Anna is an impact strategy and evaluation consultant with a wealth of experience of research for commercial, government, academic and third sector organisations. With a BA in Psychology and five years spent at a qualitative research agency specialising in health and social care issues with vulnerable and hard to reach groups, she is particularly aware of the importance of adopting participatory approaches to evaluation, gathering stakeholder feedback to learn and improve, and combining the collection of statistical data with other evidence such as case studies to help organisations ‘tell their story’.
Immediately after graduating, she held specialist quantitative research roles – first at the Human Factors and Health section at the Buildings Research Institute (part of the Department of the Environment), and later at the Health and Social Care team at the Policy Studies Institute. Her knowledge of both qualitative and quantitative research methods enabled her to move in the mid-1990s to the client side, managing research and policy work for a number of social marketing campaigns at the Health Education Authority (now part of NICE), with particular responsibility for skin cancer and mental health.
For the next 12 years, she worked as an independent consultant, for the second half of that period, holding an on-going research supplier contract with the Big Lottery Fund (BLF). (Projects included research with grant holders to inform BLF’s thinking around how it could support frontline charities be more efficient and effective). Other work focused on research to develop and evaluate social marketing campaigns (for government departments and agencies including the COI, the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families). During this time, she held a series of interim research management roles, including: on the Policy and Research team at Coram an umbrella group of charities working with vulnerable children; and at FDS International, a full service market research agency. She also held voluntary roles: as a fundraiser at the National Literacy Trust; and as a parent governor – first at a primary and then at a secondary school in South London (both schools with a high proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals).
In September 2013, Anna joined Pilotlight, an organisation that offers strategic business support to charities through its partnership with corporates. The insights she gained into the support needs of charities through her work with BLF and Pilotlight, in addition to a long held fascination with the way that different sectors understand, measure and communicate success, inspired her to co-found Cornish and Grey with Charlotte. She continues to work very closely with Pilotlight, managing the overall impact strategy and providing evaluation training and support to its project managers, charity partners and business volunteers.