Trustees’ biographies

Sue Beardsmore, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Sue Beardsmore became Chair of Birmingham Botanical Gardens in April 2022. She previously worked for BBC television as a senior Broadcast Journalist for more than 25 years on daily news as a reporter and as one of the main presenters of Midlands Today.

She is now a freelance media consultant, trainer and facilitator. She’s worked with and for a number of community organisations in the West Midlands – concerned with health, education and the arts, and is a former Chair of the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Midlands and East Committee.

Peter White, Deputy Chairman
Director, Fresh Life Consulting.
MA Town and Regional Planning, an expert in the re-use of historic buildings, development of financially sustainable schemes for socially worthwhile activities, area based regeneration strategies and business planning.  In-depth knowledge of funding, project appraisal, financial and project management.

John Taylor, Trustee, Operations
Board Member, Cadbury (retired); British Athletics Association (retired); Chairman Birmingham and Solihull LiFTCo Ltd and Prima 200 Ltd – public/private partnerships in Health Construction, Non-executive Director Midlands and Lancashire CSU NHS.

Expert in leadership, business strategy and project management.

James Brown
James Brown is an expert in building and surveying, having served for 17 years in the construction industry. A lifelong resident of Birmingham, James is hugely proud of our city and its evolution and he sees the Botanical Gardens as such an important part of our heritage. A lover of nature and wildlife, he strongly believes that gardens and nature, in general, bring so much pleasure to people and is the best antidote to the fast-pace and pressure of living in today’s digital world. James’s skills and advice will be hugely helpful in developing our ongoing project to restore our listed buildings here at the Gardens.

Caroline Clutton-Brock
Over 30 years’ experience in sales and marketing in the retail and cosmetics industry.  Previous National Account Manager at Yves Saint Laurent Beaute.  Expertise in event management and customer relations management. Chair of Friends, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  Previous Non-executive Director Trading Company, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Chair of Enterprises, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Lanre Lawal-Fatukasi
Lanre believes in using her knowledge and skills to make a valuable contribution. In addition to her role as Trustee at BBG, Lanre is also a Governor at Bleakhouse Primary School. She is a practicing solicitor with over 16 years’ experience. She has general commercial experience with expertise in secured lending, property law and commercial contracts. She has worked in the financial services industry for several years and currently holds the role of Senior Legal Counsel at HSBC UK Bank plc. Her previous roles include sole Legal Counsel at Wesleyan Assurance Society and Managing Counsel at Nationwide Building Society.

Heidi Leung
A senior education advisor for FFT Education Ltd, a leading non-profit organisation.  A key part of her advisor role is to ensure she keeps abreast of national education changes and their impact on school improvement strategies. Heidi also serves as a Trustee for a West Midlands-based multi-academy trust.

Rob Macpherson
Marketing, communications and brand strategy expert, Rob has run the Impakt consultancy, a sister company of web designers Substrakt, since 2019. He formerly led marketing, communications and fundraising for subsidised and commercial touring at the Birmingham Hippodrome and led an extensive community programme. Recent arts, education and charity clients include The Royal Court; Leicester Haymarket; CORE Education Trust; Dance Woking, and Birmingham Ormiston Academy.

Darren Share
Assistant Director for Birmingham City Council.
MBA qualifications in Horticulture, Arboriculture, Groundsmanship and Waste Management.
Over 30 years experience in Environmental Management, mainly connected to amenity horticulture and Parks. Currently a National Britain in Bloom judge for the RHS.

Pamela Smith
Pam is a horticulturalist with over 35 years’ experience in public parks, botanic and historic gardens and is a former Director of Winterbourne, Vice Chair of PlantNetwork and CABE Space scholar. She is the National Trust’s senior advisor on gardens, parklands, horticulture and garden history. Her research interests include history of natural history education in public parks and urban botanical heritage.

Fiona Taylor
Chief executive officer of Garden Organic, a charity that brings together thousands of people who believe organic growing is essential for a healthy and sustainable world. Her background is in communications and campaigning, in particular, championing the UN Sustainable Development Goals covering issues such as fuel poverty, urban greening, deforestation and conservation.

Diana Wardle
Diana is a chartered accountant with many years’ experience of running the finance departments of various companies in the private and voluntary sector. Her role at the Gardens is  Company Secretary.