Kathryn Davis was officially appointed as our organisation’s new Chief Executive on the 19th of September, at the 26th Annual General Meeting. Kathryn has replaced former Chief Executive Mel Akers, who announced earlier this year that he will be retiring, after 3 years with the charity. Her appointment was welcomed and introduced to Headway members, staff and volunteers, including a representative from Headway UK and the Deputy Mayor of Worcester.
Kathryn is a dedicated and results-drive strategic leader, with a highly successful background in operational and strategic management. She has worked with local authorities as part of her role within the City Council, private sector during various strategic and operational roles and charitable sector for Focus Birmingham, as the Director of Operations.
We asked her how she felt about joining out team:
“I am delighted to have joined the Headway team in Worcestershire; I am passionate about supporting people with disabilities to choose what they want from life and finding pathways to achieve their dreams and ambitions. Headway provides the excellent support and information that allows the service user and their family to live the life they choose.”, said Kathryn.
Can you relate in any way to the people we are helping?
“My husband has a degenerative brain condition, so I have first-hand experience of being a carer and how big the impact is not only on the person with the brain acquired condition but their entire family and the transition to finding a new plan for the future.”
Over the last decade, brain injuries have grown by 10% and every 90 seconds someone is admitted into hospital with a head injury. The effects are often devastating, affecting more than just the survivor, often families are at risk of breaking down and carers at risk of mental issues. In Worcestershire alone, there are 1000 people who acquire a brain injury every year.
With such an increase in the prevalence of brain injuries and a big gap to bridge in terms of services for those affected by ABI, we asked Kathryn about her employment history and why she came back into the charitable sector:
“My career to date has been diverse. I began working for the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) assessing claims and working with the public before joining the fraud team. I then chose to move into sales working for a pet treat company, where I got to eat dozens of Healthy Dog bars to prove to buyer how healthy they were!
I moved to a Birmingham-based sales team for Rentokil Initial providing workwear, floor care table linen and washroom services to businesses; I worked there for over 12 years and progressed to a national senior management role.
During my time there I had married Richard and had our two daughters Ellie and Grace and decided that I wanted to be based in Birmingham, so I waved goodbye to the company car and took a job with Birmingham City Council running Disability Employment Solutions. I loved this work, I found my passion working and supporting people with disabilities to gain skills and move into paid work, I progressed to leading these services at Directorate level. Sadly after 12 years, cuts to local authorities money meant cuts to services and I chose to take my redundancy.
I became Director of Operations for Focus Birmingham, my teams were supporting people with sight loss to access day care activities, benefit from our optician team, work in the community running activities and clubs, transport team, volunteers and fundraising.
I moved to lead Learning and Development for Highways England who build and look after all the motorways and major roads in England; I progressed to be the Industrial Relations lead working with the unions to ensure the staff were fully supported and kept safe.
I really missed working with the disabled community so started looking for a job I would love to do and I am very lucky to have found that, here at Headway Worcestershire.”
We look forward to our organisation finding more ways to help more people across the county and we look forward to seeing her vision with regards to our charity.