Our board of Directors are all volunteers and bring with them a wide range of experience and skills.
They are dedicated and passionate about the work done by The Breastfeeding Network and are committed to growing the charity and to taking it from strength to strength.
Sukie Woodhouse, Chair
My relationship with BfN began after the birth of my first child, Mia. I started going to a local weekly drop-in and found the Supporters there to be both welcoming and accepting. Without their support and cheerful empowerment I would have struggled to continue. It seemed a natural next step to train as a Helper, and then whilst breastfeeding my second child, Misty to train as a Supporter. I have a background as a secondary school teacher and drew on this experience to subsequently train as a Tutor and Supervisor.
I am now tutoring and supervising in the Greater Manchester area and have been with BfN for ten years.
I was asked to join the Directors a couple of years ago and was inspired by the challenge of looking at our organisation in a more strategic way. I have enjoyed volunteering in this capacity and working with a talented team of Directors and feel I have energy and lots of ideas to explore taking us forward.
Emma joined the board in July 2017. She is the mother of two young children, and lives on the Surrey/Hampshire border.
Being a Director of BfN combines the strategic and analytical skills I have developed during my career with those I have learnt since becoming a mother in 2012. I feel very fortunate as not many roles offer the opportunity to combine both sides of your life!
I am a Strategic Communications Advisor by trade, providing advice to a range of people and organisations; from charities and businesses to policy makers and politicians. I enjoy helping people and organisations talk to others.
Along with my role on the Board of BfN, I provide PR support to a local group collecting aid for refugees, and I have established a gentle/positive parenting group in my town. Since having children, I have rekindled my love of being outdoors and you will often find me splashing in puddles with my two children. I am happiest by the sea and love to fossil hunt along the shore. My children both have food allergies so I also support breastfeeding mothers in the same position as I remember how overwhelming it can feel at the start.
I am fortunate to have had access to great breastfeeding support locally but I am very aware that not everyone has this. With BfN, I would like to help more mothers get the support they want and need. I applied to sit on the Board as I feel breastfeeding is a political issue with cuts to funding directly and indirectly impacting on breastfeeding support services with women and their children being let down. Too many women are not getting to choose how long they breastfeed because they do not have access to timely and quality feeding support, this is leading to them stopping before either they or their child is ready. I am working to support secure BfN services and encourage the Government and relevant bodies to do more to safeguard them.
Phyll Buchanan, Vice Chair
I am proud to have been a founder member of the Breastfeeding Network and became a Director for the second time in 2010, to help guide the organisation in this new phase of development.
I had the great privilege of being seconded to the Department of Health to job-share the Infant Feeding Best Practice Advisor post from 2008-11.
In 2014 I graduated with an MSc in Evidence-based Health Care from the University of Oxford.
Over the last 10 years I have led on the external accreditation of BfN’s training and, in 2016, achieved the Level 4 ‘Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice’ which means BfN now has direct claims status with the Open College Network.
I am the Director lead for DBS and Safeguarding and have also taken on the role of Caldicott Guardian which involves the following:
- Acting as the ‘conscience’ of BfN
- Advising on local IG issues
- Playing a key advisory role in ensuring that BfN satisfies the highest practical standards for handling personal information.
I am currently based in Newcastle after a move in 2017.
Kirsten Burnett, HR
Kirsten joined the Board of Directors in 2014 and specialises in HR. A law graduate, I have been working in HR within the public sector for over 16 years. In my current role in Hyndburn Borough Council (East Lancashire), I am the council’s lead officer for infant mortality prevention. I have implemented a Breastfeeding Policy within the council and also led a project to increase the number of businesses signing up as baby-friendly.
I have two children, a boy and a girl, so I have been fortunate enough to have experienced the joys (and sometimes difficulties!) of breastfeeding. Although I wasn’t involved with BfN at that stage, there were certainly times where without information and support I might have struggled to continue breastfeeding for as long as I did. My little girl, was 9 weeks premature, so the emotional aspect of breastfeeding took on a whole new dimension second time around.
When I heard that BfN had a vacancy for a director and were looking for HR skills in particular, I was really pleased to put myself forward. I see it as a great opportunity to develop my own skills, gain experience of the charity sector and working at board level, and get the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing something good. I’ve been hugely impressed with how much excellent and innovative work BfN does, much of it delivered by volunteers, and I’m really excited to have the chance to share this journey.
Zoe has been a member of the Board for several years. Zoe is also a Supporter, Tutor and Supervisor with the Breastfeeding Network.
I’m a new mum to Fox and currently off work on maternity leave. I’m enjoying the time off and the opportunity to spend time with my son and husband, and getting to grips with parenting. We love to go on adventures together; whether that’s a weekend away or a shopping trip, and I’ve been working on my cooking and baking whilst baby-wearing skills with varied degrees of success.
I am learning through my experience of breastfeeding Fox how varied and often contradictory advice and guidance is for breastfeeding. I have also been fortunate to receive support from my husband, family, and other mums when I’ve needed insight and reassurance (or even a much needed cup of tea and some toast whilst cluster feeding). I know how hard it can be and how crucial the work of BfN is to breastfeeding families.
