Meet the staff team

Vinny Smith
Chief Executive

Besides meeting my wife and having two wonderful kids, leading MRF is the greatest privilege of my life.

The team are amazing. Our supporters are unbelievably inspiring. The cause is unquestionably important for global health.

Since joining in 2015 I’ve helped develop and launch a new brand identity, new website and a new strategy. We’ve held governments to account on vaccine policy and called for and achieved a new World Health Organisation global task force for meningitis to 2030.

In previous lives I have been, amongst other things, an international consultant, Chief Operating Officer, and Head of Direct Marketing for organisations as diverse as Cancer Research UK and the African Center for Economic Transformation (Ghana).

I juggle the most important things in my life (see above) alongside being a guest lecturer at the University of the West of England on organisational development; being a Steering Committee member of the Global Meningococcal Initiative; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacturers; and a Trustee of Autistica.

For leisure I cycle; visit art galleries; fight the weeds at my allotment; and keep four small fish and two snails.

Research, Evidence and Policy
Linda Glennie
Research, Evidence and Policy
Director of Research, Evidence and Policy

 I'm Linda Glennie and I'm Director of Research, Evidence and Policy at MRF where I've worked since 1997.
I work with scientists and health professionals across a range of disciplines to develop information materials for the public and for health professionals, and I've co-authored several educational resources for nurses and trainee doctors. I also organise the scientific programme for the Foundation’s biennial international conferences.
I'm responsible for managing the administration, peer review and monitoring of the Foundation’s international research programme.

Liz Rodgers
Research, Evidence and Policy
Research Officer

Hi, I’m Liz and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation in October 2016 as Research Officer.

My role involves working with the Scientific Advisory Panel on the Foundation's research programme. It’s really exciting to see how our research programme evolves, from the initial selection of research applications, to working with our communications team to help publicise our research in novel ways.

In addition to this, I help organise smaller, more regular events throughout the year. I particularly enjoy planning our Research Discovery Days – which gives our members and the general public a chance to meet the scientists leading the research.

Claire Wright
Research, Evidence and Policy
Evidence and Policy Manager (Prevention)

My name is Claire and my role as Evidence and Policy Manager (Prevention) involves working on the educational materials that MRF distributes to health professionals and the public, making sure that it is up to date with findings from current research.

I also try to answer specific medical questions we receive about meningitis and septicaemia and promote the charity's work at conferences around the country.

It’s very rewarding to work on awareness literature which may go on to help save lives and support those who have been affected by this disease.

Advocacy, Communications and Support
Rob Dawson
Director of Advocacy, Communications and Support
Advocacy, Communications and Support

Rob joined in 2016 after seeing the great work the charity does to help people affected by meningitis and septicaemia.

He is a strategic communications director with a experience in health and science across industry, public sector and not-for-profits. While working for government, he was highlighted for excellence in strategy, team motivation and evaluation in an independent review of communications capability by the UK Government’s Cabinet Office. 

Chair of the STEM PR Association, Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) member, Communiqué Award judge and has guest lectured at Cambridge and Kent Universities.

Awards include: Third Sector Awards 2018, Communications Campaign of the Year for Meningitis Research Foundation’s adolescent vaccine campaign; Communiqué Awards 2007, Best Use of a Survey for GlaxoSmithKline’s HIV portfolio; Communiqué Awards 2005, Best Patient Campaign for a social marketing campaign for Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare Trust. 

He was editor of the NAM and aidsmap HIV Treatment Training Manual and creates content as a freelancer for a range of health platforms. 

His other passions are plants, theatre and flying trapeze.

Cat Keeling
Advocacy, Communications and Support
Support and Membership Manager

My name is Cat, I manage the Support service and Membership here at MRF.

I lead a very knowledgeable, dedicated and kind team. We provide support through varying ways to anyone affected by this awful disease, often at the time people need it the most.

I also oversee the Befriending service and Ambassadors programme. We have recently introduced Members Meet Ups, where we travel around the country hosting events for people to meet and share their experiences.

We also, often deliver awareness talks and have a presence at many of MRF fundraising events.

Outside of MRF I love being a mum to my children, also me and my partner love to travel and explore.

Katherine Carter
Advocacy, Communications and Support
Information and Support Officer

Hi, I’m Katherine and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation in August 2015.

I raise awareness of meningitis and septicaemia by sharing medical information about the disease with the general public and health professionals.

I am involved in organising MRF events for families and health professionals, and meet our members and supporters in the community offering our support, whatever their experience of meningitis and septicaemia.

I also take helpline calls and answer emails from people with a range of queries about meningitis and septicaemia, including symptoms and after effects, and offer them support if they or their loved ones are affected. I am humbled by the inspirational people we meet.

Rosanna Russell
Research, Evidence and Policy
Community Engagement Officer & Meningitis Mentors Project Manager

I’m Rosanna and I joined MRF in January 2018. I work as Meningitis Mentors Manager and also, temporarily, as the Community Engagement Officer whilst covering maternity leave.
Meningitis Mentors is a new MRF project to expand our outreach services, ensuring support is available in different formats. We will be publicising this project in the coming months so watch this space for more information.

I also manage the MRF Ambassador and Befrienders schemes through my role as the Community Engagement Officer. Please contact me if you’d like more information on any of the above.  

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