• Our Aims

    To network with and learn from fellow women chief executives of national and international charities.

    To network and share learning with women leaders in the public and private sectors.

    To encourage women who have the potential to become leaders in the public, voluntary and private sectors.



    If you are a woman CEO in the voluntary sector, or recently stepped down, we'd love you to join us.

    Email our Chair, Susan Daniels, Susan.Daniels@ndcs.org.uk, to sign up to our newsletter.

    See below for our upcoming events and book soon to ensure your place - we look forward to involving you.

  • Upcoming Events - book soon to be sure of a place!

    Book your place at our future events, and contact our Chair if you are interested in speaking or suggesting a speaker.

    Helen Stephenson, CEO of the Charity Commission, and speaker at Groundbreakers

    Gwen Hines,

    CEO of Plant Heritage


    Thursday 11 July 2024


    Online event


    Gwen Hines joined plant conservation charity Plant Heritage as CEO in March this year, after nearly three decades working on child rights and international development at senior levels for the World Bank, the UK Government and the charity Save the Children UK where she was CEO until February. This new leadership role represents a big change, both in terms of subject matter and scale: Save the Children UK has over 800 staff and last year raised over £300m whilst Plant Heritage has the equivalent of 7 full time staff, relies heavily on volunteers and its income last year was around £500,000. Gwen explains that she’s lucky enough to have two passions in life – child rights and plants – and decided that her 50s were the perfect time for a career pivot to focus on the second one. Plant Heritage is best known for the National Plant Collections which are a living library of around 95,000 special garden plants, including the first Collections in a pub and in a women’s prison. Its thousands of members and local groups share plants, stories and skills, from seed sharing to propagation.


    Register in advance for this meeting:




    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


    Helen Stephenson, CEO of the Charity Commission, and speaker at Groundbreakers

    Dame Lesley Regan.

    Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College


    Wednesday 13 November 2024


    In-person event, at Bates Wells in London.


    Dame Lesley Regan is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College, St Mary’s Hospital, London. Having graduated from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London in 1980, Professor Regan pursued her career at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, where she first became enthused by clinical & laboratory research, completing an MD on miscarriage, the commonest complication of pregnancy. She went on to set up the world’s largest recurrent miscarriage clinic at St Mary’s.

    Professor Regan was the 30th President (2016-2019) of the RCOG, during which time she co-chaired the national Women’s Health Task Force and published the RCOG Better for Women report which highlighted the need for an NHS led women’s health strategy. Lesley was awarded a DBE for her services to women’s health in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List. She was appointed chair of the WoW charity in October 2020 and became the first ever Women’s Health Ambassador for England in July 2022, to help implementation of the Government’s recently launched Women's Health Strategy to improve the health and wellbeing of girls and women nationally.


    Email our Chair Susan Daniels to book your place ASAP.

    This event is in-person, and kindly hosted by our sponsors Bates Wells, at 10 Queen Street, London EC4R 1BE

  • Blogs

    Lead without fear: Tackling Racism in our Organisations - Parts 1 and 2.

    Written by Aleema Shivji, Executive Director, Impact & Investment at Comic Relief, former CEO Humanity & Inclusion UK, and member of Groundbreakers Steering Group, after chairing our Groundbreakers events in January 2022 and September 2020.
    Aleema Shivji's second blog in our Groundbreakers series Lead without Fear: Tackling Racism in our Organisations, written for International Women's Day 8th March 2022. In July 2020, I chaired Groundbreakers' first “Lead without Fear: Tackling Racism in our Organisations” event for UK-based...
    Lead without fear: tackling racism in our organisations Author: Aleema Shivji, Executive Director, Impact & Investment at Comic Relief, former CEO at Humanity & Inclusion UK, and member of the Steering Group for Groundbreakers. Twitter @AleemaShivji A few weeks ago I had the honour of hosting...
  • Get Involved

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    Join Groundbreakers

    Membership is open to all women charity chief executives both current and former, and is currently free thanks to generous in-kind support from Bates Wells.

    Sign up for our email updates here.


    Check out our upcoming events above. Book your free ticket ASAP to be sure of a place. Hear our inspirational speakers and join in the discussions. Come along and get involved.


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  • Quotes

    What our members say about us...

    Aleema Shivji,

    Executive Director of Impact and Investment, Comic Relief, and previously CEO at Humanity & Inclusion UK

    "I couldn’t recommend Groundbreakers more – it’s a fantastic opportunity to listen to some incredibly inspiring speakers, make new connections, and importantly, take a step away from the day to day to think about leadership and a whole host of big picture things that are so crucial in our roles as CEOs but we often struggle to find time for. Some of my best ideas have come to me while I’ve been at a Groundbreakers event!"

    Member guest at our Summer Reception May 2019

    "It was a really excellent session last night and I thought Helen struck just the right note for the group. I really appreciated the opportunity to attend, network and hear from a really open, honest and inspiring speaker."

    Gail Scott-Spicer,

    CEO, Kings College Hospital Charity

    "Purpose-driven, values-led leadership, of (and by) women. Honest, open and human words from Helen (Stephenson). Inspirational."

    Caroline Diehl MBE

    Executive Chair, Together TV, and founder, Social Founder Network

    “During my years as Founder CEO of Media Trust and Community Channel I regularly attended Groundbreakers events. We had some stunning speakers, who, under the Chatham House Rule, told us fascinating stories about their career challenges, their personal journeys, crises, successes, learnings and impact. Lots of stories of tears and laughter, learnings and inspiration. I loved meeting with other women CEOs in a safe, relaxing space too.”

    Susan Daniels

    CEO, National Deaf Children's Society, and Chair of Groundbreakers

    "If you are a CEO of a voluntary organisation, I do encourage you to join Groundbreakers. You will hear from some fantastic female leaders from the private, voluntary and public sectors and have the opportunity to exchange opinions and network with your peers in convivial surroundings. What could be better?"

  • Tweets

    We tweet @groundbreakeruk