Anita secures and runs seven figure statutory contracts across DFID, Department for Education, and Department of Health and helps major funders review their approaches to grant making.
With thirty years in charity and education Anita draws on a wealth of success and failures, networks and nuance to find new approaches to age old problems. A Fellow of CIPD she has a long career in organisational development and as a Fellow of RSA she encapsulates their mantra of “think like a system; act like an entrepreneur”.
Anita recognised that no matter what role her attention was drawn to the needs of the same half a million young people, the country’s most vulnerable. Those who consistently access public capital the least and who would benefit from it the most. Addressing this inequality has become Anita's career commitment.
Anita lived the gig economy before it was a thing. Was a social entrepreneur before it became fashionable. Was a flexible worker ahead of it becoming a legal right.
Anita can found on Twitter @anitakntweets being provocative, pushy and (she thinks) funny in equal measure. Her blogs - calling out inequality and offering practical solutions - have become popular reading:
A qualified teacher and youth worker Anita’s work is rooted in her experiences working with some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country (well, it started because she grew up in one of those communities).
From youth and community work Anita moved into 10 years as Head of Education at the British Red Cross. She redefined their work on first aid. Moving it from a complex skill for a few to accessible life skills for all. Anita broadened access to new groups, introduced digital training and increased community access including, targeting Bangledeshi Communities with high risk of heart disease and making the case that disabled people could do first aid. These are now a part or the organisation’s core offer. As part of her wider education work, and in partnerships with DFID, DfE and international organisations including the UN and EU, Anita introduced programmes supporting young refugees, increasing youth volunteering and moving on humanitarian action - sowing the seeds for the charity's current work.
Anita moved to I CAN where she founded The Communication Trust - over 50 children’s charities working to improve children’s speech langage and communication sills. Securing and running over £12 million of funding including running the 2010 National Year of Communication and setting the basis for early identification of speech and language difficulties.
Recognising the slow motion car crash that was the SEND Reforms Anita founded Whole School SEND – a unique coalition of schools and SEND bodies which, with the involvement of parents, became the lead voice in skilling school staff and is now in its 6th year of the funding that Anita secured to underpin the programme. It is one of the few funded programmes from the SEND reforms considered by parents and schools to have had an impact. The work was based on Anita’s belief that communities of practice often have their own answers. Since then her work in education has continued to focus on empowering teachers and parents to both work together and to take forward their best ideas. From this initiatives such as the AND Advocates, Cultural Inclusion and NASS Leaders have been born.
As a consultant Anita has supported many charities at various points of their life cycle from encouraging starts ups, supporting scale ups and managing closures. She has experienced both success and failure and talks on both with equal honesty and passion.
Her experiences have led her to establish Every Child Should, along with husband Matt Overd, recognising the consistent issue in every one of her roles - the same 500,000 children and young people get the worst access to public capital. Every Child Should campaigns and provides materials, resources and support to teachers and charities wanting to change this position. Quoted in the DfE Character Guidance and underpinning the DfE activity passport.
In her current role as Director of Engagement at YHA, Anita has led on the development of the organisation’s 10 Year Strategy which has inclusion and access at its core and founded the Generation Green programme, which aims to connect young people to nature, create and save jobs, and build an aspirant workforce for a green recovery.
A sought after speaker
Anita is a motivating and thought provoking, moving and funny in equal measure. Her presentations draw on her vast insight into access, inclusion and the challenges of leadership.
Anita speaks with honesty on her personal experiences of mental health, failing in business, succeeding in charity and being a parent.
"Anita was a positive, thought-provoking and passionate compere for the Creative Schools Symposium, reminding us throughout about what was important in education and the stark context we are working in. She really rallied the audience around the issues, and did a beautiful job of weaving together all the themes and ideas from the day, always with passion and authenticity. Thank you!"
- Stratford Arts Trust, November 2019
A compelling writer
Anita writes regularly for her own campaigns, guest blogs for other organisations and sector press including Schools Week, TES, Third Sector. Providing thought provoking insights and sharing practical solutions Anita's writing shapes debates and is regularly quoted across the public and charity sectors.
New book! Anita's next book will be out mid 2022
An inspiring mentor
Anita believes in paying it forward. She mentors and supports aspiring leaders and campaigners and inputs into CPD and under-graduate programme. Anita blends support - to enable mentees develop their own careers and ideas - with expert domain knowledge and access to her wide professional network, which can be invaluable to an emerging leader or aspiring social entrepreneur.