Meet the chief guide team
Girlguiding’s most senior volunteers
The chief guide is our most senior volunteer.
And she’s supported by a team to champion the experiences of all volunteers and give girls the best guiding experiences.
Our current chief guide is Tracy Foster and she’ll hold the role for 5 years. She’ll work alongside Angela Salt, our chief executive, and Catherine Irwin, chair of the board of trustees, to deliver our strategy.
She’s supported by a deputy chief guide and an assistant chief guide. Tracy’s current deputy chief guide is Sally Kettle, and her assistant chief guide is Mhairi Mackay.
Meet Tracy Foster, chief guide
Tracy has been part of Girlguiding since she started as a Brownie. She’s gone on to become a Brownie leader at that same unit for 17 years, and now leads a Guide unit. She’s loved the many opportunities and experiences she’s been a part of as a young member and a volunteer.
As well as being a unit leader, Tracy is a Girlguiding qualified trainer and has held commissioner roles at all levels. Before taking up the role as chief guide, Tracy was chief commissioner for Anglia. As Anglia’s chief commissioner, she led the region through Covid - supporting the region to thrive during challenging times through virtual opportunities. She also led the region as it celebrated its 50th anniversary, with an exciting ‘Buzz About Anglia’ birthday challenge.
In her professional life, Tracy is a registered social worker and, for the past 20 years, has supported people impacted by domestic abuse. She’s worked in both the public and charity sector and is currently the National Domestic Abuse Lead at Spurgeons children’s charity.
‘I am very proud and honoured to have been appointed as chief guide, and look forward to the next five years, as we continue to empower our adult volunteers and engage with our young members, ensuring their voice is at the heart of all we do,' says Tracy.
'I am constantly inspired by both our amazing volunteers, who give their time and care to providing a welcoming space for girls to experience the fun and adventure guiding offers, and our young members that I see each week laughing with friends, stepping of their comfort zones to try new things and their confidence grow. I want all girls to have access to what we offer, and I’m excited to work with the wider team to help make this ambition a reality.’
Tracy was appointed following an extensive recruitment process, that involved both young members and leaders, and started her role on 22 February 2023.
Meet Sally Kettle, deputy chief guide
Sally, who is based in Wales, has been involved in guiding since she was a Brownie. Since then, she has also been a Guide, young leader and held several volunteer roles – including a county and Cymru peer ed co-ordinator, Rainbow and Brownie unit leader, and chair of the LaSER ambassador programme.
Outside of guiding, Sally is an adventurer! She is the first woman to row the Atlantic Ocean twice from east to west, the first time with her mother in 2003. She holds a Guinness World Record for the first mother and daughter team to row any ocean.
Sally is an accomplished professional speaker, presenter, and management trainer with experience across many sectors, sharing many of the lessons learnt during a twenty year career as an adventurer. She is also a qualified coach and WRAW (workplace resilience & wellbeing) certified practitioner. Sally is the co-founder and CEO of the Active Pregnancy Foundation which supports women to stay active throughout pregnancy and beyond, by providing expertise & advice, changing culture & challenging policy.
'I’m really looking forward to championing this incredible organisation, which has given me so many rich and rewarding experiences over the years. I also feel very lucky to be able to share my passion and spirit for adventure with both the volunteers and the young women and girls their support.'
Meet Mhairi Mackay, assistant chief guide
Mhairi has been involved in guiding since the age of 7, when she became a Brownie at a unit in Midlothian. She now runs 1st Dalkeith Ranger unit, also in Midlothian, as she has been for the past 5 years.
Mhairi was involved in the programme renewal task and finish group, which supported the design of our current programme back in 2015. She is also a former lead volunteer for girl experience, and worked on a number of projects – including adventures at home, the recent Queen’s Guide award refresh, young leader offer development and youth participation work which ultimately resulted in the creation of our wonderful youth steering group, Amplify.
Outside of guiding, Mhairi works in project management for the NHS, with a focus on health and social care integration.
‘I'm honoured and excited to take on this exciting opportunity and give back to an organisation that's given me so many fantastic opportunities. I'm looking forward to bringing my knowledge and experience into this role and working with volunteers and young people to continue to provide life-changing experiences through Girlguiding.’