I am delighted to be able to introduce BfN’s new CEO, Catherine Hine. It is always daunting having to replace such a senior role in any organisation, and in our case, Shereen left particularly big shoes to fill in leaving to join UNICEF UK. The board were, however, thrilled with the quality of applications that we received for the role. In appointing Catherine, we believe we have found a fantastic replacement, someone with a clear passion for not only the role of breastfeeding in society, but also with proven experience of negotiating the third sector – and in particular, in organisations with a strong focus on the protection of, and promotion of, women and families – for a very long time.
Catherine will be joining us in early October, and her first major event for BfN will be the annual conference, where we are planning for her to introduce herself, and, time allowing, to be on hand to answer any questions you might have. Until she joins, if there are any questions, thoughts or otherwise that you would like to pass on to her, please send them through me, and I will pass them on.
Now, to hand over to Catherine, here is a bit about her, in her own words.
“I would, first of all, like to give a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the transition period over the last few months, and to Shereen for her dedication to BfN and to supporting a smooth transition for me into this role. I’m very much looking forward to getting out and about and meeting the BfN community, and would like nothing more than for you to share with me anything you feel it would be useful for me to know, or have me attend or participate in any events or opportunities to get to understand BfN and the work you do, better.
My commitment to breastfeeding comes as a result of my own experience of the ups and downs of breastfeeding, and also from serving as both a CEO and advocate in the family and relationships sector, and as a Board member of Smallwood Trust, an award-winning grant-maker tackling women’s poverty. My MBA research, which looked at the role of the family as a corporate sustainability issue, informed further research with the RSA and won a new Working Families award.
Beyond this, I have worked for many years in the public and not-for-profit sectors, including as Secretary General for the volunteer-led World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in Europe, lead for Oxford City Council’s communities and inequalities activity, and as a former Country Director for the volunteering charity, VSO.
In my current role, and as a mother, I am a passionate advocate for the vital role of a child’s earliest experiences to their brain development and later life outcomes. By helping families to have the choice to breastfeed, BfN volunteers and staff play a key role in improving family relationships, and help children to have the best possible start in life. By valuing, yet not romanticising breastfeeding, BfN also has a key role in enabling families to fulfil their potential. I am really looking forward to working with you to build upon the great work of Shereen and the BfN staff and volunteer community.“