CALL: 0333 577 9053


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

Meet Michaela, a trailblazing CEO whose passion and dedication have earned her the title of an award-winning leader. Recognised as one of the UK’s top 100 most influential women at the prestigious WISE100 Awards in 2023, Michaela has become a driving force in the charitable sector.

At the helm of the Charity she founded in 2019, Michaela has orchestrated its growth, earning acclaim for her strategic vision. Her innovative thinking has not only set new standards in the charitable landscape but has also provided a lifeline to countless vulnerable children and young people across Hertfordshire. In the face of global pandemics and economic turmoil, Michaela’s unwavering leadership has guided the Charity through challenging times, ensuring its continued impact. Her journey, marked by resilience and empathy, began with personal experiences of homelessness and the profound effects of poor mental health.

Armed with a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Psychology, Michaela brings a unique blend of academic expertise and real-world understanding to her role. Her commitment to creating positive change and uplifting those without access to essential services is not just a mission; it’s a testament to her remarkable spirit.

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

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.

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. 

Amanda Agyei

Corporate and Fundraising Partnership Manager

Amanda has 24 years’ experience in the NHS in various roles, starting off her career in learning and development, leadership and organisational development and more recently in staff health & wellbeing and mental health. She has supported hundreds of staff with mental health and menopause issues within the workplace. Amanda is a mum of three and has lived experience of mental health challenges and neurodiversity as she has one child with ADD and another who is Autistic. She is passionate about improving the mental health support available to people. Amanda enjoys spending time with her children, walking their two dogs, and travelling to new and exciting places to try new food and learn about new cultures. Amanda holds a BSc (Hons) in European Health Sciences.
Janet Davies

Secretary and
Admin Manager

Janet joins our team in February 2024.  She has three children and was a stay-at-home mother to them for 17 years, leaving her corporate world in Facilities management. 

Wishing to stay occupied and interested in the education of her children, she undertook various roles within the voluntary sector; supporting her children’s educational facilities as they grew, from running a baby group through all the early years education to finally becoming the Chair of the Resources Committee and Vice Chair in the governing board at a primary school in Hemel Hempstead.




Vice Chair

A dedicated and driven community leader, Lee is Systems & Ops at W3RT & Watford Chamber of Commerce. Passionate about making a positive impact, he leads a talented team in executing initiatives that support local businesses and drive economic growth.

Recognised as a Multi-Award-Winning Disability & Inclusion Ambassador, Lee has received prestigious accolades, including the Universal Peace Federation Youth Achievement Award and the Watford 2019 Young Achiever Audentior Award. Lee appeared on Piccadilly Lights celebrating Purple Tuesday, improving the disabled customer experience.

With a background in HR, digital marketing, and videography, Lee is a well-rounded professional with strong communication skills, complemented by his Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner qualification. A seasoned public speaker, he has presented in Parliament and in front of 22,000 people at Vicarage Road Stadium.

As a Foundation Chartered Manager, Lee is committed to continuous personal and team development, believing in the power of continuous learning and growth. Proudly making a difference, he remains dedicated to advancing work in the Mental Health field.

Outside community engagement, Lee is a film enthusiast who enjoys spending time at the cinema. Notably, he once met Tom Cruise, who requested a picture together.

Gary Brown


Gary joined HSO as a trustee and treasurer in December 2023 and brings his many years of experience as a Chief Financial Officer to strengthen the finance team at HSO.

Gary is a Fractional CFO and Business Strategy Consultant and brings his 25 years’ experience in finance to support his clients who are ambitious business owners. He works with his clients to develop a clear strategic and financial vision to build a better future for both them and their businesses. He supports and guides them throughout the process of developing their vision and strategy and to implement their plans to achieve success.

Gary lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Shaún. He has three daughters and two grandsons, all who keep him on his toes.

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.


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