I work for a mobile provider in HR, specifically Talent & Development, and I’m really excited by the opportunity to be a board member and share my skills and knowledge with such angreat organisation as well as develop new skills myself.
I have a background as a General and Sick childrens’ nurse with an obstetric certificate and have worked in health promotion for over 20 years. I am currently a senior manager in the NHS and have been involved with breastfeeding locally and nationally.
I am a mum of a two-year old little boy and I first came into contact with BFN via the Drugs in Breastmilk helpline. I got in touch for reassurance that the medication I was prescribed for my ulcerative colitis was safe while breastfeeding. I was very impressed with the service I received from the helpline and also with the informative factsheets on the website.
I work in financial regulation and I have applied to join the Board because I’m very passionate about breastfeeding and I’d like to help shape the future of the charity. I’m very sad to see how many mums stop breastfeeding early due to lack of information and/or support and I’m hoping that one day breastfeeding will be the norm in the UK.
In addition to spending time with our toddler, both my husband and I love travelling and we are very lucky to have visited many different countries, including Australia and New Zealand. I also love reading and I’m a big fan of Cecilia Ahern and Diane Chamberlain.
Francesca Cherubini Stoughton
I am delighted to have joined the Board in July 2017.
As a mother of two, the BfN was and still is an invaluable resource for me, particularly with respect to the straightforward advice provided around medications in breastmilk. I am committed to ensuring that mothers who want to breastfeed – along with those who love and care for them – can benefit from the same outstanding and dedicated professional and peer support that my children and I received on our breastfeeding journey.
My background is in financial services. From my early days in Corporate Finance to advising clients in Wealth Management, I have enjoyed building longstanding, personal relationships and evolving ideas and solutions to help clients achieve their goals. As a working mother, I have a particular interested in the support employers can offer to breastfeeding mothers or those seeking to return to work.
I have constantly been awed by the work that the BfN has done – especially since funding continues to be an issue – and feel that lending my skills and experience to the Board is a small way of saying thank you to all of the information and guidance provided by its brilliant staff and volunteers. I very much look forward to serving the BfN and its members.
I started my relationship with the BfN after having great difficulty with feeding my first daughter. I realised that establishing successful breastfeeding was the hardest, most emotionally charged thing I had ever done, and if I hadn’t had support from the many people who helped me during that period, it may have been impossible. Precisely because of this, I decided to train with the BfN to become a Helper. I have regularly volunteered in Tower Hamlets since 2015, and went on to take my Supporter training in 2017 (enabling me to take calls on the National Breastfeeding Helpline).
My background is in finance, in particular focusing on the application of regulation to various financial activities. I also have degrees in Classical Languages and History, Law and Business. As I have moved though my career, I have managed teams and been responsible for devising strategy, as well as serving as a school governor for a number of years. When I heard about the opportunity to join the board of BfN, I jumped at the chance to put all of these skills into use for something that is so important to me.
I was fortunate to first become actively involved with BfN soon after the organisation was set up. I gained a huge amount from the support, training and networking with like-minded people and was fortunate to learn from some very skilled and enthusiastic colleagues within the organisation.
My career has been in public health work and I’m glad that I was able to influence some important decisions to address health inequalities through infant feeding, nutrition and nurture. I also worked hard to ensure that NHS Clinics removed artificial milks from sale, using UNICEF UK guidance. I believe strongly in the challenge to ensure no damage or exploitation occurs due to ‘endorsement by association’ when working with members of the public.
I maintain my commitment to progressing women and children’s rights to fairness and equity and I continue to work with another charity which supports women and children’s safety and well-being.
I also enjoy travel, walking and spending time with family and friends.
I hope I can work with the Board of Directors to support the future direction of BfN through challenging times and when women and families have even greater need for access to evidence based information and independent support.
I joined BfN when it was first born, and have enjoyed being a supporter, tutor and supervisor ever since. I worked as community Infant Feeding Coordinator for Blackpool and North Lancashire for 9 years, achieving Baby Friendly accreditation for both areas whilst working with a BfN colleague, and then embedded the work by gaining reaccreditation. I have greatly enjoyed working closely with several universities and serving on the Baby Friendly designation committee.
My two greatest passions have been my work leading the development of the BfN peer support programmes in Blackpool and North Lancashire, and in my coordinator role trying to ensure that women receive truly evidence based information to help them make decisions about where their babies sleep.
For me there is only one infant feeding support organisation that embraces volunteers, delivers high quality peer support, counters the medical model of breastfeeding support, delivers evidence based information free from marketing hype, supports women to make their own decisions rather than telling them what to do, and keeps women and babies at the centre of everything that it does… and that is the BfN. I am so proud to be part of this organisation.
I now live on a small island on the West Coast of Scotland but travel frequently to England to see my family including my new granddaughter Isla.
As well as the full board we also have a number of smaller committees which many directors are also part of. These committees report back to the board and include:
- Finance, Audit and Risk Committee (FAR)
Initial contact with Directors should be made via Shereen Fisher, Chief Executive Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated August 2017