Published: 25 February 2015

CharityComms is delighted to welcome three new trustees to our board

Following a closely fought contest, our members have elected Lara Burns, head of digital at Age UK and Adeela Warley, head of communications and experience at Friends of the Earth as trustees from our organisational membership, and Katherine Hall, communications manager at the Centre for Mental Health as a trustee from our individual membership. You can see their background, motivation for standing as trustees and vision for CharityComms below.

We originally aimed to appoint two new elected trustees from the membership body, but during the election process one of our long-standing trustees, Carolan Davidge, stood down from the board. So we are taking the opportunity to appoint three new board members, who registered the highest number of votes.

We look forward to working with our new board members!

Lara Burns, head of digital, Age UK

Professional experience

I have worked in ‘digital comms’ for over 20 years, though it wasn’t called that then! I started my career working on searchable full text poetry CD-ROMs. I have a huge breadth of experience, having worked in charities, government, corporates and digital agencies. I have found that creating digital projects often means affecting cultural or organisational change too, which is as exciting as it is challenging. I am a project manager at heart, and am fundamentally motivated by taking action and making changes happen, even when they’re difficult.

Motivations

I'd like to support CharityComms in using my experience to help shape a world where we are all moving to being truly 'digital first'. Using my digital skills and experience to work for a charity like Age UK is a hugely motivating way to get myself out of bed in the morning. I’d like to see how I can use those skills to contribute to the broader charity sector. I have attended several great CharityComms events in the last year, as well as acting as a CharityComms mentor, and I'd like to get more involved.

Personal qualities and experience

I have always been passionate about how digital mixes fantastically engaging content with tools and interactive functionality. The ability to analyse how a user interacts with what you create and to continually improve what you do, is a potent although sometimes alarming tool. At the RHS I led the digital strategy and web rebrand and developed three mobile apps. At Age UK, I am leading our digital transformation strategy, integrating the digital team’s work with marketing, fundraising, commerce, campaigning, information and front-line delivery services. I am a tenacious problem solver, dedicated to working effectively with everyone that I meet.

Vision for CharityComms

To bring together the learning and experience of so many passionate and motivated people so that we can all do our jobs better, achieving better results for our beneficiaries. To support all charities as they affect ‘digital transformation’. I am especially keen to support, inspire and motivate those who are at early stages of their careers in the sector.

Adeela Warley, head of comms & experience, Friends of the Earth

Professional experience

I have over 20 years’ experience in charity communications across the breadth of skills and functions: strategic planning, market research, media, PR, events, brand, publishing and digital. I have led the development of organisational communications, brand and audience strategies for Friend of the Earth and put them at the heart of our campaigning success and supporter engagement.

Motivations

I championed CharityComms to Friends of the Earth which went on to become one of the founding members in 2007. CharityComms has supported me in my own personal and professional development from the outset – helping me with the small stuff -" can you put me in touch with…?" to the big stuff – “can you help me develop an organisational strategy"? The warm, timely and insightful response I invariably receive makes me a passionate advocate for their work. I regularly attend (and speak at) CharityComms events, I am a CharityComms mentor and I enjoyed contributing to the Best Practice Guides on brand and communications strategies. I enjoy sharing knowledge and experience and would be proud to work with the team and board of trustees – ensuring CharityComms runs as effectively as it can. And ensuring it responds to its members’ needs, helping them to deliver outstanding communications which inspire and engage many more people with great charitable causes.

Personal qualities and experience

  • I bring experience of working as part of senior leadership team at Friends of the Earth and working closely with the board of trustees
  • The ability to work with a wide range of internal and external interests and partners to build strong and productive relationships
  • An enthusiasm for working with others to find solutions to the challenges facing the sector and spotting new trends and opportunities we can exploit to enhance the impact of charity communications
  • I meet two of the selection criteria CharityComms is looking for :
  • I work at director level as head of the Communications and Experience department at Friends of the Earth
  • I come from an ethnic minority background with parents of Malay and Indian, South African heritage. At Friends of the Earth I am working alongside staff and volunteers to create an open and inclusive culture and to put diversity at the heart of our work

Vision for CharityComms

  • To be the voice of its members
  • To be a catalyst for outstanding communications
  • To be an indispensable hub where members can share experience and build skills and knowledge
  • To make charity communicators the most valued and influential players in their organisations

Katherine Hall, communications manager, Centre for Mental Health

Professional experience

I have been working in charity comms for 13 years, first in a council for voluntary service, and for the last 10 years at the Centre for Mental Health, a national mental health research charity. I have always worked for small organisations so have often found myself to be the only comms person. This means I have a broad experience of all things a comms role requires, including media, social media and email marketing, but my main experience is in producing websites and publications. 

Motivations

Having always worked in very small teams, or by myself, I find having a network of fellow comms people invaluable. So I’m really grateful for CharityComms. The articles, training and the strategy book have already been really helpful and only this week I learned a lot from the tweets about the storytelling seminar. So I’d like to contribute by helping the organisation to expand its services and reach more comms professionals. I particularly like your goal of making comms recognised as an integral part of charity impact. Wise words!

Personal qualities and experience

Mainly I can bring my experience of developing a brand and a comms strategy in response to changing funding and a changing audience. By the end of this year, there won’t be a bit of the Centre’s comms that I haven’t refined to position us more accurately in the mental health field. And I think this is a situation that many of your members and even CharityComms itself will be facing. I am familiar with a trustee’s responsibilities, having advised groups on governance at the CVS, and I can also bring some IT and database expertise.

Vision for CharityComms

I think your existing goals are very worthwhile things to achieve. I’d like to make more resources available for small organisations, as that’s where I think you're most needed. I would advocate for more kinds of membership, for a wider range of events, perhaps some based on themes, such as health comms or comms for animal charities and for developing more advice on successfully integrating comms into the organisation. Comms from the top, not just the comms team!


Vicky Browning, CEO, ACEVO

Vicky became CEO of ACEVO, the charity and social leaders’ network, in January 2017, helping to empower our inspiring sector leaders to make the biggest difference they can to their beneficiaries, their organisation and to society. Vicky was previously CharityComms’ director for nearly seven years.