About the role

Permanent Chief Executive, Solace Women's Aid



In this role, you’ll provide outstanding strategic leadership and representation across all of Solace’s work, delivering our mission in a sustainable way. This will include working towards the strategic objectives outlined in our strategy 2022-27, delivering the organisation’s business plan and reviewing it as appropriate. You’ll provide invaluable support to the Board, advising on (and ensuring) best governance practice, strong organisational leadership, succession planning, change management, decision-making, and the policies and procedures which enable the organisation to run smoothly.

It will be crucial that you have the skills to continue our long term-project to embed Solace’s values throughout the organisation, ensuring high levels of staff engagement, a transparent and open culture, and a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. You’ll be a visible and positive exemplar of this style of 'listening leadership', and will nurture a strong culture of mutual accountability at every level. While we expect that our externally-commissioned Organisational Culture Review will be completed before you take up the post, there's real ambition for change amongst colleagues;  it will therefore be essential that you own and lead our organisational response to this piece of work, addressing its recommendations with integrity and transparency.

As with any organisation which delivers crisis services through a network of locations, it’s very important to build a ‘one-team’ culture of clear shared purpose. You’ll demonstrate a track record of building consistent, values-led processes and frameworks which enable the highest quality service with a laser focus on survivors at every stage. Similarly, it’s easy to let the daily demands of operational performance edge out the long-term, strategic thinking and planning which distinguishes the strongest organisations, and you must have a nuanced understanding of how these two modes of leadership can be balanced to greatest effect.

We are privileged to play an enabling role in the ecology of service provision to survivors in London, and we deeply understand the responsibilities that our relatively large size confers. But we also know that each and every organisation in our sector – large or small, recently launched or long-established – plays a vital and irreplaceable part in the wider system. You'll be able to forge strong, credible, mutually respectful and productive working relationships with all the individuals and organisations that have dedicated themselves to this crucial, difficult work.

Staff, partners and commissioners alike value our openness, and it’s the foundation of the strong relationships we’ve built to date. A large part of the role will be about building purposeful partnerships for change, and you will be an adept ambassador and advocate for our vision. But when decisions need to be made, you’ll be able to evaluate the right way forward, make a clear recommendation, and explain it clearly and with sensitivity.

We expect that you will already have held a CEO role in a comparably-sized organisation, or a COO / Deputy CEO role in a larger one. Experience of direct service delivery, a commissioning model, high levels of scrutiny and an understanding of income generation are all essential, and knowledge of the MVAWG sector would be an advantage. Your personal characteristics must include compassion, resilience, emotional intelligence, integrity and a readiness to have difficult and honest conversations. We believe that 2023 is shaping up to be another year of change and volatility, and you must demonstrate the calmness under pressure that will see us through the challenges ahead.

Solace values diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination. We encourage and welcome applications from women of all backgrounds.

The post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, will be subject to an enhanced DBS check and is open to women only (exempt under the Equality Act 2010).

Download role profile here