Meet our Trustees
Meet our Board of Trustees, who use their mixture of skills and experiences to lead Girlguiding and shape our future.
Our Trustees make sure we're doing our best for girls in the UK.
Catherine Irwin – Chair of the Board of Trustees
Catherine has been a member since joining as a Guide. After achieving her Queen’s Guide award she became a Guide leader. She has held various roles including being a British Youth Council delegate, outdoor adviser, district commissioner, county commissioner, Girlguiding Ulster trustee and a council member.
She was a member of the UK delegation for the WAGGGS World Conferences in Hong Kong and India and was on the WAGGGS Strategy and Planning Committee that developed the 2017-2020 Strategy.
Catherine chairs the Nominations and governance committee and the Remuneration committee.
- Catherine has over 32 years professional experience with the DuPont Company, beginning as an electrical engineer before moving into senior executive strategic leadership roles with global responsibility.
- She currently runs her own management consultancy business, predominantly working with senior executives in the petrochemical, mining and manufacturing industries across Middle East, Africa and Asia.
- She is a chartered electrical engineer with a postgraduate award in business administration and professional Health and Safety qualifications.
As chair of the Board of Trustees, partnering with the Chief Guide and CEO, I am passionately committed to providing inclusive and collaborative leadership so that Girlguiding is enabled thriving Today, Tomorrow, Together.
Amanda Medler - Chief Guide
Amanda has been the Chief Guide since February 2018. She leads the team of country and region chief commissioners and chairs the Operational board.
Amanda appointed a deputy and an assistant and together they provide leadership and direction for volunteers in guiding. She also has the vital role of ensuring that decisions made by the trustees are informed by the countries and regions.
Amanda is ‘passionate about local guiding and the role of the commissioner in helping unit leaders give girls and young women the very best experiences guiding can offer.’
- Amanda has worked at a senior level in corporate IT for over 20 years
- She has also been a senior project manager in the not for profit sector
- Currently a senior consultant with Adapta Consulting, providing strategic and technology advice to the UK not for profit sector.
Julie Bell - Deputy Chief Guide
Julie became deputy chief guide in August 2018. She's been in guiding most of her life and has held a variety of roles. She was previously chief commissioner for North West England.
Julie supports the chief guide and is on the Operational board and the Nominations and governance committee.
I’m absolutely delighted to be deputy chief guide. I’m really excited to be in this role now that the new programme for Girlguiding is revealed. There are so many different pathways for us to explore.
- Julie is Head of Service for Libraries, Museums, Culture and Registration services for Lancashire County Council.
- She was recently nominated for a Northern Power Woman award.
- She sits on many boards including Active Lancashire and Garstang and District children’s festival committee.
Elizabeth Dymond – Treasurer
Elizabeth is an external trustee. She was a Brownie, Guide, Ranger and Queen’s Guide and went on to help run her Guide unit. She has returned to guiding to use her financial skills and experience to support Girlguiding so that it can fulfil its vision.
Elizabeth chairs the Finance committee and is a director of the Trading board.
I got a lot out of being a guide and would like to ensure Girlguiding continues to empower girls today.
- Elizabeth is a chartered accountant. She qualified and worked in the private sector before moving into central government working for the competition authorities and H M Treasury.
- She is currently Director of Finance and Corporate Services at the Charity for Civil Servants.
- She was a trustee at Victim Support from January 2015 to September 2019 where she was initially Chair of the Audit Committee and lately Treasurer.
- She was awarded a CBE for public service in 2018.
Mary is a former Brownie and Guide where she learnt important life skills early on in her life. Mary is passionate about the future of the financial services industry, supporting millennials to achieve their full potential and driving diversity and inclusion. She is a management consultant and Co-Chair of PwC’s Multicultural Business Network (MBN), where she leads the 15 people-strong Steering Committee and regularly chairs the quarterly leadership meetings with the partner sponsors.
Outside of work Mary is a spokesperson for gender equality, millennials and diversity and inclusion. She has a popular blog called A Millennial’s Diary and co-runs a digital-first global female millennial personal development and entrepreneurial community called Now You’re Talking. She has also been selected as a McKinsey Next Generation Women Leader 2020 and No.1 on EMpower and Yahoo Finance’s Future Leader List 2020.
- Mary joined PwC in 2016 as the Financial Services Operations Management Consultant and is now the Fintech Scale Programme Lead. In the role she connects industry leaders and decision-makers in large organisations to innovative start-ups who are redefining the financial services industry, to create mutual business opportunities and accelerate commercial growth.
As a Brownie and Guide, I am excited to give back using my community-building and operational business experience to be part of the journey supporting Girlguiding modernise for the future.
