Find out who sits on the BMC's Board of Directors, and a little bit about their professional backgrounds and outdoor interests.
Paul Drew – Independent Director (2019-2021) Chair (2021)
Paul has been climbing for over 30 years, starting through his University mountaineering club. He has climbed and skied extensively throughout the world but North Wales has always been his favourite location conveniently close to his home near Chester.
With rock climbing he switches between trad and sports depending upon the location and season, equally at home on the sea cliffs in the Outer Hebrides, new routing in the Anti-Atlas in Morocco or sport climbing in Spain, France, Greece or Italy. However many places he visits though, he finds it hard to beat the excitement of climbing on Main Cliff at Gogarth with the waves crashing beneath his feet.
He also has a lot of experience in mountaineering, in the Alps and further back in the Himalayas and Andes. More recently he has focused on longer rock routes in the Alps & Spain, being fortunate to have a place in the Ecrins with both granite and limestone crags in close vicinity (Tete d’Aval being a particular favourite), but also trips to the Dolomites, Picos de Europa, Chamonix, Bregalia, Uri etc. In the last 12 years he has ventured more into ski mountaineering, a more enjoyable way to ascend high mountains in the Alps than snow plodding in the summer, typically managing 2 or 3 weeks each winter.
In his professional career he spent 25 years working in the IT/Telecoms sector for a company called Metaswitch holding a variety of senior management positions. Since retiring from this he has focused on supporting start-ups in the IT sector mostly in and around Manchester, acting as a mentor to Ignite (as start-up incubator), an advisor and a non-exec director at 4 companies. He is also involved as a non-exec director at his local climbing wall, Boulder Hut in Ellesmere Port where has has learnt a lot about the indoor climbing industry.
Andy Syme – President & Director (2021-2024)
Based in Yorkshire, I have been a mountaineer for over 40 years. Starting with hill walking with my family in the Peak District, I fell in love with climbing in my early teens, had my first alpine season at 16 and have climbed all over the UK and in the Himalayas, Greenland, the USA, Africa and Europe. Now I mainly boulder, indoor and out, and trad climb in the UK, reserving my foreign trips for ice climbing in Europe. A member of the BMC since my 20s, I joined the National Council through my local area in 2017. I was heavily involved in developing and explaining the changes to the Articles in 2018 and was Deputy President from 2019 till my election.
After over 20 years in the Army, in 2006 I joined the NHS, working in senior roles in various national IT projects, before moving to the private sector in 2013. I am now the General Manager of a software company supporting GPs, primary care and public health organisations.
Having been intimately involved in implementing the ORG changes since 2017 I have a detailed insight into what we intended, where this has worked, and where it has not worked. As a member of the Board I want to ensure that in effectively and efficiently managing the BMC as a company the voice of the members is clearly represented and their needs and aspirations for the BMC remain central to every decision and action taken by the Board.
Flavia Alzetta – Independent Director (2021-2024)
Flavia’s interest in the outdoors goes back to her teenage years in Italy, where she lived at the foot of the Alps north of Venice. She enjoyed hiking in the Dolomites in the summer and cross-country or downhill skiing in the winter. Her curiosity and eagerness to explore led her to learn the skills to allow her to fully enjoy mountaineering all year round. That is how Flavia started first to scramble and later to rock- and ice-climb.
Flavia has lived in London since 1998, and a significant part of her training and/or practice takes place in North Wales, in the Peak District or on the South Coast. Flavia also regularly goes to the Alps for higher-altitude mountaineering and ski touring. Whenever longer trips are possible she likes to go to the Andes (she summitted Aconcagua in 2017) or to the Nepalese Himalaya. Flavia has been a BMC member for several years and has participated in a number of BMC-supported training events.
Flavia works as a CEO for a European paytech business. She has more than 25 years of experience in general management with a passion for developing customer-centric businesses and building talented and high-performing teams. She also brings significant experience in transforming organisations and developing innovative commercial propositions and partnerships.
Diane Hopper – Independent Director (2021-2024)
Di comes from the HR sector and has a career spanning 20 years working with a diverse array of businesses and companies. Aside from leading HR management at international blue chip and SME businesses across a range of sectors, Di’s experience in driving forward communication and engagement activities in both union and non-union environments will be invaluable to the BMC – particularly with the successful implementation of the BMC Clubs Strategy.
