The Board of CHS is composed of a cross section of the community with representatives from multinational corporations and small businesses, churches, and legal and financial firms. Board members are not paid for their time and expertise, and provide an important link between CHS and the English speaking community in Belgium. They also offer support and guidance to the administrative office team.
- Geoff Brown - Chair
- Stephen Mazurkiewicz - Treasurer
- Magda Kelley - Company Secretary
- Marie-Thérèse Kastl - Clinical Director
- Sue Borger - Administrator
- Ola Ajadi
- Stuart Gregory
- Sunny Hallanan
- Laura Hoffman
- Malcolm Johnson
- Michael Penning
- Julie-Anne Stennett
- John Stuyck
- Helpline Representative to the Board
- Julie-Anne Stennett
Message from the CHS patron, the British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose
Alison Rose: "Moving to a foreign country is an exhilarating experience. But there is a lot to learn, and it helps if you can draw on advice from those who know their way around. Those of my own team who have moved from the UK to Belgium have found the CHS telephone Helpline invaluable on a wide range of issues.
And CHS also support English speakers who are finding life particularly hard because of mental illness. This is so much more common than many people suppose. 1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year, and 1 in 6 experiences this at any given time. CHS’s Mental Health Centre is very experienced in dealing with these issues, which is important when sufferers may be far from their normal support networks.
Of course, getting involved in local organisations is an important part of starting to feel ‘at home’ in a new place. So I would encourage readers of this website to consider volunteering for CHS. Training and supervision are provided."
Geoff Brown was appointed Chair of the CHS Board of Directors in May 2015. Geoff, a native of Northern Ireland, came to Brussels in 1975 as a newly qualified Chartered Accountant ‘for two or three years’ and has lived here ever since. He worked for Price Waterhouse, J.P.Morgan, and later Euroclear until his retirement at the end of 2011. Geoff is married and mainly divides his time between different home and leisure activities and voluntary work. Prior to becoming Chair, he had spent more than 3 years as a volunteer on the CHS Helpline team.
Trained in sociology, clinical psychology, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, Marie-Thérèse joined CHS in 1987. She works with children and adults and also practices family therapy, both at CHS and in private practice. For a number of years she was one of the professional supervisors for the Helpline, providing regular support to the volunteer team. Marie-Thérèse aims to ensure CHS continues its collaborative work, providing a professional service to the international community.
Stephen arrived in Belgium in 1986 as a recently qualified accountant planning on spending a few years abroad and then returning to the UK. After 30 years he is still here. During his professional career he has worked for large American corporations in the areas of accounting, audit and systems. Having been involved in the ex-pat sporting community both as a player and treasurer for Royal Brussels British Football Club Stephen now wants to help in other areas including offering his financial experience to support CHS in the role of Treasurer.
Magda Kelley felt “a sort of expat in my own country” having been born in Wallonia to a Flemish family. Her insight into expat life expanded as an exchange student in the USA at age 16 and later further study in Germany, and she has helped her American husband to integrate into Belgium. Her career at the European Commission gave her insight into the challenges many expats face. She came into contact with CHS in seeking educational testing for her daughter. Now she uses her language skills and office experience, as well as her native knowledge of Belgium for the work of CHS.
Laura Hoffman has called Belgium “home” for over 25 years and is an avid supporter of the Community Help Service. No stranger to the expatriate community, she co-founded Belgium’s first English-language news portal, www.xpats.com in 1997, helping international residents of Belgium connect through this interactive channel. She has worked in the Brussels area within the international communications sector for over two decades and today heads her own agency where she serves as a global brand strategist. Laura joined the board of CHS in May 2015, and is pleased to assist CHS find continued success as a trustworthy organization created by expats, for expats as they navigate the joys and challenges associated with life and living abroad.
Ken moved to Brussels in 1994 to take up an expert detaché post in the European Commission, dealing with satellite development. From the outset he enjoyed the cosmopolitan nature of life in Brussels and the new opportunities it offered. Since retiring in 2002 he has been involved in a range of voluntary work and expat activities, including co-authorship of a book on the pros and cons of retiring in Belgium. Through his network in the expat sphere, he became aware of the work of CHS in the mental health field with the English-speaking community in Brussels and its surrounds. He joined the CHS Board in 2009 and contributes his management and organisational skills to the overall supervision of the operation.
Malcolm came to Belgium over 40 years ago. After 10 years of teaching he moved into business and International Human Resource Management with a number of large firms, later working internationally as a Consultant in Human Resources. Malcolm's wife, Françoise, is French and their two sons live in Belgium. It was one son's struggle with the complications of bilingualism in his early school days that brought the Johnsons to CHS. Malcolm joined the Board as a way to 'repay' the support he and his family received from CHS. He has since helped the organisation expand its contacts in the business world, and has represented CHS in the community, seeking sponsorship, and organising fundraising events.
John Stuyck was born in Belgium to an English mother, and has lived in Brussels since 1975. John’s longstanding involvement with the expat magazine, The Bulletin, stepping into the role of publisher since 1985, has given him indepth knowledge of the concerns and interests of the expat community. He is fully supportive of the work done by CHS in helping people better live and integrate in the local and international community. John brings his extensive experience in publishing and marketing to help CHS secure its future.
All Helpline volunteers remain anonymous.