Associate Professor in Midwifery and Reproductive Health
Dr Alys Einion-Waller is Associate Professor of Midwifery at Swansea University, an author and a novelist. She is the Co-Chair of the Swansea University LGBT+ Staff Network, and as Departmental Research Lead, supports colleagues to research and write about all that they do. She is a passionate activist for gender inclusion, equality and diversity, and is a prolific writer, editing and contributing to academic volumes on motherhood, families and gender. She curates the Evidence Series for the Practising Midwife Journal, and is currently researching media representations of women and the family. Her novels Inshallah and Ash are published by Honno Welsh Women’s Press.
Mental health campaigner
Andrew is a professional educator and accredited professional guide. He is National trainer for Mental Health First Aid in Wales, trainer for new professional guides and nature connection leaders.
He has been a pioneer in the successful work of therapeutic nature connection and peer mentor support, founding the social enterprise Reconnect in Nature and creating the innovative “nature connections and well being “intervention and the accredited training of “Nature connection leaders”.
Current MSc student in “mental health recovery and social inclusion” and has specialist interest in the expertise of lived experience and mental health. He is also a champion for the Time to Change Wales campaign.
Business growth expert
Cheryl’s commitment to providing support and encouragement for female business executives and entrepreneurs dates back to 1992 when she launched one of the first Enterprise Centres for women in business. The centre became a global model for best practice in developing enterprise services to women in business and led to the first Women’s Initiative Group in Wales, funded by European Funding.
In 2001, Cheryl gained her MA in Entrepreneurship from Durham University, winning her a distinction and ‘The Dissertation of the Year Award’ for advancing research in entrepreneurial personality with ONCE UPON A TIME – How childhood development impacts upon entrepreneurial posture, soon to be published in paperback.
This award winning research sits in the very heart of I AM WOMAN and has been upon which their ASPIRE Development Programme for Entrepreneurial Women has evolved.
Chairperson - Ogmore Phoenix Runners
A passionate runner, this year Chris set himself the challenge of running nineteen marathons in 2019. He was instrumental in bringing Ogmore Phoenix Runners back to life, winning a Welsh Athletics award for Volunteer of the Year in 2018 for his endeavours, followed by the club receiving the notable accolade of Welsh Athletics Development Club of the Year in 2019. He loves the experience of bringing people together through communal running, events and personal challenges. Chris' passion for the community of the Ogmore Valley is a key part of his life, and he wants to promote the positive impact that organisations such as running clubs play in promoting fitness, a sense of togetherness and opportunities for personal growth and exploration.
Nantymoel Boxing Club was founded in 2010, the gym is situated in the heart of the Ogmore Valley occupying the old “belt club”. Having started coaching in various rooms at the Boys and Girls clubs Nantymoel, Wyndham and Bettws, the club outgrew each location with quick succession due to member numbers.
Dean Morgan is the head coach of Nantymoel boxing club and has been coaching for over 25 years, in which time he has trained approx 2-3000 young people. Many of his champions were once the victims of bullying at school and his work to build them up and give them supreme confidence is his reward for all the hard work involved.
Autism awareness campaigner
Konrad Halabuda was this year awarded the Bridge FM Dad of the Year award thanks to his work in raising awareness of autism, and encouraging schools to become more autism-friendly. He is dad to an amazing autistic boy, Hunter.
He loves basketball, hip hop music and all things graphic and design, and works at Bridgend College as a digital developer and staff governor.
Male postnatal depression activist
In late 2004, Mark witnessed his wife go through a traumatic birth, feeling out of control and having his first ever panic attack at thirty years of age. Michelle, his wife, was quickly diagnosed with severe postnatal depression but after looking after Michelle feeling isolated and using alcohol to cope Mark himself was having suicidal thoughts in the postnatal period suffering in silence for years until a breakdown over five years later.
After setting up a support group he founded International Fathers Mental Health Day and #Howareyoudad campaign to make sure all parents are having support for their mental health.
Since 2011 Mark has spoken on television and radio stations around the world and works with Dr Jane Hanley who have both published articles on Fathers Mental Health together. Mark was awarded Inspirational Father of the Year and Local Hero at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2012 and was invited to meet The Royal Family on World Mental Health Day in 2016.
Youth Mayor - Bridgend
Megan is a sixth form student in Brynteg, Bridgend who next year plans to go to university to study Biomedical science. She first joined cadets when she was 13 and has now reached the rank of Flight Sergeant.
