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Senior Management Team

Youth First has a Senior Management Team with a track record in delivering youth services in Lewisham.

Gülen Petty

Interim Chief Executive Officer

Gülen is strategic leader with extensive income generation skills, organisational strategy building knowledge and change management experience. She started her career as a scientist after studying chemistry (BSC, MSc and PhD).  She worked as a senior research associate at University of East Anglia before taking a role as a senior scientist at a pharmaceutical company. Her passion for supporting causes that help communities and vulnerable people started from an early age. Whilst working as a scientist leading and managing high- profile pharmaceutical projects she took a leap of faith to change her career and move into the not for profit sector. After working in some of the biggest and national charities in the UK such as Missing People and MS Society, leading individual, community and events fundraising teams, she decided to use her skills and knowledge gained through working bigger organisations to transform smaller, grassroots charities. She has worked for several local charities changing work culture, streamlining processes and enabling charities to work seamlessly with technology in diversifying income. Before joining Youth First, Gülen worked as a Head of Fundraising, Partnerships and Comms at Lewisham-based homelessness charity 999 Club. She also took on management of the organisation’s volunteering functions. During the beginning of the pandemic Gülen stepped up to work as Acting Deputy CEO to the interim CEO, developing services and enabling the charity to become financially stable.

Muhammad Rahmani

Interim Joint Head of Operations


Aminata Swaray

Interim Joint Head of Operations

Aminata has a degree in Youth and Community studies and has worked in Youth First and Lewisham Youth Services for over 11 years. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and young people and is responsible for managing the Targeted provision within the organisation.

Selina Grant

Business Support Manager

Selina joined Youth First in January 2022 as a Business Support Manager; primarily overseeing the HR function of the service.  Selina's previous employment includes working for Adult Learning Lewisham as a Business Resources Team Leader, this is where she began her HR career gaining her CIPD Associate level professional qualification; she then went on to work as a People Operations Manager for a large multi academy trust. Selina lives in the borough of Lewisham and came to Youth First as she was keen to utilise her experience to help the organisation achieve its goals for the local youth and wider community. Outside of work Selina enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and tries to remain physically active by doing yoga and aerobic classes.

Youth First Board

The Youth First Board is created in a considered way to include those with experience in the social sector, third sector and commercial worlds. This has brought Non-Executive Directors who recognise and support the social mission of Youth First but are also aware of the organisation's need to grow and develop its business development capacity. It ensures Youth First has the best chance of sustaining and growing youth services in Lewisham. Meet our expert board:

Val Davison


Val joined the Youth First Board as Chair in May 2020. She has lived in South East London all her adult life having moved initially to Whitechapel to train as a nurse at the London Hospital whilst also studying at Goldsmiths College in Lewisham when it was part of the University of London. She is also a graduate of Brunel University and Henley Management College. After a successful career working in, and for, the NHS and other healthcare providers in the UK and abroad Val continues to support the NHS as a Non-Executive Director. Val currently lives in Dulwich and is Chair of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust where she has led the Board in the turnaround of the organisation’s performance and quality of service delivery. She is passionate about doing what she can to address the inequalities in life chances and health outcome that so often derive from economic or social disadvantage and also in supporting people to fulfil their potential in life whatever their circumstances.

Mash Seriki

Non-executive Director

Mash has a background in marketing, communications, internet business services and fundraising.  More recently, he has run his own company which is a leading provider of training and learning solutions to dentists and other health care professionals. He has worked with young people in the Jewish and Nigerian communities . H is three lifelong passions are education, communications and technology. They underpin a wish to improve the lives of young people living in deprived circumstances and particularly black teenagers with whom he shares a common ethnicity. Mash works in Holborn but lives in Dulwich, just over the border from Lewisham .

Catriona Coleman

Non-executive Director

Catriona chairs the Risk & Audit sub-committee.  She is a solicitor with over 10 years’ experience with a specialism in commercial litigation and dispute resolution. Catriona is currently employed by a leading City law firm.

Adam Barrett

Non-executive Director


Nicola Lambell

Employee Representative