Britain's Most Admired Charities 2015: Most Admired Chief Executive - Winner: Lesley-Anne Alexander

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

Lesley-Anne Alexander
Lesley-Anne Alexander

Lesley-Anne Alexander has been at the helm of the Royal National Institute of Blind People for more than a decade, helping to prevent avoidable sight loss.

Under her stewardship, the charity has remained a strong and relevant voice in the disabilities sector, campaigning on a range of issues, from making transport more accessible to the impact of changes to disability benefits.

She is a strong advocate of mergers and joint working in the charity sector. During her time in charge, the RNIB has merged or shared resources with 14 other organisations. Last year she even called for the Charity Commission to raise the bar for the registration of charities to help avoid the "unnecessary competition" that exists in certain parts of the sector.

Before joining the RNIB, she worked for the housing association Peabody, and before that she worked in the public sector. In an interview with Third Sector earlier this year, she said that her experience of other sectors had helped to shape her charity management career. She said: "My defining moment was to realise that to be the best you have to pick the best from each sector. It is important to find out what you or your organisation is good at and promote that, while also acknowledging what others are good at and drawing from those."

Known for her boundless energy, Alexander successfully chaired the charity leadership body Acevo for six years until last December. Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, says of Alexander: "Lesley-Anne is both a life-affirming individual and a superb chief executive. I've got to know her extremely well from her six years as my chair and admire her work in the RNIB, which has transformed services for blind and partially sighted people. Her contribution to the wellbeing of our wider sector is as strong as her leadership of the RNIB. Both are deserving of the award she has received."

Nominated

Henny Braund, Anthony Nolan

Catherine Howarth, ShareAction

Sara Llewellin, Barrow Cadbury Trust

Clive Martin, Clinks

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