Sara Wajid MBE - Co-CEO
Sara is Co-CEO alongside Zak Mensah – this job-share CEO partnership is a first in the museum sector and signals Birmingham Museum Trust’s commitment to inclusive working practices. Sara was formerly Head of Engagement at Museum of London and Head of Interpretation at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2017. Before working in museums she was a cultural commentator, journalist and editor. She is a trustee of the Pitt Rivers Museum, a judge of the Museum Activism award, a member of the Museum Detox network for people of colour in museums and an active advocate for diversity and equality issues in the arts.
Zak Mensah - Co-CEO
Zak is Co-CEO jointly responsible for setting our direction as part of the executive. Zak is excited about helping people to make a ruckus. Zak has been a freelancer, staff development officer, Head of Digital, and Head of Transformation. In addition to helping his own organisation, Zak shares his skills and expertise as a regular public speaker and trustee of the Association for Cultural Enterprises.
Toby Watley - Director of Collections
Toby leads on Birmingham Museums’ exhibitions, curatorial, collections management and acquisitions, conservation and research programmes. Since 2001 he has worked in a variety of roles from Curator of Fine Art to Head of Programming, and has led numerous capital projects including the £9m award winning Birmingham history galleries at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
Throughout his career Toby has led a vast range of community projects, engaging diverse communities with art, history and world cultures. These have included oral and video history projects, contemporary collecting, artist-led participatory projects and social cohesion programmes, giving communities a voice within museums. Toby has also worked with universities on partnership projects including collaborative research, collaborative PhDs, knowledge exchange programmes, digital innovation and public engagement.
Rachel Cockett - Director of Development
Rachel leads the Development team. Fundraising generates 10% of BMT's £12M p/a income. Her role is to increase income through fundraising activities, supporting programme delivery and development, and stakeholder management. Rachel and her team lead on securing revenue and capital income from public grants, trusts & foundations, individuals, and sponsorship. Rachel began working for Birmingham Museums in 2000, progressing through collections management roles, to managing multi-million pound funded programmes. She has also worked at Ikon Gallery, MLA West Midlands and Birmingham City University.
Rachel is a Fellow of the Museums Association, a member of the Museums Accreditation Committee, and an Associate Member of the Institute of Fundraising.
Alexandra Nicholson-Evans - Commercial Director
Alex leads the commercial team in developing sustainable income streams across Birmingham Museums. This area of work includes our cafes and restaurants, our shops, our venue hire business, special events across the Trust and other income generating initiatives. Alex’s role includes leadership of the Historic Properties; Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Soho House, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill and Weoley Castle.
Alex joined Birmingham Museums Trust in 2014 and worked in a number of roles across the organisation before moving into the senior management team. She brings with her a wealth of experience from different sectors, including Higher Education and healthcare technology. Alex has passion for entrepreneurial thinking and using commercial concepts to engage a broader audience. Alex has run several businesses over the years, and continues to do so, she is also a Non-Executive Director of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust.
Janine Eason - Director of Engagement
Janine leads the marketing, digital, learning and community engagement teams to grow, diversify and engage Birmingham Museums’ visitors with the collection and inspire learning and enjoyment across nine venues. She also leads the Museum and Art Gallery; including visitor services, and plays a key role in shaping the museum’s redevelopment plans to attract Birmingham’s young and diverse population.
Prior to joining Birmingham Museums Trust, Janine was Director of Exhibitions at Thinktank Trust where she developed the museum’s masterplan and led £7m of capital projects including the digital planetarium and new galleries. She led a multi-disciplinary team to create the award-winning Science Garden as part of the city’s Eastside City Park project. Janine had a leading role in the creation of Thinktank, working as part of the original team that initiated the concept and secured £50m funding.
Janine previously worked at the Natural History Museum and as an A Level and GSCE tutor. She is a Fellow of the Noyce Leadership Institute.
Richard Paterson - Finance Director and Company Secretary
Richard has worked for BMT since 2018 and leads the Finance and Business Administration teams. He is responsible for the governance of the charity, ensuring it meets all its statutory responsibilities in addition to managing all the financial aspects of the organisation.
Although this is Richard’s first role within the museum sector, he has previously been Director of Finance and Strategy for Town Hall Symphony Hall in Birmingham so understands the unique challenges of working within the Arts and Culture Sector.
Richard is a Trustee of LoveBrum; the Birmingham Pen Trade Heritage Association; The Audience Agency and Emmaus UK.