Service users help choose YWCA chief

Deborah Annetts, former chief executive of Dignity in Dying, has taken the helm at YWCA England and Wales after a selection process that included input from some of the disadvantaged young women with whom the charity works.

Deborah Annetts
Deborah Annetts
Young women from various YWCA centres questioned the shortlisted candidates about their knowledge of the issues they face. The applicants then proceeded to their main interview, and the young women’s comments were passed on to the selection panel.

A YWCA spokeswoman said the chief executive recruitment process had been the first of many opportunities the charity’s client group would have to take part in important organisational decisions, as dictated by the YWCA’s participation programme.

“The young women took their roles very seriously and had given much thought to preparing their questions,” she said. “They said they found it rewarding that their views and input were genuinely taken into account.”

Annetts, who was a sex discrimination lawyer before joining the voluntary sector, spent six years heading Dignity in Dying, the organisation that campaigns for patient choice at the end of life. She said she had had an exciting time at the body, but felt the time was right for another challenge.

“I felt I had made the contribution I had set out to,” she said. “I am really excited about leading YWCA. I believe it is an organisation that is making a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged young women and feel strongly that its voice should be heard on the public stage.”

Annetts replaces Gill Tishler, who led YWCA for 14 years before leaving to relocate to Plymouth with her husband.

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