Board of Directors

Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland is run by a Board of 12 volunteer members elected by the membership.  Some details are given below:

President: Ann Hodgson

Ann Hodgson - preferred image to use - not high resAnn joined SI Kenilworth and District in 1994, later transferring to SI Newport and District and is now a member of SI Cwmbran and District.  She has been Regional President, and Federation Councillor for SI Wales South.  She has been Director of Organisational Development for four years, during which she oversaw the formation of new Clubs both in the UK and across the Federation, and lead the development of different types of membership and different formats for clubs, along with tangible support materials for Regions, National Associations and Networks and leadership development materials for use across the whole Federation.


President Elect: Sue Biggs

Sue joined SI Pendleside in 2000, before transferring to SI Burnley in 2010.  Programme Work has always been her passion, and she was Programme Action Officer and President of both her Club and her Region, before becoming National Programme Chair for UKPAC and England and was SIGBI Programme Director between 2011 and 2015.

Sue was a driving force in the success of The BIG Project, which SIGBI did in conjunction with MCAI (Maternal and Childhealth Advocacy International) which improved birthing facilities in The Gambia, as well as providing training for Mid Wives, Doctors and Traditional Birth Attendants.  She is thrilled that SI Canterbury’s “Meru Women’s Garden Project” is the new SIGBI three year Project, and urges all Clubs to get behind this Project with the same enthusiasm.


Vice President: Sue Williams

Sue joined SI Barnstaple in 2000 before transferring to SI Harrogate and District in 2004. Following this she was a founder member of SI York Ebor and latterly transferred in 2009 to SI Paisley. A keen interest in the link between membership and programme action has lead Sue to the role of director Without Portfolio in 2012 followed by Director of Membership, 2013 -2016,before taking on this role and that of Vice President in 2016. Sue has been Club President twice in SI Paisley and also in SI York Ebor. She has also been Regional President of SI Scotland South.

She has been an avid supporter of the Growth Plan approach to recruitment and retention of members in Clubs. Membership Month in May 2016, to be repeated in 2017, provide Clubs and members an opportunity to  align themselves to a campaign to recruit new members and promote the SIGBI brand.  In addition Sue has worked closely with the Director of Organisational Development in the delivery of two development days around leadership development.

Immediate Past President: Margaret Emsley

Margaret Emsley - web

Margaret is a member of SI Ashton under Lyne.  She has held many posts at Club, Region and Federation level, the last one being Director of Technical and Advisory, responsible for overseeing the incorporation of SIGBI.  A qualified civil and structural engineer, she is now a Reader at The University of Manchester.  Margaret recognises the need for change within Soroptimist International in order to continue to attract new members, but says that our Core Values have not changed and Soroptimists continue to fight for equality in places where women and girls are forbidden to travel, study or work without permission from their male guardians.

Margaret’s theme for the SIGBI Conference in Malta 2016 is “Engineering the Future


Programme Director: Barbara Dixon

Barbara Dixon - SIGBI Programme Director 2015-2017

Barbara has been a Soroptimist since 1993 and is a Member of SI Anglesey.  She has been involved at all levels of Programme work at Club and Region level and has been an Assistant Programme Director for Food Security and Healthcare for four years.  She has served on the Health Board, chairing meetings and developing and delivering strategies for health improvement.  Barbara worked in Cambodia with children rescued from paedophile and trafficking rings, and is very aware of the problems faced by many women and children, seeing the effect of poverty, malnutrition and abuse.  She is currently a Member of the North Wales Modern Slavery Committee and worked on the Anglesey Domestic Abuse Forum for several years.

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Director of Communications: Gail Teague

Gail joined SI Bromsgrove and Redditch in 1996, and has been a member for the last 20 years.

Director of Finance: Judith Lewis

Judith Lewis - webJudith joined SI Abergavenny in 1975 moving to SI Llantrisant when relocated for work, and then to SI Barry when the Llantrisant club closed. She has been club president in two different clubs, treasurer for three clubs and the region. While serving four years as Federation Councillor for Wales South was chairman of SIGBI Finance Committee from 1991/94. As a chartered accountant her professional knowledge and experience will be used to help to continue to develop and implement the FMB strategy “Building the Future of SIGBI”. Judith acknowledges the need to secure our future and ensure we have a professional organisation fit for purpose in the 21st century that women, particularly younger women, feel inspired to join. This will enable members to continue with the important work of making a difference to the lives of women and girls.

Director of Membership: Sue Williams

Sue Williams - webSue is a member of SI Paisley. She started as a Soroptimist with SI Barnstaple, moving to SI Harrogate because of a career move. Later she was a founder member of SI York Ebor before relocating to Scotland. She has been club president in two different clubs, Regional President, Federation Councillor and Director without Portfolio.  Her experience in membership issues has equipped her to take on the role of Director of Membership.

Director of Organisational Development: Isobel Smith

Isobel Smith - webIsobel joined SI Birmingham Central in 1992 and transferred to SI Solihull in 2012.  She has been President at both Club and Region level, and was Councillor for SI Midland Arden for four years.  She served for two years as Director without Portfolio, before applying for the Director of Organisational Development post.

Isobel is looking forward to her role, which now includes the successful integration of Associate Membership, which was approved at the 2015 General Meeting as well as the overseeing of new Clubs (seven Clubs were chartered in 2014-2015).


Johanna Raffan

Johanna joined Soroptimists in 1987 as a member of High Wycombe Club and then transferred to Thames Valley Club in 1989.  She has been Club Secretary, Treasurer and President twice; currently she is the Programme Action Officer.  She has been President of London Chiltern Region and Federation Councillor for four years during which time she sat on the Membership and Organisational & Development Committees.  Johanna has attended three SI Conventions and a number of SI Board meetings as a silent observer.  Her passion is Programme Action and she is currently Chair of the Kori Development Project.  In her professional life she  travelled extensively abroad and visited many clubs around the world thereby seeing at first hand the international aspect of Soroptimism at work.  As a regular silent observer at FMB meetings she is looking forward to working as a member of the team, at this critical time in the development of SIGBI.

Di Hill

Di joined SI Tiverton & District in 2008. From 2011 she was HR Liaison to the Board for four years and Federation Councillor for the South West & Channel Islands Region for one year. In her club Di has been President twice, Programme Action Officer, Secretary and is currently Membership Officer.

Di is looking forward to her new role as a DWP at this exciting time for SIGBI.

Eileen Hunter

Eileen Hunter - webEileen joined SI Kirkcaldy in 1986 and was Regional President 2010-2011.  She has held the position of Club Treasurer and Region Treasurer, and was recently the Treasurer for the very successful Glasgow 2015 Conference.

Eileen is now looking forward to making a difference to SIGBI at Board Level.