We are governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees/Directors who have overall legal and financial responsibility for the organisation. They direct the organisation’s long-term strategy and delegate implementation of the strategy to the Executive Director, based at the Head Office.

We are a membership organisation. Our members appoint our trustees at an Annual General Meeting.

Iana Vidal

Chair
Iana became chair of the Girls Friendly Society in March 2016. She was been a trustee and a member since March 2015, and previously volunteered for GFS for two years as a member of the Youth Work Committee.

She is a campaigner and public affairs professional, with a passion for supporting people to affect change at a local and national level. She has over four years’ experience working in the charity and non-profit sector on a diverse range of areas including health, justice and education. She has an LLB from King’s College, London and spent some time travelling in South America after completing her studies.

Iana is also a governor at a specialist secondary school for young people with autism. In her spare time, she volunteers for Anthony Nolan and South London Cares.

Catriona Charlesworth

Trustee
Catriona has been involved with GFS for almost twenty years as a branch leader and helper, firstly in Llyswen and then in Brecon. For nine years she was Provincial Secretary before becoming GFS Welsh President and a Trustee in 2015. In 2014 she was part of the team planning the GFS World Council which was hosted in Wales.

For several years she worked in a local voluntary organisation arranging training for staff and volunteers from children’s and young people’s groups. For the past ten years she has worked in a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, selling antiquarian and second hand books.

Catriona is also an active member of the Mothers’ Union as well as being involved in various parish-based activities.

Emma Dickinson

Trustee
Emma is an external trustee and was appointed to the GFS Board in March 2015.

She became a GFS trustee because she is passionate about helping girls and young women to develop their full potential and was impressed and interested in the unique activities of GFS to empower girls and young women.

Emma is a solicitor with substantial experience in advising charities on a range of legal issues, with a particular focus on employment and commercial law. She currently works as Senior Lawyer (Employment) for Action for Children, a national children’s charity.

Emma has previously worked with several charities and other organisations as a volunteer, including the Cranfield Trust, LawWorks Choices and the Law Society of England and Wales, where she was a committee member of the national Junior Lawyers Division.

Diane Farrow

Trustee
Diane has been involved with GFS for a number of years and remains a Branch Leader. She has a BA Youth Studies from Lancaster Uni and is a youth and community worker. She is also a Trustee at the High Peak Methodist Circuit and a local preacher.

Carol Gardner

Trustee
Carol has been a member of GFS since the age of seven. Since then she has gown within the organisation, fulling the volunteering roles of Branch Leader, Diocesan Secretary, Diocesan President, Welsh President, Deputy Central President and finally Central President. She was previously Chair of the Board for six years, and has since remained on the Board offering her extensive knowledge of the organisation.

Carol’s career has seen her working for Clwyd Health Authority, special needs education; RNIB and now as the Chief Officer of Dynamic, a centre for children and young people with disabilities.

Carol’s experience and expertise covers a wide range of area such as governance, finance, fundraising, child protection procedures and charity law.

Margaret Hughes

Trustee
Margaret joined the GFS Swinton Branch when she was ten years old, later becoming a Leader within the same branch. In addition to being a Trustee, she is Vice Chairman of GFS Northern Area and Secretary to GFS in Manchester and Chester Dioceses.

Now retired, Margaret spent all her working life in the civil service, latterly for her Department’s corporate IT section as a business analyst and change manager. She is currently Chair of Governors at a primary school, a parish treasurer and is authorised for Lay Ministry within her parish.

“Being part of GFS has been a privilege and has brought so many skills and opportunities into my life. Highlights of my time with GFS have been working with countless numbers of girls, at branch meetings, on day and residential trips and also being given the opportunity to attend GFS World Councils across the globe”.

Laura Koskenmäki

Treasurer
Laura is our GFS Treasurer and has over ten years’ investment and corporate banking experience.

Since graduating with a BSc Hons in Economics, she has worked at Lloyds Banking Group as a Business Development Director and is now a mentor for small business owners.

Sarah Schibli

Trustee
Sarah Schibli works in Investor Relations and Corporate Communications at Experian. She helps the company to engage with people, whether they are investors, employees or the wider public, ensuring that messaging is creative, consistent and accurate.

She helps them to communicate who they are, what they stand for and their stories, whilst ensuring that they meet their financial reporting requirements.

Sarah is from New Zealand and is a Chartered Accountant. She has a bachelor of Commerce (in Finance) and a Bachelor of Science (in Zoology), both from the University of Canterbury.

In her spare time she likes to learn more about history, bake cakes, improve her German language skills, tackle mountain walks, and go for the occasional horse-ride.

Margaret Winks

Trustee
GFS has been part of Margaret’s life for over 40 years. Margaret previously held the position of Midland Area President, which then lead on to serving several terms on the GFS Executive Committee. She was also a member of the Networking Committee, giving support to Branch Leaders.

Whilst fulfilling her other roles, Margaret was (and still is) a voluntary Branch Leader for GFS Worksop. She is also the current Secretary for the GFS Midland Area. She serves as a Churchwarden, a Minister of the Eucharist and Church Treasurer for her local church. Margaret is also Treasurer for an independent food bank In Bassetlaw which supports families/individuals to cope in times of need.

In her paid career, Margaret works for the charity ‘HOPE for the Homeless’. Each day the charity works to provide a hot evening meal, fresh clothes and overnight accommodation for homeless adults and children.

Poppy Winks

Trustee
Bio coming soon.