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 RossChief 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 CoxFinance 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 BurghamHR 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.
Health and Wellbeing Director
Rachel CliftHealth and Wellbeing Director
Rachel joined automotive industry charity, Ben, in September 2018 and has over 22 years of experience and expertise working within health and wellbeing. As Health & Wellbeing Director, she oversees the charity’s Health & Wellbeing services which provide life-changing support to those who work, or have worked, in the automotive industry and their family dependents. Whilst working for Ben, Rachel has led a programme of transformation over the past 5 years, during which time the charity has also experienced substantial growth in service demand and charitable impact.
Rachel has a significant track record as a subject matter expert in health, work, and wellbeing. She previously led integrated employability and workplace health and wellbeing programmes for two large welfare-to-work provider organisations, in her roles as Head of Health & Wellbeing Services at Ingeus and Health Director for PeoplePlus.
A University of Birmingham Physiotherapy graduate, starting her career working within the NHS, Rachel went on to gain automotive industry experience as the onsite Physiotherapist for Peugeot at their Tile Hill plant in Coventry. Rachel has also had a successful sporting career as a former Olympian (Beijing, 2008) with over 140 international appearances for Great Britain & England women’s hockey teams.
Director of Partnerships, Engagement & Income
Matt WiggintonDirector of Partnerships, Engagement & Income
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.