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Ben Verinder
Managing Director

Ben leads on strategic consultancy, client liaison and project management.

He was one of the first 50 public relations practitioners worldwide to achieve chartered practitioner status and now leads chartership assessment teams for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.  


Ben judges a number of public relations awards and is a regular speaker on communication, reputation and market research.


He is the author of a number of public relations guides – including ‘AI and data ethics’ - and contributor to a range of public relations books - including ‘Lessons from Expert Practitioners’.


Ben is a guest lecturer on issues and crisis management for three UK universities.


A former in-house communications director, Ben worked in print, radio and online journalism before moving into PR.

David Payne
Research Manager

David manages data analysis, respondent recruitment, fieldwork teams and research reporting. He is also the lead interviewer on specialist projects and helps design project plans and questionnaires.

David Payne has extensive experience in managing research projects over several decades, covering education, skills, learning and workforce development, business support and enterprise, community consultation, monitoring, evaluation and impact assessments.

David has a long track record in delivering successful research outcomes for a range of different clients, including awarding organisations, further and higher education institutions, sector skills councils, the NHS, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, employer organisations, the voluntary and community sector and regeneration partnerships.

Joanna Benson
Lead Researcher

Joanna has extensive experience in education, having worked as a school bursar before moving into research. She has carried out a wide range of education and skills research assignments over the past decade.

Joanna has particular knowledge, skills and experience in interviewing young people, quantitative and qualitative telephone interviewing, face to face interviews and focus group facilitation.

Rae Strathern
Researcher/Project Manager

Rae is a Prince 2 practitioner and qualified accountant. She has significant experience in IT project management and software engineering.

Rae helps design and deliver projects and has worked with a very wide range of education and skills clients.

Tony Bridges
Data analyst

Tony leads on analysis of large-scale data sets for Chalkstream.

Tony has a background in local Government.


He has helped clients such as Sector Skills Councils, Metropolitan Police, Association of Directors of Public Health, and the NHS, generate useful insight from big data. 

Kathy Sharpe

Kathy is an award-winning copywriter and communications consultant with a background in the education, charity, not-for-profit, and arts sectors.

She has worked in communications for 18 years and is a member of the Professional Copywriters’ Network and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Kathy specialises in copywriting, awards bids, proofreading, editing, external and internal communications, public relations, crisis / change planning, and marketing training.

Each Chalkstream research or consultancy project is bespoke to the needs of the client.

Which means that we often strengthen our team with associates who are specialists in their fields.

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