Executive Management Board


Sara Baade, AFF Chief ExecutiveChief Executive, Sara Baade

Sara has a strong background in management and strategic policy, specialising in vocational skills growth and development. Prior to joining AFF she worked as a senior civil servant for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) working across a range of policy areas with a focus on apprenticeship growth. Before to this she held a Director position at UK Skills, a charity which promotes vocational skills. She also has substantial experience in investment banking following five years at Goldman and Sachs investment banking division.

Sara lives in London with her 6 year old twins. Her late husband was Matthew Wall who served with the 9/12th Royal Lancers.  

Contact: T: 01264 382323 (Mil: 94391 2323) E: chiefexec@aff.org.uk 

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Sarah Bowie, Communications and Marketing DirectorCommunications and Marketing Director, Sarah Bowie

Sarah has a strong background in public relations and communications working firstly in the corporate communications environment in one of the country’s foremost reputation and communication agencies, Fishburn Hedges, before moving across to the charity sector where she took up senior communications roles at Breakthrough Breast Cancer (now known as Breast Cancer Now) and SSAFA. As well as senior communications roles, Sarah has undertaken governance and support roles for a number of social regeneration and health and welfare charities.

Sarah’s husband serves in the British Army and they have a two year old daughter.

Contact: T: 01264 382317 (Mil: 94391 2317) or 07515 528798 E: commsmarketingdirector@aff.org.uk 

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Bex Valentine, Operations DirectorOperations Director, Bex Valentine

Bex joined AFF in 2005, working in the Northern Ireland and Germany Branches before taking on the role of Operations Director (formerly Director Personnel) in September 2008. 

Prior to AFF, Bex worked for Prospects, a careers service company which she joined as a graduate trainee. After periods in both finance and service delivery, Bex moved to the Information team, specialising in publications and information products for young people aged 14+.

Bex is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

Bex is married to Mike (currently serving), and together with their dog Flash lives happily in Service Families Accommodation.

Contact: T: 07517 002 584 E: operationsdirector@aff.org.uk

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Louise Simpson, Policy and Research DirectorPolicy and Research Director, Louise Simpson

Louise joined AFF as the Yorkshire Co-ordinator in 2008; on moving to Andover she was taken on as the Researcher, then Evidence Manager and finally as Director Policy and Research.

Prior to working for AFF, Louise has, in true Army spouse style, had a number of careers, including sales and marketing for publishing houses Dorling Kindersley and Conran Octopus, and as an internal verifier and trainer for a number of NVQ providers. She has even owned a small wooden toy business! Having worked in a variety of settings, it has given Louise a good insight into the public, charitable and commercial sectors and a strong grasp on the importance of evidence collection.

Louise has two sons and has moved 12 times in 17 years of marriage.

Contact: T: 01264 382321 (Mil: 94391 2321) E: policyresearchdirector@aff.org.uk  

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Julie Lowe, UK and Overseas DirectorUK and Overseas Director, Julie Lowe

Julie has worked in the service and charitable sectors for over thirty years. Qualified as a general nurse, sick children’s nurse and nurse teacher, Julie has undertaken senior roles in NHS critical care. She has considerable experience in management, further education and staff development, but also in providing support and information to families.

Julie has had three previous roles at AFF as UK Regional Manager, Covenant Liaison and Overseas Director. Prior to working for AFF, Julie worked for the MOD as the 38 (Irish) Brigade HIVE Manager, managing the HIVE Information Centres across Northern Ireland. Julie served as an officer in the British Army, undertaking various assignments and deploying operationally. The understanding gained both from serving and working alongside the military and with central and local government has been invaluable for her current role. Julie’s undergraduate and postgraduate studies took place at the University of Glamorgan, University of Wales and King’s College London.

Julie’s husband serves in the British Army, so she is still experiencing the joys of frequent moves.

Contact: T: 01264 383407 or 07795 687930 E: ukoverseasdirector@aff.org.uk 

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