Challengers appoints Gennie Dearman as new Chief Executive

We are delighted to announce that Gennie Dearman has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Challengers. Gennie’s appointment follows a rigorous recruitment process to find the best fit for the charity from a number of very high-quality applicants.

Gennie comes to Challengers with a breadth of experience across a range of sectors, including her most recent role as Chief Operating Officer for the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) – a national charity that connects young people with industry and inspires futures in STEM.

Gennie will be taking over the reins from Louise Clarke, who stepped in to lead Challengers on an interim basis last December and has done an excellent job of steering the charity through a difficult post-covid year.

After 6 years working in a variety of departments within a healthcare company, Gennie’s interest in charities and social enterprise was first piqued when she started working in community relations and saw first-hand how the company could make a real difference to the lives of the communities it impacted. She said: “This experience ignited a passion in me that has shaped my career ever since.”

“Over the last fifteen years or so, my professional focus has been about creating, seeking funding for, and delivering life changing opportunities for disadvantaged people to support them to reach their full potential.” 

Speaking on her appointment, Gennie said: “I am delighted to join Challengers as the charity’s new, permanent CEO. It’s exciting to be joining such a dynamic charity that provides disabled children with the opportunity to have the same fun experiences that their non-disabled peers have, and where young people can make new friends and experience the positive impact that play has on their development and wellbeing.”

A Guildford-local, Gennie first heard about Challengers when a friend asked her to join in a 5K run organised by Kelly’s Storage in aid of the charity – an annual event which many Challengers supporters will know and love.  She said: “I’ve followed the charity for years and have learnt more and more about the fabulous work that Challengers does. During this time, I also discovered friends whose children have attended, and who have shared the hugely important and positive impact that Challengers has had on their lives.”

Chairman of the Trustee Board, Graeme Stretton, added: “We are thrilled to have Gennie as our new CEO. She brings the experience, energy and leadership that will drive the charity forward to new heights, and we are looking forward to introducing her to the #TeamOrange community.”

Gennie will be taking up her role in early 2022 and will work alongside Louise for a period of time to ensure a smooth handover period for the charity. Please join us in welcoming Gennie to Challengers – we can’t wait to have her on board!