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Departure of Women’s Engineering Society Chief Executive Dawn Bonfield MBE
At the end of a successful and rewarding year as Chief Executive of the Women's Engineering Society Dawn Bonfield MBE is moving on to pastures new. Dawn has worked tirelessly for WES for five years, first as a volunteer, then President before taking over the role of the WES Chief Executive a year ago. She is the founder of National Women in Engineering day, and several other recent initiatives at WES including the Sparxx programme and the Magnificent Women outreach activity.
WES has grown substantially as an organisation over the past ten years. During the latter years, the Society’s Council had been for some time contemplating the possibility of employing a chief officer to run and lead the Society. Thanks in large part to Dawn’s hard work, last year WES was finally able to commit to starting on the process of defining the role and then to recruit. With the permission of the Charity Commission, Dawn was appointed as our first paid Chief Executive in the 21st century whilst the Board with Dawn’s support were defining the role and identifying other paid senior roles. Dawn has followed the footsteps of the legendary Dame Caroline Haslett, the Society’s first paid Secretary who managed and lead the Society during its earliest days from 1919 well into the 1930s, a CEO in all but name who ensured the Society’s survival and growth.
Reflecting on her time with WES, Dawn commented "It has been a pleasure and an honour to be the first CEO of this amazing and historically significant charity. For the past five years I have thoroughly enjoyed working on so many important campaigns and I am tremendously proud of my achievements here. It has been a pleasure to work with so many committed volunteers and staff of WES and our partner organisations. WES has a very bright future and I am sure that a new leader will bring even more opportunities for growth.”
Grahame Carter, Operations Director at Matchtech said: “As a corporate partner, I have had the pleasure of meeting Dawn several times. Dawn’s passion has driven WES to achieve great things over the last 5 years. She has been central to the growing success of WES and campaigns including National Women in Engineering Day, which continues to make a great impact on the industry. Her efforts in increasing awareness and promoting women in engineering have been an inspiration for many women in the industry. On behalf of the company, I would like to thank her for her contribution and wish her well in her future endeavours.”
Kirsten Bodley, former CEO of STEMNET, has agreed to act as interim lead to support WES in the transition between Dawn and to continue the process towards recruitment of a permanent Chief Executive and senior management team. Kirsten will provide the much needed external facing contact point for the Society.
Benita Mehra, WES President, noted “Everyone who comes into contact with Dawn recognises her talent in getting things done and her absolute commitment to women and engineering. The current trustees and council would like to thank Dawn for her transformational work with WES. We hope that we will continue to benefit from Dawn's energy and enthusiasm in the future as this 97-year old organisation looks forward to celebrating its centenary in 2019." She also added, “We would also like to welcome Kirsten Bodley on board. We are very lucky to be able to count on someone as experienced and as highly regarded as Kirsten to join us and support the Society.”