Our Advisors

Subhash Thakrar

Subhash Thakrar Headshot

Subhash Thakrar is the Deputy President of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a Partner at CBW Blackstone Franks LLP and previously a senior partner at the firm of chartered accountants and corporate financiers called Blackstone Franks LLP based in central London, UK. Subhash has practiced as a professional chartered accountant for nearly 30 years and is actively involved in advising UK and international corporations in conducting business in the UK as well as cross-border joint ventures. Blackstone Franks is part of an international advisers group called IAG International with associates all over Europe, Canada and the US.

In the early 1990′s, as a result of economic liberalisation in India, Subhash identified the potential of doing business in India and also investing. Since then, he has founded an equity fund, called INVIL investing in the Indian Equity Market called India Value Investments Ltd. The fund has had a spectacular growth from the original £1 invested to over £5 after taking account of recent Stock Market turmoil as well as the Indian Rupee which has over the years fluctuated against the British Pound.

In 2008, Subhash jointly promoted a real estate fund for India called Triangle Real Estate India Fund with Old Mutual of South Africa. The Fund has already participated in the development of shopping malls in India. Triangle is listed on Mauritius stock exchange.

Subhash sits on the Board of the London Chamber of Commerce and was formerly the Chairman of the Asian Business Association in the UK. In 2010, he was elected as the Chairman of London Chamber.

Subhash, until recently, had other business interests in India in the field of property management (jointly with Old Mutual Group of South Africa), an architectural services company called Bentel International in India and a professional car park management company (joint venture with an Australian group called Secure). He divested from these in 2010. Subhash has had extensive experience in dealing with joint venture and collaboration arrangements as a principle promoter and as an advisor.

As part of his corporate social responsibilities, Subhash sits on the Board of a number of charities including a Commonwealth Education Fund (to promote the 100% primary and equal gender education in Commonwealth countries), and 3R’s Trust (for education of the poor in India). He is also a former Trustee of Attlee Foundation, set up for the well-being of deprived children in the UK.

In 2005, Subhash was invited to join Prime Minister Blair’s business mission to India.

Subhash is a joint author to a number of publications including The UK as a Tax Haven (The Economist), The Blackstone Franks Good Investment Guide, Blackstone Franks Guide to Creating Cash and Blackstone Franks Guide to Living in Spain.

Geriant Richards

Geraint is the Founder/Director of GJR Performance Solutions a Cardiff based company helping organisations understand the diversity of their workforce through the development of better team engagement, synergy and performance. Formerly Performance Director of GB Wheelchair Tennis, Geraint led the GB team to number 1 position in Europe, winning 28 Grand Slam titles in five years, and bringing home a record-breaking six

Ash Smith

Ash is a coach with over 20 years experience from grass roots up to elite level, passionate about helping both players and coaches achieve their potential. He has significant experience working with elite athletes, junior players, building talent development pathways and coach education/mentoring.

He was a national coach for GB Wheelchair Tennis from 2011 to 2019, a role which saw him travel the world and attend the Paralympic Games and grand slams; captain GB at World Team Cup on 6 occasions (the wheelchair tennis equivalent of the Davis/Fed Cup), taking third place in 2012 and winning it in 2013 with the junior team and winning a bronze medal as captain of the women’s team in 2018.

Ash works with the ITF to deliver the ITF European Wheelchair Junior Camp and also on
Development Fund projects, most recently working with the Belarusian Tennis Federation to grow their wheelchair tennis programme – which this year sees them attend World Team Cup qualifying for the first time.

Outside of of tennis, as work as a consultant for Leading-Edge, providing coaching and training for companies on leadership and building high performance teams.

Chris Underhill

Chris Underhill is a leading exponent on global mental health practice, a social entrepreneur, a mentor, a trainer in community-based facilitation technique, and regularly speaks at conferences worldwide. His mentees currently work in organisational management, models of change in childhood deprivation, human trafficking, the psychology of gangs, Fair Trade, prisons and prisoners, leadership and executive search. He is currently founding mhNOW: Cities for mental health, is the founder of BasicNeeds, and previously founded Action on Disability and Development, and Thrive. Chris Underhill is the Chair of the International Centre for Social Franchising, a Global Director of Leaders
Quest and the Chair of Carers Worldwide. He is a Senior Fellow with the Ashoka Fellowship, a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and was selected as a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur for 2014. In 2000 Chris Underhill received an MBE from the Queen for his services to disability and development.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker Headshot

Mark Walker has competed at Paralympic level with the Australian Wheelchair Basketball team and at the Atlanta games in the US. He was part of a team to win the first ever gold medal for Australia. He has also represented Australia as coach,competing at national level in 1993, 1995, and 1996, and won the ‘coach of thetournament’ award in 1995. Mark has also developed domestic basketball at a locallevel, working with children from 4 through to 19 years of age. Alongside his own club he runs camps and clinics as part of the consultancy work he offers.

Mark’s coaching career has also taken him beyond Australia, to coach in geographicalareas as diverse as Thailand (1997), South Africa (1999), and South Korea (2007,2010). He has challenged himself by taking on teams presenting new and interesting challenges depending on the stage of the tournament and the players he has had to work with. In 2011 he participated in the Master Class Coaching Clinic in Moscow, Russia. Mark has worked with both male and female teams, which, he says, respond to different teaching methods.

Mark has gained experience of promoting disabled sports to the media, including working with television and radio. The current focus of Mark’s sparkling career is as Coaching Director where his role is to develop coaches’ skills along with the athletes in their charge.

Along with all the able bodied coaching he has done he has coached Australian teams for deaf basketball, and those with intellectual disability in which he coached the first Men’s Paralympic team at the test games in Madrid in 1992.

Funke Awoderu

Funke is currently the strategic lead for The Football Association on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Funke previously held national roles for the LTA managing the network of City Tennis Clubs primarily in urban deprived areas in England. Funke is currently an LTA Councillor, nominated by the Tennis Foundation.

See our directors