Her experience also includes specialist turnaround and mergers/acquisitions leadership knowledge, global talent acquisition, global professional services and HR SSC leadership and implementation. And experience in leadership talent and performance design and delivery aligned to business transformation, programme Management through periods of growth and right-sizing, and end to end process and policy design including CI through the introduction of global SAAS technology.
Caroline Worboys – Senior Independent Director (2021-2024)
Over the last 10 years, Caroline has rediscovered a passion for the outdoors and mountains, making this opportunity at the BMC extremely exciting. Her passion for trekking, hill walking and trail running has taken her to amazing places: the Himalayas, Morocco, the Alps, Chile, Yosemite and, of course, the UK. She is committed to ensuring that people of all backgrounds and abilities continue to experiment and try new activities like she has.
As a professional, Caroline has also continually challenged herself and others. She possesses 30 years of experience as a Senior Executive, both as an entrepreneur and corporate director in the UK and globally. She has predominately been focused on building and leading businesses using data and digital technologies as a key strategic driver for growth.
As a NED, Caroline has acted as Chair and Vice Chair of the DMA Group (Data & Marketing Association) which is also a membership organisation. Caroline currently consults and manages a successful personal investment portfolio in which she takes an active and supporting role, once again helping them grow into mature and stable organisations.
Fiona Sanders – Council Nominated Director (2019-2022)
As a former president, vice president and secretary of the Climbers' Club (2005-2013), the largest BMC-affiliated club, Fiona dealt with a range of governance issues and brought a strategic direction to the club. In 2009 Fiona took the initiative in work that lead to the formation of the BMC Clubs’ Committee. After its inception, she helped set up and organise a training programme for club members and pushing for a FT club officer. As chair (2013-18), she inspired volunteers and staff alike, to co-ordinate their efforts on behalf of clubs.
Recently she became involved with the Lakes area as a National Council Representative where she has helped to introduce more effective communication and developing a co-ordinated approach to access and conservation. Alongside this Fiona has been integral to the Organisational Review and the Organisational Development Groups.
Fiona combines a passion for the outdoors with directly relevant knowledge & experience gained during a professional career in leadership development, performance management and executive coaching which also included being a Company Director and senior manager.
Fiona is still a regular climber in the mountains as well as at sports venues. She is a stalwart champion of all the different types of BMC members, striving to ensure that they are central to the BMC and that they are dealt with equitably within the BMC framework.
Carl Spencer – Council Nominated Director (2020-2021)
Carl has been climbing, skiing and mountain biking for over 35 years with his early experiences in the mountains being provided by his local and university clubs. He has climbed extensively in Europe & North America with a preference towards big walls when possible or ski-touring with a split board in winter. He is currently an active climber both indoors and out and is happiest with the sun on his back, a jam crack ahead of him and a full rack of cams on his waist. Together with his partner Clare the last few years have been devoted to bringing up their two sons whom also climb and have both competed on the youth circuit for the past 10 years.
He first became involved with the BMC as a contributor to the Lancashire Rock guidebook in the mid-90’s and on the back of that has put up a handful new routes in the Lancashire quarries and elsewhere in the UK. He then went on to become more involved in BMC volunteering as Access Rep for the NW Area, Secretary of the NW Area, Chair of the NW Area and also President of the Preston Mountaineering Club.
Carl has 15+ years business experience in engineering, project management and risk management within the aerospace industry followed by a further 20+ years experience of running his own hybrid IT/software/marketing company employing 10 people. He is also passionate about the environment, climate change and the general ethics of business.
Peter Salenieks – Council Nominated Director (2020-2021)
Peter’s enduring passion for the outdoors was nurtured through scouting and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award scheme. It grew through year-round hill walking, scrambling, rock climbing, snow & ice climbing and mountaineering in his college mountaineering club, combined with adventures in Europe & Scandinavia. He has belonged to a Welsh mountaineering club for over thirty years, including six years as chair.
Mountain leader training developed the underpinning skills needed for treks and expeditions further afield, including the Himalaya, Africa, the Middle & Far East and America. Travel to the wild places of the world sits well with his love of photography and a desire to inspire others through shared stories. Without setting out to do so, he has developed a penchant for climbing volcanoes.
