Anna is an impact strategy 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. Armed with a deep knowledge of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, she moved 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 mental health.
For the next 12 years, Anna worked as an independent consultant. She became an on-going learning provider for the Big Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Community Fund), conducting a range of qualitative research projects with grant holders to inform BLF’s strategy for supporting frontline/local charities. 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. 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 Lambeth (both schools with the majority of students from ethnic minority backgrounds).
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 small 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 in 2015. She continues to act as a Learning Partner to Pilotlight and other capacity builder organisations (including Pro Bono Economics and the Cranfield Trust) as they look to develop a more effective infrastructure for voluntary sector support.