Biographies

Dr Debra Evans-Williams - Chair
Dr Debra Evans-Williams - Chair

Dr Debra Evans-Williams is one of Britain’s leading businesswomen with a proven track record and an instinctive talent for generating growth and identifying new business opportunities.  

 Debra was Welsh Woman of the Year for Innovation, was recognised as one of the UK’s top 200 business women by the Queen, awarded a Life Time Achievement Award and become a honorary Doctor at Swansea University to name but a few of her recognitions.

 During her career, Debra has held a number of senior roles and has worked at a management level at some the UK’s most well-known businesses including Confused.com, Admiral, Tesco Bank, NCR, Covea, Swansea University and News Corporation.  During her time as Managing Director of Confused.com, the first UK comparison site and arguably the first in the world, Debra built the business into one of the UK’s leading aggregator sites.

 Debra lives in South Wales with her Husband Barrie and Daughters Bethan and Sophia. She is an angel investor, consults with companies both in the UK, Europe and the US. She sits on the Board of The Alacrity Foundation, Milford Haven Port Authority, Principality Building Society and Chairs Careers Wales. She also finds time to be a business ambassador for Ty Hafan.

Mr Ceri Stradling - Deputy Chair
Picture of Mr Ceri Stradling - Deputy Chair

Ceri grew up in south Wales and was educated at Pentre Grammar School and the Upper Rhondda Comprehensive School before attending Manchester University.  After graduating in Business and Finance he joined Coopers and Lybrand (now PwC) in Cardiff where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant before specialising in IT audit.

He later moved out of practice to work in the electricity industry occupying a number of different management positions over the next few years. In the mid-1980s he moved to the newly formed Audit Commission to work both in financial audit and within the discipline of value for money studies.  Over the next decade he occupied a range of senior management posts in both Wales and England and in 1996 was appointed the District Auditor responsible for the audits of all local Government, NHS and Home Office bodies in north Wales.

He has been a member of management boards in both District Audit and the Audit Commission in Wales and between 2005 and 2010 was a Senior Partner and member of the Management Committee of the Wales Audit Office (WAO).  Whilst there he was the Appointed Auditor or Engagement Partner responsible for a large portfolio of LG, NHS and Central Government bodies in mid and west Wales as well as leading the Office's technical function and its Corporate and NHS Strategies.

Ceri lives in Denbighshire and since 2011 has been a member of the BBC Audience Council in Wales.  The Council both advises the BBC Trust and holds it to account for how well it is discharging its Public Purposes for licence payers.  He is currently also an Independent Member of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and a member of Snowdonia National Park Authority.  Ceri is passionate about maximising the effectiveness of Welsh public services and has a keen interest in public broadcasting and preventing homelessness.  He is married with two adult sons and enjoys walking, reading and travel.  He is a keen follower of most types of sport, but particularly rugby union, and keeps fit by going to the gym and playing squash.

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Ms Julie James - Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Member

Although born in London, Julie married into a family that has lived for many generations in the Brecon Beacons National Park. 

Julie was Director of Personnel for 18 years for Monarch Airlines and Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd employing 3,000 staff before retiring to live in Capel Isaac, Carmarthenshire  with her husband, a retired GP, in 2000.

Julie was Chair of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority from 2011 to 2014 where she was a WG appointed Member from 2006 to 2016 and it is in this capacity that she served as a Member of South West Wales Regional Tourism Partnership where she was Vice Chair.

She holds a variety of public appointments including:  Independent Board Member of Hywel Dda University Health Board, a Non-Executive Director of the Welsh Government EPS Audit and Risk Committee and an Assessor for the Welsh Government’s Corporate Health at Work Standard.

Past public appointments have included a Non-Executive Directorship with the Welsh Ambulance NHS Trust, Health Professions Wales, and Pembrokeshire and Derwen NHS Trust.  She has also served as a Non-Executive Director of Estyn, Deputy Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Standards Committee and a Member of the OFCOM Advisory Board for Wales.

Julie has been a School, College and University Governor within England and Wales and was awarded any Honorary MBA by the University of Bedfordshire and is a Life Member of Court of Swansea University.

Julie is a Trustee of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Trustee of Brecon Beacons Trust and is a Member of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Advisory Board for Wales.  She is a past Vice Chair of Keep Wales Tidy.

Ms Julie May - Member
Picture of Ms Julie May - Member

Julie’s background is in Local Government, education and, more recently, the Third Sector.  She did accountancy training in the private sector after graduating in Economics from London University before joining Local Government and then a Training and Enterprise Council as a regional manager.  Working increasingly with colleges this role led to her appointment as Projects Director at Berkshire College of Agriculture.

Originally from Port Talbot, on returning to Wales in 1999, she joined the Further Education Funding Council for Wales and was Head of Quality before joining District Audit.  During her time there and at the Audit Commission she led on Local Government Performance Audit, The Wales Programme for Improvement, and on Education.  Appointed as an Engagement Partner at the Wales Audit Office in 2006, she was a Local Authority Relationship Manager and was also responsible for a wide range of national and local reviews of service provision. 

Julie joined Prince’s Trust Cymru in 2008 as Head of Programmes and Corporate Services, using her skills and experience to help the Trust change the lives of thousands of disadvantaged young people across Wales.  Passionate about the difference that the public and third sector can make, she joined Christian Aid in 2014 in a Performance and Development role where she works part time.

Julie was appointed as a member of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales in January 2016.

Julie is married and lives in Cardiff.

Mr Theo Joloza - Member
Picture of Mr Theo Joloza - Member

After graduating from the University of Malawi, Theo worked in the Third Sector, firstly as a project manager, then a Regional Co-ordinator of a nationwide voter civic education programme.  Following this, he worked in the insurance industry in Sheffield for Aon Limited and Capita Insurance Services between 2000 and 2005.

After completing an MA in Social Research Methods with Sheffield University, Theo moved to Newport, South Wales in January 2006, to work for the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  At ONS Theo worked on a range of initiatives including a project lead on the development of measures of children’s and young peoples’ well-being and leading on 2011 Census work on measuring identity, working closely with the devolved governments of the UK and other government departments.

While at ONS, Theo also worked on economic statistics, applying internationally agreed standards to the classification of public bodies and transactions to ensure their accurate recording in UK National Accounts until March 2016.

Theo currently works at the Department for Work and Pensions in the Business Transformation Group.

In his spare time Theo is a keen follower of sports (mainly football) and a keen amateur photographer.

Mr David Powell - Member
Picture of Mr David Powell - Member

David has lived most of his life in Cardiff.  He is married with two children and two grand-daughters.  He was educated at Whitchurch Grammar School in Cardiff and Cardiff University.  Upon leaving University in 1972 he worked in London in the Trustee Department of the then Sun Alliance Insurance Company.  

On returning to Cardiff in 1976 he joined the Highways and Transportation Department of the then Welsh Office.  During the following 35 years he held a variety of posts primarily relating to local government and financial accountability.  He retired from the Welsh Government in 2011 as Deputy Director for Local Government Finance and for the last 10 months of his career he also served as the Acting Director for Local Government and Social Justice.