Selina became involved with Girlguiding as a Guide leader in January 2007. She previously worked as a Girlguiding Project Co-ordinator. Her experience involved managing a project from scratch and developing new activities and resources for a nationwide youth organisation. She has also consulted with young people and other stakeholders to develop a youth-shaped programme.
Selina is a member of the Audit and Risk committee.
I'm really exciting to work with Girlguiding as it begins the strategy and continues to create opportunities to really reflect on the skills that girls and young women need for a modern world.
- Selina is Social Worker in an inner-city Looked After Children and Leaving Care Team. She works to safeguard and support young people as they move towards independence.
- Selina has also worked as a Programme Assistant for Girlguiding as part of the national Youth Programmes team.
Kirtbir Chahal specialises in children's rights and international policy.
She holds a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Currently, she works for the UK Government - Cabinet Office on development and gender policy. Previously, she was a Senior Policy Adviser at Unicef UK. She also has experience working for the Canadian civil service as well as a number of non-profit organisations serving marginalised and under-represented groups including at-risk young people and immigrant women. She has served on the Board of Directors for the United Nations Association Canada-Calgary.
She is committed to diversity and inclusion, is a passionate advocate for meaningful youth engagement, and identifies as an intersectional feminist.
Kirtbir is a member of the Nomination and governance committee.
Girlguiding has an important role in helping young girls realise their rights and this space must be protected and nurtured.
- Kirtbir has gained international development experience in Washington DC and Geneva and has a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Previously she has sat on the Board of Directors for the United Nations Association Canada-Calgary.
- Currently she is also on the Governing Board of West Hill Primary School in London.
Alison is a qualified lawyer. She first became involved with Girlguiding as a Brownie – she still has her 1977 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Brownie badge. She has been a Brownie leader since 2013, Rainbow leader since 2016 and district commissioner for Rickmansworth & Chorleywood since 2016.
Alison sits on the Audit and Risk committee.
I’m so thrilled to be carrying out my guiding promise to ‘use my time and talents wisely’ to help this fantastic organisation empower the next generation of girls.
- Alison set up her own consultancy business, Alma Verde Advisors in September 2017.
- Alison has advised companies at board level on managing risks both as General Counsel and lawyer. She was Head of Responsible Investment at a private equity fund manager and developed its approach for responsible investment, achieving recognition via an award-winning governance framework for implementation.
- Currently, Alison is a non-executive member on the Risk Committee of Asper Investment Management, having previously sat on the finance and risk committee of Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Jill McLaughlin was a Brownie, Guide and Ranger in Ware, Hertfordshire in the 1960's and 70's. She achieved many badges, her Queens Guide and Duke of Edinburgh awards. She benefited from many varied experiences ranging from sailing, kayaking, camping, helping local organisations and trips to London theatre. Girlguiding introduced her to many experiences, formed the basis of her young social life and enabled many leadership experiences.
For the last ten years Jill has been a school Governor in London Borough of Islington, taking up the role of Chair of Governors of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, an outstanding girls secondary school providing high quality education and development for girls from many different backgrounds. Jill is currently Chair of Governors of Islington Futures Federation of Community Schools, a group of four schools in Islington.
- Jill started in the catering industry and progressed through to senior management in the private services sector before moving to the charitable sector.
- She served as the senior executive responsible for multiple professional services, in the British Film Institute and most recently as Director of Corporate Services for Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
- Having retired from full time employment Jill is now providing consultancy and training services through her own company, a Leading Governance Consultant for the National Governors Association and is a non legal member of Employment Tribunals in London.
Jill is delighted to have this opportunity to support the guiding movement.
Hannah was a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and young leader in Plymouth, and became a Guide leader in London after moving there for University. Since then she has been a Brownie leader in the Hague with British Girlguiding Overseas, has led a LaSER International expedition to Argentina and is now back with her Guide unit in London.
Hannah is a member of the Finance committee.
Girlguiding is really unique in the way it provides girls and young women with a safe environment in which to be wholly themselves and try new things that they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity or feel able to do, and I think it is so important to have this in today's society.
- Hannah is currently pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London.
- Her research focuses on fluid dynamics with applications in solar energy and she has a strong interest in sustainable engineering.
- Alongside her PhD she is a graduate teaching assistant and runs a coaching programme for undergraduate students completing their final year projects. She has also worked outside of academia as a Process Engineer.
Deborah was involved in Guiding until she went to university and she has sought ways to be involved in Girlguiding since. She has extensive experience in providing strategic leadership, building new businesses and shaping professional thought through addressing global industry conferences as a keynote speaker. She combines creativity with commercial acumen to deliver digital transformation programmes and connect clients with innovative technological solutions that facilitate and sharpen decision-making.
