SARAH Hawkins, formerly operations manager at National Family Mediation (NFM), has been named as the charity’s new CEO, taking over from Jane Robey who retires after almost 20 years in the post.
Having joined NFM in 2019, Sarah comes from an Operational background with over 25 years of experience, much of which has been spent in the not-for-profit sector, utilising her passion for IT to grow organisations and ensure that the people that need help are at the forefront of all that they do.
She moves seamlessly into the Chief Executive role further to overseeing several significant projects – including the successful launch of MoMO, a digital app that helps clients and mediators work together in a secure space to gather and collate financial disclosure for couples going through a separation.
Taking up the post on April 1st 2023, her promotion coincides with the charity’s 40th anniversary and follows hot on the heels of the extension of the government’s mediation voucher scheme, and news that mediation will become a pre-court requirement in low-level family dispute cases.
Commenting on her new role Sarah Hawkins said:
“I am extremely honoured to be appointed as the new Chief Executive of NFM. For the last 4 years, I have witnessed the incredible results that can be achieved through mediation for families in conflict.
“I would like to thank Jane for her leadership over the years, during which time she has worked tirelessly to keep mediation on the political agenda and to raise awareness of the benefits of alternative dispute resolution methods amongst the public.
“Her efforts have ultimately contributed to the current position of the sector and have no doubt influenced the government’s decision to extend the voucher scheme and to make mediation a pre-court requirement in low-level family dispute cases.
“I am now looking forward to taking the charity forward, and to continuing to deliver on our ambitions to make mediation as accessible as possible to everyone who needs it.”
The change in leadership follows a busy period for NFM, which was forced to accelerate its efforts to upgrade its systems to allow families to continue to access support remotely during the pandemic.
The charity has also reported a significant increase in demand over the last five years, with the number of case referrals in any given month now averaging 700, on top of around 3000 telephone calls.
Commenting on Sarah’s appointment and Jane’s retirement Carol Reay, NFM’s chair, added:
“We are extremely lucky to have Sarah in the driving seat for NFM. Sarah was appointed after a rigorous competitive recruitment process. She brings an unbeatable combination of passion for mediation, vision for the future and a proven track record at getting things done. I am looking forward to working with Sarah and taking NFM forward.”