Meet the Board

Rhys Thomas, Vice Chair

Rhys is a chartered construction manager working as a design manager for a construction and development company in south Wales, as well as the south west of England. He is responsible for ensuring new projects progress through the development stages and get on site. 

Rhys has been a Board member since 2016 and is enjoying all aspects of his board membership role ensuring Newydd remains a strong tenant focused organisation. 

Rhys is also a member of the Governance Committee and sits on the Living Quarters Wales Board.

Christopher Dawson-Morris

Chris is Deputy Director of Planning at the Aneurin Bevan Health Board.

Chris spent 10 years in Welsh Government, working directly with health ministers developing health policy and accountability frameworks. Whilst in Welsh Government, Chris worked on legislation to develop powers over housing. He was a member of the Welsh Government Board and UK civil service shadow board, helping to support the development of the civil service at a Welsh and UK level.

Chris has been a Board Member since 2017 and is the Anti Social Behaviour Board Champion as well as the Value for Money Champion. 

Chris also sits on the Governance Committee.

Claire Marshall, Chair

Claire qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2003 while at KPMG and completed her MBA at Warwick Business School in 2012. She has over ten years of experience working across audit, finance, corporate finance and risk roles. 

Claire has been a Board Member since 2015 and also sits on the Governance Committee.

Shani Payter

Shani has a degree in housing practice and policy and has worked in the Welsh housing sector for five years. She currently works for a local authority within the housing management team in community investment which involves assisting people to gain employment, health and wellbeing projects, digital inclusion, time banking and an open spaces project. 

Shani also does relief work in a Homeless Hostel which is something that Shani is passionate about as she believes that everyone deserves to have somewhere that they can call home, which is of a good standard and quality.

Shani is a Newydd tenant and she has been a Board member since 2017.

Shani is also the Asset Management Champion.

Rachel Jones 

Rachel brings to Newydd over 20 years of public service experience working at a national, regional and local level across a range of services including economic development, corporate policy and planning, partnership working, early intervention, community safety and community development.

Until January 2019 Rachel was the Assistant Director for Integrating Health & Social Care working across Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, Cardiff Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council with responsibility for the Regional Partnership Board, Integrated Care Fund, new care models for older people services and social value.  Rachel is currently working for Welsh Government as the Head of Evaluation for Health & Social Care Transformation and supporting the delivery of 'A Healthier Wales'.

Rachel joined the Board in February 2019 and is the Community Regeneration Champion.

Deb Austin

Deb is a qualified teacher and now works for Public Health Wales in Children and Young People’s mental health and wellbeing. Deb has been a member of the Board since 2016 and is also Chair of the Governance Committee.

Kris Ablett

Kris has held senior operational and HR management roles within retail and has also held a role within a Housing Association, Kris is now a Customer Experience Manager for a sustainable energy firm. Kris has been a member of the Board since 2017 and also sits on the Newydd Maintenance Board. 

Kris is the Customer Care and Equalities Champion.

Iorwen Brooks-Jones

Iorwen is a retired solicitor specialising in commercial property and landlord & tenant law. She has been a Board member since 2017 and also sits on the Group Audit & Risk Committee.

Matthew Dicks

Matthew is Director of the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru. He has been a Board member since 2013. He is a member of the Group Audit and Risk Committee, is Chair of the Living Quarters Wales Board and also sits on the Governance Committee.

Nick Lawley

Nick is a Director at Cooke & Arkwright Chartered Surveyors, based in Cardiff. He be brings to Newydd 18 years of experience in the Chartered Surveying industry. Nick has been a member of the Board since September 2020.