[flickr id=”6169230036″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”none”]Last week we celebrated Jen’s 15 year anniversary at Step Forward at our annual summer celebration. It was great to see so many people turn up and join us for the fun.

Jen’s relationship with Step Forward actually began some 23 years ago, way before she officially joined us in 1998. It all started when she signed up to an Apprenticeship scheme and chose Step Forward (then known as Tower Hamlets Youth Counselling and Advice Service) as the place to cut her teeth (Lucky for us!). Not long after she joined the Board for a few years until we were fortunate enough to welcome her to her first paid role here as Trainer in 1998. I think it’s fair to say that I don’t know many people or indeed anyone that started as an Apprentice and went on to become CEO of the very same organisation!

Jennifer has always been at the centre of Step Forward, preserving its ethos and ensuring that young people’s needs and voices are at the heart of the charity. Unlike many other CEOs Jen has been involved in every aspect of SF including project managing the completion of the building, championing the only LGBT service in the borough and securing Sir Ian McKellen as our patron. Something that nearly didn’t happen when she chose the wrong biscuits for their first meeting… turns out he prefers Ginger Nuts to Hob Nobs!

In the 15 years since Jennifer started at the charity she has raised Step Forward’s profile ten fold, from giving speeches in churches to go on to winning an GSK Impact Award, being nominated for the Independent’s annual Pink List (ahead of John Barrowman don’t you know!), even making an appearance at No.10 on our behalf!

She’s an inspirational leader, warm, passionate and devoted to the well being of young people in Tower Hamlets.

We’re so proud to have her at the helm of our ship and it is my pleasure to thank her on behalf of all those that have been touched by Step Forward over the years for her hard work and love. Here’s to another fantastic 15 years!

Thank You Jen x

Chair of Board of Trustees