Professionally, Peter is a Chartered Engineer, majoring in systems and software engineering and allied disciplines. He was previously engaged with his professional body at regional and national level. His hallmark combination of specialist skills and a holistic vision is well-matched to the needs of the BMC during a time of change.
Peter served on club committees, before becoming active in the BMC South West and Cymru South Wales Areas. He was elected chair of Clubs’ Committee and joined National Council as an observer, where he also represents specialist committees on the R33 Working Group, whilst it prepares National Council for the transition to a Members’ Council. Peter is a founder member of the Pwyllgor Cymru - Wales Committee and supports several other BMC committees. His outlook has been enriched through long association with mountains and mountaineers. As a BMC volunteer, he is keen to put something back.
Jonathan White – Nominated Director (2019-2022)
Growing up beside Dartmoor, hills and mountains have been a big part of Jonathan’s life since school days: starting with Ten Tors and DofE. Long walks became the objective in themselves, then university brought frequent weekend club trips around the UK, an introduction to playing in the snow and ice, and the first in a succession of Alps trips. Expeditions followed, with adventures in Argentina, Greenland, Norway, Svalbard, Morocco and Iran. This was alongside mountain walking and climbing in the UK, plus parallel interests in mountain biking, skiing and ski-mountaineering.
Professionally he is a Chartered Civil Engineer working as a director of construction and services businesses. He brings a combined operational and commercial focus and extensive line management and risk experience, including from challenging corporate governance roles. He has worked in various aspects of infrastructure in the UK and abroad, specialising in business transformation in mobilisation, delivery and recovery.
Jonathan has been on the committees of four clubs, including a large university club, a small start-up club, and more recently the Alpine Club, so brings a breadth and depth to the clubs’ perspective, and much of what’s involved with running them. A BMC club member since 1991 and individual member since 1996, he’s been active with three Areas, a member of the Management Committee that pre-dated the Board, Chair of Training, and was a member of two organisational reviews. Recently he has supported the governance workstream of the current BMC review.
Jonny Dry – Nominated Director (2019-2022)
A hooked climber ever since his Dad took him and his brother up Flying Buttress, Jonny is also a longstanding competitive fell, cross-country and track athlete. Through his role as Membership Secretary for Kendal Athletics Club, voluntary Mountain Leader work, and his involvement with the BMC he is passionate about the culture of both mountaineering and running, and working to engage young and under-represent individuals in its history, environment and community.
Alongside his outdoor background, Jonny has a particular passion for arts and culture more broadly; be it literature, film or music. To this end he has directed and produced fictional films since 2012, with his latest project screening at UK film festivals, and further upcoming short films portraying remote communities and rural environments on screen. He also works as an assistant director on both short and feature length work, advising and running production logistics on-set and managing diverse teams of cast and crew.
Alongside this he has studied mountain and environmental literature at Lancaster University, and also worked as a freelance marketer and writer for a range of organisations; including the Mountain Heritage Trust, Mount Everest Foundation and Alpine Club.
Martyn Hurn – Nominated Director (2021-2024)
I started climbing in 1966. We lived in Hampshire so early venues were Harrison’s, Swanage and the Avon Gorge. Trips up North to the mountains of Wales and the Lakes were infrequent but enough to get me hooked. Trips to the alps followed and finally expeditions to the greater ranges. I still climb whenever possible and also enjoy ski mountaineering and sea kayaking.
I trained as an Outdoor Education teacher at Bangor Normal college and then spent 13 years working in various outdoor centres culminating with a tenure at Plas-Y-Brenin. This was followed by a move into the outdoor industry, initially in marketing roles for various companies but finally moving into product development, I’d always been, and remain, a gear tinkerer. I spent the final 10 years as Head of Product Development at Lowe Alpine. On retirement I set up my own consultancy serving the outdoor industry. I have published a number of instructional books on skiing, fitness for climbing, off-piste skiing and ski mountaineering, and I also produced an instructional CD rom about how to navigate in the outdoors.
Paul Davies – Chief Executive
Paul has spent 20+yrs in the Elite Sport world, starting as an Exercise Physiologist working for the British Olympic Association and taking a number of roles on the way to becoming Performance Director for England Netball and then for British Wheelchair Basketball. Paul has had a lifelong passion for the outdoors, having climbed both in summer and winter across many regions of the UK. More recently he’s focussed on hill walking, either with family, friends or solo.