After 20 years in London, over 13 of them as CEO of nia, I am moving back to Yorkshire. As a result, I have decided to stand down as CEO. I think it is in nia’s best interests that the organisation has a London-based CEO, and therefore I will not be in a position to fulfil that role. However, I am going to retain a (part-time) role involved in the strategic leadership of the organisation. I will also continue as a Director of the Femicide Census.
I have been working with the board of trustees and the senior leadership team to manage this change. We are delighted to share that Jodie Woodward will become the CEO of nia. From the next few months, I will continue to be CEO but long distance whilst we recruit to Jodie’s current post, so that she is able to take over as CEO without being expected to do her current role too. The advertisement for Director of Operations, East London Rape Crisis will be running shortly.
We (me, the trustees and Jodie) are determined to protect the integrity and stability of nia and we are pleased to have been able to reflect nia’s feminist values in our succession planning and CEO transition. There will be no change to nia’s core values. We will continue to place women who have been subjected to sexual and domestic violence and abuse, including prostitution, at the front and centre of our work. The organisation’s positions around opposition to prostitution whilst supporting women in prostitution, anti-racism, prioritising women and recognising the need for women-only space will not change. These values are central to the new 5-year strategic plan set by the board of trustees which will be released later this year.
It has been an incredible privilege to have led nia for over thirteen years. I can be honest and say that whilst I am looking forward to the next episode of my life I am hugely sad about standing aside as nia’s CEO but I genuinely believe it is in the organisation’s best interests that I do so. I remain proud to be part of nia, proud to work alongside the women who together make nia and proud of the difference that we make together. I am proud that together we have managed to stay true to our feminist values whilst delivering services to women who need them. Jodie has my full support for her new role and I know that she will be a brilliant CEO of our fantastic feminist organisation.
Karen Ingala Smith