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How It Works

How It Works

Structure

Board of Directors

Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland is run by a Board of 7 volunteer members elected by the membership. Some details are given below:

President: Johanna Raffan MBE

Johanna has been a Soroptimist since 1987, originally a member of Soroptimist International High Wycombe & District, she is now a member of SI Thames Valley.

She has held most club offices plus being President at Club and Regional level. She was Federation Councillor for SI London Chiltern for four years and a member of the SIGBI board from 2016/18 as Director without Portfolio. Johanna was Chair of Glasgow 2015 Conference and is currently chair of Soroptimist International Convention Dublin 2023.

With over 45 years in education she has worked, not just in UK, but across the world giving her the opportunity to see Soroptimists at work globally.  Her theme for the year is “Believe to Achieve” and feels very privileged to be President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland, especially in Soroptimist International Centennial year.

President Elect: Catherine Cottridge

Catherine has been a member of the Southend-on-Sea Club since 2007 and has held positions at Club, Region and Federation level. She was a Federation Councillor, moving to being a Director Without Portfolio and then become a Director of SIGBI Trading Ltd.

She is looking forward to helping Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) move forward as an Organisation.

Director of Finance: Ruth Healey
Ruth Healey

Ruth joined SI Guildford and District (now SI Surrey Hills) in 2003. She has been President and Treasurer at both Club and Region level, and is a Chartered Management Accountant with 25 years experience.

She is a commercially focussed Finance Director with a proven track record of developing strategies and businesses processes. She is a proactive change manager utilising strong communication and influencing skills to implement policies, procedures and systems to enable businesses to achieve their objectives. She is confident that she can help SIGBI move forward financially.

Director of Governance: Sylvia Watson

Sylvia joined SI Newcastle upon Tyne Club in 1983 and transferred to SI Central London Club in 1987 when she relocated to start a new job.  Work commitments intervened again in 1996 when Sylvia found herself residing mainly in the USA and unable to maintain her membership.  Sylvia was pleased when she was able to join SIGBI again in 2002 as a member of SI Central and SW London Club.

Over the years Sylvia has held various posts at club and regional level, including Regional President, and has represented her region on the UKPAC.  She works in the financial services industry and is a company director and company secretary.  Sylvia is looking forward to serving SIGBI in her role as Governance Director.

Director of Membership: Chevonne Agana

Chevonne joined Soroptimism in 2010 as a member of SI Newtown which was a brand-new club at the time. She quickly became Assistance Secretary and moved on to become President Elect in 2012. She served as the SI Newtown President from 2014-2016 while simultaneously serving as Vice President of the National Association. She moved up and continued to serve becoming National Association President from 2018-2020.

Chevonne is very passionate about membership and diversity and looks forward to serving SIGBI as Membership Director from 2020-2022.

Programme Director: Kay Richmond
Kay Richmond, SIGBI Programme Director

Kay has been a Soroptimist since 1999 and is a Member of SI Cardiff and District.  She has served as Programme Action Officer at Club and Region level, and was UKPAC Programme Action Chairman before taking on the role of SIGBI Programme Director.

Kay has worked as a physician at home and abroad, and her time as Chairman of UKPAC has increased her enthusiasm for the work SIGBI does and the influence we can bring to bear. This has led to working with governments across the UK, with other Community Service Organisations in preparation for the Commission on the Status of Women each year in March and linking to the work of the Advocacy group at Soroptimist International. Our projects from local to global help us to raise awareness, advocate and act on issues of importance to women and girls everywhere.

Director of PR and Marketing: Nisha Ghosh

Nisha Ghosh joined SI Poona in 2002 and moved to form SI Pune Metro East in 2010. As founder president of the new club she brought her experience of 8 years to the table as did 5 others and has since worked around the clock to make it a force of good standing.

As a writer and former journalist, she has used her writing skills for doing almost all the content for the club to showcase its work and achievements. She contributes regularly to blogs for SI Global Voice as well as the SIGBI website. Nisha has had the fortune of doing a presentation for the UN Advocacy Officer at the UNODC office in Geneva. As the first Indian on the Soroptimist Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) delegation in 2015, Nisha made a presentation on Domestic Violence – at one of the parallel events. She also made a presentation on behalf of SIGBI at CSW in 2017. She was the first Indian on the Federation team as Friendship Link Coordinator and then as one of the first Indians on the Programme Team as Assistant Programme Director for Peace (formerly Violence and Conflict Resolution) for four years.

At the National Association of Soroptimist International India, she has served as Programme Action Chairperson, and as Organizational Development Officer. Currently she is Vice President at the National Body.

At club level, she has served as PAC, Communications Officer and now Membership Officer. For this role she made a video film for ‘Ask me why I’m a Soroptimist’ competition.

