Robert Shanahan, Chief Executive Officer

At Aspens since early 2019, Robert has worked in the field for over 30 years, providing support to people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions at organisations including charities, local authorities, private companies and the NHS. 

Robert is married to Lynn and father to Alice and Emily. Emily has Asperger’s Syndrome.  so Robert helps and empowers her to choose her own staff, and Lynn and Alice are also nurses.

“I’m passionate about the difference that good people can make professionally. Great staff can make a huge difference to a person’s life and I believe we all have a responsibility to try to do this each day.”

Ari Kotsis, Director of Finance

Ari has been with the charity since early 2019 and holds overall responsibility for the charity’s finances. He has nearly three decades' experience in forensic accounting and entrepreneurial enterprises, mainly within the education and charity sectors. 

A passionate runner, when he’s not at work Ari is likely to be found training for a marathon or spending time with his three daughters.

“Since I started at Aspens I’ve seen the incredible difference the charity makes. I enjoy supporting people to reach their full potential and I arrive each day motivated to assist Aspens on its journey.”


Richard Anstead, Head of Business Development and Income Generation

Richard is responsible for Aspens' business and income generation programmes with local authorities and partners; fundraising; Aspens' shops and the Bluebell Café in Pembury.

Having worked for international development charities, Richard's passionate about raising profile and income for a confident and sustainable future. Outside work, he and his family enjoy biking and running, and he keeps a flock of sheep on the North Downs.

"I grew up in Tunbridge Wells, around the corner from Aspens, so I've seen its positive impact and I'm excited to play a part in delivering its services."

Anna Deane, Head of Office to the Chief Executive

As well as supporting the Aspens executive team and being responsible for the day-to-day running of the Chief Executive Office, Anna also manages Aspens' major projects.  She has a degree in International Business Management and her financial services experience brings a fresh perspective to Aspens.

In her spare time, Anna is passionate about travelling the world, speaking Spanish, and scuba diving. Anna’s interesting fact is that she once worked in a prison!

“It's a privilege to be able to add value at Aspens and support the team. My favourite part of working at Aspens is being able to see the people who use our services each day and the huge difference we make to their lives.”



Gill Bryant, Director of Operations

Gill is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Aspens’ business. She’s worked in the voluntary sector for 18 years for causes including mental health, learning disabilities and homelessness and has worked for local authorities, the NHS and in the private sector. Gill is a safeguarding specialist and has sat on Kent’s Children’s Safeguarding Board. A mum of three, her hobbies include spending time with her children and mountain biking.

“I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to live life to its full potential, despite the barriers that are sometimes put in their way. Aspens can make a real difference to the lives of the people they help.“