Our US leadership team

Our US leadership team is responsible for shaping our goals and ensuring we achieve them. They are guided by, and are accountable to, our Board of Trustees.

Our US leadership team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the not-for-profit, ensuring that we effectively support the KCS team based around the world. They lead on the delivery of our strategic plan, which is approved by the Board of Trustees.

Keep reading to find out more about their experience and what motivates them in their roles at Keeping Children Safe.

KCS leadership team
KCS leadership team
Sarah Blakemore, CEO

Sarah Blakemore

CEO, Keeping Children Safe

Sarah joined Keeping Children Safe in March 2015. Before this Sarah was Director at the Cluster Munition Coalition / International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL-CMC). She has also worked at End Water Poverty, Save the Children, and Oxfam. Sarah is a passionate and dynamic leader ready to challenge organizations to do more to safeguard children.

Helen Carter, Head of Finance and Operations
Helen Carter

Helen Carter

Head of Finance and Operations

Helen Carter, Head of Finance and Operations, joined Keeping Children Safe in April 2016 as Finance and Operations Manager. She is responsible for the Finance, HR, and operational functions of KCS and supports the Chief Executive in compliance, governance, and managing performance and risk.

Robert Shilling, Trustee
Robert Shilling

Robert Shilling


Detective Bob Shilling is a retired, 42-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department where he led the Sex and Kidnapping Offender Detail for 21 years. Bob spent the last three years of his career as the Head of Crimes against Children for INTERPOL in Lyon, France. Under Bob’s leadership, his team and network of investigators physically rescued 5,420 victims of sexual abuse through victim identification techniques on child abuse images circulated on the Internet and Darknet.

Bob was the recipient of the 2014 International Council of Jurists Award presented in London by the President of the International Court, and the former Prime Minister of Jordan. The award was for his lifetime achievements in protecting the rights of children. Bob was the first law enforcement officer ever to receive this award. In 2015, he was honoured at Facebook Headquarters in Dublin, Ireland with the ‘Wired Cop’ Award for his lifetime achievements in protecting children online. In October 2017, Bob received the ‘Distinguished Contribution Award’ from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers for his ‘notable contributions to the field of sexual abuse.’

In his emotive introductory article, posted here, Bob discusses the importance of safeguarding children from sexual abuse.

Steve Smith, Acting Chair
Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Acting Chair

Steve Smith has been CEO of the International Refugee Trust since May 2016. Prior to joining IRT, Steve was CEO of Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) – a UK-based, international NGO, with the mission of reducing the global incidence and impact of armed violence. Here, he oversaw programmes in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Western Sahara, Liberia and DRC, while conducting advocacy work with major institutions, such as the UN, World Customs Organization and British Houses of Parliament. Steve came from a military background, which saw him serve on operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and a number of other unstable regions. He therefore brings a broad spectrum of experience of conflict zones and fragile states to KCS.

Steve holds Master’s degrees in War in the Modern World (KCL) and Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management(Leicester). He is the author of 3-2-1 Bomb Gone, a history of the fight against the terrorist bombers in Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles’. He was appointed MBE in 1993 for his work in Northern Ireland.

Kgomotso Tshaka, Trustee

Kgomotso Tshaka


Kgomotso Tshaka is a South African citizen with 19-years’ extensive executive management experience in medical insurance and mining with accountability in areas of strategy development, sustainability, regulatory compliance and risk management.

She currently holds the position of Vice President Sustainability for AngloGold Ashanti and sits on various boards and committees, including:

  • United Nations Global Compact Local Network South Africa – Board member
  • Masakhisane Fund AngloGold Ashanti – Chairperson
  • ChemWes (Pty) Limited – Board member
  • Mine Waste Solutions (Pty) Limited – Board member

She previously held the position of President of Lonmin Development Trust, for Lonmin Platinum.  Her qualifications are an MBA degree from the Gordon’s Institute of Business (GIBS) and an undergraduate Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Cape Town. She has also attended various leadership and management programmes including the Global Executive Development Programme at GIBS and Management Advancement Programme at the University of Witwatersrand.

Théophane Nikyèma, Trustee
Theophane Nikyema

Théophane Nikyèma


Théophane Nikyèma, from Burkina Faso is the former Executive Director of The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), an independent pan-African centre for policy research and dialogue on the African child. He is currently contributing to the work of the International Bureau for Children Rights (IBCR) as its Vice-President and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of Child Rights Connect.

A passionate advocate for children rights and well-being, Théophane has more than 25 years of experience in international development. He served in leadership positions within the United Nations System in Africa and Asia. His previous appointments include UNICEF Representative ad interim in Mali, UNDP Resident Representative, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Uganda, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa and UNICEF Representative in Rwanda and Regional Operations Officer for South Asia.

Théophane holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resources from the Institute of Policy Development and Management, the University of Manchester, UK; a Master of Business Administration from the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University, USA and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal.

Jon Brown, Trustee

Jon Brown


Jon Brown is a qualified Social Worker with a Masters in Social Policy from the LSE. During his career as a Probation Officer and Social Worker, he has been responsible for setting up and managing a range of sexual abuse services ranging from therapeutic services for child victims, services for children and young people with sexually harmful behaviour and services for adult sex offenders.

Between 2003-2007 Jon was Chair of NOTA, the National Organization for the Treatment of Abusers and remains on the National Executive Committee and is now chair of the Prevention Committee. He is also a Trustee of the Loudoun Trust which exists to promote evidence-based research and practice in the field of sexual aggression against children; he was a Board member of eNACSO (European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online) and he is a member of the International Working Group for Child Safety Online; he is a peer reviewer for the Economic and Social Research Council the Journal of Sexual Aggression and the Australian Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse and with the Children’s Commissioner was co-chair for the Office for the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry into to Child Sexual Abuse in the Family Environment. He is an expert member of NICE.

Jon has authored a number of book chapters and is the author of Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Towards a National Strategy for England (NSPCC 2015) and editor of Online Risk to Children: Impact, Protection and Prevention (2017) published by Wiley.

Before taking up this role with the NSPCC Jon was an Operational Director of Children’s Services with Action for Children. In April 2010 he became Head of Strategy and Development at the NSPCC, helping to take forward the new organizational strategy in relation to sexual abuse. In October 2015 he joined Torbay and Plymouth Children’s Services, first as Head of Development and Impact, then as Assistant Director for Transformation and Improvement, leading on transformation and improvements with Torbay Children’s Services.

Jon is currently working as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Barnardo’s.

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