A warm welcome back to our CEO, Hannah Underwood

This week we are delighted to welcome back our CEO Hannah Underwood, who is returning from maternity leave. She is re-joining us at a challenging time, as we adapt our plans to respond to the changing needs and circumstances of young people and our partner organisations during the current Covid-19 restrictions.

Hannah’s return to work coincides with the creation of an exciting new senior management position – Director of Innovation & Growth – to take the lead on implementing our ambitious scaleup plan and realising our longer term vision of significantly increasing the number of young people who benefit from The Key Framework. It has been agreed that the best person to take on this crucial role is Hannah herself, as she has all the skills, qualities, passion and background that will be required, and this development also aligns with her own personal career aspirations. She is extremely enthusiastic about taking on this challenge and is itching to get stuck in! 

Consequently, rather than making an external appointment to the new Director of Innovation & Growth role, we are looking to recruit a new permanent CEO over the next 2-3 months. In the meantime, Hannah is temporarily job-sharing the CEO position with Austin McNamara, who was Interim CEO during her absence.

Our chair Andrew Silver has issued the following statement on behalf of the trustees: “As The Key continues to develop its plans for growth and to inspire belief in an ever growing number of young people, we are delighted to be able to call upon the combined talents and experience of both Hannah and Austin for the next few months. It is very rare for a charity of our size to be in the fortunate position of having such strong leadership, which is even more important in these uncertain times. In due course Hannah will be taking up the role of Director of Innovation and Growth, and we are embarking on the recruitment of a full-time CEO to inspire and lead our great team to deliver our longer term vision of inspiring belief in young people throughout the UK.”

According to Hannah, “After having spent so long leading The Key as CEO, this new role is a great opportunity for me to put all my focus and energy into significantly growing our impact. I’m especially excited about innovating and co-creating with young people and our partners, to design new products, services and technologies with them front and centre. Ultimately, inspiring belief in more of our target young people than ever before”.

Over the next few weeks Hannah and Austin will be working together with the team to continually adapt our plans, systems and processes in response to the current Covid-19 crisis. They are both determined that The Key is on the “front foot” to provide support to young people and partner organisations in any way we can – including the formation of “virtual” Key groups and online delivery of our training courses.