Our Leadership Team
Nicky Willshere, CEO
Since Nicky joined as the CEO in 2014, the role has changed greatly, as pressure to attract funding to cover costs becomes more difficult, and the need for diversification to deliver projects and offer services that meet the needs of the community increase.
The role requires experience in Project Management, Financial Skills, HR skills, Performance and Operational Management Skills, as well as diplomacy to challenge decision-makers. Partnership working is high on the list, including working across the VSCE (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations) and building relationships with our statutory bodies and funders.
Nicky’s 20 years as a senior civil servant bring a wealth of experience to the role, including seven years as a Fraud Investigator and a variety of management positions, with teams of up to 120 staff across the county. During this time, she was also seconded to Deloitte Consulting for a period of 2 years, and her final role was that of Lean Development Centre Manager for the East of England, with National responsibility for Decision Making and Appeals. She was also the manager at Sudbury Citizens Advice before joining Ipswich in 2014 when the position became available.
Nicky has always maintained her connection with the local community, including working as the Stowmarket Town Forum Co-Ordinator for 4 years, as well as having been instrumental in the development of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts. Currently, Nicky also chairs her parish council in her downtime!
Sally Harrison (née Oakley), Deputy Manager
Sally joined as Deputy Manager for the Ipswich Citizens Advice in 2021. In conjunction with the CEO and Operations Manager, Sally is responsible for the development and delivery of the business plans for Ipswich Citizens Advice, which aim to guide and provide the service that our clients need for the issues that they face in their daily lives. Sally is also responsible for the development and delivery of the Connect for Health project in Ipswich. This is the social prescribing service that provides the additional help and support people need to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Sally spent a large proportion of her early career in operational line management at the Port of Felixstowe. She then went back to studying and completed all her qualifications to become an HR professional and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (FCIPD). Sally also worked in the private and public sectors before joining the voluntary sector. She began her career at Ipswich Citizens Advice as a volunteer in 2015 and then moved into a paid position in 2018. Sally thoroughly enjoys her work and is very proud to be part of an organisation that brings much-needed help and support to people when they need it most. During her spare time, Sally loves sailing, boats, and generally being out on the water, together with a passion for dancing and singing (which she states that she does with varying degrees of competence!).
Margaret Vane, Operations Manager:
Margaret joined as Operations Manager for the Ipswich Citizens Advice in August 2020. Margaret’s responsibilities at the bureau include the day-to-day support and management of the Generalist ‘Core’, Money Advice, Welfare Benefits, Help to Claim and Connect for Health teams, as well as conducting the operational performance and service delivery planning. Margaret started her career within the energy industry and spent 23 years in public relations, finance, and operational management roles, before moving to an international fitness brand leader for another 10years. During this time, Margaret held the post of UK service manager, combining P&L responsibility with the management of customer service, contracts, back office, and technical field teams supporting fitness facilities across the UK. Following a year as Change Manager within a European systems implementation team, she joined SmartestEnergy in Ipswich as Head of Operations and then Operations Improvements Manager, before joining the bureau in August 2020. Margaret’s interests include weight training and travel, and she was born and bred in Ipswich.
Our Staff and Volunteers
Our amazing team comes from all walks of life, with an incredible variety of skills and previous experience that they bring to their roles to advise, support and empower our clients to find solutions to their problems.
We share a passion to make a difference to the lives of people living and working in Ipswich, and we celebrate all of our successes as a team.
We’re proud to be a disability confident employer, we champion equality and we celebrate diversity.