Sophie Walker, founding leader of the Women’s Equality Party, will join the Young Women’s Trust as Chief Executive in September 2019.
The Young Women’s Trust supports and empowers young women in England and Wales who are at risk of being trapped in poverty through a mix of employability services and policy influencing. The voice of young women sits at the heart of all its work. Having honed its strategic focus in recent years, Young Women’s Trust sought an ambitious, dynamic Chief Executive to take its work to new heights, to develop exciting new partnerships and to build the organization’s profile as a positive disrupter for young women.
Society conducted a national search spanning ambitious leaders across women’s rights, young people, employability, social mobility, and social justice more broadly. We considered sitting CEOs as well as those poised for their first Chief Executive role, and our final field included candidates from backgrounds including advocacy, services and social investment. Above all we sought strategic individuals with clear a vision for the values proposition presented by Young Women’s Trust to young women and wider society, and Sophie impressed the board with her ideas for its future.
Sophie spent eighteen years at Reuters as an international journalist and news editor, covering politics, economics, trade and conflict. Her passion for social justice drove her to get involved in advocacy work as a blogger, lobbyist, campaigner and ambassador for Ambitious About Autism, Include Me TOO and the National Autistic Society. In 2015, she helped to create the Women’s Equality Party, Britain’s first feminist political party, which she led and grew into a 45,000 member movement.
Sophie commented, "Working with Society, the recruitment process was very straightforward and smooth. Tanya is an excellent support and guide and was very clear about each stage of the process, providing plenty of scope for discussion and preparation. It was great to be working with someone who was as energetic and enthusiastic about the job as I was!
I’m delighted to be joining Young Women’s Trust. Women and girls, particularly from minority communities and the poorest backgrounds, are paying the cost of policy-making that does not see them. But they are the solution to our current difficulties and divisions – not the problem. I am determined to lift up their voices, make space for their talents in workplaces across England and Wales and, by supporting them into work, help to build a society that embraces difference to the benefit of all."
John Hitchin, Trustee at Young Women’s Trust, also commented, "We are delighted to have appointed Sophie as our new Chief Executive and are very excited about what she will bring to our charity. Society were an excellent partner for us throughout the recruitment process. They worked with us in a positive and highly professional way, ensuring that we got an amazing range of talented candidates to discuss the role with.
Just as importantly, they also worked to ensure positive and supportive communications throughout. We felt like they were being a good advocate for our charity and they talked through issues and considerations with us at every step of the way."