Britain's Most Admired Charities 2014: Most Admired Chief Executive - Winner: Julie Bentley

Awarded to the voluntary sector leader thought by her or his peers to have outstanding qualities

Julie Bentley
Julie Bentley

This award is sponsored by Deloitte

Julie Bentley has wasted no time stamping her own mark on Girlguiding. Since she joined the charity almost two years ago, she has been instrumental in positioning it as "the ultimate feminist organisation" and trying to shed its old-fashioned, middle-class image.

She oversaw the decision by the Guides to support the No More Page 3 campaign, and is behind its Be Body Confident campaign, which aims to tackle young women’s negative opinions of their body image. She also launched the Be the Change campaign to give girls an even louder voice on the issues that matter to them.

Last year, under her stewardship, the organisation updated its traditional Guides’ Promise, dropping its historical allegiance to God and country. And earlier this year the Guides’ previously baggy uniforms were replaced with more fitted designs that promote body confidence among their young wearers.
The number of people joining the Guides rose since her appointment by 5,000 to 553,000 in 2013 and the movement continues to open new guiding groups.
Earlier this year, Bentley’s efforts led to her being placed at number five on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour list of "game-changers" in the UK.

In an interview with Third Sector last year, she admitted that she held preconceptions about the Guides. "Before I came to my first interview,
I was expecting the headquarters to be staffed by nice ladies in tweed with blue rinses," she said. "But I was wowed, because it is full of vibrant and dynamic people."

Bentley, who was previously chief executive of the Family Planning Association, said she felt it was right to reposition the Girlguiding movement. "We’re the biggest female charity in the UK and one of the biggest youth organisations," she said. "It’s part of our responsibility to ensure our members’ voices are heard on issues that matter to them."

Nominated

Mark Goldring, Oxfam
Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice
Kristin Hallenga, CoppaFeel!
Sir Nick Young, British Red Cross

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