Our Team

On hand to help

the giftware association

We are on hand for anything you may need from us with a combined experience of the industry we are sure to help you when in need.

Sarah Ward<br>CEO

Sarah Ward
CEO

Sarah Ward is the Chief Executive of The Giftware Association. Over the last couple of years, the Jewellery Distribution, British Travel goods & Leather Accessories Associations have also been brought under the GA’s umbrella and Sarah’s leadership. Coming originally from a blue-chip retail background, Sarah then worked at Penny Kennedy where she gained extensive knowledge within the card, wrap and stationery areas of business. Her role at the GA has seen her utilise these skills across a broader environment and we are delighted to now offer her help to everyone from established companies to startups, manufacturers and retailers.

Victoria-Louise<br>Head of Membership

Victoria-Louise
Head of Membership

Vicky is our head of membership and will be your first port of call for anyone looking to join The GA or with any queries about membership. Vicky's background is in membership having previously worked for our sister association the NAJ.

Chris Workman<br>Marketing and PR Manager

Chris Workman
Marketing and PR Manager

Chris Workman heads up all the marketing activity as well leading on the Gift of the Year initiative. His role involves taking care of our members’ needs through Social, Blogs website support and more.

Coming from a financial background in marketing, and understanding the red tape and compliance involved in promotions, Chris then worked in the events industry, gaining experience in promoting and understanding trade shows in more depth.

Chris is skilled across the whole marketing mix and can pass this knowledge, as well as share the GA's achievements on to our members.

Alina Masood, Business Development Manager

Alina Masood, Business Development Manager

Alina is the Business Development Manager for The Giftware Association. Her role at The GA is to explore business development and growth opportunities for the association. 

Alina has previously worked in the banking sector as well as set up her award-winning business Cofi Coo, for which she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year and coined as an influential Young Entrepreneur in the West Midlands. She has experience with product development, branding, marketing, sourcing (national & international), importing, and taking products to market.

Alina is passionate about enterprise and has served for His Royal Highness King Charles’ Princess Trust as a Young Ambassador inspiring other young entrepreneurs on their journey to success. 

National Committee

Do you need help and support with shopping and logistics, eCommerce, packaging, retail innovations, social media, sustainability or global distribution? Our National Committee consists of a dynamic group of industry experts all of whom, as members of The GA themselves, are committed to supporting The GA and its membership with business success and growth. Your access to them makes The GA a special place to be with expertise and experience at your fingertips.

Louise Welsby<br>Chair, Buy From

Louise Welsby
Chair, Buy From

Louise is a creative, commercial marketer with a passion for communication and collaboration. She runs Buy-From®, a creative agency with a difference based in the beautiful county of Shropshire. 20 years of communication have resulted in her leadership of a dynamic team with an unparalleled passion for business communication and growth.

Gert Schyberg<br>Vice Chair, Sebnini

Gert Schyberg
Vice Chair, Sebnini

Gert Schyberg is the founder and MD of Sebnini Ltd, a supplier and manufacturer of luxury candles to the gift market, as well as volume private label productions to larger retailers. Gert has extensive experience in the sourcing of products and has gained invaluable knowledge from his many travels throughout Europe and the Far East. Gert feels that serving on the National Committee is an 'honour and privilege', and where he hopes to be able to make good use of his many years of experience in the industry for the benefit of our members.

Mark Jones, Deputy Vice Chair, Gisela Graham

Mark Jones, Deputy Vice Chair, Gisela Graham

Mark is the commercial director as Gisela Graham, a homewares brand that has been around since 1983 and is sold across all 5 continents. Mark has been a member of the National Committee for a number of years offering his expertise across digital marketing, websites, and import and export as well as the benefit of his knowledge of Trade Shows both in the UK and overseas.

Zoe Bonser, Clarion

Zoe Bonser, Clarion

Zoë has worked in the Events and Exhibitions industry for over 18 years for leading publication and events companies such as; Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc, Haymarket Media, i2i Events, Ascential, ITE Group and most recently Clarion Events where was Show Director for the consumer Baby Shows and is now Portfolio Director for the trade Retail division.

Zoë has experience of managing UK and international shows in China, India and Europe and has managed teams remotely and travelled extensively with her job. Zoë specialises in sales strategy, brand development, launch and geo clone events, as well as, most recently creating, designing and implementing new digital products in both the consumer and B2B retail space.

Zoë is passionate about supporting young talent, coaching and mentoring and in particular empowering women within the workplace to fulfil their potential.

