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Board diversity network unveils changes as it marks milestone anniversary

This news post is over 1 year old

Changing the Chemistry will have a presidential team rather than a chief executive

An organisation that helps charities diversify their boards is marking a milestone anniversary.

Changing the Chemistry (CtC), one of the UK’s leading organisations to promote diversity of thought in the boardroom, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a new structure designed to build on its success to date and position it for future growth.

At the charity’s Annual General Meeting yesterday (23August), CtC marked its 10th anniversary by unveiling a new structure that will see the current CEO role replaced by a presidential team (president, a president-elect and immediate past president) all appointed from CtC’s 650+ strong membership base and a chief operating officer.

The change comes as CtC founder, Tanya Castell MBE, steps down as CEO. For the last 10 years, she has led the peer-to-peer support charitable network from strength to strength, championing the importance of diversity of thought to improve decision-making on boards. Under her stewardship, CtC has become a recognised authority on diversity, supporting organisations such as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, The Bike Station, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries to recruit and appoint more diverse board members.

Tanya Castell, CtC founder, said: “I am thrilled to see how far Changing the Chemistry has come over the past 1o years and the impact we have had in raising awareness of the importance of diversity of thought in the boardroom, leading to more successful boards.

“Not only have we grown our membership to over 650 across the UK and over 290 board roles have been filled by members of CtC, we have worked with organisations across the public, private and third sectors to improve their understanding of diversity of thought and how to mitigate bias.  In the last year we have also focused on helping improve ethnicity on boards and held two joint events with Black Professionals Scotland.  All this has been done by our members, all working as volunteers to improve diversity of thought in the boardroom.

“It has been a privilege leading Changing the Chemistry over the past decade and as we celebrate this anniversary milestone, the time is right to let others lead the organisation into the future.”

Castell, who has a portfolio of board roles including the asset management company Border to Coast Pension Partnership and she is about to join the Bank of England Prudential Regulation Committee, has now stepped back from her role as CEO and has become acting past president under the newly appointed leadership team. Dr Helen Wright has been named as president while Julie-Anne Jamieson has been appointed president elect.

Neil Stevenson, chair of CtC, said: “Tanya has been a critical part of Changing the Chemistry for the past 10 years and not only has she had the vision and drive to bring us together and get us to where we are today but she has also introduced diversity of thought into the recruitment process for a wealth of organisations across the UK.

“CtC’s new structure positions us well to continue that journey in a way that is sustainable, transparent and builds resilience for the future. Organisations across the public, private and third sectors work with us because they recognise the value that diversity brings to the success of their organisations. As we continue to face the challenges of Covid recovery, never has it been more important to have diverse voices representing employees, customers, users and stakeholders in the boardroom.”

Dr Helen Wright, president of Changing the Chemistry, said:It is a tremendous honour to be appointed as the first president of Changing the Chemistry (CtC), just as it has been a great pleasure to have been part of the journey of CtC from its early days.   

“As an organisation, together, we are planning to build on the legacy which has been created over the last 10 years, and so my focus, in this presidential year, will be to encourage, support and listen to our members, as well as our many stakeholders, to ensure that we amplify the CtC voice through wider partnerships, and through the empowerment of our membership and member engagement. Diversity of thought on boards has never been more important."



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