaritan volunteer.



Pam Watts -

Pam qualified as a Radiographer at Guy’s Hospital where she worked for several years before leaving to get married and move with her husband to Kent, where she has lived for the past 40 years. She left behind her career as a Radiographer to join her husband setting up businesses in Kent. In 2007 they built a recycling plant in Sittingbourne which today recycles a third of the UK’s waste electronics and employs 200 people. Over the span of her career Pam has learnt through experience most aspects of how a business works and how to build and manage a great team. She led teams in finance, operations, HR and H&S, while her husband focused on commercial development, engineering and R&D. Her motto is “It’s all about the team”.

Despite being brought up during the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland she considers her success was all down to a secure and loving family and a great grammar school education. At the end of her career now, she would like to help open opportunities for a better life to people less fortunate. She sees CXK as a perfect vehicle to achieve that ambition.


Robert Rose -

Robert brings 40+ years public sector service.  40 years were spent in the NHS with a career which started as a laboratory scientist and concluded with various Director positions. As well as the NHS he has worked for Thanet District Council as Head of Improvement. Robert is FCIPD and FIBMS qualified and has occupied leading roles in transforming NHS services including emergency care.

Robert has been a trustee for Highworth Grammar school, Ashford since 2017 and prior to that was governor and Chair of Governors at Lady Joanna Thornhill, Wye for 12 years.


Jo Boraston -

Jo graduated at the University of Bath, is a qualified Chartered Accountant and trained with KPMG in Kent. Jo has worked in industry for over 25 years, initially with Shepherd Neame Brewery, then Adscene plc and latterly for nearly 20 years as Finance Director of Blaze Signs Limited, a venture capital (VC) backed Thanet based sign manufacture and installation business.  Whilst at Blaze, as well as leading the finance function and being the finance representative on the Main Board, Jo liaised extensively with external parties such as banks, auditors and VC investors.  During time at Blaze managed a secondary buyout including complete refinancing of the business followed by an acquisition of a sign maintenance company, Cygnia Maintenance Limited. Over the last couple of years, Jo has been involved in the marketing and eventual sale of the company last summer, including being main lead on due diligence process. Jo left Blaze at the end of 2020, so now exploring new opportunities.  The plan is to embark on a portfolio career, looking for a combination of Non-Exec and part time consultancy Finance Director roles.

Jo has previously held charity committee and trustee posts. Originally joined L’Arche Kent as Honorary Treasurer on the Local Committee in the early 2000s, the became Trustee and Honorary Treasurer of The Scrine Foundation, a charity assisting street homeless in Canterbury, and later Trustee and Honorary Treasurer of KCA, where worked previously with Anthony Crocker.  Jo also chaired the Finance and Estates Committee at KCA, only resigning when the charity was taken over by Addaction.

Outside work life, Jo is a keen horse rider. Jo loves to explore the countryside on her horse and she also competes at Trec, a sport that is similar to orienteering, but on horseback. Living in the country near Canterbury Jo enjoys the great outdoors, whether walking, cycling or pottering around her garden and fields, Jo also loves travelling.

Male silhouette

Robert Rose -


Graham Briscoe -

Graham is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Information Technology Professional, a Certified Management Consultant, a Fellow of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, the British Computer Society, the Institute of Administrative Management, and a Fellow medallist of the World Productivity Congress.

Following an Industrial Engineering apprenticeship in the Midlands, he began his initial career in Work Study and Organisation & Methods.  He has worked in many management services roles throughout his thirty-five year career with Royal Sun Alliance in Bristol, London, Horsham and Liverpool, along with seconded positions in the USA, Mexico, Zambia and South Africa, encompassing many roles – project and change management, information technology, quality and customer service management, HR and Talent Management, facilities management, continuous improvement, transformational change, due diligence and office relocations associated with company mergers and acquisitions.

Since retirement he has built up a portfolio of University, Further Education, Multi Academy Trusts and Awarding Body governance roles along with NED and Trustee roles with Housing Associations, University Students’ Unions and various Charities.  Graham also covers Change Management and Facilities Management pro-bono support to Charity, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations in South-West England and South-East Wales.

Image of CXK's CEO, Pauline Smith

Pauline Smith - CEO

Pauline became our CEO in February 2017 and brings with her a breadth of knowledge and expertise in developing high quality education, skills, training, personal development and employment opportunities.

Pauline has held many senior leadership roles across the voluntary and public sectors with an established track record in leading organisations to develop and enhance initiatives to support vulnerable children, young people, adults and families.  Her passion for tackling social disadvantage and promoting an ethos of empowerment and support will strengthen CXK’s ability to build on the success and development of their high quality provision of services and programmes.

Pauline lives in Kent and devotes personal time to supporting a number of charities across India.

Photograph of graeme dykes

Graeme Dykes -

Graeme has over 35 years experience in all aspects of the I.T industry. In addition to running a number of commercial companies, Graeme has worked for several central government departments running a number of complex transition programmes, such as international systems & communications networks, biometric collection systems, EDRMS system and a number of recent academic and professional standards schemes within the UK Cyber Security Strategy.