She joined the Youth Council a year ago, took the role on the Outreach Cabinet and as of September 2019 became the Youth Mayor of Bridgend. She is a passionate advocate for the role of young people within society and the local community
Leadership Trainer, Coach and Mentor
Mel is director of The Progress Company and has been in the learning and development industry for over 20 years. She works with a range of partners, associates and clients both in the UK and internationally across different sectors, industries and organisation sizes. A member of the ILM and NLP qualified, she combines leadership style, practice, skills, knowledge, qualities, attitude and mindset growth with those of wellbeing and her training, coaching and mentoring interventions are adapted and tailored to the audience and setting. In addition to this, we design and deliver our UGrow development programmes, aimed at leadership and wellbeing change and progress for young people, parents, teaching and support staff, community/charity/voluntary organisations and businesses. Mel encourages and supports others with her long-held belief that authentic, emotionally intelligent leadership is a fundamental and essential basis on which all other aspects can be built.
Michelle has a degree in business studies and became a coach with a blue chip company but after suffering postnatal depression changed her career through voluntary work. Awarded with Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People award for mental health and for her work with the local youth club by Boys and Girls Club of Wales feels she has more purpose in her life. Michelle has also shared her story about her depression in National Newsapers, BBC 4 Women hour and ITV Good Morning Britain. She started the campaign to reopen the mother and baby unit in Wales with her husband Mark and is a Maternal Mental Health Alliance Champion.
Health care support worker
Sam Clements is a 26 year old health care support worker in a mental health hospital. He also owns and runs a clothing brand with a couple of friends.
During his time studying history at university he began doing a lot of reading. His interest moved away from history however, with his focus turning instead to philosophy. He began to supplement this reading with time spent on his own, free of any distractions, immersing himself into the workings of the mind. From this came a great passion for, and a desire to, fully understand himself and his thoughts; where they originate, what influences them, and the impact that they have on both himself and the world around him. Seeing the way we all suffer at the hands of our own minds, inspires him to understand and thus seek release from this suffering. I feel this idea is hugely important to all of us, both individually and as a whole, and he is looking forward to sharing his personal musings on the subject on the TEDx stage.
Advocate - Disability Rights
A well known media spokesperson Simon is an elected Director of Disability Wales. As a passionate advocate for disability rights, Simon has influenced significant improvements for disabled people in Bridgend. He played a role in putting disability hate crime on the agenda with a BBC documentary and continues to campaign for stronger action against perpetrators of hate crime.
In addition to his role as Chair of Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People, Simon is also involved with:
Wales Diversity Awards, as a founder member
Coordinator with the Disability Hate Crime Network
Trustee with Talking Flight Theatre Group
Member of ITV Wales Diversity Group
Scrutiny panel with CPS and adviser on dealing with Disability Hate Crime
Bridgend Equality Forum
Bridgend Community Cohesion Group
HCPC registered counselling psychologist
Dr Sue Whitcombe is a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Counselling Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS). She is Chair of the BPS Training Committee in Counselling Psychology and sits on the BPS Expert Witness Advisory Group. Sue has worked with children and families for more than twenty years. During her training, she came across parental alienation – the unjustified rejection of a parent where there was previously a good-enough, loving, normal range, relationship. She studied the phenomenon, undertook research and established a not-for-profit social enterprise to work with children, parents and families experiencing this, and other post separation, difficulties. Sue continues to work in this field, offering evidence informed interventions, delivering BPS Approved training, consultancy and working as an Expert Witness for the Family Court.
Maternal mental health specialist
Dr Tracy Breathnach is an educator, performance artist, researcher and arts manager who is deeply committed to working with communities. Originally from Ireland, now based in South Wales, she has worked in a variety of community settings for 20 years. In 2010 Tracy started making performances that explore narrative and identity as a way to better understand her own experience of giving birth. She took this forward as research PhD at Aberystwyth University, investigating how narrative, rhythm and caesura are performed through the body when we speak our stories, and specifically in the ways women might ‘perform’ their birth stories. Tracy’s performance practice is embedded in deep listening, somatic movement and ’speaking the body.’ Tracy works in a variety of settings including as manager of an arts and mental health charity, delivering community heritage projects as well as running Birth Café in partnership with People Speak Up.