Having studied Ecological Resource Management at Newcastle University, Zoë is also passionate about the environment and sustainability. She has worked for environmental brands and launched new shows in this space such as The Carbon Show, at Haymarket Media Group.

Sangat Chandook, Newcom Distributors

Sangat Chandook, Newcom Distributors

Sangat is the Managing Director of Newcom Distributors LTD and brings a wealth of knowledge from the jewellery sector. He has been incorporated into The Giftware Association National Committee from the Jewellery Distributors Association.

Gary Schaffer, Sock Academy

Gary Schaffer, Sock Academy

Gary graduated as a Landscape Architect but soon realised that the business world would offer more challenges, and soon developed a passion for customer service. After roles with American Express Platinum Card, Nortel Networks and management roles with other telecoms companies, Gary became an Executive Consultant for KPMG focussing on private and public sector customer management improvement programmes. Following this he became Head of Customer Service for EasyJet PLC and then Vice President of Customer Service for DHL Express. Whilst still at DHL, he started Sock Academy with his partner and now runs that business full time as MD. Gary is passionate about customer service, leadership and developing others.

Alex Ryan, Marketing 101

Alex Ryan, Marketing 101

Alex Ryan is a marketer, podcaster and entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in the gift industry. Following his 6-year role as Head of Marketing at Paladone Alex launched his own marketing agency that would specialise in delivering the fundamentals of marketing strategy and support.

He also provides strategy, business development and marketing consultancy and can be heard hosting the Marketing 101 podcast.

Therese Oertenblad, Small Business Collaborative

Therese Oertenblad, Small Business Collaborative

Therese Oertenblad has a background in sales and has worked in the home and gift industry for over 12 years selling to both independent retailers and nationals on the high street.

Therese helps product-based business owners to grow their sales, increase their profit and develop a strategy for growing their businesses with confidence. She does this through business mentoring and courses.

Therese has a real passion for the industry and for encouraging small business owners to dare to think bigger to build the businesses they want. She is also the host of a small business podcast called Let’s Talk Shop.

Stephen Illingworth, Widdop Bingham

Stephen Illingworth, Widdop Bingham

Globally experienced Chief Creative Officer of Widdop Bingham with a demonstrated history of creating and managing innovative and profitable consumer brands and products from a global supply chain in the consumer goods industry.

A strong, commercial professional, skilled in creative leadership, Ideation, Project and Programme Management, Licensing, Trend Analysis, Negotiation, Business Strategy, Sales, and Management.

Tabi Marsh, Papillio at Heritage

Tabi Marsh, Papillio at Heritage

Tabi caught the retail bug as a Saturday girl. After 6 years in the charity sector she took the plunge and became co-owner of Papilio at Heritage; an award-winning gift and coffee shop in Thornbury, near Bristol.

Tabi has been a Gift of the Year Judge since 2016. She has also started the Junior Retailer scheme at Papilio at Heritage which gives 7-11-year-olds a taste of retail life. Tabi loves chatting strategy and dreaming up new ideas.

Past Chairman

The Past Chairss of The Giftware Association have been at the helm of change, and have guided the association through some tough waters. The experience from our Chairs within the industry have helped shaped us to who we are today.

(Fancy Goods Association)

1948-54 E Simons
1954-55 J Hunt
1955-56 B Vangelder
1956-57 F A Grant
1957-58 R A Wolstenholme
1958-59 H Lohnberg
1959-60 L J Hare
1960-61 R E White
1961-62 J L Ouston
1962-63 A Kennedy Wilson
1964-65 R Kaufman

(Gifts And Fancy Goods Association)

1965-66 J G Derricourt
1966-67 L J Benfield
1967-68 S L Davis
1968-70 F M Ball

(The Giftware Association)

1970-72 C H Wilkins
1972-74 L Saunders
1974-76 A J Murrison
1976-78 K M Pearson
1978-80 M Janis
1980-82 R Tresias
1982-84 M V Godfrey
1984-86 S Halstead
1986-88 D J M Simons
1988-90 S J Derricourt
1990-92 A N Leach
1992-94 B V Deacon
1994-96 R Jordan
1996-97 C Chislett
1997-98 D Metcalfe
1998 -00 A P Spiller
2000-02 P Allen
2002 -04 K Entwistle
2004-06 Kate Owen
2006-08 Michael B Grant
2008-10 Michael B Burgess
2010 -12 Michael Sweeney
2012-14 Andrew Illingworth
2014-16 Michael Pape
2016-18 Henri Davis
2018-20 Jeremy Corner
2020-22 – Gert Schyberg

2022 - Louise Welsby