Announcing changes to our Board of Trustees — Clean Break



Colour photographs of Catriona Guthrie, Lara Grace Ilori, Carien Meijer, Naima Sakande and Jess Southgate arranged horizontally on a teal background

Announcing changes to our Board of Trustees

Welcoming Catriona Guthrie, Lara Grace Ilori, Carien Meijer, Naima Sakande and Jess Southgate

At Clean Break’s Annual General Meeting this week, we were delighted to announce the election of five new trustees who will be joining our board, with our Co-Chair Tanya Tracey standing down.

“It’s hard to believe that my time as a trustee and a co-chair, has come to an end. Although I am having to step down because I served my term and more, I also see it as progression. It means I am making space for someone else to take up the role, bringing fresh ideas to the Board and a space for someone else with lived experience to take up the position.

I want to thank the Clean Break Board, staff and Members for seeing the leader in me. Nine years ago, the value of having people with lived experience of the criminal justice system in positions of leadership was not considered essential. So, I am forever grateful for the opportunity given by former Clean Break Chair Kim Evans and the other trustees who I met when I interviewed to join the Board. Along the way I’ve met other amazing women leaders who supported and inspired me on my journey. When Alison Frater joined as Chair and suggested a Co-Chair model to the board, I was humbled by their support and commitment. I want to thank Alison for being courageous and making space to share power. And to thank the Board for their patience and encouragement. I have always felt valued by them all.

I hope my journey can inspire others to follow, especially women from the Global Majority and with lived experience, because these positions are ours to take up.

Finally, to the new trustees, thank you for choosing Clean Break. I trust you will gain much, learn much and thoroughly enjoy being part of the Clean Break family, I certainly have.” - Clean Break Outgoing Co-Chair, Tanya Tracey

“We are grateful for the support and guidance that we gain from our voluntary board of trustees in leading Clean Break. Tanya has been an inspiration to us all, and we are sad to come to the end of her term of service but will ensure that the legacy of her leadership is strong.

We are delighted to welcome new trustees to the Board who will each bring new perspectives and skills to guide us through the next period. We celebrate new voices adding richness to our discussions and decision-making.” - Clean Break Executive Director, Erin Gavaghan

Catriona Guthrie is a specialist in revenue generation for arts venues. She is currently Commercial Director for Battersea Arts Centre and has previously worked at the Lyric Hammersmith, Chichester Festival Theatre and numerous West End venues. Alongside her pursuit of sustainable business models, Catriona has a particular interest in transformative theatre and spent a two-year career break with charity Theatre for a Change working with women and girls in Ghana and Malawi. She was also on the team that helped set up The Mono Box, a community and toolkit for emerging artists, and sat on its advisory board throughout its 10-year lifespan.

Carien Meijer has extensive experience of working in various leadership and producing roles with organisations across the arts, local government and voluntary sector. Between 2006 and 2022, Carien was the Chief Executive of Drake Music. She is currently a freelance consultant and undertaking a MRes in Social Research & Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck University.

Lara Grace Ilori studied BA (Hons) Acting at RADA (2020) and will complete an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology at UCL in 2023, researching decolonisation and cultural identity in Oyotunji African Village in South Carolina. Lara is a storyteller, wanting to share human experiences through various creative mediums. She is currently participating in the Soho Theatre Writers Lab, co-produces events under the title 'A Night With Lara and Caleb' with fellow actor and RADA graduate Caleb Obediah, and will be seen in new Channel 4 series Big Mood airing in 2023/2024. Lara first worked with Clean Break playing Munch in Typical Girls (2021), and hopes to contribute to the welcoming, championing environment she was met with when cast in her first professional stage job by the organisation.

Naima Sakande is currently working as a freelance charity consultant, specialising in women's rights advocacy. Before this, Naima was Deputy Director of the legal charity APPEAL, where she managed their Women’s Justice Initiative, specialising in case investigation for criminal appeals on behalf of women with histories of domestic abuse and mental illness. She has managed programmes for young women affected by gangs in London at the youth charity, Leap Confronting Conflict, as well as working on pre-trial criminal cases as an Investigator for The Bronx Defenders, an internationally renowned public defender office in New York City. She was previously Vice-Chair of Women in Prison and was a 2019 Griffins Society Fellow, conducting research on the barriers to appeal for women with the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University. Naima has a B.A. in International Development from Yale University.

Jess Southgate began her career in the theatre, having studied Drama at Bristol University and then working as a costumier. Her passion for women’s justice was ignited by a role at Clean Break, from which she went on to work in policy, research and campaigns in the voluntary sector for fifteen years. She has held roles with organisations including the Howard League, Young Women’s Trust, Plan International UK and NACRO with a focus on campaigning for transformative systemic change for women and girls. Jess is currently Deputy CEO at Agenda Alliance, where she leads work to convene, strengthen and empower organisations to influence gender and trauma-responsive policy and practice for women and girls with multiple unmet needs. She has a Masters in Gender from the LSE, is a Griffins Society Fellow, a Trustee of Clinks (having previously been a trustee for Women’s Breakout) and volunteers with Opening Doors London.

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