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Switchback appoints next CEO, Sian Williams

By August 18, 2022No Comments

We’re delighted to announce that Switchback’s board has appointed Sian Williams as our new CEO.

Sian will join Switchback in October following 13 years at Toynbee Hall, one of London’s most respected community organisations, where she is currently Director of Policy and Innovation.

At Toynbee Hall, Sian has driven the charity’s pioneering work on financial inclusion while leading their transformation towards co-design and co-production with local communities. Sian will take over from Switchback’s founder Alice Dawnay, who announced in May she would be stepping down after 15 years leading the organisation which supports young men to build stable lives after prison. A thorough recruitment process included input from across the team and Switchback’s Experts by Experience.

The appointment comes after Switchback published new plans to expand its award-winning delivery programme in London, and grow its campaigning work by amplifying the voice and experience of Switchback Trainees. Nationally, half of prison-leavers are back inside within a year, whereas 91% of young men supported by Switchback don’t reoffend.

Sian Williams, Switchback’s incoming CEO, said:

“Through Switchback’s unique model of intensive 1-to-1 support, Alice has established one of the most impactful justice charities in the UK, helping hundreds of young men build totally different lives after prison. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to build on such an impressive legacy.

“With thousands of young men still leaving prison with minimal support and facing huge barriers to change, the time is right to reshape the justice system.”

Duncan Shrubsole, Switchback’s Chair of Trustees, said:

“We’re delighted to appoint Sian as Switchback’s next CEO. Sian’s leadership, thoughtfulness and commitment to Switchback’s values impressed everyone she met, from trustees to the staff team and former Switchback Trainees.

“We’re all indebted to Switchback’s founder Alice Dawnay for her original vision and for establishing Switchback as a leading justice charity. With Sian we believe we have found the right person to both nurture and evolve that legacy.”

Sergio Gogoa, Switchback Experts by Experience Board member and Trustee Board Adviser, said:

“Sian immediately felt like the right choice for Switchback’s future. She understands where Trainees are coming from, and she has the passion, willpower and values to guide Switchback in the right direction.”

Alice Dawnay, Switchback’s Founder and outgoing CEO, said:

“I am so pleased that Sian will be leading Switchback into its next chapter. With a fresh perspective and lots of rich experience to draw on, she has the curiosity, optimism and sense of adventure needed to take the organisation to new places. Critically, she’s absolutely committed to keeping Trainees at the heart of everything.”

About Sian Williams

Sian joins Switchback from Toynbee Hall, where she has worked for 13 years and is currently Director of Policy and Innovation. Toybnee Hall is one of London’s oldest and most well-respected community organisations, working in partnership with local communities to influence a fairer and happier future in East London and beyond. During her time there, Sian has driven Toynbee Hall’s pioneering work on financial inclusion, securing key national policies such as fee-free Basic Bank Accounts and better access to affordable credit, while leading the organisation’s journey towards co-design and co-production with local communities. Sian previously served as a diplomat in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She is currently Chair of the new economy think tank Positive Money, Vice Chair of the Financial Inclusion Commission, and a Non-Exec Director of the Financial Inclusion Forum.

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