Current board members of the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers are:
Dr Phil Friend OBE FRSA - Chair
Phil Friend is a wheelchair user and has been involved in disability employment and customer service issues since 1986. After an extremely successful career in the public sector; he founded Phil & Friends Ltd to promote the issue of disability within the business community. At grass roots level, he is very active within voluntary organisations that deal with disability issues and was awarded an OBE in 2001 and an honorary doctorate in 2009 both for service to disability and equal opportunities. Phil is a former Chair of RADAR and Disability Rights (UK), a Vice President of Level Playing Field, a trustee of the English Federation for Disability Sport and an associate of Business Disability International, a Winston Churchill Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Phil has developed and delivered speeches, seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics related to disability and equal opportunities across the world. He has collaborated on programmes for radio, television and training DVDs. He has written a number of published articles and is the co-author of 'Why are you pretending to be normal?' a book that focuses on unleashing disabled talent.
Geoff draws on a lifetime's experience of living with multiple impairments: in 1962 he was born with short upper-limbs, a missing right eye and severely impaired vision in the left as a result of the thalidomide tragedy. After attending special schools, he obtained his degree in French and Politics from Loughborough University. He spent 22 years working at the BBC, for the last eight of which he was Age & Disability Correspondent for BBC News. He now runs his own disability equality consultancy and undertakes public speaking engagements. He has always had a keen interest in technology and its ability to bring about positive change in the lives of older and disabled people. He is an associate of Business Disability Forum, and a trustee of the Thalidomide Society.
Jill Allen-King OBE
Jill Allen-King has been active with the National Federation of the Blind since she got her first guide dog in 1971. She's a founder member of the Department of Transport Advisory Committee (DpTAC) and the Access Committee for England. She chaired the Joint Committee on Mobility for the Blind and Partially Sighted and has served on the DLA Appeals Service.
Michael is a research and testing professional with over 15 years’ experience. He joined Which? in 2003 and has worked in a number of different roles within the consumer organisation, including running its television and mobile phone tests, managing the cars and travel teams and leading the technology research department. He’s currently the head of product research at Which?, leading a team of 35 researchers and journalists, with responsibility for testing, budget, strategy, commissioning and content across the product spectrum. A member of the management committee of ICRT (International Consumer Research & Testing), Michael has also spent time on secondment to business consultants McKinsey and has experience of engaging and influencing industry.
Margaret is an independent consultant with 30 years’ experience in market research, consultancy and business development. She designs and delivers projects which provide critical customer insight to corporate, government-funded, and social organisations. Margaret spent 5 years as Head of Research for Business Communications at BT. Following the birth of her second child, she founded her own research consultancy working with leading businesses and organisations spanning the public and private sectors. She is a member and Company Partner of the MRS and a member of the ICG (Independent Consultants Group)
Dr Jeffrey M Graham
Jeffrey Graham is a retired Consultant in Public Health Medicine. Most of his career was spent in the medical Civil Service at the Department of Health. He has the late effects of poliomyelitis and requires an electric wheelchair for mobility. He now works for a number of medical charities.
Judith Gubbay has been writing and commenting on consumer topics - including disability issues - for over 30 years, most recently as Consumer Director of Good Housekeeping magazine and its Institute. A regular contributor to TV and radio programmes, she has been Deputy Editor of Which?, Consumer Editor of Woman's Own magazine and a freelance columnist for various national newspapers. Formerly a member of the National Housebuilding Council's Consumer Committee, she is a member of the Institute of Consumer Affairs.
David Lazarus - Vice Chair
David Lazarus joined as a Trustee of the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers to address our need for a more sophisticated marketing approach. David's career has been spent in marketing and business development. He is currently involved as a non-executive with a number of businesses and running the marketing agency Marketinghut.
Raj has lived with blindness for most of his life, as a result of a degenerative condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Since retiring from BP, Raj has been pursuing his passion in raising awareness and promoting the capabilities of disabled people. Raj holds a variety of roles within voluntary and health sectors, serving as an advisor, a non-executive director, a trustee, a mentor and a trainer. During his 35 years at BP, he held a variety of leadership roles within IT and Procurement functions, delivered numerous transformation programmes, managed a variety of service organisations, and dealt with hundreds of suppliers. He brings a unique and diverse perspective as a result of his extensive corporate sector experience. Raj has been a Member of the British Computer Society and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.
Tracey Proudlock, founder of Proudlock Associates, is a graduate from Leeds University, a member of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (MCIPD), a former trustee of the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and a school governor. Between 2010-14 she was a member of Equality 2025, a high-level advisory group of disabled people offering ministers and senior government officials strategic advice. Tracey has a track record in working with large and diverse organisations supporting them with their disability/diversity agenda. She regularly contributes to national and local media debates about diversity and the inclusion agenda.
Brian Yates has been actively involved in Consumers' Association (Which?) since 1986 and was Chairman of Council from 1994 to 2007. He is a European Chartered Engineer, and for many years was responsible for developing new engineering businesses in overseas markets. Brian is currently a member of a number of professional-standards panels.
To get in touch with any of our trustees, please contact us.
Last updated: September 2019