Trustees’ biographies

Martyn Liberson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Martyn is a volunteer trustee.  Whilst in full-time work Martyn was a busy practising solicitor, who with former colleagues set up their own law firm from scratch. They rapidly grew the business and sold it in 2019 to a national firm.  Martyn’s expertise was in the management of a wide array of substantial property and building disputes for household name corporates, governmental departments, landed estates, and international trusts.

He became a trustee of the Gardens in May 2010 and Chair of Trustees in January 2014.  Apart from leading the organisation, Martyn has devoted considerable time to help make the Gardens financially sustainable and has worked alongside our partners, the National Trust, to help improve the experience of visitors.  Ongoing projects include strengthening the governance of the Charity, driving our sustainability goals and working on our major development project, so preparing the way for the survival of these important historic Gardens for another 200 years.

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.

Victor Aspland, Trustee, Horticulture
President, The Cyclamen Society
Senior Manager and Industrial Chemist (retired), Albright & Wilson Ltd.
CChem, MRSC
Over 50 years expertise in horticulture, plantsmanship and the genus Cyclamen.  Plant explorer and lecturer at national and international level.

Dr Barry Leadbeater, Trustee, Education
Authority on cryptogamic botany (spore-bearing plants) and Protozoa
Reader in Protistology, Birmingham University (retired).  Past President of the Systematics Association, British Phycological Society and British Society for Protist Biology
PhD, DSc London University
Expert in Biology, Natural Sciences and Education.

Amit Sharma, Trustee, Information Technology
Director, Business Development, Inco Software Solutions
BEng and BCom, Manufacturing, Engineering and Commerce
Expert in supporting organisations with the creation of innovative web, digital and marketing solutions.

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.

Harjinder Kang, Trustee

Director Healthcare, Life Sciences and Bio Economy -Department for Interntional Trade Vice Chair – Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

Member of Council – University of Birmingham

Trustee – BBG

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.

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

Robyn McAllister

A passionate fundraiser and novice (read: clueless) gardener, Robyn is currently the Head of Major Giving at national youth charity Street League, having previously worked for organisations including Girlguiding and Phoenix Futures.  She specialises in high-value fundraising and loves nothing more than supporters seeing first-hand the difference their gift has made.  She was previously Co-Chair of Trustees of a local mental health charity.  As a new Birmingham resident, Robyn is keen to get involved in her new local community and to play a role in growing Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ impact (no pun intended!)

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.

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.

Aikta Varma

BSc (Hons) Economics, ACA

Aikta is a chartered accountant with 15 years’ experience, having qualified at KPMG where she spent 10 years predominantly auditing financial services clients.  Currently Aikta is Group Financial Controller, West Bromwich Building Society, and is also pursuing the Executive MBA qualification at Warwick University.