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We are exceptionally proud of our incredible team and the positive impacts they make…


We take immense pride in our exceptional team, and the remarkable difference they create…


CEO and Founder

Michaela is an award-winning CEO and is responsible for the overall development of the Charity. This includes operations, expansion, and strategic implementation, which has led to a significant number of vulnerable Children and Young People across Hertfordshire receiving support. HSO has set the standard for Charitable innovative thinking enabling those without access to key services a lifeline. 

Michaela founded HSO in 2019, where she serves as CEO and has led the Charity through a period of global pandemics and economic unrest. Prior to HSO, Michaela served with Herts County Council and earlier in her life, experienced first-hand homelessness, and the detrimental effects of poor mental health. 

Michaela holds a Master of Science MSc degree in Psychology. 

Lysa HarDy


Lysa is an inspirational and high impact NED & executive board director who creates market positions and delivers commercial results, nationally and internationally. She is a Trustee and Chairwoman of Herts Schools Outreach (HSO), is currently an executive director of Hotel Chocolat, and holds a number of non-executive roles.

Lysa has driven results in a variety of ownership structures in different sectors, and has proven business transformation, restructuring and expansion experience. She has 30+ years experience across a number of commercial marketing, ecommerce and general management roles.

Lysa lives in Hertfordshire with her husband Chris, with her most important role being mum to four children aged 11-24. At the weekends she can be found walking her two dogs, gardening, learning to play golf, or cooking something that attempts to be healthy.

Alex Murray

Vice Chair

Alex joined HSO as a trustee of HSO in July 2022 and became Vice Chair of the Board in October 2023. He brings his experience working within the voluntary sector which allows HSO to support more young people across the county. Alex has run the local CVS service in Watford and Three Rivers since June 2020, providing support to over 500 charities across the SW Herts area. Prior to working in the voluntary sector, Alex was a criminal solicitor working in London and in Hertfordshire so has first-hand understanding of the criminal justice system.

Outside of work, Alex volunteers for an environmental voluntary organisation, preventing food waste in Watford and the surrounding area, is an avid podcast listener and was Hertfordshire’s u18s chess champion in 2008.

Beth Sandler

Operations Manager

Working as the Deputy to the CEO and Founder of HSO, Beth is responsible for the development and running of the service together with the strategic implementation to evolve and drive the Charity.  Beth joined HSO in 2020 and supported the service through the global pandemic and has worked towards a significant number of Children and Young People across Hertfordshire receiving person-centred support.  

Prior to joining HSO, Beth worked in a Hertfordshire Primary School for 14 years covering the classroom, inclusion, and pastoral environments where she worked as Assistant SENCo and Joint Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead for 5 years.

Beth holds a BA(Hons) Degree

Lucy French

Accounts and Admin Manager

Lucy works in our admin department. She is responsible for the everyday running of our administration and accounts. Lucy came to us in 2019 and has a background in various office administration roles.

Lucy is a mum of two and has experienced first-hand the affects of mental illness after she suffered post-natal depression. The help she received at the time was invaluable to her recovery and she wants to now put her efforts into helping a charity which does so much to help those dealing with poor mental health.

Lucy enjoys spending time with her family, normally on walks and exploring new places!

Sara Shaffer

Mental Health Mentor

Sara is a dedicated educator with experience teaching individuals of all ages, including primary, secondary, and adult learners. Her teaching approach emphasises individualised learning, creating a calm supportive, nurturing, and enjoyable environment. Classes are both informative and invigorating, encouraging a fun and rewarding learning experience while allowing learners to explore their identities.

Sara creates a safe and confidential space for learners to express themselves freely, building their confidence, self-worth and self-esteem. Her passion is helping children, young people, and their families integrate into their community, enhancing their confidence, providing a non-judgmental environment, and addressing their everyday needs to empower them to excel.

Beyond her role as an educator, Sara volunteers with a Cancer charity, boosting self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth for women on their cancer journey, additionally Sara has experience volunteering in a primary school’s nurture group where she also collaborates with Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs), providing tailored support for learners’ social, behavioural, emotional, and well-being needs in one-on-one or groups.

Sara’s qualifications include a Certificate in Education, RQF in Principles of Special Educational Needs as well as PREVENT and NSPCC Safeguarding Level 1 certifications. 

Jo Thompson

Transitions Lead & Behaviour Consultant

Jo works to deliver targeted support for Year 6 pupils across both primary and secondary school environments as they prepare to transition into Year 7.  Working collaboratively with the pupils, Jo supports them to implement strategies to help build confidence and create a pathway to success.
Prior to joining HSO, Jo held a HLTA position for many years working with Year 6 children as well as taking on roles with EAL children and 1:1 support work with SEND children.  Jo has first-hand experience of the commitment it takes to support children and young people, having a child with complex medical and educational needs herself has given Jo the passion she has to guide and support children and young people through their mental health and wellbeing needs to ensure they are able to be the best version of themselves.



Samantha Nbedele

Marketing and Communication Trustee

Samantha is a strategic communicator working to use her skills in the public relations industry with a keen focus on public health and working with underserved, marginalised communities to realise a global vision for health equity. Samantha values education having completed a Masters in Public Relations and Corporate

Communications and an Undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Radiography. 

Samantha is also a spoken words artist focusing her work primarily on her faith, a young people mentor, a passionate patient advocate for marginalised communities suffering from Thalassemia, a volunteer at an NGO that is focused on creating change in legislation around clinical trials and diversity and is the co-founder of an initiative founded to empower African youth in the diaspora to re-engage economically and politically with the continent. 

To her role as Trustee at HSO, Samantha hopes to bring her business prowess, communications and marketing expertise and passion for young people to help in delivering the vision.

Lee Keogh


Lee is a Freelance Film & Video Editor. Lee believes the best videos are the ones that put emotion and storytelling at the forefront. Lee also has multiple connections in the Hertfordshire area, thanks to his work directly with the Watford Chamber of Commerce. He enjoys volunteering for the greater good and is trying to raise awareness of mental health and disability as he never lets his disability get in the way.

Lee is also an award-winning ambassador working with local and national organisations on Diversity, Equality, Mental health, and Inclusion

Paige Ashton


Paige is a Financial Controller at a leading global IT company where she partners with the Head of Sales team to both drive growth and maintain strong controls over governance and controllership. Alongside her day-to-day role, Paige was the Chairwoman for a Million Makers team for The Prince’s Trust in 2019 where the team raised over £335,000. She also helped set up a Black Employee Resource Group in the UK, where she co-leads the Retention and Development area of the group, combining leading sessions on breaking unconscious bias, running a mentorship programme, with creating workshops on work life balance and selfcare.

Outside of work, Paige likes to keep active and during the 2020 lockdown entered herself into Beauty Pageants. In doing this, Paige created a platform to focus on her passion for Mental Health and especially Mental Health education through raising awareness and speaking about her personal experience. As someone who lives with high-functioning depression, Paige understands and believes that it is important that we receive the tools to understand our Mental Health as well as early intervention. She strongly believes education should give children and young adults the chance to develop a toolkit to help with poor mental health, be it their own or a friend’s.

“I got to make my own glitter jar to help me when I am feeling angry or sad. It was so much fun and I got to choose colours that match my room. My glitter jar helps me to calm down and I love watching the glitter move around.”

Year 2 Pupil | Primary School in Herts