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Staff

Ruth Hollis

Chief Executive

Ruth has been Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012 since 2019. Previously she was Spirit’s Director of Policy and Impact and has worked with the Trust since inception. Ruth left a career in the civil service to help set the charity up in 2013 and leads Spirit’s team to deliver a diverse programme of grant funded projects with a strong focus on measuring and sharing the social impact of our work. Ruth is committed to providing opportunities for young people and outside work she is Chair of a Multi Academy Trust that includes 10 schools across Norfolk, Suffolk and Peterborough.

“Spirit uses events, like Glasgow 2014, Hull 2017 and the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage, as catalysts for social change - building on the way events bring people together and foster connection, pride, hope and optimism. I am passionate about the power of sport, arts and culture, and volunteering to improve wellbeing and really change lives both for communities and individuals.”

Jane Duncan

Head of Finance and Operations

Jane joined Spirit in February 2017 as Head of Finance following a seven-year career break. This period was spent looking after her two young daughters as well as carrying out a number of voluntary roles and living in Singapore for nearly three years. Over her finance career she has worked for a large media group as well as audited and prepared accounts from sole traders through not-for-profit entities up to AIM listed groups.

She also enjoys voluntary work which started during her career break and is currently the Treasurer for a PTA and Accountant for a Community Art Gallery.

"I am looking forward to helping the charity achieve its goals through clear financial reporting to the staff and Board. The sheer number of projects and people reached across the country by Spirit is amazing and truly energising."

Eibhlish Fleming

Head of Learning and Impact

Eibhlish joined Spirit of 2012 in December of 2018. Her background is in participatory arts project development and management, with a particular focus on the performing arts in schools and in the community. Previous positions include managerial roles at Shakespeare’s Globe, Children & the Arts and Shakespeare Schools Festival, with freelance and voluntary community arts experience developing community performances for the Arcola Theatre and outreach programmes for Sisters Grimm.

"I passionately believe that widening the opportunity to participate in creative, active and community-minded pursuits is the key to a happier society. After a career spent harnessing the power of the arts and culture to make a difference to the lives of young people, I feel privileged to work closely with a remarkable portfolio of outstanding projects, dedicated to improving community wellbeing and connectedness in my role at Spirit."

Alex Johnston

Head of Programmes and Grants

Alex has worked at Spirit of 2012 since October 2013 to lead on the development of Spirit’s first events-based programme as part of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. He joined Spirit on secondment for a year from the National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland. He’s still here! Alex started his career as a History & Politics teacher before going into funding with the European Social Fund almost 20 years ago.

“Working for Spirit is more than just the 9 to 5. Over the years since I joined Spirit, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the UK and visit amazing people doing amazing things through arts & culture, sport & physical activity and volunteering. I’m constantly inspired by the difference taking part in opportunities that many often miss out on can make to people’s lives.”

Kate Bines

Strategic Communications and Engagement Manager

Kate joined Spirit of 2012 at the end of April 2020, during the coronavirus lockdown. She has considerable experience of strategic marketing and communications across the voluntary and public sectors, recently at Charity Finance Group, and also at the Institute of Imagination, Child Accident Prevention Trust and the V&A Museum of Childhood.

"I am committed to inclusion and equality and strongly believes in the power of arts and cultural participation in sparking the imagination, opening up new opportunities, connections and experiences, and ultimately making people happier."

Jill Rutter

Policy & Research Manager

Jill joined Spirit of 2012 in March 2021. Before that, she was Director of Strategy at the immigration and integration think tank, British Future, where she helped set up the Together Coalition, and led Talk Together, the UK’s biggest conversation about what divides us and what brings us together in the wake of COVID-19. At British Future, Jill also led the National Conversation on Immigration in 2018, which involved nearly 20k people. Among her other published reports, she produced a report for 14-18 Now on how the arts and heritage can bring people together.

Born in Birmingham and raised in rural Northamptonshire, Jill studied at Oxford University and University College London. After teaching geography in schools in London and Essex, she joined the Refugee Council where she helped set up Refugee Week. She has also worked at the Institute for Public Policy Research, where she helped set up the Migration Museum, which tells the long story of movement into and out of the UK in a fresh and engaging way.

Rob Kenyon

Grant and Learning Manager

Rob has a background in grant-making, fundraising and programme development, and joined Spirit in September 2019.

He began his career in grant-making at Community Foundation for Greater Manchester and BBC Children in Need, before ‘hopping the fence’ to work on fundraising and programme development, first at the Fairtrade Foundation and then at Mind. His passion for community-based social change has brought him full circle to work in grant-making again.

“I vividly remember the atmosphere the Olympics created: that buoyant sense of togetherness, inclusivity and joy. I’m delighted to contribute to work that sustains these values, and I’m particularly inspired by Spirit’s dedication to learning from our partners about how as a society we can best harness the immense capacity and commitment of UK communities to achieve social change.”

Jean Vas

Office And Board Administrator

Jean joined Spirit in March 2018, from the corporate sector. With a background in event management, Jean was responsible for EDF Energy’s B2B sector related events spanning educational workshops to conferences and corporate hospitality. She led sustainability roadshows at the Paralympic Training Camp at Bath University and was instrumental in setting up EDF Energy’s B2B Hospitality Programme, experiencing first-hand the “Spirit” of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Joining Spirit has fulfilled her desire to transition into the Charity sector - “I wanted to work on projects that made real impact, that made a difference to people’s lives. Here at Spirit our funding makes that happen, I’ve come across so many fabulous projects that make dreams reality, and that’s what counts”.

Gaetano Iannetta

Grant and Learning Officer

Gaetano has worked at Spirit of 2012 since June 2019, first as a Communications Intern, then as a Grant & Learning Officer.

“I feel very lucky to have started my career at Spirit of 2012, and to be a part of such a passionate and supportive team. Working at Spirit has instilled in me a curiosity to explore different approaches to funding and to really dig into what works, with a portfolio of truly inspiring projects.”

Alex Ekong

Communications Intern

Alex joined Spirit in September 2020. Previously, he worked for graduate recruitment start-up Debut as a content marketer and Imperial War Museums as a communications intern. In between, he is a freelance journalist who writes for outlets including VICE, Noisey, London In Stereo, Journo Resources and Huck Magazine.

In his current role, Alex supports the planning and delivery of internal and external communications, as well as managing Spirit's social media channels and website. He is an avid supporter of the arts and believes strongly in their ability to positively affect wellbeing.

Amy Finch

Head of Programmes and Impact (currently on maternity leave)

Amy has worked at Spirit of 2012 since February 2017 to lead our impact and learning work. She joined Spirit from social mobility charity Future First, where she was Head of Innovation and Development, and now sits on the Board of Trustees. Amy started her career as a History teacher through the Teach First programme before working as a Research Assistant at the BBC.

“The thing I enjoy most about working at Spirit of 2012 is that we are genuinely curious about understanding what works, and we get to use what we learn to help fund the things that make a difference in people’s lives.”