Catherine Dixon Appointed Stonewall Chair | Stonewall
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Catherine Dixon Appointed Stonewall Chair

Stonewall’s Board of Trustees have unanimously elected Catherine (Cat) Dixon as Chair.

This follows Iain Anderson’s appointment by the Shadow Business Secretary to conduct an independent review of how Government and business can work together more effectively.

LGBTQ+ peoples’ human rights transcend party politics, and as a politically neutral organisation, Cat’s appointment ensures Stonewall can continue its vital work across the political spectrum in the best interests of LGBTQ+ communities.

Cat, formerly Vice Chair, is Stonewall’s longest serving trustee. Ayla Holdom has also been elected as Vice Chair, working jointly in the role alongside Jean Vianney Cordeiro.

Ben Whur has also started in post as Managing Director of Stonewall, leading the organisation’s work over the next nine months.

Cat brings a wealth of experience and expertise in leading major organisations, currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Cat was previously Chief Executive of the Law Society, NHS Resolution and a University College having previously been a senior executive in BUPA, General Counsel for the NSPCC and served as an Officer in the British Army. Cat is a solicitor and mediator and has served on numerous Boards. Cat also holds the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world on a tandem which she set in 2020.

Ayla has been involved in Stonewall since 2015, initially as a participant in Stonewall’s Leadership Programme, and subsequently serving on Stonewall’s Trans Advisory Group before joining the Board in 2020. Ayla has exceptional professional experience having served in the RAF for over a decade, including a tour in Iraq in 2008, followed by 7 years as a Sea King helicopter Captain in the RAF’s Search and Rescue Force. Ayla came out as Transgender in 2010 and remained in front line service throughout her transition, with the support and pragmatism of her colleagues and the wider armed forces. Ayla now flies for the National Police Air Service.

Ben has had a rich and varied career in social care, social housing, interim leadership in health, housing and central Government, and leading a successful events company. He also spent 9 years from 2005 volunteering for Pride in London, including leading the volunteer team, delivering the annual event.

Commenting on her appointment as Chair and thanking Iain for his contribution to Stonewall, Cat Dixon (she/her) said:

“I am incredibly proud to be appointed as Chair of Stonewall’s Board of Trustees and committed to working hard to secure the freedom, equity and release of potential for all LGBTQ+ people. As an Army Officer who served when it was a crime to be LGBTQ+ in the armed forces, I have experienced discrimination and hate, and I am forever grateful to Stonewall for the role it played in getting the ban to lifted. It is tackling the ongoing injustices, discrimination, and violence against LGBTQ+ people that drives me to serve our communities through Stonewall, and I will do my best to provide inspirational and supportive leadership to Stonewall as it continues, with its partners, to fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ people and to win hearts and minds to get the UK back on track as the world leader for LGBTQ+ equality.”

“I want to thank Iain on behalf of the Board, for his leadership over the last year, and for his longstanding and ongoing support of Stonewall and the wider LGBTQ+ community.”

Iain Anderson (he/him) said:

“I am proud to have served as Stonewall’s Chair over the last year and will continue to support as a Stonewall Ambassador for the charity which has made such a huge difference in my life. I am confident Cat will continue to provide Stonewall with excellent organisational leadership. I am proud to stand for and with all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people and will continue to champion our communities’ rights and potential in everything I do.”

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