Our Team

The charity has a small tight-knit team, consisting mainly of volunteers with one full-time paid head responsible for the overall management and operational activities, including core purpose delivery and fundraising initiatives.

As of 1st June 2021, the team comprises:

- Michael McGrath, Founder, CEO & Chief Muscle Warrior*

A role model to many, Michael's life's mission is MHF's work, underpinned by a desire to not only enrich the lives of others with muscular dystrophy, through powerful shared interventions but also elevate knowledge, understanding and awareness of the disease.

Other team members include:

- Kate Barnbrook, Trust & Grants Fundraiser (c)
- Sonali Kumarakulasinghe, Governance, Organisational Development & HR/Resourcing (c)
- Grace Bailey, Communications, Digital & Partnerships Lead (v)
- Ryan Tym, Brand Guardian (v)
- Charlotte Gibling, Creative Designer (v)
- Gemma McGrath, Project & Volunteer Management (v)
- Rosemary Adams, Beneficiary Evaluation, Data & Impact Analyst (v)
- Sarah Lowther, Charity Awards Coordinator (v)

(v) denotes volunteer
(c) denotes consultant

*As MHF’s only full-time paid member of staff, Michael is responsible for the daily management of the charity’s affairs and is accountable to the Trustee Board. He has muscular dystrophy (LGMD2A) and is a permanent powerchair user.

As the figurehead and driving force behind MHF, Michael plays a pivotal role in propelling the charity forwards on a daily (24/7) basis – he also contributes heavily to service delivery. Affectionately known as the Chief Muscle Warrior, Michael personally hosts the delivery of all Muscle Dream interventions whenever possible.

A long-standing advocate in promoting the D&I (diversity & inclusion) agenda, Michael has had several 'thought leader' pieces published in journals including HRD (HR Director) where insights about workplace authenticity, leadership, disability and sport are explored including being referred to by a critical friend as 'an inconvenient truth’ and also characterized as a ‘technical fault’ by an East Coast Trains announcer as the train pulled out of Doncaster having made an unscheduled ‘call-of-nature’ stop.

Named in the Power 100 publication (2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016) as one of Britain's most influential disabled people, Michael was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts (2018) by the University of Hertfordshire, in 'recognition of his motivational  and inspirational work for persons with a disability'. His 9 minute speech on the 3rd September 2018 at the Cathedral & Abbey Church of St Alban was underpinned by a plea to graduates to 'make the discovery of their own purpose a key priority'.

Michael was appointed in July 2019 to represent the Crown as a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) in Hertfordshire, a voluntary role and in September 2019, he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

A sought after speaker, Michael is invited by private, public and third sector organisations to speak at conferences, events and away days in addition to delivering bespoke workshops and masterclasses - current prevalent keynote topics include: resilience, leadership, change, risk, teamwork and diversity.

Michael’s polar achievements are extraordinary triumphs of physical and mental endurance, and should serve as a reminder to us all that, in his own words, 'our limits are often far beyond where we may assume them to be" (SOURCE: Alexandra Shackleton, one of Michael's South Pole Expedition Patrons & the only granddaughter of Sir Ernest Shackleton).

Michael's deeply moving and empowering talk entitled 'The Power of the Polar Hug' at Europe's largest TEDx event in 2018 hosted by the University of Warwick explores the power of possible - keen for the message of hope, human connectivity, kindness and compassion to reach as many people globally with muscular dystrophy, you can help spread the message by watching and sharing Michael's talk which you'll find on his LinkedIn profile.

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