RCN Executive team

RCN Executive Team

The Executive Team is responsible for leading the RCN

The Chief Executive & General Secretary runs the organisation with the help of the Executive Team. They get their authority from RCN Council. You can find out more about the Executive Team on this page.

Donna Kinnair

Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary

Dame Donna Kinnair, has been acting as Chief Executive and General Secretary since August 2018, and was permanently appointed in April 2019.

Donna joined the RCN as Head of Nursing in 2015, providing leadership to the Nursing departments. Donna was then promoted and joined the RCN Executive Team to Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice in 2016, where her key role is to work with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement the future RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy.
Prior to joining the RCN Donna held various roles, including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust; Executive Director of Nursing, Southeast London Cluster Board; Director of Commissioning, London Borough of Southwark & Southwark PCT. She was the Strategic Commissioner for Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Health Authority’s Children’s Services.

Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry. 

Mike Adams

Mike Adams, Director, England

Mike Adams joined the RCN as West Midlands Regional Director in August 2017 with over 20 years of experience as a registered nurse (adult field) in both the clinical and Higher Education settings. 

After spending several years in practice Mike moved to Birmingham City University and held a number of roles in the Faculty of Health. He lectured on various subjects, led the Department of Practice Learning across the Faculty and then held the post of Associate Head of School for Nursing and Midwifery for the last three years of his time there. Mike was also the BCU representative Stakeholder Governor with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust. 

He sees being appointed to the role of RCN Director, England as a privilege and is very aware of the challenges and stresses that many nurses face on a day to day basis. He aims to continue to build the RCN community in order to help improve both working lives and patient care.  Mike is a strong believer that kindness and understanding can be applied to any situation and nursing staff should always try to show this in how they interact and care for patients, service users and each other.
Jane Clarke

Jane Clarke, RCN Group Secretary

Jane is responsible for ensuring the organisations that make up the RCN Group work within the law and have the policies, processes and controls in place to achieve this. She is also responsible for providing corporate governance advice to the Group and secretariat support to the Council and the Committees.

Jane has worked for membership organisations all her career. She joined the RCN in 2006. Before that she was Secretary of the National Trust, the largest single membership organisation in the UK, joining from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Aaron Clift

Aaron Clift, Director of Transformation, Innovation and Digital

Aaron joined the RCN in 2020 and has overall responsibility for digital transformation.

Prior to joining the RCN, Aaron was Head of Digital Strategy Products & Innovation at NatWest and before this Head of Transformation at BT Group.

Aaron has delivered large scale transformation programmes across telecommunications and financial services including the merger of Orange and T-Mobile UK launching the EE Group and the digital transformation of commercial banking within the NatWest Group.

Aaron is passionate about transforming organisations through new ways of working using digital technology.

Pat Cullen, Director RCN Northern Ireland

Pat Cullen, Director, Northern Ireland

Pat has worked at the RCN since 2016 and has been in post as Director of RCN Northern Ireland since May 2019.

In a career that has spanned both hospital and community settings, Pat was Assistant Director of Mental Health Services and Professional Head of Nursing in a local health care trust before joining the Department of Health as Nursing Officer in 2001. During this time she was involved in the development of the commissioning of the first Medium Secure Unit in Northern Ireland and the first Department of Health standards for clinical supervision in mental health nursing.

Following this, Pat took on various roles in commissioning before being appointed Deputy Director of Nursing, Safety, Quality and Patient Experience in the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Health and Social Care Board (HSCB). Pat led the development of the first safety and quality strategy in Northern Ireland and established the 10,000 Voices project which collected patient voices in order to inform commissioning decisions.

Pat was then seconded as Executive Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professions within the PHA and HSCB. Before joining the RCN, Pat, on behalf for the Department of Health, led the commissioning and performance management arrangements for unscheduled care services.

In addition to her extensive career experience, Pat is a registered psychotherapist.

Theresa Fyffe

Theresa Fyffe, Director, Scotland

Theresa was appointed as Director of the RCN in Scotland in 2007. Theresa is a registered nurse who began her nursing career in Dublin. She later worked within critical care nursing, in the fields of intensive care and neuroscience.

Prior to her appointment as Director of the RCN in Scotland, Theresa was Director of Practice Development and Research within Tayside University Hospitals Trust and Head of Nursing Services. In 2000 Theresa joined the Scottish Executive Health Department as the Nursing Officer responsible for policy, practice development and research. Within a wide ranging role, Theresa had responsibility for research, quality, safe and effective care, clinical leadership, practice development, acute services and strategy development. She went on to become the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer (Interim).

In her current role Theresa is Co-Chair of the Scottish Partnership Forum and works with colleagues in Scotland and across the UK to influence public health strategy and policy.

Tim Golbourn

Tim Golbourn, Director of Finance and Business Enablement

Tim joined the RCN in 2007 and has overall responsibility for finance, membership administration, marketing and events, IT and estates. 

Prior to joining the RCN, Tim was Director of Finance and IT at Waltham Forest Primary Care Trust. He worked in the NHS for 21 years and held board-level director positions in a number of different NHS bodies. Both through his roles and outside of them, he has held other Trustee and Director positions in health sector-based organisations. 

Tim is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
Fay Johnstone

Fay Johnstone, Director of People & OD

Fay joined the RCN in 2020 as Director of People & OD, with overall responsibility for the POD team and the Estates team.

Prior to joining the RCN, Fay was Head of People at the Royal College of Anaesthetists and, before this, Director of HR at the National Centre for Social Research. Fay has over 30 years’ working in human resources in both the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Fay’s passion in HR is helping managers (at all levels) to engage, motivate and manage their teams and individuals so that they can achieve their business goals.

Fay is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.
Susan Masters

Susan Masters, Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs

Susan has been in her current role since December 2019. She has been a registered nurse for 29 years. Susan trained as a Registered General Nurse at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, qualifying in 1991, staying there post-graduation to work on acute wards and the coronary care unit.

Susan later moved to Great Ormond Street Hospital to become dual trained as a Registered Sick Children's Nurse. Returning to the South West region, Susan studied health visiting at the University of the West of England and, after qualifying, worked as a health visitor for many years in Somerset.

She had many years' experience in senior leadership roles, including regional roles and as an associate director of nursing and quality in a South West clinical commissioning group before joining the RCN in February 2018 taking up the role of regional director for the South West region. She is a graduate of the NHS Leadership Academy, gaining an MSc in Senior Leadership.

Nicole Valentinuzzi

Nicole Valentinuzzi, Director of Communications

Nicole joined the RCN in 2020. Previously she was the Director of Communications and Marketing at the Institute for Government, the UK's leading think tank working on government effectiveness. Having worked in Westminster for over a decade, she has held communications and private secretary roles in the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice.

Nicole has advised on global communication campaigns for a range of organisations, including international NGOs and grassroots charities, and she is currently a trustee of the Schools Consent Project. Her professional training and background is in journalism and public communications.

Helen Whyley

Helen Whyley, Director, Wales

Helen has been in post since November 2018 and was previously been Associate Director (Employment Relations) at RCN Wales. She is Chair of the All Wales Trade Union Group, Wales NHS Partnership Forum. Helen previously worked in the office of the Welsh Government's Chief Nursing Officer including advising on policy on the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016. Her clinical background is in intensive care.