Who we are

You want to have positive impact, to achieve real change – whether social, environmental or economic. Our experts can work with you to make that happen.

We are a multi-disciplinary team peopled by experts from all kinds of backgrounds. Sonnet brings together people who’ve worked in financial and economic advisory, social research, corporate finance, enterprise, and strategic management and development. We believe our strength is in our diversity: blending perspectives and strengths to work on the issues that matter most to us and our clients; thriving on challenge ; and responding to multiple viewpoints.

We work with a core team, working with specialists from Sheffield Hallam University, and its Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, amongst a wide group of partners and regular Associates when specialist input is required.

Our people

Jim Clifford OBE
Jim Clifford OBEChief Executive
Jim is the founder and CEO of Sonnet. With over thirty-five years’ experience in advising social enterprises, charities, public agencies and private sector organisations he is known for his creative problem solving, analysis and radical solutions. An accountant and corporate financier by origin, with specialisms in strategic consultancy, valuations, and social sector transactions, in 2006 he started to focus on impact planning and measurement wanting to make it less costly and more useful. With over 130 impact evaluations over the last decade, he has also contributed to the field through academic research, in lead authoring the EU’s Impact standards, and serving on the equivalent group for the G8. Jim’s also tackled questions including: what is the value brought by a social tenancy; how can children’s adoption placement work better; how can we merge two International NGOs; and how can we create a new funding model for women’s refuges.

In addition to his professional qualifications, Jim has an MSc with Distinction in Charity Financial Management, and teaches Impact Measurement and Impact-based design on the combined Masters programme. He was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to Social Investment.

Chris Theobald
Chris TheobaldDirector
Chris leads our Transactions practice. He is a Chartered Accountant with particular experience in advising organisations including charities, social enterprises, public sector bodies and corporates in the planning and delivery of mergers, acquisitions, sales and finance raising. He has a particular focus on supporting organisations seeking to deliver transactions for both social and financial value, helping them to plan and achieve a balance that fits with their needs.

Chris has recent experience across a wide range of sectors including education and skills, children’s services, transport services, recruitment, mental wellbeing, retail and hospitality. He holds an LLB from the University of Essex.

Katie Barnes
Katie BarnesAssociate Director
Katie is an experienced managing consultant and leads the team’s Strategy practice. Recognised as a ‘big picture’ thinker, Katie is skilled at making sense of complex systems and advises clients who are facing strategic choices or a change in focus. Most recently she has been working with clients to ensure their operational models are designed to properly support their purpose, strategic and impact objectives (and that those models work in real life as well as on paper).

Katie works part time for Sonnet, combining this with charity trusteeships and ad hoc research activity. Prior to joining the team in 2014, Katie was a researcher on the EPSRC-funded Liveable Cities programme and is currently an expert advisor on a new research programme looking at health implications at a population level of urban development and planning.

Katie is a Fellow of the RSA and holds a degree in Modern and Medieval Languages from Cambridge University.

Anita Shah
Anita ShahHead of Impact
Anita the leads the Impact Management Practice at Sonnet. She is a career economist who specialises in helping clients identify, measure and manage their social and economic impact and embed sustainable and socially responsible strategies throughout their organisation and supply chain.

Her recent work includes:
• Impact analysis and strategic review for a leading ‘care’ charity to maximise their social impact;
• Designing and embedding a social impact measurement framework to inform decision making for a national museum;
• Developing and articulating the social impact strategy for the redevelopment of a town centre for a real estate asset client;
• ESG investor framework analysis for a leading real estate developer.

Previous roles include leading the Economic Impact practice at Rio Tinto, Head of Risk at a Local Authority, and Economic Adviser at the 10 Downing Street. Anita has worked across the globe including Brazil, Chile, Peru, Guinea, Namibia, Indonesia and Mongolia. Anita has an MA in Economics from Cambridge and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics

Roshni Arora
Roshni AroraExecutive
Roshni works across all of our practice areas, with particular focus on Impact Management and Transactions. Her recent work includes evaluating the social value of a supported tenancy for a retirement housing provider, supporting the sale of an educational awarding body and developing a report on the potential social impact delivered by a new town centre for a commercial developer.

Roshni previously worked as an Investment Associate at Numbers for Good, a social investment intermediary providing strategic advice, financial modelling support and consulting services for the social and public sector. Prior to this, she founded and ran her own social enterprise and worked as an analyst in investment banking at Citigroup.

Roshni holds a BA in Economics from Brown University.

Sami Raouf
Sami RaoufAnalyst
Sami works across all four of our practice areas with a particular focus on Transactions as he is currently training to become a Chartered accountant. His recent work includes supporting the valuation review of an IP transfer, creating a Statement of Affairs for the Board of Trustees of a charity, in order to assist in their decision-making and overall governance and developing a report on the potential social impact delivered by a new town centre for a commercial developer.

Previously Sami worked as a Consultant at management consultancy based in Dublin, helping ready a structured finance department for acquisition, at a Tier 1 Investment Bank.

Sami holds a BSc in Economics from City University, London.

Jake Kemp
Jake KempAnalyst
Jake has completed work in each of our practice areas, working predominantly on Impact Management and Strategy projects. His work includes helping a national social care charity refocus and align its strategy, having recently gone through a major merger. They wanted to ensure that the whole organisation was working in a person-centred way, with the people they help at the heart of every decision at all levels.

Jake is currently studying for a BSc in International Studies at the Open University in is free time.

Helen Webb
Helen WebbExecutive Assistant
Helen supports Jim Clifford as Executive Assistant in the Sonnet Impact & Advisory team, and hers is often the first voice you will hear when contacting the team.

An integral cog who has been with the Advisory and Impact team since its inception, Helen’s philosophy centres around the smooth running of the team and what role she can play in helping others find solutions by using her excellent organisational and time management skills.

Helen brings over thirty years’ experience at senior PA level. After working in reinsurance for many years, dividing my time between London and Philadelphia, she moved to work in the charity sector as PA to CEO/company secretary of a community development charity, where she played a significant part in assisting the board to become a strong and effective governing body. She initially met Jim when he acted as the charity’s financial advisor, and moved over to join him in 2014.

Our values

  • We are passionate about making society better, reducing inequalities, and at the same time taking good care of the planet and its resources.
  • We believe that professional consultancy, research and advisory services should be accessible to all charities, social enterprises and commercial organisations that care about their impact – and we are proud to offer those services.
  • We bring brave thinking, innovation and creativity to work every day – it’s who we are.
  • We listen to and respect the opinions of others – it’s how we learn.
  • We believe in the value of collaboration – creating better solutions by combining the best research evidence with our own skills and knowledge and those of our clients and partners.
  • Our advice is always pragmatic and achievable – helping you to move forward with confidence.
  • We will never promote services or products to you unless we believe they are valuable and useful in achieving your goals.
  • As a Community Interest Company, we are committed to giving back to the communities and sectors we serve.

Our Social Programmes Fund:

Sonnet Advisory and Impact is structured as a Community Interest Company (CIC) – a business with primary social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.

We are proud to have committed to transferring 65% of our profits into a fund available to support social research programmes and other activities designed to address issues within the sectors we work in.  We believe that this is the right thing to do, and that our clients appreciate knowing that their work with us helps to address wider societal needs.