Alison Wallace has been Chief Executive of disaster relief charity ShelterBox for almost three years, during its responses to headline disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan and the Nepal earthquakes. Now she is moving on to an award- winning think tank about Europe’s role in the world.
New Zealander Alison Wallace will leave emergency shelter charity ShelterBox at the end of February 2016 to join one of Westminster’s most relevant think tanks as Chief Executive. The European Council on Foreign Relations is a strong voice on current issues such as the refugee crisis, the forthcoming UK referendum on ‘Brexit’, and the future of imperiled states such as Ukraine.
During her time with ShelterBox Alison oversaw a gear change in its strategic direction and created ambitious growth plans. She says, ‘It’s been exciting, and at times hugely challenging, over the last three years. But I pay tribute to the staff, affiliates, volunteers and partners who have always stayed true to ‘No household without shelter’, the desire that drives everything that ShelterBox does.’
I leave very much as a friend, and will continue to support the work it does from afar.
Under Alison’s leadership the charity has responded to major events such as Typhoon Haiyan and last year’s Nepal earthquakes, helped to shelter refugees in Iraq and on the Greek islands, and taken aid to war zones including the Syrian region and Niger. It has also further expanded its aid product range with Shelter Kits and School Boxes in addition to the familiar green ShelterBox, and embarked on a root and branch supply chain project to ensure value and quality.
Alison has deployed to the Philippines, and attended several fundraising and supporter events and international conferences in the USA, Belgium and Italy among others. Her time with ShelterBox has also seen some high profile endorsements, including the renewal of the charity’s global Project Partnership with Rotary International, a continuation of Royal Patronage by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, and an invitation from TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to attend last October’s Royal Film Performance, gaining a $385,000 share of the proceeds.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr Rob John OBE, says, ‘At ShelterBox we all know that saving lives in the aftermath of disaster requires a huge team effort across the globe, and at many levels. In her time as Chief Executive Alison has made a major contribution to our level of professionalism and willingness to embrace innovation. This has added to the determination, enthusiasm and commitment of our people, our partners and our supporters, and gives us great capacity and opportunity for dealing with future disasters.’
Rob adds that the announcement of Alison’s departure is made with a mixture of great pride and some sadness. ‘During her three years with us she has helped and guided the organization through some difficult times and has shown great clarity of thought and commitment through it all. She leaves the organization in a stronger position than when she arrived. More than that she leaves as a friend. I thank her for her powerful contribution and we all wish her well in her new, exciting and very challenging role.’
Alison will hand over as CEO at the end of February 2016. ShelterBox’s Board of Trustees has received permission from the UK Charities Commission to appoint Chris Warham, a Trustee since March 2012, as interim Chief Executive. He will guide the organization through the coming months until the charity completes the recruitment of a permanent CEO.
Chris is an experienced CEO and has created and run several businesses. His most recent appointment was as Group Chief Operating Officer of the seven companies that made up the Good Relations Group – one of the UK’s top communications agencies. He has worked with ShelterBox for a number of years as a speaker and fundraiser, and deployed as a ShelterBox response team member. Chris chaired ShelterBox’s UK board and became a Trustee in March 2012. He is currently the chair of the charity’s Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, but will stand down as a Trustee when he takes up the Interim CEO role.
Chris says, ‘I am a passionate supporter of ShelterBox. Its extraordinary staff, donors and volunteers bring hope to those without any. I’m thoroughly looking forward to serving the organization and its beneficiaries in a new way.’
Dr. Rob John OBE adds, ‘Chris is ready, willing and able to do this job. We are very fortunate to have someone with his skill set to lead the team going forward to make the handover from Alison virtually seamless. We expect great things.’