In 2019 she provided her professional advisory services (pro-bono) to lead a project that supported Girlguiding to become more data-driven.
- Deborah joined Oliver Wyman as a consultant in 2008. Since then she has been an Engagement manger, Principal and Partner supporting cross-industry organisations with their digital initiatives.
- Currently Deborah is a Partner and UK Head of Digital, where she played a pivotal role in the corporate Social Impact Programme to support pro bono or low-fee work on projects delivering social and client impact, which won the 2015 Lord Mayor’s ‘Future-Proofing Charities Award’
Girlguiding provides young women with the opportunity and confidence to have new experiences and build skills vital for their future and also for broader society. I am very proud to be able to use my expertise in digital transformation to support Girlguiding to evolve and continue this important mission.
Sue is the Chair of an inner-city school and was previously Chair and then leader of a Scout group. She was also a Brownie and a Guide in her village growing up. She has seen first-hand the impact of being exposed to wider opportunities and the positive change this can have on young people.
She's a qualified Risk Management and Safety professional, currently accountable for the risk-based Safety Strategy of a complex organisation. As the Chair of the Local Governance Body of a Co-op Academy School, Sue has helped to change the operating model to promote effective governance.
- Sue is the Group Health and Safety Manager for the Co-op Group, where she led the transformational change of the Co-op’s Health and Safety Strategy for 70,000 employees, across UK and NI.
- She is also the Chair of Governors for a Local Governing Board at the Co-op Academy Trust
- Sue was previously the Group Safety and Compliance Officer at Kingfisher plc
I am proud to be returning to Girlguiding to support the new strategy, in particular to help us to be inclusive for all. We have an important role to play in helping girls to develop the skills and confidence they need for success.
Della started out as a Guide and young leader. She now leads Guide and Ranger units in Portishead, near Bristol, and is a division commissioner. She's had a number of national roles – starting as a British Youth Council delegate and later as international commissioner. She was a member of the World Board of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) for six years, and also acted as Treasurer.
Della is Chair of the Audit and risk committee and sits on the Finance committee.
My World Board role broadened my governance experience and gave me amazing opportunities to meet inspiring Guide leaders from around the world. I saw many different ways of working, which I believe are of great use to me as a trustee.
- Della is a retired financial service professional.
- She has a background in advising small and medium sized businesses, process engineering and project management.
Helen’s an external trustee. She was an enthusiastic Brownie and a Ranger as a girl. Empowering girls and young women is a particular passion of Helen’s, having worked on several BBC initiatives designed to sustain citizenship and civil society by engaging young people. Until recently, she led BBC News School Report, a mass access journalism outreach project which works in partnership with 1000s of schools to help 11-16 year olds make and broadcast their own news.
Helen chairs the Trading board and is a member of the Audit and Risk committee.
Preparing and taking my Brownie Promise made a lasting impact on my identity. The activities I took part in built my confidence and, with my girls’ school, helped me become the first in my family to stay at school after 16 and eventually go to university. I want to help the next generation of girls be the best they can.
- Helen worked for the BBC for over 20 years, first as a researcher, then producer, senior producer and editor for programmes including BBC NewsOnline, BBC News24 and Woman’s Hour.
- She worked for 4 years in Parliament as well as serving as local councillor, as a school governor and on a number of charity boards.
- When she started School Report she made inclusion and diversity founding principles, winning the European Diversity Award for this.
- Helen was a member of BBC-wide advisory groups on diversity, entry-level talent, online and digital engagement, outreach, child protection, and the educational use of the digital archive.
Supriya was born and brought up in India and moved to the UK in her early twenties. She is passionate about the vision and mission of Girlguiding and fully supports our values. Since 2019 she has been a Council and Audit Committee member for Buckinghamshire New University. Until recently, she supported her local branch of the Samaritans as Treasurer and before then was a volunteer on their phone lines.
Supriya sits on the Finance committee.
As Girlguiding continues to grow and expand, I can support the Board by sharing my experience in finance, strategy and risk management from many years of working in big, complex and regulated companies.
- Supriya is a Chartered Accountant with over 15 years post qualification experience.
- She is currently the Head of Regulatory Assurance at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and has held various roles within Finance, Regulatory and Risk areas for over 11 years. She has been involved in the diversity and inclusion agenda at RBS, as the lead on gender. And mentored external mentees and female colleagues through her involvement in a race-related mentoring scheme
- Supriya has completed an Advanced Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling.