Appointment of CEO and Chair of the Board at Suffolk SU

04/03/2024 - We're delighted to share the news that Dionne Walton has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer, and Sam Harris has been appointed as Chair of the Board at the University of Suffolk Students' Union.

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We're delighted to share the news that Dionne Walton has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer, and Sam Harris has been appointed as Chair of the Board at the University of Suffolk Students' Union.

Dionne is an accomplished and experienced leader with a distinguished track record in educational and charity senior leadership. With a passion for empowering young people and a commitment to inclusive approaches, Dionne's journey is marked by a drive to create positive change and foster growth within communities. Dionne is joining us from Teenage Cancer Trust, where she has made an incredible impact as Deputy Director.

With extensive experience in educational leadership, Dionne has led academic and pastoral teams to ensure the success and progression of hundreds of young people in Suffolk and Essex.Through exceptional professional relationships and a dedication to staff and student development, Dionne has fostered environments conducive to high achievement and  positive well-being.

Beyond academia, Dionne has made significant contributions to the charitable sector, responsible for organisational governance, compliance, and stakeholder engagement has been instrumental in driving impactful initiatives, on a local and national scale for organisations such as Volunteering Matters, Access Community Trust and Teenage Cancer Trust most recently. In her role as Deputy Director at the Teenage Cancer Trust, Dionne orchestrated youth engagement initiatives during the AYA Global Cancer Congress 2023 in California,  providing transformative experiences for young cancer patients.

Passionate about youth empowerment, Dionne has championed initiatives that prioritise young people's voices and experiences. From developing lived experience advisory groups to spearheading youth-led service designs, she believes in a strengths-based approach to service design, ensuring diverse voices are heard and valued. Her commitment to inclusivity extends to strategic and operational partnerships, recognising them as the foundation for sustainability and growth.

For Dionne, joining the University of Suffolk Student Union represents an opportunity to align her values with her work, fostering exceptional experiences for students regardless of barriers they face. With a focus on living organisational values through action, she is poised to lead with integrity, empathy, and a steadfast commitment to student welfare and empowerment.

Dionne said "The opportunity to lead the talented and committed team at University of Suffolk Students’ Union feels like my career worlds have collided having spent years preparing students for post 16 education and the last 8 years in the charity and community sector.

I am joining University of Suffolk Students’ Union at the end of an incredible year of development thanks to hardwork from a lot of passionate staff and volunteers and I am excited and feeling privileged to take this work forward.

The professional networks in Suffolk are very special, there is a huge amount of pride, potential and innovation and I look forward to immersing myself in those networks again so that University of Suffolk Students’ Union continues to reflect all that Suffolk has to offer our Students."

We're also thrilled to be welcoming Deputy Director of NUS Charity, Sam, as our Chair of the Board of Trustees. She is a specialist in all things Students’ Union and we are specifically excited to be able to access her skills around organisational development, leadership, learning and development, and governance. As a Turnaround Board Member for the last year, Sam has helped us to transform from the ground up, and will be continuing to bring her experience of change management to ensure the long-term success of the Union.

On joining our board as Chair, Sam said “I'm thrilled to be taking on the role of Chair of the Suffolk SU Board, and I look forward to supporting and challenging the new CEO and *exceptional* officers.”

In addition to these very exciting appointments, we're continuing to add to the abundance of knowledge and expertise at Suffolk SU with the recruitment of our new Head of Engagement Lindsay Westgarth, and we eagerly anticipate harnessing her wealth of experience in student advice, welfare, and democracy, acquired through her time at UEA Students'? Union.

We're also pleased to announce that Craig Osben will be joining us as a permanent member of the Board of Trustees, having Turnaround Board last year, leveraging his exceptional expertise in financial management gained through years of dedicated experience.

We've got a very exciting time ahead at Suffolk SU as we welcome aboard our four new members, poised to bring fresh perspectives and energy to our team.