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Mermaids appoints Lauren Stoner as CEO on two-year basis

09 Feb 2024 News

Lauren Stoner, chief executive of Mermaids

Mermaids

Lauren Stoner has been appointed permanent chief executive of transgender youth charity Mermaids on a two-year fixed term basis. 

Stoner joined the charity as interim chief executive in December 2022, replacing Susie Green after six years in post, and her term as permanent CEO will see Mermaids into its 30th anniversary year in 2025. 

Last year, Stoner was interviewed by Civil Society. When asked if she was interested in being the charity’s permanent CEO, she said “probably not”. 

“This organisation needs stability. And I get bored if things are going well. I would much rather go and find the next organisation with some significant challenges to address,” Stoner said at the time.

Kathryn Downs, Mermaids’ recently-appointed incoming chair, said: “Lauren has demonstrated impressive leadership, implemented new working practices and, in particular, begun the crucial process of improving the culture at Mermaids.

“Her leadership on EDI matters has been strong and the new strategy for 2024-27, co-created with our community and all of our people, lays out a path for the future.”

Downs added “it’s a pivotal moment for Mermaids,” as the organisation “looks to transform itself”.

“I’m honoured to be able to support Lauren and the wider team to deliver some exciting changes,” she said.

Trans leadership at Mermaids

Stoner answered questions from Mermaids’ Youth Advisory Panel about the charity’s mission, vision and values, priorities for the year ahead, as well as plans to become a trans-led organisation. 

She said: “I’ve never worked in an organisation experiencing this level of hostility and external scrutiny, and that is phenomenally taxing for everyone who works and volunteers at Mermaids.”

Stoner added she was proud to have piloted a four-day week, recognised a union and improved the leave offer to all staff. 

“I’m also really proud that we took the brave step to be one of the first charities in our sector to leave X/Twitter, and that we continue to grow our reach on social media despite this,” she said.

Stoner said she was most looking forward to developing the charity’s approach to transgender leadership at Mermaids this year. 

“I’m delighted that we’ve appointed a new chair designate who is herself trans, and that we’ve continued to improve trans representation over the last year, but we have more to do to establish how best we can identify, retain and nurture trans leaders for today and the future at Mermaids.”

A Charity Commission inquiry into the charity, which opened in 2022, is ongoing.

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