Graeme now provides strategic advice and guidance on data privacy (GDPR) & cyber security, programme management and training services. He is a member of the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP), the Information Assurance Advisory Committee (IAAC) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA). He has advised on schemes such as the Certified Cyber Professional, Cyber Essentials, Cyber Apprenticeships, Academic Centres of Excellence for Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR), and Cyber PhD Research programmes and was instrumental in the setup of the government’s flagship student bursary scheme for the cyber industry CyberFirst.

Photograph of Dominic hilleard

Dominic Hilleard -

Dominic joined CXK’s Board of Trustees in May 2018 and is currently Head of NFP (Not for Profit) , Executive Search & Talent Leadership Consultancy at Rethink Group. He joined the organisation in 2009 and leads particular focus on innovative talent acquisition, people development, leadership and change.

At Rethink, Dominic leads the provision and innovation of end-to-end talent consultancy solutions within the NFP and Executive Search areas. This involves Workforce Auditing, Contract and Permanent Recruitment solutions, EVP and Brand Development, and Flexible Resource Solutions; through to Leadership & Executive Coaching, Team Consultancy / Mentoring, chairing Senior Executive Thought Leadership Meet, and developing the Search and Selection capability.

Dominic says, “For me it is all about working in partnership alongside organisations and people that do something of genuine value.”


Photograph of Will Vernon

Will Vernon -

Will has been working within the London insurance market as a global client executive working with risk managers on a day to day basis. This is to ensure that their insurance programme is fit for purpose and delivers great value. During the past three years he has also been involved in many workplace committees, such as setting up the Young Professionals Network. This is a platform which focuses on developing the skills and networks of our young professionals to not only benefit them personally, but also the business units they work for. In addition, Will is actively involved in the workplace mental health initiative which looks to provide support to individuals who suffer from poor mental health.

Will says: “Becoming a trustee of CXK is a brilliant opportunity for me to create a positive impact in people’s lives. I hope to add some youthful exuberance and energy to an impressive Trustee Board. It is vitally important for me to feel like I am adding value back to people’s lives and the Trustee role at CXK will enable me to do so.”

Photograph of Anthony Crocker

Anthony Crocker - Director of Finance

Anthony joined CXK in August 2016 in his role as Director of Finance. Anthony is a qualified FCCA accountant and is responsible for finance, human resources, ICT and facilities at CXK. Anthony has worked in the charity sector since 2008 holding senior finance roles. Prior to that, Anthony spent 10 years as an auditor for a top 30 firm of Chartered Accountants.

Photograph of Craig Garton

Craig Garton - Director of Operations & Quality

Craig has fifteen years’ experience of working in the third sector and is proud to be involved in the design and delivery of services that help to improve the lives of children, young people and families.  A qualified careers adviser by trade, Craig has been in post as CXK’s Director of Operations and Quality since 2016.  Prior to assuming his current position, Craig worked in a range of operational and senior management roles overseeing regional service contracts, corporate services, quality assurance, training & development and finance.

In addition to his role at CXK, Craig serves as a Board member for Careers England, the trade association for employer organisations and traders involved in the provision of products and services promoting careers education and guidance in England.

Photograph of Sonette Schwartz

Sonette Schwartz -

Sonette Schwartz was educated in South Africa and completed her education at the University of Pretoria. She spent the first ten years of her teaching career working in Africa in a variety of schools.

After immigrating to England in 1993 Sonette initially worked as an English teacher in Kent.

In September 2000 Sonette moved to The Cornwallis School in Maidstone where she remained till 2008. In her time at Cornwallis she was Head of English, Assistant Headteacher and Head of School.

In September 2008 Sonette became the Principal at Brockhill Park Performing Arts College in Hythe; she took the school through 4 successful OFSTED inspections and became Executive Principal in 2021. During her tenure she was a member of the Supervisory Directorate of the KMPF (Kent and Medway Progression Forum) and a founding member of the Ashford Teaching Alliance where she led on Initial Teacher Training. Furthermore, she served on the Senior Operational Group for the Pixl Organisation, an educational organisation interested in raising outcomes for all.

Sonette retired from education in September 2022. She has been a Trustee at CXK for 6 years and took up the Chair position on 1 January 2023.


Photograph of Kelly freeman

Kelly Freeman -

Kelly has been working in strategic communication for over twenty five years. She has held positions as Director of Communications in both Defra and the Serious Organised Crime Agency where she led internal culture building exercises for senior leaders and developed external communications strategy that met stringent targets and won awards. She led the highly successful ‘Hector’ campaign to introduce self-assessment in taxation in the UK and more recently has been working for governments in the Middle East, undertaking various assignments including strategic audits, developing communication strategy, capacity building and coaching and mentoring.

Kelly holds a Masters in Strategic Communication from Leeds University, is a former Master of the City of London Guild of PR Practitioners, and is a former winner of the International Visual Communications Association’ Career in the Industry’ Award.

Photograph of Charlotte Walshe

Charlotte Walshe -

Charlotte has spent her career in the Third Sector, spanning research, fundraising and delivering large-scale projects.

Having grown up in Bromley, and spent six years in Canterbury, Charlotte is now Partnerships & Impact Director at In Kind Direct, a UK charity connecting not-for-profit organisations and companies to help ensure that everyone has what they need to be clean, safe and well.

Being a Trustee for CXK gives her a real opportunity to contribute further to a region she has known her whole life.


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