Nisha looks forward to her new role at the Federation Board as PR & Marketing Director. This gives her the opportunity to raise the profile of Soroptimist International and attract new members.

Programme Team

The Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland Programme Team consists of the Programme Director, and five Assistant Programme Directors (APDs), each assigned to one of the Programme Areas.

Details of the post holders are given below, and information about the projects each area covers can be found by following the “Read my Page” links.

Kay Richmond

Programme Director

Kay Richmond, SIGBI Programme Director

Kay has been a Soroptimist since 1999 and is a Member of SI Cardiff and District.  She has served as Programme Action Officer at Club and Region level, and was UKPAC Programme Action Chairman before taking on the role of SIGBI Programme Director.

Kay has worked as a physician at home and abroad, and her time as Chairman of UKPAC has increased her enthusiasm for the work SIGBI does and the influence we can bring to bear. This has led to working with governments across the UK, with other Community Service Organisations in preparation for the Commission on the Status of Women each year in March and linking to the work of the Advocacy group at Soroptimist International. Our projects from local to global help us to raise awareness, advocate and act on issues of importance to women and girls everywhere.

Carol Infanti

APD Prosperity

Carol Infanti

Carol has been a Soroptimist since 2010. She was a member of SI Maidstone and is now a member of SI Medway and Maidstone. She held various roles at Club and Region level, including Regional President, Club President, Communications Officer, Website Officer and Membership Officer.

With qualifications in both Interprofessional Health and Social Care and Home Economics.  Carol’s career has always been focussed on working to help people improve their lives.

She worked for many years in local government health and social care, involved in strategic planning, project management and commissioning services for vulnerable adults and children. Prior to that she worked for British Gas Customer Services where she was instrumental in developing services for vulnerable customers.

Prosperity is often associated with thriving, flourishing, wealth and economic wellbeing. Carol’s experience and skill helps her provide leadership and guidance on issues relating to prosperity and wellbeing for women and girls.

Carol wants to raise awareness of the importance of the UN to our members, encouraging them to undertake projects which support the 5Ps. It is our Consultative Status and our Programme Action, focussing on the 5Ps which makes Soroptimists International different from other organisations.

Yvonne Gibbon

APD People

Yvonne has been a Soroptimist since 2009 and is a Member of SI Widnes. She has been Club President and Membership Officer, as well as Programme Action Officer for both Club and Region. She currently teaches English at a range of levels from adult beginner readers, all levels of Functional Skills English and GCSE English.

Being a teacher, she firmly believes that education has to be at the core of what we do and believes that men and boys must be educated too on women’s rights and why violence against women and girls is wrong. Yvonne hopes to be able to support and encourage clubs and regions to undertake Programme Action work that educates or enables the education of women and girls and men and boys to make the world a better place for everyone for if we improve the life and life chances for women and girls then the lives of men and boys will be improved as a direct consequence.

Anitha Rajarajan

APD Planet

Anitha Rajarajan founded SI Madurai in 2010. She has served as PAC, Club Rep and Friendship link Officer at club level and recently she has been elected as membership officer for the National Association of India.

The  Programme action that she has  been able to conduct as President and oversee later largely involved with environment sustainability. That some of those environment projects were honoured as best practices spurred her on to take the challenge of environment awareness to her community.

An avid traveler, she has always successfully  connected with soroptimists making friendship links in all the 4 federations.

She is a highly driven and passionate social worker with a self effacing ability to conceptualise and create winning solutions. Aligned with strong consciousness, she believes in team work and also works her way towards opening doors for the next generation. Big or small,every gesture of hers demonstrates why her voice is important and remains so relevant in her work of one decade as a sincere and committed soroptimist.

She has also been selected as one of some hundred women who have made a noteworthy difference to society for SI ‘s centenary celebrations.

Yvonne Freeman

APD Partnerships

Yvonne joined Canterbury Club in 2009, and very much has Programme Action at heart, having held the post of Programme Action Officer at Club level for several years.

Kim Ann Williamson MBE

APD Peace

Kim Ann has been working closely with SIGBI since 2013 and has been a Soroptimist since 2018 and a member of SI Cardiff and District. She has held club posts of Vice President and President Elect.

Kim Ann has worked in criminal justice for over 36 years and has seen first hand how violence impacts on people’s lives and the wider community.

Working with young people as a youth worker in the 1990s and seeing how exploitation can affect our most vulnerable in society, began Kim Ann’s passion to influence the work on exploitation and FGM. Kim Ann worked with UKPAC in 2018 on the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Survey
and has been proud to be invited to speak at SIGBI conferences locally , regionally and internationally.

In the role of Assistant Programme Director Peace, Kim Ann will be able to use her experience to work with clubs locally and globally across the whole of the federation to promote peaceful and inclusive communities.

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