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
This year we welcome five new additions to our trustee board: Selina Armitt, Kirtbir Chahal, Alison Hampton, Hannah Moran, and Supriya Sobti.
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 25 years professional experience with the DuPont Company, beginning as an electrical engineer before moving into engineering leadership roles in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
- Her current role is in Corporate Operations, providing Global strategic leadership for reliability and maintenance.
- 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 to Be our Best.
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 live 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, the National Youth Libraries board 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.
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.
Jaki is an external Trustee. She was an active Brownie, Guide and Ranger as a girl, including being a Patrol leader. Aged 14 she moved to Birmingham and helped set up a Ranger unit as there was nothing in place. In recent years, she's been drawn back to guiding, impressed by its empowering nature and campaigning spirit, and was a mentor at our Camp CEO event.
Jaki is on the Nominations and Governance committee.
Girlguiding remains as important as ever. In this complex world, a space where girls can be themselves, pursue and discover activities they love is invaluable. I am proud to be back.
- Jaki has worked in chief executive roles for over 25 years.
- She's currently the Chief Executive of Sheffield Students' Union, which helps students shape their world.
- She worked briefly as General Manager at mac, one of the Midlands’ leading arts centres.
- She has held a number of trustee roles within the student movement and the arts.
Kirtbir Chahal specialises in children's rights policy, and identifies as an intersectional feminist.
Since completing her undergraduate degree, she has worked 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 is committed to diversity and inclusion, is a passionate advocate for meaningful youth engagement, and currently works as a Policy Adviser at Unicef UK.
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.
Alex works with grassroots activists, national governments and UN agencies to improve the lives of young people and their communities. Building on his global work, Alex works with organisations across the voluntary sector in the UK as a facilitator, consultant and researcher. He is a campaigner and is passionate about children and young people, human rights, and climate change.
Alex sits on the Audit and Risk committee and the Remuneration committee.
- Alex works at NCVO, supporting voluntary organisations to strengthen their strategy and evaluate their impact.
- With a background in youth participation and democracy, Alex worked at the National Youth Agency and British Youth Council, as well as freelancing extensively with organisations in the youth development sector.
- Alex previously worked at Youth Policy Labs, supporting national governments and UN agencies to design, implement and evaluate national youth policies.
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.
Su was a Brownie, Guide, Young Leader and Ranger, and has worked with The Senior Section ever since.
She's also involved with running the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme in Gwent. Previous roles include Guiding Overseas Linked with Development (GOLD) Coordinator and International Commissioner for the UK.
Su sits on the Nominations and Governance committee.
I wanted to be a Trustee as it is really important to me that guiding continues to be good. It needs to be a strong and quality option for girls and young women now and into the future when I've retired!
- Su's a teacher and has worked as a special needs adviser for a large local authority.
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.
Della started out as a Guide and Young Leader. She now leads Guide and Senior Section units in Portishead, near Bristol. 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 recently retired financial services 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.