Based in central London, The Royal Commonwealth Society's central staff team is in regular contact with our Regional Co-ordinators and Branch Representatives across the Commonwealth. Staff contact and office location details can be found on the Contact page. See International Network for information about RCS Branches and Regional Co-ordinators.
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Youth Affairs and Education Programmes
Head of Marketing
Head of Public Affairs
Public Affairs Officer
Research and Policy Officer
Media and Communications Officer
Michael Lake CBE
As director of this independent charity, I am proud to be the executive representative of an aspirational board of trustees, a role I share with a sound and extremely competent team of staff as we promote the value of the Commonwealth and the values upon which it is based.
As Chief Operating Officer, Annette draws together the activities of a dynamic team to ensure that the Society plays a crucial role in upholding the core values of the Commonwealth. Cambridge educated, with a doctorate from Tübingen University, Germany, Annette practised as a barrister in property and commercial law for 18 years. She decided to change career in order to pursue her passion for international relations.
Helen Jones MBE
Helen has many years of experience in youth development and education programmes. During her time with the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (CYEC) she has developed youth fora such as the Commonwealth Youth Forum, and youth leadership and fellowship programmes. Helen is Director of the Commonwealth Teacher Exchange Programme (CTEP).
With extensive marketing and business development experience, gained in both the charity and private sectors, Hilary managed the RCS' 2013 transition on behalf of its Club members. Working with the team to define the new RCS proposition, she managed the implementation of the Society’s new web-based systems and marketing strategy. In 2014 she launched the RCS' magazine, Commonwealth Voices and continues to lead the Society's marketing activity.
Having supported the highest levels of the Australian Government for 12 years, Nathan brings a significant track record of event, public affairs and project delivery to the Society. His Australian and international networks, and extensive relationship and stakeholder-management experience contribute to the Society’s pan-Commonwealth outreach activities.
Elizabeth van der Valk
Elizabeth joined the RCS team in January 2015 as a Programmes Officer following three months volunteering with the organisation. She assists with the Society’s flagship event, the Commonwealth Service, and with international and youth programmes.
As Research and Policy Officer, Rory supports the development of the Royal Commonwealth Society’s policy agenda for the promotion of human rights, democracy and shared understanding throughout the Commonwealth. He has previous experience working for the UN Development Programme and has interned with the Chatham House Africa Programme and the food security NGO Farm Africa.
Coral works as part of the Youth & Education team to deliver inclusive and accessible education programmes across the Commonwealth, including managing the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition. With several years’ experience working in youth volunteering both in the UK and overseas, she is passionate about empowering young people to participate in global discussions and enact change in their own communities.
Emma is the executive assistant to our Director, Michael Lake. She has previously worked in the peace-building sector and studied Law followed by International Law. Whilst studying Emma volunteered as a Refugee and Asylum Seeker Caseworker for the British Red Cross, as well as setting up a small project which worked to empower young people in the areas of globalisation, human rights and climate change.
Mark joined in January 2018 and works to raise awareness of the Society’s work through both digital and traditional media channels. He brings marketing and communications experience from the charity sector, along with a keen interest in global political economy and international trade agreements.
Ms. Claire Whitaker, OBE
Mr. Bryan Cassidy
Ms. Samantha Cohen CVO
Ms. Hannah Goodwin
Ms. Renee Horton-Coker
Mr. David Ives
Ms. Pinky Lilani CBE DL
Mr. John Loughton
Ms. Katherine Mathieson
Mr. James North
Mr. Doug Tweddle
Dr. Linda Yueh
The RCS would like to thank former board members:
Mr. Steve Bernard
Mr. Michael Bostelmann
Dr. Graham Dixon
Mr. Ian Govendir
Mr. Godfrey Hall
Ms. Nalini Paranavitane