Sunday, 19 May 2024
Sunday, 19 May 2024

Denise Wilson OBE Appointed Chair of Girlguiding Board of Trustees

GIRLGUIDING, the UK’s largest youth organisation dedicated completely to girls, has announced the appointment of Denise Wilson OBE as its new Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Passionate about empowering girls and young women, Denise a former Brownie and Guide, brings to the role a wealth of experience in promoting and advocating for women in leadership.

As Chief Executive of the Government sponsored FTSE Women Leaders Review since 2013, Denise successfully led the UK’s national, business task force to increase the number of women on boards and in leadership positions of FTSE 350 public-listed, and large private companies. In stepping down from the role last month, her significant contribution towards gender equality in British business was acknowledged widely.

Denise has held multiple board appointments over the years, including Chair of the Royal Academy of Arts Friends, serving on the board of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group and as a Trustee for the Benefact Trust. She is also a mentor to senior leaders in business and the charity sectors.

In 2016 she was awarded an OBE for services to women in business, and in 2018 she received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Hull – where she currently sits on the board and as Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Denise first began her career in finance with the Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group, before moving into the energy sector where she worked for British Gas Plc as Head of Insurance & Risk Management, BG Group Plc as Director of Investor Relations, and National Grid Plc in various capacities including Group Head of Audit, Commercial Director and subsequently, Global Transformation Director.

Talking about her appointmentDenise said:

“I’m delighted to be joining Girlguiding as Chair of the Board of Trustees. As girls and young women continue to face pressures and inequality, Girlguiding has a vital role to play in supporting them. I have fond memories of my time spent as both a Brownie and Guide, and I look forward to being part of the wonderful work that makes Girlguiding a safe space for girls to laugh, learn and have adventures.”

Denise takes over the role as Chair of the Board of Trustees from Catherine Irwin MBE, following her six-year term coming to an end.

During her term, Catherine has overseen the strengthening of Girlguiding’s governance, bringing volunteer voice into all aspects of the work of the board of trustees, and the charity’s annual business plans and strategy.

In addition to navigating the charity through and following the pandemic, Catherine led the board in ensuring that Girlguiding will be sustainable for the future including efforts for the charity to be a more inclusive, diverse and equitable organisation.

Responsible for steering the direction of Girlguiding’s work, Catherine has helped the organisation evolve to be modern, relevant, inclusive and effective – building a space where all girls know they can do anything.

In 2020, Catherine was awarded an MBE for her dedicated services to girls and young women through her 30 years spent volunteering with Girlguiding.

Reflecting on her time as Girlguiding Chair, Catherine Irwin MBE said:

“It’s been a privilege to serve Girlguiding for six years and I’ve been deeply impressed with the commitment, values, expertise and sheer determination of the people who work and volunteer in this remarkable organisation.  

“There have been challenges, but our aim to offer amazing girl experiences through fun, friendship, challenge and adventure has always remained our priority.  

“I warmly welcome Denise into the role. Your dedication and energy will continue to shape the future of Girlguiding – and ensure it’s a place for all girls to know they can do anything.”

Denise’s appointment follows a thorough selection process, overseen by the board of trustees, and led by a panel consisting of Girlguiding Chief Guide, who chaired the panel; a Trustee from the Audit and Risk Committee; a member of the Nominations and Governance Committee and council member; a Girlguiding member and Young Trustee, and an external independent panel member. Key stakeholders including young members were also involved in the process.

Chief Guide, Tracy Foster said: 

I’m really pleased to welcome Denise into the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees. It’s an exciting time for Girlguiding, and I look forward to working together to build on our existing foundations to deliver our vision and mission, offering more opportunities to more girls, long into the future.

“I’d also like to acknowledge and thank Catherine for her leadership and dedication during her tenure as Chair, alongside her other volunteer roles at Girlguiding.”

Girlguiding CEO, Angela Salt OBE said: 

“It’s a great privilege to have Denise join Girlguiding as part of our leadership team. She brings a wealth of experience from both her business and charity backgrounds, and we look forward to having her expertise help shape and lead our vision of an equal world where girls can make a positive difference, be happy and safe, and fulfil their potential.

I want to take this opportunity to give sincere thanks to Catherine for all that she has done for Girlguiding over the past six years. Her dedication, skills and leadership will be missed, and we wish her all the very best for the future.”


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