By Saxton Bampfylde


The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women has announced the appointment of Helen McEachern as its new Chief Executive Officer. Helen will take up the role on 26 July 2017, succeeding Clare Twelvetrees, who completes her tenure as Interim Chief Executive Officer. Clare will return to her former role as the Foundation’s Director of Strategy, Knowledge and Learning.

Helen joins the Foundation after over a decade at leading international charity for women and girls, ActionAid, most recently in the role of Director of Fundraising for ActionAid UK. She brings over 20 years’ experience in international NGOs and has held senior leadership positions at Greenpeace, ActionAid UK and ActionAid International.

Helen counts a number of key successes over the course of her career, which includes overseeing the doubling of ActionAid’s global income to over £200m annually, considerable expansion of the organisation into new countries and raising over £300m in five years as leader of ActionAid’s UK fundraising programme. Originally hailing from Australia, she has been based in the UK since 2001 and has worked extensively overseas, including in South Africa, the Netherlands, India and the US.

Helen has a BSc. in Social Policy from Birkbeck, University of London, and an International Executive MBA from the IE Business School in Madrid.

Helen brings a depth of expertise in organisational management and strategy, and will drive the strategic direction of the Foundation in line with its five-year plan to reach 250,000 women by 2019. Crucial aspects of this strategy will involve extending and deepening the Foundation’s partnerships with public and private sector players and deploying technology to broaden the reach and impact of its programmes for women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies.

The organisation’s Founder, Cherie Blair, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Helen to the team. She brings a huge amount of experience in international development, which will strengthen the Foundation’s efforts to keep the issue of women’s economic empowerment where it belongs – at the top of the global development agenda. I would also like to thank Clare Twelvetrees for stepping up to the role of Interim CEO and steering the organisation with enormous dedication and energy during the interim period.”

Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Jessica Learmond-Criqui, said: “We’re thrilled to appoint Helen to the position of CEO. Since the Foundation was established in 2008, our projects have supported over 140,000 women in more than 100 countries. Helen’s leadership will be critical to realising our ambitions for the next phase of growth. She will bring the expertise and vision we need to change the lives of even more women entrepreneurs.”

On being appointed, Helen said: “The mission of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women goes to the heart of my passion for social justice and gender equality. During my time at ActionAid, I witnessed first-hand how critical it is to enable women to earn and control their own income. That’s why I’m thrilled to take on this new challenge. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women has grown quickly since its beginnings in 2009 to become a key player on the global stage, and I am excited to build on these impressive foundations to make financial security a reality for even more women across the world.”

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