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Senior management team

Meet our Senior management team

Dawn Austwick - Chief Executive

Dawn was formerly the Chief Executive of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, a grant-making trust that aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK.

More about Dawn Austwick

"I am thrilled to be joining the Big Lottery Fund as its new Chief Executive. The opportunity to lead such a significant funder was one that I couldn’t resist. I have been hugely impressed by the diversity of funding that the Big Lottery Fund offers, working with others nationally and locally. I am relishing the challenge of building on the contribution the Fund has already made to bring lasting benefits to people and communities throughout the UK. "

Prior to her time at Esmée Fairbairn, Dawn was Deputy Director of the British Museum, Project Director of Tate Modern, a Principal Consultant at KPMG, Theatre Manager of the Half Moon Theatre, and Projects Co-ordinator at Arts & Business.

Dawn has an MBA from the London Business School and an honorary doctorate from London Metropolitan University.  She is a Trustee of Historic Royal Palaces, and was a Director of Big Society Capital during its start-up phase until September 2013. Dawn is a Companion of the Chartered Institute of Management.

Mark Cooke - Director, Finance and Corporate Services

A chartered accountant, Mark was previously Finance and Commercial Director at the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), CBI Trade Association of the Year for 2003.

More about Mark Cooke

"BIG really makes a difference to people's lives - I want to see it do that even more efficiently and effectively so that every penny is well spent "

Mark has a wide range of experience across the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. Before BPIF he was Deputy Finance Director of Consumers' Association and its publishing company Which? Ltd.

Earlier in his career he was Finance Director of New Islington and Hackney Housing Association and Financial Controller of a large public sector consultancy firm. Mark has also held office as a London borough councillor.

Dharmendra Kanani - England Director

Dharmendra is BIG's England Director.

More about Dharmendra Kanani

"Putting people and communities in charge. Building the confidence, resilience and sustainability of those at the sharp end of need. Providing the glue of civic life through small grants. Enabling hope and opportunity to organisations that want to make a difference. Shining a torch on where change needs to happen and how - all of this gives meaning to working at BIG."

Before joining BIG Dharmendra was head of the Commission for Racial Equality Scotland and later the director of Countries, Regions and Communities GB-wide restructuring its regional structure; introduced Country Committees; developed the Commission's approach and policy to faith; youth, gypsy traveller, asylum and immigration issues; concieved and delivered Getting Results - outcome funding for racial equality bodies and established the Safe Communnities initiative. Until 1999 he was a director of racial equality bodies in Scotland and London.

He has chaired a number of voluntary community organisations in Scotland and London, and set up various community organisations dealing with employment training, youth mentoring, community advocacy and social housing.

Dharmendra has been an adviser to several statutory and voluntary organisations, the Scottish Executive and Whitehall ministerial groups. He is the Chair of the Scotland Funders’ Forum, and a board member of several arts bodies in Scotland.

John Rose - Wales Director

John has worked for BIG and formerly New Opportunities Fund since August 2003.

More about John Rose

"The projects we fund really touch the lives of the people and communities they support. I’m looking forward to helping that continue to happen, and ensuring that the lottery pound is well spent"

Having started as NOFs Head of Operations in Wales, he became Head of Programmes during the merger and later became Deputy Director, before starting his new role as Acting Director, and then Director, for Wales in September 2010.

Prior to this John enjoyed a varied work history including working as a chef and even door to door sales. After a period of overseas travel he entered Higher Education as a mature student where he studied in Environmental Systems and Applied Hydrobiology. Since graduating and prior to working for BIG John worked in the voluntary sector for 4 years before a 5 year stint with ENTRUST, the regulatory body working on the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, where he was responsible for Wales, the West Midlands and South West England. In his spare time John enjoys gardening, cycling and providing a taxi service for his children.

Jackie Killeen - Scotland Director

Jackie has worked for the Big Lottery Fund and formerly the New Opportunities Fund since 2000.

More about Jackie Killeen

"The work funded by BIG can have great impact on the lives of people, families and communities most in need. Our challenge is to identify, support and learn from those projects making the greatest difference"

As Head of Policy & Public Affairs for BIG in Scotland her remit included leading consultation, developing new programmes, learning and evaluation and wider engagement with funders, government and other stakeholders.

She was Head of Policy and External Relations for the New Opportunities Fund, developing a wide range of programmes and managing the Fund’s communications team. Prior to that, Jackie worked in regeneration and in the arts. Her academic background is in literature and culture, and she is a board member of two Scottish charities.

Joanne McDowell - Northern Ireland Director

Joanne was appointed as Big Lottery Fund, Director for Northern Ireland in September 2010.

More about Joanne McDowell

"Working for BIG not only offers me the chance to meet a wide range of stakeholders, but also to listen to the volunteers and the beneficiaries involved in the projects we fund. This gives me a real and valuable opportunity to understand the difference that lottery funding makes to communities in Northern Ireland and across the UK."

She has worked for BIG and one of the legacy bodies for the past 11 years. Prior to her new appointment she was responsible for policy, development and public affairs work in Northern Ireland.

Before joining Big Lottery Fund, Joanne lectured in European Studies and rural development and she worked as a consultant for a major private sector body in Northern Ireland.

Joanne has a Doctorate from the University of Ulster, in planning policy and legislative change in Spain.

Rob Atkins - Deputy Director, Strategy and Performance

Rob joined Big Lottery Fund in May 2009, following a career in local government.

More about Rob Atkins

"We have huge personal commitments to make a difference by helping communities and those most in need. I help ensure BIG stays on track to achieve its mission by managing some of the key management processes, including monitoring the delivery of BIG’s corporate priorities, and also striving to provide excellent service for our customers."

Immediately before joining BIG, Rob was Deputy Chief Executive at a district council in north Essex with responsibilities for implementing a major IT business transformation project and leading a strategic review of council housing, culminating in the transfer of the Council’s 8,000+ homes to a new community-based housing association. Until he left the council, Rob was seconded as Interim Chief Executive of the housing association.

Rob is married with two daughters. He has been an adviser to several local government bodies, a board member of the Strategic Planning Society and an associate of Henley Management College. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.