Executive Team | Ben Support for Life

Meet our Executives

The team behind all of our Health & Wellbeing and Care Services is the Ben Executive team. This professional and talented group of people ensure we can deliver excellent services across all areas of Ben. They all come from different backgrounds but the thing they have in common is a passion for the work we do.

Zara Ross - Chief Executive
Zara Ross
Chief Executive

Zara joined Ben as CEO in July 2016 and brings with her over 30 years of experience in the charity sector, having held a number of senior leadership roles at the St Monica Trust, Quarriers and Action for Children. Most recently Zara worked at St Monica Trust for 16 years, an organisation providing accommodation, care and support for older people in the southwest of England. Here she established and headed up the human resource management and care functions; and latterly the transformation and development team supporting the delivery of the charity’s strategic plan.

Zara brings with her considerable organisational experience and skills and she holds a qualification in social work as well as experience of working in the public and the not for profit sector. Her commitment to life-long learning has earned her a qualification in human resource management as well as an MSc and a PhD. In addition, Zara established two award-winning training teams during her career.

As part of her role at Ben, Zara will be ensuring that the organisation continues to best serve and support the people working in and associated with the automotive industry and allied trades. She is also keen to make sure that the voice of those who need support continues to be at the centre of Ben’s outcomes.

Outside of work, Zara enjoys spending time with her family and friends and loves music, including singing, playing the piano and she has also turned her hand to composing.

Jonathan Cox - Finance Director
Jonathan Cox
Finance Director

Jonathan joined Ben as Finance Director in June 2019.  A chartered accountant, qualifying with Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouse Coopers), he brings over 20 years of senior management experience. Post qualification Jonathan held senior corporate finance roles within the European energy sector. 

More recently he has worked in the charity sector for national and international organisations, including leading a global change team, driven by a desire to apply the best commercial perspectives and practices to organisations which make a real impact to peoples’ lives.

Jonathan believes that the finance function has a critical part to play in helping deliver better outcomes for beneficiaries by helping others to look beyond the numbers.

At weekends Jonathan likes to keep active, cycling with his local club, often on a tandem with his wife, and walking with friends.

Gary Burgham - HR Director
Gary Burgham
HR Director

Gary joined Ben as HR Director in November 2015. He has been a senior HR professional for over 20 years and that experience has primarily been gained in the retail sector, although he has also driven the HR agenda within the manufacturing, printing and aviation industries.

Gary has significant experience in setting up and developing HR functions as well as guiding the people agenda in organisations that are going through significant change. Gary was attracted to the role at Ben due to the value he believes the HR function can add to the long term success of the organisation and the people Ben supports and cares for. He believes that opportunities to make a real difference within an organisation through its people, are truly exciting.

Outside of work Gary loves to travel and has visited some really interesting countries. He also loves to walk his dog on the beautiful and unspoilt Northumbrian beaches where he has a home.

Rachel Clift - Health and Wellbeing Director
Rachel Clift
Health and Wellbeing Director

Rachel joined Ben in September 2018 and brings over 18 years of experience in the health and wellbeing field to the role.

Rachel has a significant track record as a subject matter expert in health, work and wellbeing, leading integrated programmes for large organisations including Director for Health & Wellbeing at PeoplePlus and Ingeus where she was Head of Health & Wellbeing Services.

Rachel, a University of Birmingham graduate, gained automotive industry experience early in her career as the onsite physiotherapist for Peugeot at their Tile Hill plant, and is also a former Olympian (Beijing, 2008) with over 140 international appearances for Great Britain & England women’s hockey teams.

Matt Wigginton - Fundraising Director
Matt Wigginton
Fundraising Director

Matt joined Ben as Head of Partnership Development in June 2015 having held similar roles at the Royal Horticultural Society and Whizz-Kidz, and also brings fifteen years’ experience of strategic partnerships and B2B sales in the travel industry. He took on the role of Fundraising Director in June 2018.

Matt’s experience of brokering and managing significant, value-added partnerships in both commercial and non-profit organisations helps bring a new perspective and focus to Ben’s relationships with the automotive industry. As Ben embarks on a new five-year strategic plan, Matt is using his experience to redefine the way we attract, recognise and retain support from the industry and the people within it.

Away from work, Matt is a Trustee of Home-Start, one of the leading family support charities in the UK. He is a keen follower of Formula 1, a classic car enthusiast and has an interest in adventure having driven motorised go-karts on the streets of Tokyo, navigated backroads of northern Thailand on a motorbike and survived many an Asian rickshaw ride.